Seven ways to handle challenging situations and gain victory – Anita Estes, and a personal stuff entry

Saturday, July 15, 2006
Well, dog sitting has its advantages. All the family is out on Long Island fishing, and I got to stay home and take care of the dog – no kennel was available. Sooooo you might ask what does one do with time and no kids or husband, just me alone time. I did not spend it alone but had an incredible day.

First I went to a Prayer for our City – where all the area churches gathered to pray for the needs of our city. Last year about this time a Neo-Nazi group wanted to protest in the city, it caused a lot of fear in the area, the group did their thing with little attention, and no problems. Why no problems? The area churches got together and prayed and united, talking to people to not make this a bigger incident that it needed to be. The protest fizzled out, but what came out of it is an incredible pulling together of churches and frequent ecumenical events. Believe it or not, the churches are invited into one of the local  High Schools (unfortunately not my kid’s high school, but I pray that that will change) and last year during the first period of the first class one girl got saved. We had representation at this meeting today from the police, the superintendent of schools, the DA, and pastors from many of the area churches. Praise and worship was awesome and there was dancing and choirs and lots of prayer. What a great way to spend the morning.

I had a great Bible study yesterday that will answer Xenencourager’s question about grace, but before I post that (tomorrow), I want to share what I did this afternoon. Our church has a woman’s luncheon every 3rd Saturday, lunch and a speaker. Usually I can’t go because of kids and husband, but hey my dog didn’t mind if I snuck out to attend. Rocky is good that way.

We had an author – Anita Estes speak. She wrote a book called When God Speaks: 40 Days and 40 Nights of His Presence. 

Anita talked about how her journey with God grew, speaking about how the scriptures used in her book helped her to grow strong in the Lord, how she achieved VICTORY in Christ.

Anita pointed out that we need to realize that how we, as Christians, perceive victory is far different from how the world perceives victory. Imagine, Jesus on the Cross, to a worldly person Jesus doesn’t look victorious, but we know that Christ died and won back the Kingdom for us, saving us from our sins and He is seated victoriously at God’s Right hand.

Sometimes we feel like we are defeated, and later on when we look back, we see the tremendous victories that Christ made in our lives during these periods of trials.

Anita compared her spiritual journey to Boot Camp and an Exercise program to build spiritual muscle.

30 years ago she took a summer job at a camp, a camp where the majority of the people were into the New Age and partying. She was a new Christian at the time and had a major choice to make – follow Christian principles or succumb to what the crowd around her was doing. She took the high road, and ended up suffering for her beliefs in a hostile environment. She was forced out of the cabin she was to work in because she tried to talk to a Jewish girl about Christ, and ended up alone. These set-backs appeared like failure, but God used them to build a strong foundation in her life. She concluded that you had to follow Jesus and march to His drumbeat, and not follow your heart which can lie to you.

The trials we face in our lives build spiritual muscle. Sometimes victory can look like defeat, but the cross you carry can lead to victory. She had us smiling when she picked up a little 2 pound weight and showed her first spiritual muscles, with Jesus as her Spiritual trainer.

It was during this time she found a wonderful Christian man, married him, and they learned that there were many adjustments that needed to be made as their relationship grew.

During the training period in a person’s life, after a victory, sometimes God sends another challenge to let you begin to build more muscles, to let you grow more and learn to rely on Him. She called this her period of being In the Dead of Winter. It was when her husband and she had to move to Vermont.

There during the bitter cold weather and few Christians friends, she learned disciplines, to pray, set aside time for God, and have daily devotions. Growing up in a family filled with depression, she too suffered depression and during this time she was able to use the tools to begin to walk out of depression, to cope with loneliness and to be passionate for God.

In her book, When God Speaks, Anita shares some of the Bible verses that sustained her during this tough time.She developed a passion for the Word of God and learned much from the saints in the Bible. From Joseph she learned that you can be wronged, and have a good attitude. A right heart is what is important. From Daniel she learned wisdom and humility, not to bow down to the prevailing culture. From Paul she learned to be bold in Christ and let Christ shine forth through her. And from John she learned to sit on the Lord’s lap and snuggle close.

If you want to build spiritual muscle it takes resistance training. When we have trials they are like the resistance that causes muscle growth. If you are going through a problem it may take time to work it out. You may have to walk before you run, and if need be you crawl before you walk. This is training for future marathons.

After winter, there is the new renewal of spring and summer. These are seasons given by God to rest and regroup. During this time Anita returned to New York, and active churches, fellowship, and raising children. She was enjoying life and there were few problems on her horizon. It is in these times of rest and ease that often we fall into the danger of forgetting to rely on God. Things are going good and we all of a sudden get too busy to pray or have devotions. Sometimes God gets put on the back burner.  It is during these good times that we need to keep being prepared, studying His word, praying and being with God, because this is when we can put on spiritual fat to help sustain us through the lean times that will inevitably come.

Few Christians stay in a place of relative peace, we get respite from trials, but then God gives us more challenges to grow us. So if we can fill up with God’s Word and prayer, we have a reserve to draw upon when the next tough time comes.

Inevitably, after the summer reprieve, Anita faced the season of Fall. Financial troubles, the birth of a new child, a too small house, and her husband’s bout with depression made life very challenging for her. Having come out of a home of depression, freeing herself from depression, her husband’s depression was very upsetting. She was asking God how many trials does she have to have. She had already, by her understanding, had enough trials, and God should stop the trials, but He didn’t. What she learned during this period was to enlist the help of others, and she was brought to a new level of commitment to prayer and working out her problems.

SEVEN WAYS TO HANDLE CHALLENGING SITUATIONS AND GAIN VICTORY.

1. Cultivate a close relationship with God. You are responsible for your walk with Him. God is always teaching us something new. It is up to us how close we want to walk with Him.

2. Realize you cannot change anybody but yourself. You’re responsible for your own happiness. This is where we can get so lost, wondering about how to change another person. The way people change is to see the changes in us – they respond to the “new” person you have become and that response causes changes in them. When people sense the presence of Christ in our lives, that presence cannot help but cause change in others.

3. Appropriate God’s grace in your own life and towards others. She mentioned that we could liken God’s grace to oil in a car. If a car engine has no oil, the parts rub together, have friction, heat up and seize up. Christ is our model.

She mentioned that we have burdens to share, burdens to lay down, and burdens to take up by our own selves. It is Christ that shows us which is which, and Grace helps us to work these out properly.

4. Praise God no matter what your situation may be, either at best or worst. Lift you eyes heavenward. We all know that praise changes things. No matter the circumstances, praise God. If we can’t fix our eyes on Christ in today’s society, we don’t stand a chance living a Christian life – there are too many things out there that can pull us down.

5. Be an encourager, not a fault finder. Gossip, slander, negative statements do not help us or each other. Far better to look at the good in a situation, to give praise to others, to encourage others and let others encourage us. We will do far better being built up than being torn down by each other.

6. Seek advice from others who have wisdom. Mentors help to hold us accountable, and to guide us when the path gets tough. We are not meant to go it alone, we can help each other to grow in Christ.

7. Appreciate what you have and who you are. We are not to be jealous of others and their gifts, of their walk, it is our walk with Christ that matters – it is our individual walks with Christ that Christ will look at. This is not to say go off on your own tangent with false doctrine, but our walks are individual. We must do what Christ is telling us to do. Victory will look different for each and every person, for we are all individuals. God will take our defeats and our victories and turn it all to good.

In order to walk in victory, we have to cast off the weights that hinder our walks. The burdens, hindrances, fear, worry, anxiety, pride, jealousy, worldly pursuits,. We have to untangle ourselves from bitterness, pride, envy, self-indulgence, gossip, lust, hatred, immorality, etc. Even little hindrances can cause us to veer off course.

Through confession and resistance (to sin) training we can have our victory. We have to be spiritually prepared, with the full armor of God, and remember 1 Timothy 6:6 Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Anita Estes came up with a great acrostic for victory.

VIC-tory T-o O-vercome R-eal Y-uckiness.

Her book is a 40 day devotional of Bible verses, teaching, prayer, application and reflections. I personally am looking forward to using it in my morning devotionals. I am so glad that God gave me the chance to hear her speak. Hoping this blesses you as much as I was blessed.

Have an incredible evening.

Heather

 
Carolyn asked the following questions:1. I don’t know much about N.Y., but after seeing the bears ~ are you near a woods;  what kind of land are you in (suburbia, country, etc.)

My husband saw this bear the other day, which is why Carolyn asked where we live. I live in upstate New York, and it is a mountainous area, with lots of land, trees and country. I live in a small town, and there is enough woods around to support a bear population. We have a few bears around that tend to make a circuit that seems to be related to the garbage truck route. Many of the towns around are very careful because of the bears, we have had a few problems with bears breaking into houses and causing trouble. Right now we have to be especially careful because there are cubs and moms wandering around. We do not want to get between a momma bear and her cubs. I have instructed my kids to not go out too much by themselves to walk or jog, because until we know the bear isn’t around I don’t want them getting cornered. During the fall we also have to be careful during to hunting season. But what is awesome is that when I look out my back window, I see mountains and no houses. In the winter I can see the road in front of my house, but it feels like the country. I love it.

While the focus of the picture was my daughter on her birthday, you can see the view from my back deck. Trees and mountains, and what awesome pictures God creates with those.

2. What country (s) would you be most interested in visiting, and why?

My fantasy is to visit Israel, to walk where Jesus walked and just worship.

3. What parts of the Bible do you most like to read devotionally, or for other reasons ~& which ones are the most challenging for you?

I tend to like to read the Bible from cover to cover because I find that if I pick my favorites I might miss something that God wants me to see about my life. I think the most challenging for me changes depending on where I am in my walk with God. For example, when I first stumbled into Living Word Chapel’s Friday Bible study, Pastor Don was teaching in Romans. Romans was tough for me because I was pretty angry at God. For a long time I struggled with Job, wondering how God could have allowed satan to inflict Job with his problems. How could the book end by saying that God restored in abundance all that Job lost, when Job did not get back his first kids who died. I was angry at God’s seemingly lack of response to Job when Job confronted God. Sometimes the love of Jesus is tough to take when I am feeling rather down. And when I looked at passages in Psalms like He knew my end from my beginning, or had fashioned me and knew what I would have dealt with. I used to bristle at that. Now God will strike my heart almost anywhere I am reading, it seems that He knows as I read that I will have to face His truth.

That being said, what has most impressed me lately is how much Jesus is in the Whole Bible, and how God does keep His promises, and that often God does not act immediately (that is not always comforting to me when I want Him to act sooner). But how, not one promise has fallen through the cracks. When I see the prophesies fulfilled, I can trust that the unfulfilled ones will also be fulfilled in the right time. It is comforting to know that even when we don’t see how much God is in control, He really is. I hope that makes sense.

TBN has Pastor Don on right now, from a previous show of Praise in the Night. I am recording it, so am up later than I probably should be.

hoping you have a blessed night.
Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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