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June 29, 2017

Lord Jesus, thank you for the wonderful opportunities you give us to show our love for You. But please look upon our frail frames with patience and kindly help us return to and finish the things we avoid and want to walk away from. Amen.

Today, I observed something about myself. Two or three days I ago I started facing challenges and I suspect I was getting opposition. Things were not going as smoothly as I anticipated and I got a little frustrated.

As the day wore on I gave into busy work around the house with a helper that was here. I wandered to and fro making sure things were done right...and I became very dissipated. I also began to answer my e-mails. Long overdue.

As the evening wore on, this tendency to distraction and not taking the bull by the horns and putting a stop to it - avoidance behavior - continued. I went to bed two days in a row feeling defeated. Whether this was demonic or part of the challenges of living didn't matter. I was avoiding tackling the solution.

I didn't realize it until I started getting restless. And I looked on Amazon for something - very inexpensive but not an absolute necessity. My husband calls them 'play pretties' - an expression from his mother, who lives in the South.

Well, then I listened to the Ukrainian "X Factor" competitions (because I noticed something on the side when I went to look at a video of ours) and was really inspired by a young woman back in 2012 who had an extraordinary voice. I felt very much that the Lord was encouraging me through her example.

But... I ended up spending too much time there, as well.

Part of what I struggle with is set time for vocal practice, and the activity in the house is very distracting. And if I'm not absolutely watchful and disciplined forget it!

Getting on Amazon definitely was not the Lord and I started feeling very convicted. I felt the Lord further and further away because of my willfulness. I immediately dropped it. "The bait tastes sweet in the mouth but bitter in the stomach". It wasn't easy - the bait had set in my jaw and I continued to fight over this stupid thing. I started getting angry at the Lord...and my attitude was so sour I couldn't work or pray.

Chalk one off for the demons...

Finally, Father God and Jesus pulled me out of it, but not without a struggle. I think I spit the bait out, guys. I hope so, anyway.

Well, the Lord wanted me to share with you how the enemy sets the stage for distractions. You see, when you are frustrated with something you have to do, and you don't press in, you feel a certain emptiness inside. Then you look for other ways to fill that emptiness and the devils oblige you. Those things you know you should stay away from, because...well, they are of the flesh. Whether it's comfort food - for me it's Tiramisu. Or a trinket to wear from Amazon - it doesn't matter. It is something that increases your sense of satisfaction very temporarily. Then after you've indulged, the enemy comes in with the condemnation squad and hits you so hard, all the pleasure from that silly indulgence melts into a nasty pile of guilt.

Good job, devils.

What is the answer here? What do you do when you hit a wall of frustration? I think, go for a walk, play with the dog, do the dishes, help someone else - just for a few minutes - helps me to get my mind off the stumbling block. Then I come back and go to the Lord for strategies on how to get over this hurtle. That does work.

But it's not as satisfying - immediately - as Tiramisu...

Precious Heart Dwellers, beware of frustration that causes you to look for fulfillment somewhere else. If you hit a point where you just can't get through it, pick something healthy to get your mind off of it, so you can return with a fresh and rested perspective. And then go to the Lord, have a communion service and beg Him for an intervention to help you. Then go back to it and try again.

I have had to do this so many times with the painting, music, and other disciplines. But mostly ministry things - especially when you have to wait for a situation to mature before discernment can make heads or tails of it. The waiting period can be excruciating.

So I asked the Lord at this point, 'Do you have something to add?'

"Clare, when I give you something to do, you can be positive the grace to do it comes wrapped up in the bundle. You absolutely will be able to do it, even though it stretches you. I never ask anything of anyone they cannot do with My grace. My grace is like the invisible helper that somehow gets the job going smoothly and finished. Somehow, after all that struggle and frustration, all of a sudden - after thanksgiving accompanied by prayer - all of a sudden everything you were struggling with falls into place.

"The tendency when you reach a roadblock is to complain. Rather, you should say, 'Thank You, Lord, for this assignment. Could you please help me? I've hit a brick wall with this and I know you always equip us for Your assignments." This, plus a confession of your weakness and inability, move My Heart to give you the grace.

"The other way you can go is to give in to distractions, because you're facing a brick wall you don't have the confidence to tackle, even with My help. This might be expressed as 'I'm just tired tonight.' or 'I'll wait until it's very quiet in the house to do this.' Or, 'Tomorrow will be the perfect day to tackle it.' This is procrastination. And what this demon does is make a hole in your resolve, so it can fill it with something carnal that will temporarily make you feel good. Then the condemnation crew comes in to finish you off.

"So it looks like this: frustration, laziness under the guise of procrastination, dissatisfaction - with a vague sense of guilt lurking behind it. And finally, looking for a feel-good substitute to fill the big hole created by not accomplishing what you set out to do. Then the enemy offers you some little pleasure you really know better than to indulge in. You take the bait, feel good for maybe 15 minutes to an hour and then the guilt and condemnation squad moves in to finish you off. In that state you feel alienated from Me. So now to add insult to injury. You begin to avoid coming into prayer, because you can't bear to face Me.

"May I say, that is the worst thing you can do? By the way, I am right there by your side watching you take the bait and trying to get you to stop. But there is a peculiar form of deafness that sets in around that time to encourage you to avoid hearing My warnings. And by now, lust for that thing you wanted sets in and you truly are deaf and void of good judgment.

"My darling Bride, I know exactly what you are doing and why. Don't be ashamed to come to Me. That, by the way, is his underlying motive for all this in the first place. He wants to separate you from Me and drive a wedge in. So, please do not oblige him. Rather run to Me: 'Jesus I am wanting to do something I shouldn't. Please help me.'

"That's when I swing into action. I bring you a fresh Rhema. I hold you in my arms or play a song that expresses my very tender love and watchfulness over you to deliver you from evil. I assure you of My unconditional love. I will never leave you or forsake you, rather I hurt for you. I hurt that you have fallen for the enemy's tactics. I hurt because we were doing so well before you allowed this carnal distraction to take your mind off your frustration. I hurt because I know the consequences when the enemy comes in with the condemnation squad.

"And I even think, 'What if she falls for this and other distractions and never comes back to Me?'

"Do you know how profound that pain is? Yes, it is beyond your capacity to feel. It is like the death of a loved one, that threat alone is so very painful. Because this is how I lose people. Souls that were wonderfully close to Me but hit a brick wall and instead of coming to Me ran from Me into sin. And some never do return.

"Oh please, My Bride, do not be a victim of Satan's traps. Please, My loved one, turn back to Me no matter how ashamed you are. I am waiting for you. I have the solution and resolution to your problem. I have forgiveness and time to lavish on you to heal your wounds from swallowing the flashy bait adorned with hooks.

"Come to Me and I will remove it from your inner parts and restore to you the freedom you had in Me. And together we will work out the frustration with the problem, until it is history. Please, please. Don't be afraid to come to Me. I am standing right there waiting for you. My heart longs to heal, comfort, free and empower you. Don't delay. Come to Me, I am aching for you."