How do you do it?!

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Keeping It Together In the Midst of Chaos

How do you keep going during chaos? I struggled with finding the answer to this question for years. As I inquired of the Lord, He began to show me answers through the life of Jesus.

As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns.  Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  Matthew 14:13-14 NLT

Jesus withdrew to be alone after receiving the news that His cousin John the Baptist was beheaded but upon seeing the crowd He turned and had compassion on them. Compassion is defined as a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry or hurting.  Jesus wanted to ensure that the crowd had what they needed even at a time He was in need. The disciples wanted to send the crowd away but Jesus commanded that they be fed, pointing out that what they needed was within their ability to handle.

Too often, God is asking us to serve others but our own selfish ambitions get in the way. We are so concerned about our own needs and focused on our own insecurities until we miss the multiplication that is possible when God is with us. It is not within our own power to always meet the needs of the crowd. The key is recognizing God is always the source.  When we come to Him admitting our insufficiency, He takes what we have and multiplies it.

Jesus knowing the needs of the people did not turn them aside, He laid His own need aside to ensure the people were taken care of. After doing so, He continued to a place of solitude to pray.  Why is this significant when it comes to keeping it together? We can’t give out daily and not take time to replenish. This is faulty thinking. Anyone that has ever driven a car knows after driving for miles the car will run out of gas. To get more service from that car it must be refilled repeatedly. This is the same for each of us.

Jesus making time to withdraw and pray helped to keep Him connected to His source. It gave Him the power, the grace, the instructions and the wisdom to continue doing the will of the Father. Jesus knew His assignment. He knew daily meetings with His Father were required to ensure He could continue.

The death of John the Baptist is significant because Jesus was hurt by the loss of His cousin and friend. John the Baptist knew He was the Son of God sent to save mankind. As we take this into consideration we find that Jesus had emotions. He did not allow His emotions to hinder Him from doing the will of the Father. He understood His emotions had a place but it was not to move Him from His assignment. Again, this was evident when He saw the crowd. He allowed His purpose to lead.

As we study the life of Jesus we find the answers we need to keep it together when our world turns topsy-turvy. We learn that there is a place for our emotions and a proper way to deal with our own pain in life. We learn the importance of maintaining daily intimacy with God. We learn that we cannot function in our assignment without daily connection with our Father.  He holds the key to keep us together even when we are falling apart.

Grace and peace to you,

Mary,

Your Breakthrough Coach

© Mary Pinckney, October 2017

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Enough with all the lies

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Romans 10:9 (NLT)  If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

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Whose report will you believe today?

Will you continue believing what your current circumstances are speaking about you?

Will you continue listening to the lies of the enemy?

The lies of your past mistakes?

The opinions of others?

I challenge you today to believe the report God has written about you. As a born again believer, you are no longer defined by labels. God changed your name the moment you entered into relationship with Him. You are now considered righteous. The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior we become new creatures, old things are passed away, behold all things become new.  You may not always feel like new, but it’s still true.

Focus on what is true about yourself. In order to do so you must begin to renew your mind about what God says about you. Instead of being defeated by your own thoughts about yourself, fill your head and your heart with what God says. It is my prayer that you will embrace who you are in Him. No longer be a victim to the lies you have heard in your own heart or around you. You are important. You do matter. He has called you to walk in your new identity today. Enough of the lies. Enough of feeling insecure, insignificant. Believe what God says about you my friend.

Father, thank you for loving us enough to save us from our sins. Thank you for the sacrifice of your Son. May we always be mindful of what you have done for us and how you have set us free from sin, guilt, condemnation and destruction. In Jesus name, Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Mary

 

© Mary Pinckney, June 2016

 

 

 

 

Fight Back

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Praise the LORD, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. Psalm 144:1 NLT

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Every day you will face challenges that try to move you away from God’s plan and purpose for your lives. You will be tempted to act out of character. You will be tempted to give in to the pride of your own hearts; relying on yourselves rather than fully relying on God.  Unfortunately, all of these decisions will put you in a position to lose the battle.

If you are to see victory over the obstacles you are currently facing, it will take you learning the battle strategy from the one who knows best. God has strategic weapons to dismantle every attack of the enemy. We find this true throughout the Old Testament readings.

Joshua won the battle of Jericho by marching around the city 7 times, then releasing a loud shout. Gideon was told he had too many men for the battle. He was then instructed to take 300 men with him. As they went blowing their trumpets, the Lord confused the opposing army and they began to fight themselves.  Jehosophat was told by the Prophet of the Lord, you will not have to fight in this battle, the Lord will fight for you. They proceeded to battle worshipping their God and the other army began to destroy themselves.

As you can see from these accounts, God does not fight like we fight. His weapons are much greater than ours. They are weapons of mass destruction; tearing down every stronghold, piercing between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Today, instead of cowering down to the enemy of doubt, fear and insecurity. Instead of giving into the temptation to quit. Instead of allowing the whispers of the naysayers stop you in your tracks, I encourage you to fight back! You must stand and gird yourself with the full armor of God. Endure hardness as a good soldier and see those very obstacles demolished in your path.

When you allow God to be your defense, your strong tower, He can perfect all things that concern you.  After all, He has already equipped you with the weapons that work; prayer, worship, and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

Do your battle on your knees today. Do your battle in worship. God will fight for you.

Father, thank You for teaching our hands to war. Too often, we fight from a place of our own strength not fully relying on, leaning into, and trusting You.  As we begin to change course, thank You for Your patience with us. Thank You for your power being made perfect in our times of weaknesses. May we look to You when we are weak to help us win the victory in every area of our lives. In Jesus name Amen.

Shalom,

Mary

© Mary Pinckney, 2016

 

 

Will You Choose To Be Humble?

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It takes so much out of us at times to really allow God to have His way in our lives. I have found that the hardest lessons of discipline is to submit my will to His. Can you identify?  It is not that easy submitting every plan, every desire, every need to Him when you consider yourself strong and independent and yes, even a “know- it -all” at times.  Nope, not easy at all. I want my way often and I want to prove to others that I got this all together.

God is so in tuned to us than we are to ourselves. Not only is He is so aware of our true potential and the greatness He has placed on the inside of us. He is also aware of our imperfections, yet He still calls us His own. He still prompts us to keep moving in the midst of chaos and trials. He directs us to even bigger feats than we can ever imagine because He sees the heart of a champion on the inside of us.  We, on the other hand only see through dim glasses.

As I write this I am reminded of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs right now, He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli. Here is a brief portion for you to ponder:

Spent today in a conversation In the mirror face to face with Somebody less than perfect I wouldn’t choose me first if I was looking for a champion In fact I’d understand if You picked everyone before me But that’s just not my story True to who You are You saw my heart And made Something out of nothing

I don’t need my name in lights I’m famous in my Father’s eyes Make no mistake He knows my name I’m not living for applause I’m already so adored It’s all His stage He knows my name

It is so refreshing to know that we are loved, forgiven, freed, and known by our Father, even in the midst of our mess ups trying to get it all right in the eyes of everyone else.

I pray that today, you and I will both choose to be humble before our Lord knowing that He knows more about us than we do ourselves. I pray that we will both take the time to humble ourselves before Him and submit to His plans and purposes for the journey ahead. After all, we should only be living for an audience of one. The One that truly knows our name. The One that wrote the days of our lives in His book, even before the foundation of the world. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Father, teach us to humble ourselves before you, knowing and recognizing that you always have our best interest at heart. You have predestined us to succeed. You have woven Your plans and thoughts for us into a much bigger picture than we can even begin to fathom. May we submit wholeheartedly to Your plan for our lives and trust you to bring us to our expected end. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Reflections:Take a long hard look at what is driving you this year. What are your underlying motives and intention for accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself?

 

© Mary Pinckney, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be A Gardner

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Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. 27 “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. 29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn. Matthew 13:24-30 (NLT)

There comes a time on our journey that we must begin to take notice of what is growing in our lives. Much like the parable mentioned above, we must be keen enough to recognize the distractions that come our way to keep us from producing the harvest of discipline we seek.

Jesus tells this story to his disciples in order to paint a picture of the kingdom of God. In the example we find a war between two worlds. On one hand, the sower who represents God planting good seeds. On the other hand, there is Satan, the enemy sowing tares among the wheat.

Take a moment and think about how often you experienced God working in your life. Everything you set out to do was going according to plan, then all of a sudden here comes opposition to set you off course. Because of human nature, we panic and want to let it all go.  However, Jesus shows what an experienced gardener does when faced with unfavorable circumstances.

First of all, He recognizes it is an enemy that did this. He recognizes the attack came because of what He was doing. He recognized that the attack was on the harvest. It was the keenness of the gardener that led to the decision to let the tares grow with the wheat.

He explained to his workers that at the time of the harvest the separation would take place. Instead of destroying the integrity of the future harvest, He paid close attention to it, recognizing what was more important. We should do the same when it comes to our lives. Rather than giving up when we encounter challenges, or reacting too quickly, we need to take inventory of what we are dealing with. We can’t allow what others think we should do to influence our decisions. We need to be led by the Lord.

You must be mindful not to allow the tactics of the enemy to get you so overwhelmed that you lose sight of the progress you have made. This is not the time to get distracted. This is not the time to allow yourself to go off course. Maintain your focus.

The harvest you have been working towards will produce good in your life, but in that time you may have to go back and do some separating. Whatever weeds or distractions, you have allowed to come into your live through relationships, bad habits, character issues, etc. will now have to be addressed.

If you continue to allow these issues to grow they will only take over in your time of harvest. Be like that experienced gardener protect your harvest through wisdom, knowledge and understanding about the situation at hand. In order to do that, it will take much prayer and fellowship with the Father. He knows what is best, trust His guidance.

Blessings to you,

Mary

© Mary Pinckney, 2014

 

Thank you..

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Today, we give honor to a great Man of God, a powerful advocate for civil rights, and an inspiration to us all, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s life has taught many great lessons to those of us who will pay attention. Even in the midst of adversity he held his head high and walked in character and integrity.

He taught us to love our enemies and to pray for them. He was the epitome of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He demonstrated the love of God. He gave his life so that we could experience freedom, not just African- Americans but all of us as a people. He believed that we could all live as one, not being judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

Let us demonstrate that same love and grace as we walk forward.

Father we thank you for the life of Dr. King. We thank you for providing us with examples that lead the way for us. Thank you for those that fought for our freedom. Thank you most of all for your Son that died on the cross to give us true freedom. May we walk in the same manner of love and allow our good works to glorify you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Grace and Peace,

Mary

© Mary Pinckney, 2015

 

Stop For A Moment

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This last week was a week of refreshing and renewal for me. Normally, going into downtime, I go in with an agenda. The last couple of years, that agenda was to meet my deadline to complete my second devotional.  So, needless to say, all of my time went into finishing and not really enjoying the time away.

This year, I had no plans, no set agenda at all. Much of my day was spent soaking up God’s goodness. I decided to dedicate this year’s downtime to allowing God to work on me. I became the project at hand. And boy was I glad I submitted myself to His graceful hands.

There were moments that the pruning and the refining became a little harder to take, but I withstood the blows as He showed me myself. I walked away feeling much lighter than I have been in months.  I walked away, refreshed, refueled, reenergized, and most of all knowing that the Master did a major work on the inside of me.

I didn’t realize the disappointments, the highs and the lows, that I had endured throughout the year as I worked to accomplish the goals I set for myself had me numb to the state of my heart. I didn’t realize I was still doing only enough to get by until I surrendered my heart to the Master surgeon. It was then that it all became so clear that I was still running from the enemy in me.

I realized, during my much needed time alone with the Lord, that I had not fully grasped His love for me. I had not fully given my all to Him. I was still working to control the reins of my life. This is a losing battle that none of us will be able to master after giving ownership of our life over to the Lord, yet we still strive at it.

This week, I want to challenge you as the year ends to take some time to reflect on where you are in your relationship with the Lord.

Have you surrendered your all to Him?

Are you still in control of your life?

Stop for a moment before entering the New Year just to listen. You see, it is when we surrender our control that we find total satisfaction in life. No longer will we work to be like everyone else, live our lives in a hurried pace to accomplish one task after another, but we will find ourselves being satisfied with Him and Him alone. He is more than enough.

Lord, we desire to complete the race, the tasks You have set before us even in the area of Holy living. Help us not to get so consumed with winning in other areas of our lives that we neglect the needful part. We trust Your guidance in our lives. Help us to correct any steps that lead us away from You and your purpose for us In Jesus’ name. Amen

Shalom,

Mary

© December 29, 2015

Take Action: Instead of working on new goals or resolutions to complete for the upcoming year, why not relist the ones from previous years and work on finding out what has kept you from completing those goals? What has hindered your progress?

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You may purchase a copy of my latest devotional, Be Attitudes: A Devotional Journey to a Disciplined Life to accompany you on the journey. Books can be purchased at www.vflconsultants.com or Amazon.com.