Category Archives: Life’s struggles

Being Christlike…what does that look like?

Here is another blog post I pulled out of the archive. I wrote this back in 2015. I pray this encourages, teaches and blesses you!

On 2 separate occasions just this week, God has allowed the opportunity for me to see how a soft answer turns away wrath.  Very simple, yet everyday situations caught me this week and I had to make myself stay calm and be kind.  And I purposely did this because I am trying to discipline myself to be in a Christ like mode at all times.  It’s not easy to always be kind and giving and loving to people, especially when we live in a world full of people who are hard to love.  This is not always easy to do but because I always want people to see the God in me, I have to remind myself when anger or frustration begins to rile up…that I must resist it.  Resist allowing the enemy to use me in a way that will be hurtful to someone else.  Don’t get me wrong, there is some life situations that will get me upset, but it’s how I react to them that God is paying attention to.  Be angry and sin not.  (Ephesians 4:26) If my anger causes me to cuss someone out, or hurt someone’s feelings, or discourage someone, or hit and be violent to them….that is wrong.

In one of the situations, I was bringing my son to his 1st day of summer camp.  On this particular morning they were very unorganized and couldn’t find any of his paper work or registration papers and the woman I was dealing with really wasn’t being very nice to me.  She kept saying that she couldn’t find his folder as if I never signed him up for camp.  But I felt in my spirit to be calm and be kind to her.

While waiting, God was showing me that my son was paying attention to everything that was going on.  If I had gotten angry and acted out, my son would have started his first day of summer camp with the same angry energy, probably feeling confused and not knowing what to do with or about these feelings that I had given him.  We have to be mindful about how we behave in front of our children.  We are their first teachers, their first role models.  Thank you Lord for showing me that!

Despite the way she was treating me, I answered her very nicely and waited patiently. Now look at God….while this woman is telling me she doesn’t know my sons name, 3 different young ladies who work for the summer camp came out at different times and they all knew my sons name and stated they saw his folder when they were setting up.   One of the young ladies goes inside to look for the folder and comes back with it saying she found it and everything is accounted for and he is all set!

I was thinking…”Wow God, look how you did that, this woman was sure my son wasn’t signed up but you sent 3 different people who knew his name!”  What the enemy meant for evil, God made it for good! (Genesis 50:20)

We walked into the building, I pulled my son aside and prayed with him for covering through his day and I watched him go into his room.  God gave me peace throughout my day, and I know it was because I chose to follow His will by reacting in a Christ like manner.  I chose to show them the God in me instead of get upset and yelling and cussing folks.  I refuse to allow the devil to use me in any way.  I don’t entertain his antics.

The other situation was during my lunch break.  I ordered a dish, but first asked if there was meat in it, I don’t eat pork.  She said there wasn’t but when I got back to my desk, opened up the box…there was bacon in it! My first thought was to be aggravated and bring it back to them!!!  But on my way over, my spirit reminded me that a soft answer turns away wrath.  I brought it back to the store and approached the cashier to explain what happened.  That didn’t go well because she didn’t speak English LOL so I went looking for a manager.  This guy said he was the manger but when I asked him again, he really wasn’t the manager LOL (these are all lil situations that should get me even more worked up to be angry, right?!) I asked if he could help me, and explained my situation in a calm and kind way.  I walked out of that restaurant not with my small order I originally wanted but a LARGE order of something else!

I’m sharing this to help you to choose to imitate Christ.  Reacting to situations with anger or frustration is to react in your emotions.  When we react in our emotions, the end result is never good.  I pray this will also help you to see the many ways throughout our day that we can choose God.

For some of us, this may be a bit difficult at first because we are used to reacting in a rough manner.  You don’t have to choose that way.  You can choose a gentle answer, a soft answer.  You wouldn’t believe how easily that will calm down a situation and how pleased God will be of your effort.  God will jump to attention and move on your behalf when he sees that you are choosing His way. If you forget the first few times, its ok…tell God your sorry for reacting that way, pray and try again.

The only way we can know if we are staying in the will of God and living a life that pleases Him is by knowing what He expects of us, knowing the promises He has set aside for us, knowing his Word.  Read your bible.

Proverbs 51:1 ~ a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

One step at a time, one day at a time.  Every day is a new day to make positive change in your life.

I’ve posted a survey I found online asking you questions about Christlike attributes. Sit for a moment and take the survey/quiz. Sit where you are in this area. It’s exercises like this that help you to gauge and see where yo are in your Christian walk. We need to assess and stay accountability like this often.

Thank you to ideadoor.com for the image and courtneyaitken.blogpost.com for the surveys

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Know yourself!

I was watching a Periscope awhile back of Daniel Stombaugh and he asked the question,

What is your identity?

He said “know who you are TO God and know who you are IN God”

And I kept repeating it over and over in my mind.

Know who you are to God.

Know who you are in God.

Many of us know who we are at work, right? We know our job function and what is expected of us. Know how to get to work, what time to be there and how to get our paycheck.

Many of us know who we are at home, right? Know our role as a parent, as home owner, as a husband, as a wife, as a child (well most times we do LOL).  We know where everything is and pretty much how to use it.  We even know how to walk to the bathroom in the dark.

In all our common knowledge and intellect, we are pretty comfortable.

But when you think about the things of God, what don’t we know?

Do we really know who we are to God? Do we really know how much He loves us?  Do we really understand the sacrifice that was made for us?  Are we totally conscious of His mercy?

Being loved by someone is a powerful motivator. It can give you an inner strength; it can give you a reason to wake up in the morning.  It can change your moods and brighten your days.  This is what God wants to be to us.  We also want to hear someone say I Love You!  Oh boy that would really take us over the edge. LOL and yet God does that every day…all day.  Are we paying attention?  God is love and that love is shown thru the beauty of nature and the fact that we open our eyes each day.  We are the apple of His eye.  A special people to Him.  He is longsuffering, which means he waits and waits and waits and waits for us to come to Him, completely trust Him, because his wish is that none should perish.

Do you really know who you are in God? Where your strength comes from?  Who fights your battles?

Greater is He that is IN me than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Greater is the God in you than the devils in this world. You must remember that!

I believe having a solid understanding of what we mean to the Lord will help us to stay strong in Him. We won’t be so easily distracted by the enemy’s tactics, the depression, the hopelessness, the anxiety, the worry, the defeat that the enemy tries to lay upon us.  If we truly could understand how loved we are we could be stronger in our fight against the enemy.  The enemy should not be able to so easily get us off course, change our moods, or tempt us, get into our thoughts and change our atmosphere.  God did not create us to be led by the enemy or his tricks; God created us to be led by His Spirit!

KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN HIM!  YOUR IDENTITY IS IN GOD, YOUR IDENTITY IS IN CHRIST.

Daniel Stombaugh also said something else in his Periscope that moved me….

Knowing your IDENTITY always brings your purpose.

So if you’re not sure where you fit in, how God wants to use you, or what your purpose is, figure out your identity in God. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and ALL these things will be added unto you.  (Matthew 6:33)  Which means….seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

How can you NOT acknowledge the Creator of your life in all that you do? What would make you think you should live this life never once giving honor to the one who gave you life?  We will love everything around us except God.

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”

Luke 12:7 says,” And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

Before you were formed, God placed purpose in you and God knows how many hairs are on your head! He is that intimate with you, knows that much about you.

Let me remind you that you were created with a PURPOSE but you have to make the effort to seek God to find what your purpose is. If you want it, go get it!

Press into God even more so that you can be more intimate with Him. In His presence is assurance, confidence, love, peace and your identity.  Get to know Him, so you can know yourself.

I encourage you to get to know God on a more personal level this year. And if you’re not sure where to start in that relationship…reach out to me.  I will help you.

I’m praying for and with you.

Why do you hate them?

I am doing prayer in the mornings with a group and this morning we were praying for families and single parents. We were also praying for UNITY in the families, re-aligning families back to the way God had ordained them to be. The devil knows that if he breaks up the family unit he can scatter everyone so that UNITY can’t happen.

During prayer this morning, God shared this with me so I wanted to add it to the blog to share with you today!

There are some families that the members don’t talk, there is hate, discord and fighting. This is NOT how God wants families to function. This is NOT what He ordained for families and I have to believe that He is not pleased when there is discord, fighting, arguing and negative talk about each other within the family.

It’s so important that we see the destruction this causes in the body of Christ. You may not think this isn’t a big deal, but it is. Especially now that I’m bringing it to your attention. Now that you know the truth and know that God is not pleased with it, you are accountable to it. Scripture says that if we won’t forgive our brothers then God won’t forgive us. This applies to your family members to, you know. If you can only speak ill will about your family members…you are wounded. There is a wound there that needs to be healed. Even your sarcastic comments count. Your not speaking life or love. Your wounded. When you are offended by them, you are wounded. When you think that its ALL them and you have no part in the discord…that shows no humility on your part. Sometimes you have to say sorry to a person or a situation even when you don’t feel you are wrong. Let God use you in that situation to bring peace

But over time…we have been wounded by each other and family members. Those wounds then caused hate, bitterness, rejection, fear, unforgiveness, offense, etc. Now these open wounds need to be healed so that YOU can heal. So that you can move forward and not pass it down to the next generation. Wounds can be healed, arguments can come to peace and you can live better together with family. Let me say that I know there are some situations where the other person is unwilling to forgive and reconcile, those situations you can’t change; but you do your part. Be forgiving, love and move on. That’s when you LET GO AND LET GOD. Give them to God, pray for them. But don’t pray out of your anger and frustration. Let God deal with your heart first, so you can pray out of a clean place and with pure motive. Declare today….I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE! Even if you feel you have forgiven and your good. Still declare it…there could be some hidden places that you can’t see or have forgotten about.

Lastly, know that some of your family situations will change but some of them may not. That is ok. You just make sure your in a right place with God. Receive the change that God is going to make in your family situations. Pray for your family today…matter of fact, set aside some time to pray for your family….and maybe invite members of your family to pray with you.

When God calls you out of your dead place, RISE!!

We have Hour of Power prayer on Sunday mornings at my church. This week I was asked to bring the Word of Edification. The Prayer Team was using John 11:1-44 as their bible reference for this month. This is the story about Lazarus and how he was dead and in the tomb when Jesus came to see about him. I’m being led to share this word of encouragement on my blog.

What I saw when I read the scripture was Lazarus coming out of the tomb, yet this was representing us coming out of our dead places. And the Lord said to me…”When I call you out of your dead place….RISE!

As God was dealing with me about the dead places, He said 1st you have to believe in me and believe that I can do ALL things, that I can do THIS thing. Then He said you must identify the dead place(s) in your life. Let me explain that…there are places in your life that you no longer tend to, you don’t give attention to it, there is no life there, no fruit is bearing there, you’ve avoided it, or dismissed it, you’ve grown tired of it so you left it alone, you lost hope in it, doesn’t grow anymore, you haven’t talked to them in a long time, you don’t see them anymore,  you stopped doing it, maybe some of you stopped coming to church, don’t attend bible study anymore, you’ve gotten away from a healthy activity you used to do, gone back to bad habits. That’s the dead place, the dead thing.

Then the Lord said you have to ask Him for the help. For some of us it is very difficult to ask for help, but there are times that you do need it. We need others. Sorry if you don’t believe that but it’s true. We were not created to do life by ourselves! So, my question to you is….do you want the help? If you do…you have to ask for it!

In vs 41, Jesus says Father, I thank you that you have heard me. That tells me that Jesus asks for something.  Ask God for what you need, nothing is too small and nothing is too big.

Then,  you come out! You RISE up out of that that dead place, that dead situation. Leaving everything that was attached to that dead thing behind. The scripture described Lazarus as having strips of linen on him and a cloth around your face. That is how they dressed the dead body in biblical times. God showed me that the strips of linen and the cloth around the face represented the things we need to leave behind when we RISE. Like, those who are attached to the dead situation, the belongings or material things, the fear of walking out of it, the comfort you thought you had in it, the talk that people would do because your coming out of it, the money put into it, the emotions you carry in it.

Let me also add, when you’ve made the decision to come out of your dead place or places, don’t expect the worst…expect the best! Expecting the worst will already determine the outcome. You have to BELIEVE that God is bringing you to a better place and that He will work it all out for your good. So, expect the great!  There should be an excitement in following God, a satisfaction.  The thing was dead…you should be happy to let it go. Be happy that God is calling you out of it!  If your not joyous…re-examine that, and identify why your not happy to let it go. Bring the concern to God as well. 

Everyday I want to search my life to find the dead areas that I need to purge and dead things that need to come out of my life.  I encourage you to regularly go to God saying, “search me O’ Lord for the dead areas, the areas that I’m not producing fruit and also ask Him to show you the areas so that when He sweeps it clean; you won’t go back to it, you won’t go putting stuff back in that area. Ask the Lord, what have I become lazy in, what have I become complacent in, what could I do more  of, what have I forgotten about, what am I avoiding?

The Word of the Lord this week is…”When I call you out of the dead place…RISE!

Let me say I also saw in the Spirit my own self (which I know its for all of us) but I saw myself steeping out of my dead places but I wasn’t small 5’5″ Tara…I was a GIANT…I was BIGGER than my circumstances, I was walking TALL…I was BREAKING OUT of the places that keep me from truly understanding who I am in God. He LOVES me and He wants me to SUCCEED!

I pray this was an encouragement to you and that you will go before God this week, asking Him to show you the dead places in your life that you need to walk out of so you can thrive!

Then I heard this song in my spirit and I sang it out loud in my kitchen LOL
VICTORY, VICTORY SHALL BE MINE. IF I HOLD MY PEACE LET THE LORD FIGHT MY BATTLE…VICTORY, VICTORY SHALL BE MINE!!

What’s your motive?

I took some notes after reading my devotional yesterday from Henry & Richard Blackaby’s Experiencing God Day by Day. And it is still staying with me. I keeps coming back to me. When God repeats things to me, I pay attention.

The notes I took yesterday are:
* when you struggle in giving what you have to others, you have forgotten where you received your possessions. EVERYTHING points back to the Lord
* Every good thing we have ever received comes from God.
* Sometimes we claim we are trying to be good stewards of our resources when actually we are being selfish.
* Freely you have received, freely give.
Matthew 10:8b

I thought back over my life how I have bee selfish with things and didn’t want to give to others and how God must have been displeased with me, but also how I have been convicted over it and asked the Lord for forgiveness and worked on not being that way. Pushing past the feelings and doing what is right. And then I’ve been on the other side of that where people have held back giving to me because of selfishness. We’ve all done it. It’s just….what are you doing now about it. Have you changed? Is it easier to give now. Cuz, some things take practice. You have to teach yourself how to do better.

I’m always checking myself and re-checking myself again to make sure I’m operating out of a clean heart, a pure place. Because, your intention may start out good…but we are humans, born into a sinful nature and sometimes our flesh, our desires get the better of us and we don’t do the right thing.

I say often, when I get to heaven…I want to be empty because I gave it all here on earth.

Everyday, God gives freely to me and I want to give freely to Him and others.


How would you know the TRUTH if someone didn’t tell you?

Most times, “you don’t know it until somebody tells you.” If it’s not truth…its a lie.

We don’t like people telling us what to do. We feel we got this thing called LIFE under control and we are doing well navigating our way through it. But at some point in your life, someone had to tell you how to do things. Be honest. You didn’t just know how to do life. You didn’t just know how to do things. The reality of it is, we need direction and instruction. In order to get through this life, we will need right direction and instruction.

Think about right direction & instruction for life being your GPS. If you didn’t have it, you would get lost, lose your way, end up in a crash, take some wrong turns and go down one way streets. If you didn’t have right direction and instruction, you would put things together wrong, you would move prematurely, you would forget ingredients, you would be unprepared….do you see where I’m going with this? Compare what I jus mentioned with LIFE. Go back and read it and relate it to LIFE.

We all know life is made up of trials and errors, and making mistakes to learn. The one character trait we should master is being teachable. You don’t have to agree with everything your being taught, but learn to take what you need and leave the rest. And don’t grumble and complain in it. My mentor used to tell me in the beginning of our relationship, “chew the meat and spit out the bones.” You ever see a cow chew? They chew slow. They take time with it. Learn to do that. I always ask God, “what are you showing me, teaching me in this?”

The Holy Spirit is my teacher. Sometimes I get my lessons (direction) from the bible, sometimes it comes to me in prayer or when I’m in worship. I hear it in songs, in a sermon or a video of someone preaching and often times it comes from other people. God uses people to carry His message to us.

I say all of this, to say…don’t despise someone giving you direction, or instruction or TRUTH. Because you don’t know everything. And humans have a tendency to think they do know everything…when in actuality we don’t. And most times, you don’t know until someone tells you. All your life you could have felt like you were right about something until someone brings you the TRUTH and then you realize, all along; you’ve had it wrong. In that moment, Thank the Lord for showing you the TRUTH. Truth sets you free from believing the lie. You walk differently, act differently, you even talk differently when you know the TRUTH.

Don’t despise someone changing your directions. God knows what we have need of before we ask it or think it. and He will use multiple ways to get what we need to us. If I offer some direction to you, I want to teach you something new. I want to give you another way to look at things. Please don’t take it as me judging you…I’m loving you.