What Controls Your Heart? A Conversation With God.

God’s Word truly is living and active. We serve a LIVING God! Join me inside the pages of my journal and quiet time with God…..
I opened to Colossians 3 and read verses 12-17.
Then I wrote in my journal:
“Lord, you are showing me ‘thanks’ ‘be thankful’.”
Col 3:15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were so called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.
“Lord, what controls my heart? Fear? Anxiety? Worry? You tell me to let Your peace control my heart.”
“How?” I ask God
“Be thankful,” He responds.
“Lord, is that the key? The key to your peace? You are so good, Lord.”
Vs 16-17 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Lord, 3 times you show some form of thankfulness:
Be thankful
With Gratitude
Giving thanks
1 is a state of being, 1 is a heart position, 1 is action.
Lord, thank you that you are a God who speaks to your people. I pray for a thankful heart ruled by your peace. Amen
At the end of my quiet time, I realized I had just had a “conversation” with God. Immediately I remembered reading something about how we pray and listen to God through His Word and Spirit. I concentrated hard willing my memory to bring to me the source.
It was in Josh McDowell’s book The Last Christian Generation.
“If they are to develop spiritually, relationally, and emotionally, they must become people of prayer. God speaks to us through his Word and his Holy Spirit. We speak to him in prayer.”
Yes, I just experienced this firsthand. And I found myself thankful.
May you allow His peace to control your heart today. Be thankful.

 

Stay strong til the end

January 2016 God woke me with the names Hilkiah and Josiah. I didn’t know who they were so I went to the Bible. God had been speaking to me in dreams for about 4 months when He showed me these names. I spent a good deal of time reading about these 2 and trying to discern what God was showing me.
Recently God brought them to mind again and I felt He wanted me to revisit these portions of Scripture.
I opened my prayer journal from 2016 where I referenced 2 Chronicles 34:22-28 and 2 Kings 22 and 23. I wrote, “Lord, protect us like Hilkiah and bring us a Josiah.”
What I meant by this prayer I think you will see shortly.
This was pre-election 2016.
The story of Josiah is pretty cool. Hilkiah was the priest who discovered the book of the law that had been lost/hidden from sight prior to Josiah, the king, calling for the repair of the temple. It was brought to Josiah. When Josiah heard the reading of the book, he understood God’s judgements to come because his ancestors had not obeyed God and had provoked God’s wrath by the shedding of much innocent blood.
Hilkiah and a few others sought a prophetess (Huldah), who spoke what the Lord said. Disaster was coming because the people had abandoned God, they worshipped false gods, they did much evil.
But God had this to say, “As for the words that you heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you – this is the Lord’s declaration – therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.” Then they reported to the king. 2 Kings 22:15-20
Josiah brought forth reform. Major reform. Read all about what he did in chapter 23. He followed God’s ways and made changes in the nation that aligned with God’s heart and will. He reversed what had been done. Josiah was a good king after a string of evil kings. In fact 2 kings prior to Josiah, Manasseh was king and was one of the most evil of all the kings. He shed much blood and did extreme evil (sacrificed his own son, consulted mediums, practiced witchcraft, and so much more!)
While Josiah was king, the nation prospered. God protected Hilkiah and Josiah and they didn’t live to see the disaster that devoured their nation. After Josiah, only evil kings took the throne. They had short reigns and the nation was taken and deported to Babylon where they remained in captivity for many years.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Now, today, I see what God wanted me to see. I believe we’ve been blessed with one like Josiah, willing to bring reform and change that aligned with the will of God. But evil hates good because evil hates everything. No good resides in the heart of evil and its one goal is destruction.
During this season of dreams, on this same journal entry I wrote, “the enemy will use fear to separate us and divide us. When we resist fear, it’s like standing up to a bully.”
The urgency I feel is back to where it was in 2015/2016 when God began speaking to me in dreams. My urgency died when the world began to prosper in a sense and all was well. I thought I’d heard God wrong. All the warnings and alarms He sounded to me I now realize were in preparation for today, where we are right now in the timeline.
I know the tendency is toward fear. But we have nothing to fear, even death. We are to resist fear at all costs. You know how we do that? We press in and pray. We don’t stop praying. We meditate on scripture. Let it sink into our souls.
I believe we will see some very scary things soon. But I believe God’s Word. He tells us to persevere all the way to the end. We have crowns awaiting us friends!! When we stand with Him and receive our rewards for our faithfulness here, all of this will seem tiny. Hold tight. Stand strong. Don’t bow to fear. Ever.
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28

 

Who to follow? Don’t conform. Calm down.

When the majority of the world goes a certain direction, believes a particular belief, or shares a common fear, it’s often an indicator not to follow. The masses rarely follow God together.
I saw a comment on a thread asking why God gives prophetic dreams to some people and wondering how we can believe them if He doesn’t show it to all people. Well, first, we don’t know why or how God chooses to allocate gifts. But 2nd, Isaiah chapter 8 gives a glimpse into why God spoke a particular message to Isaiah at the time He did.
“For this is what God said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of the people:” Isaiah 8:11
God didn’t want Isaiah to conform to the people’s beliefs. And then listen to what God said!
“Do not call everything an alliance these people say is an alliance. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe.” Isaiah 8:12-13
That’s so good!!!!!
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
This age wants you. Don’t conform. Stay in scripture so your mind is transformed only by God. Then you won’t fear what the world fears. You won’t believe the lies the world tells. You won’t jump on bandwagons that pass through.
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Some of the words God spoke to Isaiah to take to King Ahaz in Isaiah 7:4-9.
Calm down
Be quiet
Don’t be afraid
It will not happen
It will not occur
If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.
Wow. Good words!!
How often do I let my mind run wild with scenarios and fears? God may be telling me to calm down and be quiet. It’s not gonna happen and if I don’t stand in my faith, I’ll fall!
Goodness I love His Word!

 

On endurance, patience, and joy

I’ve been known to walk into a store and feel evil in the air. It’s weird and my family laughs, but it’s real and I tangibly feel the need to turn and run. Usually I’ll look around and see new age and occult materials and realize the source of the evil I feel. I’m incredibly sensitive to this type of stuff for reasons I don’t know but learned to trust the instincts God gave me.
Yesterday I sensed what my kids might call a “disturbance in the force”. Some evil I could tangibly feel and it made me have a mini temper tantrum with my family as I ranted about all the evil in our world.
I went to bed praying. Woke up asking God what my role is right now. What’s my duty. What would He have me do.
The daily reading with my church was in Colossians. God answered me in His Word. Col 1:11-12 “May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.”
For all endurance and patience. Read it again. All the endurance and patience. With joy.
I set my Bible down and walked into my pantry. I have a verse taped on my menu board that I’ve seen so much I never take the time to read. Today as I blended my protein shake I read this verse.
John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
All we have to do is ask God to help us. He will answer. He always speaks through His Word.

Killing Entangling Sins & Invading Weeds

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Andrew and I tackled our side yard yesterday. The idea was to pull a few weeds. We knew what we were looking for. It’s a weed that loves our yard, grows tall and spiky, but with shallow roots. Pulling this weed type is fully satisfying because it takes little effort to root that thing right up and watch the pile grow. You see immediate progress.
What we encountered surprised us. The easy to pull weeds made some friends and we had many types of weeds to deal with. I grabbed a hold of a net of vines and pulled.
Andrew cried out, “No, Mom! Don’t pull those. They are beautiful flowers. You are taking away all the pretty plants.”
“These are weeds.”
“But they look nice.”
“Yes, but look what they’ve done. They’ve become like a net on top of all the plants that are good. Now they are trapped and unable to grow. Some are dying under the weight of these weeds.”
“But, Mom, when you are pulling the flower weeds, you are pulling out some of the good plants too.”
“I know. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to deal with these weeds. If I had kept an eye on them, I could’ve pulled them before they caused this much damage.”
I continued, “Andrew, these weeds are like the sins in our lives we allow to grow. Like these different types of weeds, some are harder to pull up and get rid of than others. Some take more work. And some sins, like the flowering weeds, don’t look so bad so we ignore them. But what we don’t realize is that all sin is dangerous. Eventually, it will do what it sets out to do. Consume our lives. These “beautiful” weeds provided a cover but that cover killed what we actually wanted to see blooming in this spot.”
“God wants our lives to flourish and bloom and grow strong and beautiful. It’s important that we notice when weeds begin to grow in our hearts so we can pull them from the roots and get them out of our lives before they grow into a mess like this.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…..” Hebrews 12:1-2

 

A safer alternative to a smartphone but with the same look

For years I’ve been writing about screen addiction, digital detoxes, and electronic boundaries to protect our families and our children. The first post was a letter to my boys about why I limited their electronic usage. After watching that post go viral multiple times, I realized this was a topic important to millions of families just like us. I began exploring the topic more and sharing my findings and insights here with you all. You can find many of those posts here.

I’ve never been a fan of a smartphone in the hand of a kid or even a young teen.

When Zachary turned 13 we bought him his first phone. It was a flip phone. I thought that would be the safest option. As it turns out, it’s not much better than a smart phone. On the flip phone you are unable to disable internet access. Yes, the flip phone has internet access. But with little to no parental controls.

We have bought 2 flip phones. Each time we’ve gone to the store we’ve been told there was only 1 option, 1 flip phone. No choices. We have also been told there is no demand and soon we will have no flip phone options.

I disagree with the lack of demand. I talk to too many parents and listen to you all share your heart for wanting a safer option.

Now that Zachary is almost 15, a flip phone isn’t the coolest thing in the world. To text on a flip phone is not super easy. So he’s reached a point where he began asking for a smartphone, but we aren’t ready to open that world to him at this point. He has more than enough internet access via computers and iPads in our home, we really don’t want him carrying access to the world in his pocket. And let’s be honest, we adults struggle to manage the distractions, so expecting our kids and teens to filter through the mess online is a setup for frustration.

I’ve scoured the internet for safe phones for teens. I end up finding nothing. Then one day as I scrolled Facebook an ad popped up. This one instantly spoke to me because it advertised a phone with no internet access, the look of a smartphone, with all the major functions important to us.

The price was perfect, the monthly service was the exact amount I already paid, so I bought it right off the ad. I don’t think I’ve ever bought from a FB ad before!

Ya’ll! I’m in love with this phone.

Company mission:

Put really simply, our mission is to protect children, connect families and encourage life outside the screen.

This video explains the heart behind this company and their mission. Created by a dad who found himself in the same place I did, standing in a phone store realizing the market held nothing to give our kids what they wanted while protecting them the way we want to protect them.

Key features of this phone:

 

Phone, Text, Camera, Calendar, Calculator. Unlimited talk and text for $19.99 and month. And the coverage is excellent!!

No internet, no app store, no social media, no games, no ability to send and receive pictures (which is becoming a major problem with inappropriate images sent and received by kids).

I bought our phone when it was on sale for $69. Currently the Gabb phone is being offered for $49, plus I have a promo code for an additional $5 off. Just use promo code RENEEROBINSON when you check out.

 

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Defending the Truth, Offenses, Divisiveness, oh my!!!! And the coming day!

Here’s some posts over the past several days. Scripture I’ve pondered, books I’ve read, thoughts I’m taking to God. And at the end of the day, settling back on the only unchanging hope we have. He is good always.

The only power to help us


“The crisis of the age we live in is the abandonment of truth, inevitably in the decline of moral values.”“Most of the early twentieth-century sociological works I read claimed that crime was caused by environmental forces such as poverty and racism. But in 1977 psychiatrist Samuel Yockelson and psychologist Stanton Samenow published a landmark seventeen-year study called The Criminal Personality, which refutes that claim. The only adequate explanation for crime, they conclude, is individual moral choices. The solution to crime, therefore, is “the conversion of the wrongdoer to a more responsible lifestyle.”

“But in an age of relativism, this worldview has steadily lost its grip on American culture, largely because Christians themselves have failed to recognize how God’s truth applies to every aspect of life.”
Charles Colson quotes from Born Again.

I just finished book 46 of 2020. Born Again by Charles Colson. He was convicted of Watergate-related offenses and spent time in prison on those charges. Jesus Christ saved Him, made him a new man, and used him to shine a light in the dark prison world. He has a unique story from inside the White House and political system, inside the prison system, inside law and justice as an attorney, and finally as a converted man, saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

This book, again, was timely and powerful for me to read.


Let His Word settle you

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“We are not made for brilliant moments, but we have to walk in the light of them in ordinary ways.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

This inspirational #teatowel reminds us that the majority of our lives are filled with ordinary, mundane moments, but lived in the Spirit of God they are holy.

May we do all for His glory.

Image may contain: text that says 'Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28,30'

 

Anyone weary? Our souls weren’t created to receive the load of information and news we take in each day. Is God asking you to come to Him and receive rest?

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“But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person is perverted and sins, being self-condemned.” Titus 3:9-11


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“Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7


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Jesus told the crowd that it wasn’t what they ate that made them unclean, it was what was already inside them, residing in their own hearts. The disciples came to Jesus, talking about the religious Pharisees, and said, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard this statement?”

I love how Jesus responds in Matthew 15:13 “Every plant that my Heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted. Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both fall into a pit.”

In the margin of my Bible I have written “it’s not worth arguing with the blind.”

Jesus spoke the truth and the truth offends. Period. The truth is offensive to the blind. Is it our job to make them not offended? Nope. We speak the truth in love. It may offend. Jesus didn’t go back to make sure they weren’t offended. He said “Leave them alone.” They are blind and my Father will deal with them.

Another thing worth noting, be careful we aren’t following the blind. Otherwise, we may find ourselves in a pit when they fall. Stay in step with Jesus and you never worry about being on the wrong side.
For the full account read Matthew 15:10-20.


There will come a day…

Imagine a day where millions of people simply disappear from the earth. You are driving down the freeway and cars start running off roads because drivers disappeared into thin air. Planes fall from the sky as some pilots are gone. You are at the checkout counter and the clerk is gone. Literally people vanish. Chaos is everywhere. And no one knows what has happened to all the people. Then lawlessness takes over. Evil has taken over. Sounds super freaky and far fetched right? Well, it’s not. It will happen. And I believe sooner than we realize.

Here’s some of my story.

I’d been resisting God for years in my life. I didn’t have all my questions answered, I thought my life would become stale and boring, and I didn’t think I could live to God’s standards. So I kept pushing Him away. But He chased me down. Everywhere I turned someone was telling me about Him or inviting me to something. Then my mom gave me the book Left Behind. I devoured the entire series. I read about what the Bible says will happen at the end of the world and I was stunned. I was terrified and realized I didn’t want to be left behind. The horrible things were coming to deal with evil. Yet I didn’t feel I fit on the side of God or of evil. I was just hanging in the middle, doing “good” on my own without repenting and surrendering to Jesus. I realized that by default put me on the side of evil. I had to make a choice now before it became too late which side I wanted to be found on.

I gave my life to Jesus and He made me a new person. The burden that lifted off me that day I didn’t even know I’d been carrying. I remember standing in an atrium feeling free. Like a prisoner who was just released from jail. I didn’t know I’d been living in chains.

That was almost 20 years ago. I’d been married for 4 months. Jesus saved my life and I have made the rest of my life about knowing Him and making Him known to the world.

I remember in Left Behind the main characters trying to figure out where their mom and brother had disappeared to. The mother and brother were Christ followers but the dad and sister were not. The beginning of the book became about survival.

When Jesus takes me and my family out of this world while He deals with evil once and for all, I know that strangers will be in our home taking all the things we left. I wrote a letter placed in a Bible explaining where we went and how they can join us there. How they too can still be saved.

My goal in the next few days is to make copies of that letter and place it in all our Bibles and all over our home. When evil comes in, I want to still leave the path that leads towards hope. To Jesus.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thes 4:13-18