URGENT: You Can Help Hurricane Florence Victims, Here's How...

Blogs

The Curriculum of Character
Anchored Voices
A House Divided Cannot Stand
Christina Patterson
How to Avoid Drifting
Courtnaye Richard

About Courtnaye Richard

Courtnaye is a Christian blogger who loves writing to help women grow in their walk with the Lord. It's all about real talk, real issues, and real life in the faith! Don't miss out on her weekly posts every Monday at 7:30am on www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org. For more info or questions, you can visit Courtnaye’s website or contact her via email. Also be sure to "Like" her page on Facebook. God bless!  

Courtnaye Richard

Courtnaye Richard
RSS this blog Archives Contributors

Courtnaye is a Christian blogger who loves writing to help women grow in their walk with the Lord. It's all about real talk, real issues, and real life in the faith! Don't miss out on her weekly posts every Monday at 7:30am on www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org. For more info or questions, you can visit Courtnaye’s website or contact her via email. Also be sure to "Like" her page on Facebook. God bless!  

How to Avoid Drifting

This article first appeared on www,insideoutwithcourtnaye.org.

Drifting happens. Yet, it can be avoided if you catch yourself. Just think about it in a natural sense - like driving a car late for an extended trip. You know that you’ve been driving the distance, but then all of a sudden, you find yourself becoming more and more exhausted as the journey continues. Before you know it, you have to fight to stay awake. And maybe, just maybe, if not awake enough, you start drifting onto the side of the highway, without even realizing it. But then you catch yourself and keep moving forward until you reach your intended destination. Well, just as slowly as that can happen in the natural, it can totally happen spiritually. 

I just recently had a moment when I was completely exhausted, yet I needed to drive a long distance to get back home. Sis, I was struggling behind that wheel! However, I had my kids in the back seat of the car, so I knew that I had to fight to stay awake even more for their sake. I kept looking back at them, praying, “Lord, please help me to get us home safely.” 

As I was driving, I saw signs that read, “Stay alert.” Granted it was talking specifically about not driving and texting, but the Holy Spirit had just reminded me to stay alert and then I saw that sign right afterward. So, long story short. The Lord was with me. We made it home safely. But I have to say, I was totally trying to avoid drifting.  

Sometimes you have to think about others when you feel yourself drifting even spiritually. People are watching your walk in Christ. Sinners need to see the real thing as it relates to Christianity. And just for your own spiritual health, you need to make sure that you stay strong in the Lord and alert from the enemy’s tactics.  

Naturally drifting means to be carried slowly by a current of air or water (ex. “No one noticed that the boat had begun to drift out to sea.”). Biblically, there are many Scriptures concerning drifting. Here are a few…

Hebrews 2:1- “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (NOTE: This verse is speaking specifically about apostasy – turning away from God)

Hebrews 10:23- “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” 

James 1:12- “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” 

2 Peter 2:20-21- “For it, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” 

Galatians 6:9- “And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So that’s what the Bible has to say about it. And now, here is what it can look like in life…

  • Less interest in the things of God
  • More interested in worldly things and events
  • Less prayer (i.e. short and quick – and not because it’s just a simple short prayer, but because it feels more forced or like a duty, rather than a desire to connect with your heavenly Father)
  • Falling asleep while you’re reading the Bible or just not interested as you once were. 
  • Busyness! When you get too focused on your job, working for the Lord, or building your business or platform, you can find yourself unintentionally drifting away from God.  
  • Getting into a comfort zone. When you have abundance and everything is going well for you, enjoy God’s blessings, but don’t get so comfortable that you begin to enjoy the gifts more than the Giver. ;-)
  • Trials that become so tough that you feel like giving up.
  • Getting caught up in the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life ( See 1 John 2:16)

THIS is what drifting looks like. So, if you feel yourself drifting, catch yourself. Recognize where you are and fight to get back to a spiritually healthy place. Here are a few ways of how to avoid drifting…

  • Be mindful of your spiritual life. Examine yourself to see if you are drawing closer to God or becoming stagnant in your walk with Him.
  • Watch your schedule. Don’t add too much to it. Scale back if it means spending more time with the Lord, so that you’ll be spiritually healthy.
  • Make uninterrupted time in prayer. Even if you have to set a timer for yourself to avoid giving quick dutiful prayers. And be intentional. Be more passionate about talking to God and being still enough to listen to Him, too. 
  • Plan ahead to read the Bible. And not just plan ahead, but try planning which book of the Bible you’re going to read, or which topic you’re going to study more about, or consider doing a Bible character study. Read a Proverb and Psalm daily. The more you get to know God, the more you’ll want to spend time with Him (the Bible is very enlightening, especially when you make time for it). 
  • Pull up some spiritual videos from YouTube, www.rightnowmedia.com, or purchase a series.
  • Stay connected to other believers through your church, Christian Facebook groups, spiritual organizations, conferences, and small group Bible Studies (there’s strength in numbers).    
  • Listen to the Bible on your phone (download a good Bible app).

Whatever you do, avoid drifting, sis. Stay the course. And remain close. 

Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!

~Courtnaye 

QUESTION: Have you ever felt like you were drifting away from God? Are you there now? If you need prayer, feel free to email me directly for prayer @ insideoutwithcourtnaye@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you and praying for you.

ALSO, my NEW 8-Week Study Guide and Video Teaching Series from my book, "IDENTIFIED: Knowing Who You Are in Christ & Moving Forward in Your Purpose” is FINALLY available!!! Purchase here.

*Tune in every Monday at 7:30am for new posts, “Like” my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/InsideOutWCourtnaye), and follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/InOutwCourtnaye. Also, share this blog with friends, family, co-workers, or your women’s group or ministry. I’d love to stay connected and help more women grow in the Lord! Thanks again and may God be with you!


Working On Your Weaknesses

                                      www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org

Hands down, strengths are easy! We can do them with no problem. However, knowing and dealing with our weaknesses – now that’s another story. That’s why in this week’s post, I’m going to talk to you about working on your weaknesses.

So, what are they? Is there anything that you know that needs to be worked on in regards to your skills, gifts, or talents? How about as it relates to your personal life or your walk with the Lord? For instance, it could be working on your attitude. Maybe you’re quick-tempered or quick to react in a negative way when you’re in the heat of a battle or test. Maybe you desire to respond properly regardless of the situation you’re placed in, but it’s a struggle to say or do the right thing.

The Apostle Paul talked about this struggle in Romans 7:18-20, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong, it is sin living in me that does it.”

Do you see the struggle? Even back then in Paul’s day…the struggle was real!

So maybe you want to become a better woman of God, godly wife or mother, or better spiritual mentor to those whom God has entrusted to you. Or possibly you want to be able to love others better or deeper, be more patient in trials and with people, or grow closer to God. Maybe it's overcoming some sort of weakness or sin.

Whatever it is sis, Jesus knows that even when the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak (see Matthew 26:41). Meaning, He knows that you want to do what's right and do what pleases Him, but sometimes our flesh is frail and we let our weaknesses get the best of us. But here's the encouragement through the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:13, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Amen!

Personally, when I have issues, specific problem areas in my life or weaknesses, I have that heart-to-heart talk with God and say, “Yep, Lord. I need to work on that.” Or I'll say, "I know that I need to get rid of that." Truth is…we all struggle with these things in our lives. I believe that we all want to overcome our weaknesses.

Yet, sometimes there are weaknesses that are there for a reason to keep us from boasting or becoming proud. Those are the ones that keep us humble and reliant on the Lord. Remember Paul's affliction? He said in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, "My grace is sufficient. My power works best in weakness." Wow!

Sometimes we have to accept God's will over what we want and echo the words of Paul, "For when I am weak, then I am strong." In other words, it's a mind-shift. It's taking a new perspective. It's coming to a place where you can say, "Okay Lord, your grace is sufficient. When I'm weak, you are strong."

In saying this, I encourage you to know the difference between a weakness that God wants you to work on (like sin, weak areas that just need cultivation, etc.) or whether it's something that He has allowed to be in your life to keep you reliant on Him. That's why I believe praying, asking, personal reflection, and taking the time to pinpoint your weaknesses will be really helpful. Also, trust that the Holy Spirit will be your guide and the Word will light your path for strength or deliverance where needed.

So again, what are your weaknesses? Do you have any right now? Whatever they may be, I would suggest that you think about them and search for specific Scriptures on them and begin doing a personal Bible Study on those areas. I would even choose maybe three verses and begin memorizing them. And then allow the Holy Spirit to help you to use them right when they're needed. That is a sure way to help you to not only work on your weaknesses, but to overcome them or be strengthened by His grace.

Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!

~Courtnaye 

QUESTION: Are there any weaknesses in your life that can you begin working on with the help of the Word and the Holy Spirit, right now? Are there any weaknesses that you think God is allowing like the Apostle Paul (i.e. the thorn in his flesh)? If you need prayer, feel free to email me directly for prayer @ insideoutwithcourtnaye@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you and praying for you.

ALSO, my NEW 8-Week Study Guide and Video Teaching Series from my book, "IDENTIFIED: Knowing Who You Are in Christ & Moving Forward in Your Purpose” is FINALLY available!!! Purchase here.

*Tune in every Monday at 7:30am for new posts, “Like” my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/InsideOutWCourtnaye), and follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/InOutwCourtnaye. Also, share this blog with friends, family, co-workers, or your women’s group or ministry. I’d love to stay connected and help more women grow in the Lord! Thanks again and may God be with you!


Managing Emotions: Study to Be Quiet

                                     www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org

I know this might seem like a strange title, but it’s definitely biblical. Not only that, but it’s something that we as women must learn to do…especially when we’re on an emotional high. But before I go on, I need to ask you this question. Have you ever studied to be quiet? I mean, really studied? Well, if you have or haven’t I pray that this post will help enlighten you on the subject.

The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we have commanded you.” The NLT version says it this way, “This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your own hands…” I love this Scripture! Personally, this verse has helped me soooooo much in times when I’ve needed it most. Times when I could have said or done things that would have not pleased the Lord at all or anyone else for that fact!

And it simply means to strive to live a quiet life in your spirit. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you have to be this quiet person who doesn’t say anything, especially if you’re an extrovert or outgoing person. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be quieter if you’re an introvert or already a naturally quiet person. Instead, it means choosing to be quiet in your spirit in word and action when necessary. It’s being meek (humble), while practicing self-control on the inside, so that godly character will be displayed on the outside.

Now, do we pass the test here all the time? No. Because sometimes, we make mistakes in this area. But the key is that we learn and grow from this principle, so that we can apply it more and more as time allows for it. Amen!

The other part of that verse is “minding your own business and working with your own hands”. And this basically means staying focused on what you need to be doing instead of getting caught up in what others are doing or saying around you. Trust me. This is easier said than done. I know (especially when we’re emotional as women). BUT it can be done. I believe it, because the word of God tells us that it can be accomplished. We just have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us.

Okay. So the whole point here in today’s post is that we learn how to truly study to be quiet and get a handle on our emotions. We have to literally practice it. Furthermore, we have to choose to put on a gentle and quiet spirit like 1 Peter 3:4 says, “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to God.” (NLT) We have to get this principle. We have to get off of the emotional roller coaster and experience true inner peace.

So how do we do this? Actually, I asked the Lord to show me how to do this practically. Because I'll tell you, I had an experience where I messed up. I then asked the Lord, “God, I tried everything to shake my emotions. I tried being totally quiet, praying in the spirit, sitting still, etc. But then all of a sudden the words still broke loose. I still messed up here.” I didn’t curse or anything like that, but I expressed my emotions when I should have been quiet. Bad move! After confessing and repenting, the Lord told me this, “You’re going to have to come to Me.”

When He said that, I was like, “Okay…” But He knew that I didn’t totally grasp it. I still wanted to know how to really do this, because I really wanted to get this right.That’s when He revealed to me what He was saying. He was saying that I am going to have to quietly escape to Him right where I am...in the moment. And when I wondered what that actually looked like, He reminded me of a friend who did it in action.

We were at a women’s conference and everyone was praising God and singing, and then all of a sudden I saw her for a quick moment, lift her hands in the middle of everything and quietly pray beside me. I knew something had happened that I was unaware of, but I saw her enter into a place that was beyond where we were and it taught me an instant lesson.

Tap in…

Right after that, she immediately went right back into praising God with everyone else! It was awesome! It was godly character in action! I later learned that someone had spilled her coffee after she’d waited so long to get it. But she knew that she had to stay focused (because she was the event coordinator). She knew that she couldn’t let that spilled coffee wreck everything that God was doing through her that day or her future. She studied to be quiet. And she was minding her own business, working with her own hands, as she put on a gentle and quiet spirit. Wow! I thank God for using her to teach me a valuable lesson that day.

The Bible tells us in James 1:19, “…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.” (NLT) So when someone upsets us or circumstances are tough, we have to pause for a minute and go to Him. Sometimes we may have to pull out everything we’ve got to do the right thing. And we may even have to talk to ourselves and say, “Snap out of it girl! Get yourself together!” But the main key is that we get connected to Him.

Again, I know for a fact that this is not easy. I’ve passed some tests with this and failed some as well. But I’ve learned from those mistakes, and now I’m trying to help you to grasp this principle too. I pray that this has helped you in some way, sis. I also pray that you and I will practice being quiet in our spirits when the Holy Spirit prompts us to do so, and that we’ll tap into God’s presence when we need Him most. I just believe that when we do this, we’ll not only be greater influences on others around us, but we’ll also put a smile on our Father’s face.

Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!

~Courtnaye

QUESTION: Have you ever let your emotions get the best of you, sis? Would you like to get better at being more quiet in your spirit? If you need prayer, you can email me directly @ insideoutwithcourtnaye@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you and praying for you.

ALSO, my NEW 8-Week Study Guide and Video Teaching Series from my book, "IDENTIFIED: Knowing Who You Are in Christ & Moving Forward in Your Purpose” is FINALLY available!!! Purchase here.

*Tune in every Monday at 7:30am for new posts, “Like” my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/InsideOutWCourtnaye), and follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/InOutwCourtnaye. Also, share this blog with friends, family, co-workers, or your women’s group or ministry. I’d love to stay connected and help more women grow in the Lord! Thanks again and may God be with you!