Overcomer: Pressing through Life’s Struggles

Overcomer, my recently published book, is now available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  During the past summer, I poured my prayers into this writing and tried to yield to the Holy Spirit as much as I knew how.  Overcomer Book Cover

This twenty-chapter book can serve as a devotional or Bible Study if you wish.  Each chapter speaks of various area of life in which Christians often struggle.  Overcomer gives scripture, prayers, and practical steps to yield to the Lord and walk away from sin and bondage as an overcomer.

You will find the links to purchase the book at the end of this post, but first I want to share a portion of chapter 7 from the book with you.

Overcomer, Chapter 7

Chapter 7:  Extreme Versus Balance

“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight,” Proverbs 11:1.  During ancient times, merchants used balancing-scales to weigh both items bought and sold.  If a dishonest merchant decided that he wanted to make more money than he should, he adjusted the scales in his favor so he could appear to have more or less of an item depending on whether he was buying or selling.

Although we might never consider cheating someone, we are living dishonestly, without realizing it, when our lives are out of balance in certain areas.  We can become extreme in any way and on any issue.  “Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes,” Ecclesiastes 7:18 (NIV).

Before I began writing this book, I was enjoying the summer off from school, and this particular summer, we had more time as we did not have to return to school until September.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a time of rest.  However, I am one who struggles with moderation in many areas.  I began noticing that I did not want to get out of bed, no matter how late I had slept or how early I had gone to bed.  When I did manage to get out of bed, I did not want to do anything but sit on the couch.  Brushing my teeth and showering seemed like major chores.  This not only went on for a week or two which might have been understandable.  My desire for no activity continued for a month.  I knew something had to change. I took this concern to the Lord, and He began directing me with small changes I could make that would eventually solve the problem.  I made myself a schedule.  It did not have to be followed to the letter, but I had resolved to follow it as much as possible without being legalistic. Keep moving! Don't give up!

Instead of lying in the bed when I woke up, I simply got up and spent time in prayer and Bible study.  I would allow the Holy Spirit to lead me concerning people who needed prayer.  Once I had prayed, I began completing other activities that I enjoyed and some that I did not enjoy.  Allowing time for activities I enjoy helped motivate me to get up earlier.  Eventually, I became more productive.

Am I saying that you need to make a schedule for your home?  Absolutely not!  This step was just what worked for me to get me out of the slump I had fallen into.  I could just as easily get out of balance the other way by insisting that I follow my schedule to the letter and refuse to make adjustments should someone need me, or some other unforeseen circumstance would arise.  However, when a person has been too far on one side of the spectrum for a while, something must bring balance.  It is a fine line that is easy to cross if we are not being led by the Holy Spirit.

Another way I tend to get out of balance is with my eating habits.  There are times when I only want to eat junk food and lots of it.  There are other times, when I am trying to lose weight, that I will be very rigid about every bite that goes in my mouth.  Does this sound familiar?  Take it to Jesus.  Trust me, He will get you back in balance.

If I only watch television all day and do nothing else, something needs to change. If I become a workaholic and never want to have recreation, something needs to change. As good as reading is for our minds, if I simply spend the whole day reading and never clean my house, do laundry, or spend time with my family, I am out of balance.

As a teacher, I know the importance of establishing structure at the beginning of a school-year.  If there is no structure, the students will not learn, and I would not be tending to my job.  However, there is a time when I need to allow my students some flexibility.  If I insist they work without any type of reprieve, I am causing them to despise education.

Church leadership can become unbalanced as well.  From my own experience as a leader and as a lay person, I can give several examples.  Not wanting to be a control freak, a pastor can go too far in the other direction and never hold the people accountable to God’s word.  The other extreme would be hammering the people constantly and not allowing room for the love of God to work.

Parents can become unbalanced and either allow children too much freedom, or they can become so strict that their children are not allowed out of the house for any reason causing nothing but pure misery.  As parents, my husband and I have struggled with extremes because we desperately wanted to be a good parents to our children. The painful reality is that I am unable to be a good parent or be good at any other role I have without Jesus.

Link to Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129669475?ean=2940161974551

Link to Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Allison-Mitchell/e/B07HLR234Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1538524579&sr=8-1

Link to E-Store:  https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

 

His Grace Is Sufficient

Most Christians are familiar with the scripture that says God’s grace is sufficient for His people.  We have either quoted the scripture that is accompanied by the Apostle Paul speaking of Christ being strong in Paul’s weakness, or, we have heard other people teach on the subject.  All of this is well and good, but far too often, we become so familiar with a scripture that we overlook a fresh glimpse we could get from it.

Strength in Weakness

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul received the reply about God’s sufficient grace after asking God to remove his thorn in the flesh.  As a matter of fact, Paul approached God concerning this issue three times.  How many times have you asked God to remove your “thorn” or that which causes you pain, discomfort, grief, or irritation?Amazing Grace is More than Enough for me!

God’s answer was not what most of us would expect.  He told Paul that, not only was His grace all that was needed, but He also told Paul that His power was made perfect in weakness.  Despite the sting to his flesh, Paul chose to rejoice in his problems because he knew the power of Christ was resting on him.  What if God is telling you that His grace is all you need?  Does that bring a twinge of disappointment?  Although I completely understand feeling less than thrilled, I must tell you that God is right.  His grace is sufficient—it is all we need.

Grace gives us the power we need to overcome sin.  Grace brings us through the impossible.  The grace of God is what will bring us face to face with our God when this life is over.  When we finally discover the power of grace, we should rejoice when God reminds us that His grace is sufficient.

Can You Take Pleasure in Weakness?

I admit it sounds a bit strange to say that you can take pleasure in weakness, but that is exactly what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10.  Because grace is just what he needs, Paul can rejoice.  Not because he is weak, but because God is able to bring glory from Paul’s weaknesses.  That is why you should rejoice.  God can bring a message to others through your struggles.  He will give you all you need to get through the challenges and impossible situations you face.

Weakness Made PerfectOf course, that does not mean we are horrible human beings when we feel disappointed or grieved.  Those are natural human feelings.  What it does mean is that, although we might be grieved, we can place our hope and trust in God.  Joy and peace come soon after.

What Was Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh?

Although many have speculated over the source of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, we truly do not know.  Some have suggested that Paul was blind.  Others have suggested that he had epilepsy. Perhaps his thorn was not so much a physical issue as it was an emotional issue.  It could be any of the issues mentioned, yet, it could be none.  No matter the issue, God had what Paul needed.

Whatever your thorn is, God has what you need.  There is no sickness nor any other affliction greater than the God we serve.  He is able to bring you out on the other side as a victor!  Although it is not easy, cooperating with Him in the process is vital.

 

What about you?  What is afflicting or grieving you?  God has what you need.  He has an all-sufficient grace that never fails.

To purchase “Overcomer”: https://www.amazon.com/Allison-Mitchell/e/B07HLR234Q/ref=dbs_p_ebk_rwt_abau

For other products and resources: https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

 

Encourage Yourself

Are you feeling discouraged lately?  Maybe you feel let down by people you are close with, or, perhaps your circumstances in life never seem to get better.  If anything, life seems to take a decline into the worst possible scenarios.  Truth is, I have faced those times, and, often, I still see those days.  Everyone gets discouraged.  The question is: what will you do about it?

 

David Encouraged Himself in the Lord

Encourage yourself!King David, the author of many of the Psalms in the Bible, had to encourage himself in the Lord. David was anointed by the prophet, Samuel, to be King over Israel, but he did not immediately step into that position.  Before becoming King, David went through many battles, many of them with Saul, who was King at the time David was anointed.

Saul was extremely jealous of David and attempted to kill him.  David remained on the run from Saul for a long period of time.  In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men came to Ziklag to discover the place had been burned, and all the people in Ziklag had been taken captive, including David’s wives.

The men with David were grieved.  In their grief, they lashed out at David.  They even threatened to stone him.  Needless to say, David felt extremely distressed.  However, he found something inside him that caused him to encourage himself in the Lord.  Victory came soon after.  The captives were rescued then, soon, David became King.

 

How You Can Encourage Yourself

Like David, you might be going through one battle after another.  It might seem that everyone is lashing out at you due to their own grief.  You might be waiting on some type of breakthrough or promise of God to come to pass just as David had to wait for a time before stepping into the position God promised him.

Throughout the Psalms written by David, he would express his true feelings to the Lord, but then he would praise God.  One way of lifting a heavy spirit is to praise God.  It is a challenge, at first.  Soon, you will feel better.  You can speak praise or sing praise. Praise defeats discouragement

Another way to encourage yourself is to reach out to someone else who is hurting.  Sometimes, forgetting about yourself for a while and focusing on others will put your problems into perspective.  Often, I have found that when I pray for someone else or reach out to another person, my situation will be resolved.

Finally, it is important to find scriptures of encouragement for your situation.  Reading the Psalms or other uplifting scriptures will breath life into your situation.  Speak those scriptures out loud, and you will notice what power the Word of God has.  After all, the Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12-13).

What about you?  If you are discouraged, what steps will you take to encourage yourself in the Lord?  You do not have to remain in a pit of discouragement!

 

Overcomer Now Available

Overcomer became available this morning on Amazon.  I can not begin to describe the excitement I feel when I pray for God to use this e-book to bless people.  It is my desire to see struggling Christians overcome the sins and other issues that keep them from living the abundant life that Jesus Christ called us to live.Overcomer Book Cover

The link to the purchase the book will be listed below.  Another link is also listed that will take you to a site in which you can download (at no charge) the PDF study to Life’s Curveballs, a study I wrote in 2014, as well as the audio sessions.  The downloads for Life’s Curveballs are completely free as my gift to you to express my appreciation for your support.

When you download the Life’s Curveballs products, you will be asked to enter your email address. Please understand that I will not sell your email address to anyone.  I am only asking for it so I will be able to send you updates which will include freebies.

God bless you, and I pray that you will be blessed by Overcomer and Life’s Curveballs.

Link to Overcomer:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=overcomer+allison+mitchell

Link to free resources:

https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

It’s a New Day

We all have those days that are completely horrible!  You know the type of days I am talking about.  You’ve made the same mistake over and over. You’ve sinned in one of those ways that you thought you had overcome.  Your co-workers seem frustrated with you.  It does not seem that your family appreciates you.  Before we get wrapped up in self-pity, let’s stop and assess these situations through the lens of God’s word.

Learn to be Content

great-is-thy-faithfulness-1-638
Image Via Google by Slideshare

In Philippians 4:11-13, the Apostle Paul tells his readers that he has learned to be content in all circumstances.  He goes on to list some hardships suffered.  Trust me, Paul did not have it easy.  Not only were people angry with Paul, but many of those same people were also trying to kill Paul.  When he penned the book of Philippians, Paul was in prison.

What was the secret to Paul’s contentment?  Philippians 4:13 (MEV) gives the answer: “I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me.”  The secret should truly be obvious to those of us who know Christ.  Jesus is our answer in all things!

In Christ, we can learn to be content even when the day is a mess.  We can be content even if everyone seems against us.  Did you notice I used the word seems?  I realize this is not always the case, but, more often than not, our minds play tricks on us to cause us to think that particular situations are worse than they truly are.  Even if it is as bad as you think, you can still be content in Christ.

 

New Every Morning

His Mercies Are New Every Morning
Image Via Google by Christian Book Distributors

Whenever you have had a bad day, take the time to remember what the word says.  When you sin, go to the Lord in repentance immediately.  When you make mistakes, own them, and move on.  We all make them, even those who attempt to pretend otherwise.  We all have those days!

Remember that God’s mercies are new every morning.  We can begin again.  Every day is a new day, another day to learn and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Whether you work at a nine to five job, or you are a stay-at-home parent; whether you are unemployed, or working more than one job, the Lord’s mercies, compassion, and faithfulness are new every morning.  As a matter of fact, they are available throughout the day.  Simply stop and take a breath, then ask God for them.  He will not refuse!

“Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.  Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; His compassions do not fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:19-23 (MEV).

 

What about you?  Do you need a fresh start?  All you need to do is go to the Lord and ask Him for it.  After all, it is a new day.

Overcomer

Soon to be Published

I am excited to share some news, and I hope you find it interesting.  Over the Summer, I wrote a book, Overcomer.  After I completed the book, it has been through an editing process.  Finally, it is almost complete and should be published by the end of September, if not sooner.

Living as an Overcomer

Overcomer Book Cover
Image by Nichole Cline

In the book, I dedicate one chapter to an area of struggle that many Christians face.  There are twenty chapters, nineteen of which concern various areas of struggle.  To begin with, I discuss identity in Christ which is essential to living as an overcomer. You must be confident in your identity in Christ to overcome areas of weakness.

Throughout the book I address other areas in which people struggle.  Some of these areas are patience, mercy, forgiveness, judgement, authenticity as a Christian, kindness, and so much more.  The reader is given practical steps to take in prayer and scripture to apply to the needed area.

Availability on Amazon

The manuscript will be available in Kindle format on Amazon for a low price.  It is my hope that people are blessed and encouraged through Overcomer. The Body of Christ needs encouragement, and I am thankful to be someone who might be able to bring it.

More Than a Conqueror
Image Via Google by Elizabeth Baptist Church

God never intended for us to live in total defeat, dominated by the sinful nature.  He sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice so we could consider ourselves dead to the sinful nature and alive to true, righteous, abundant living.  God did not cause our struggles, but He allows them to come so we will grow in our relationships with Him.  Overcomer gives practical guidance through the scriptures as to steps that can be taken to walk away from an area of sin and be totally free.

 

What about you?  Are you living in victory or total defeat?  You have been made more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ.  You do not have to remain in defeat.

Developing Thicker Skin: How to Avoid Being Overly Sensitive

Are there days when your feelings are hurt easily?  Does it seem that everyone has something negative to say about something you are doing or failing to do?  I used to have those days quite often, and sometimes, I still have a few.  While it is perfectly normal to have hurt feelings in some situations, it can interfere with normal living to be overly sensitive.

Confidence 2
Image Via Google by Jill Conyers

It Happens Unexpectedly

Most of the time when I have been offended in some way by comments made, it was completely unexpected.  I would be going about my merry way, enjoying life when someone would hurt me with words or actions.  There was a time when I let it ruin my entire day.  Eventually, I learned that I was allowing my offender to control me, and that was something I did not want!

How long are you going to let the words and actions of others dictate your day and your joy?  As long as you allow it, you will never truly be happy.  You can not change other people.  You can not control the actions of others.  You can only control your reaction.

How Can I Change My Reaction?

What steps can you take to control your reaction to the negative behavior of others?  Know who you are in Christ.  If you begin to change the way you think about yourself, and see yourself as God sees you in Christ, your skin will become thicker, so to speak, and the negative behavior of others will affect you less and less.

Who are you in Christ?  Ephesians 1 tells us that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing, forgiven, chosen, adopted, redeemed, and made acceptable to God.  2 Corinthians 5:21 reminds us that we are righteous because of Jesus Christ.  He bore our shame on the cross.  We no longer need to bear that shame.  When you allow this to get into your spirit, you will become confident, not arrogant.  That God-confidence will be the key that unlocks the door to the new level in which you love people but can enjoy life regardless of how those people feel toward you.

Use the Words

If someone is just being cruel or malicious toward you, the confidence you have in your new identity can cause the maliciousness to roll off you like water off the back of a duck; however, if there might be some hurtful truth in the words spoken, take that to God.  Allow Him to use it to make you better rather than allowing those same words to devastate you! Do you see how God works all things together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28)?  What people meant for your harm, God can use for good.

God never meant for us to live our lives bogged down by the opinions of others.  Of course, we do not have to go to another extreme and have no regard for people.  We are simply not allowing every word or action toward us that we perceive as negative control us, our day, or our lives.

EmilysQuotes.Com-upset-people-powerless-reaction-relationship.-unknown
Image Via Google by Emily’s Quotes

 

What about you?  Are you ready to get confident in who God made you to be?  Are you ready to use any truth in criticism to make yourself better?

Stepping Out

What keeps people from stepping out and fulfilling a calling God has placed on their lives?  The answer is usually a very simple one:  FEAR!  Although the answer is quite simple, dealing with the problem can become complicated.

 

What Holds You Back

 

Stepping Out 1
Image via Google by nuDesign LLC.

Not only can fear hold you back from what you truly desire to do, or that to which God has called you, but procrastination is a stumbling block on the path to breaking out of the norm.  Fear is often the root of procrastination, however, lack of the organization of time is another source.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing God’s calling on your life takes time and involves rearranging one’s schedule.  Thankfully, God is patient and understanding, but the problem is that you miss so much fulfillment when you procrastinate or allow fear to keep you from what God has for you.

Take small steps toward your goals. After all, Rome was not built in a day.  If you are called to teach, begin studying the Word and conducting small Bible studies in your home or church.  As the Holy Spirit opens doors, you can increase the amount of your teaching.  If your calling is to speak words of knowledge and wisdom to other, simply start speaking encouragement to people.  You will see your gift manifesting and growing more prevalent.

 

Just Do It

 

“Just do it” sounds simple in theory, doesn’t it?  However, when overcoming fear and procrastination that has controlled you for months, maybe even years, you will find that it can seem overwhelming. Just remember that “seem” is the key word.  Our minds can cause many things to seem more difficult than they really are.

Most of all, it is vital to remember that you have Christ—Christ in you, the hope of glory.  If God called you for the task, He will give you just what you need to complete it.  Often, He waits until the very moment you are operating in your gift to give you the tools you need.  Why does He operate in that manner?  He is building faith and trust in you.  He wants you to truly know that He can be trusted completely with every aspect of your life and every calling and gift you have.  Boldness can replace fear.  Efficiency can replace procrastination.   Complete surrender to the Holy Spirit is what brings these desired results, and not only that, surrender brings joy and relief!

Stepping Out 2
Image via Google by Living in the Light

Begin today by asking the Lord to direct you with rearranging your schedule and eliminating those time-wasters so you can begin operating to your fullest potential for the glory of God.  Perhaps you simply need to make adjustments concerning social media time or television time.  I did not say you had to totally eliminate everything relaxing, just make some adjustments.  However, there might be activities the Holy Spirit leads you to eliminate.  He will guide you, and you will have peace about the changes.

 

What do you believe God has called you to do in life?  Would you be willing to take small steps toward the goal?  Will you allow the Holy Spirit to replace fear with boldness, and efficiency with procrastination?

Bibles for Journaling

Journaling Bibles are becoming quite popular among Bible readers.  The side columns that can be used as a space for journaling, note-taking, or artistic expression are a must-have for some.  Like other Bibles, Journaling Bibles come in different sizes, font sizes, and types of covers.

Hard-Cover Bibles

the-promises-of-god-creative-journaling-bible
Image Via Google by The Jim Baker Show Store

The Modern English Version from Charisma House Publishers comes in a hard-back version.  The Promises of God Journaling Bible is a beautiful, hard-back book with exquisite design and illustrations.  There are side columns for journaling or note-taking as well as pages that can be colored, for those on the artistic side, and lined pages with no text for either scenario.

Thomas Nelson produces a hard-back journaling Bible (New King James Version) with large print which is a plus because the print is small in many Journaling Bibles.  The gorgeous hard-cover in this Bible is mixed with a cloth floral pattern.  Due to the large print, this Bible is larger in size than others.

Crossway, the publishers of the English Standard Version, has several choices of Journaling Bibles.  They have hard-covered Bibles that are black yet I have seen some readers decorate these Bibles with their own artistic style.  The plain black cover matters little to those who simply use it for note-taking.

 

Imitation Leather

 

Once again, Crossway does an excellent job with the ESV Journaling Bibles that are imitation leather.  Although the print is small, these Bibles are put together well and will, most likely, last a lifetime.  One of the ESV Journaling Bibles I own is brown, imitation leather, with drawings of leaves stenciled into the cover.

NKJV Journaling Bible
Image Via Google by Amazon

Thomas Nelson comes through again with a King James Version Journaling Bible that is brown imitation leather with cream-colored cloth with gold designs serving as the front cover.  Like the ESV mentioned before, the print is small, but the Bible is beautiful with lines in the side columns.

Zondervan, the publisher of the New International Version, has several gorgeous Journaling Bibles.  One of them has a beautiful, brown, soft-leather (imitation) edition that is eye-catching.  They have a variety of other colors as well.  Some are imitation leather while others are genuine.

 

Others

Tyndale House, publisher of the New Living Translation, is not without its share of Journaling Bibles.  Like Crossway, they have an edition that is a hard-back and black in color.  They also have produced a blue-green Journaling Bible called Inspire Bible NLT: The Bible for Creative Journaling.

 

coloring-bible
Image Via Google by Creative Coloring Blog

Like so many products these days, there is no lack of choice in the types of Bibles a person can purchase with relative ease.  Even if you are neither artistic nor a fan of Bible Journaling, the lined side margins of these Bibles are great place to put your study notes.  The love for the Word of God is what matters above all.

 

What about you?  Do you use Journaling Bibles or Study Bibles?  What are some of the translations you read?