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Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Default Setting

God's been talking to me today about DEFAULT settings...

Because I've been hearing him talk to me about "Default Settings" I had to stop and think...

First of all what does the word DEFAULT really mean?

So, I did what I've grown accustomed to doing when I want to know the definition answer. I went to Webster's Online Dicitionary:

1. Loss due to not showing up; "he lost the game by default".

2. Act of failing to meet a financial obligation.

3. Loss resulting from failure of a debt to be paid.

4. An option that is selected automatically unless an alternative is specified.

1. Fail to pay up.

Source: WordNet 1.7.1 Copyright © 2001 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

The thought really came to me many times in the past several months when I log into my computer and find that the default setting pulls up this annoying resident protection anti-virus feature that really doesn't keep my computer safe.

It actually just runs a continuous scan of the millions of bytes of information I have stored on the hard drive with a scrolling report in the corner that often takes up most of my computer screen and at least 20 minutes to stop while I attempt to close out all of my default programs that launch on start-up along with it.

And, all of this because I do not have the attention span, nor the time to commit to permanently turn off those DEFAULT settings.

They are often annoying, time consuming and troublesome to me to say the least. Sometimes I can go for hours clicking on the antivirus icon and it still will not shut off. I spent several hours in my control panel and stopped just short of surfung the web without an anti-virus tool at all... Only to find that I still had not solved the problem. As of late I have figured out that I need to re-install the program and remember not to set the resident protections as a default, start-up selection. So, now that we all know I know the solution to my technology woes - let's address what this has stirred up inside of me.

All the way home from church this afternoon, I heard God asking me - "WHAT IS YOUR DEFAULT SETTING?"

I'd like to say the world starts spinning and I roll out of bed and launch myself into the Word for support, worship so I'm immersed in His presence, and power-packed prayer meetings with the One and Only of God of the Universe so I overflow with His grace and peace and joy as my DEFAULT setting.

Still, that would hardly be the truth. I usually wake up annoyed that I can't get more than 10 minutes of uninterrupted extra sleep between the frighteningly loud beeps on the alarm clock that I intentionally set at least an hour ahead of the actual time I want to get up. Some mornings I quite frankly tell Scott to turn the darn thing off. A few times he has done what I asked only to find that we BOTH OVERSLEPT.

So roll that on ahead... Then I head out the door to work late, arrive late and play catch-up all day so I can leave late, come home exhausted and wonder why on earth my husband who gets home two hours earlier than I do did not bother to put something on for dinner to help me out.

Can you see the pattern of my default setting working here?

I have good intentions. I want to do Bible study for four hours before I head out to work and talk the LORD all day long so what happens... Real Life happens that's what. There's that lady who called needing to see somebody right now regarding a problem with her kids and after 20 minutes on the phone with her I slip away from my desk to go pray and ask the Lord why my emotions feel so stinking overwhelmed.


Then, I get several things on my desk that need to be done last week, so what happened - My DEFAULT SETTING. I hit it long and hard, skip lunch - forget to breathe and by 3:00 PM I announce rather loudly, "I feel like my head is going to explode."


My default setting is procrastination, keep it all in my head, and ooops I forgot, but it all depends on me so I better just get it done.

There is a song performed by Mark Shultz that resonates with my life at times:

"I think I'm running just to catch myself..."

Not that I feel like I'm overworked or underappreciated.

I do it to myself.

It's my default setting.

Put off the laundry until there are 15 loads overflowing in the closet and half of it on the loveseat in my bedroom. I'll do the dishes tomorrow only to find I am too tired. I forgot to put the meat out for dinner so we'll just get something out and all of a sudden the spin cycle begins and I've missed my date with God, the prayer I meant to pray and the life I meant to live all because my default setting is an old pattern that the new me just can't shake - why?

Paul hits that note in the book of Romans:

6 But now that we're no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we're free to live a new life in the freedom of God.

7 But I can hear you say, "If the law code was as bad as all that, it's no better than sin itself." That's certainly not true. The law code had a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, "You shall not covet," I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it.

8 Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, 9 and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. 10 The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. 11 So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. 12 But the law code itself is God's good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.

13 I can already hear your next question: "Does that mean I can't even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?" No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God's good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own.

14 I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. 15 What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. 16 So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

17 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! 18 I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. 19 I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. 20 My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21 It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. 22 I truly delight in God's commands, 23 but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24 I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Romans 7:6-25 (MSG)


We have these core principles and values that we adhere to when ministering to the people who come to us seeking all manner of wisdom and solution regarding life's problems. I mean - I'm not the only person in the world to whom REAL LIFE HAPPENS. There are others out there dealing which much heavier situations than my own - I know. I talk with them and pray with them. I help to administrate classes and opportunities for them to grow.

At Gateway Church and our department - Pastoral Care - there is a goal..."Establish a Kingdom culture where people are saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, and empowered for ministry."

In the introduction video for our classes on Monday and Wednesday nights Pastor Bob Hamp can be heard saying, "Freedom Ministry is not what you get free from and it is not about what you get out of you." Though those things may happen during your Journey to Freedom, the purpose of Freedom Ministries is to help people "respond to God out of the person (identity) that they were created and redeemed to be." I know this stuff. It's what I do for other people when I pray at the altar, when we are talking on the phone. But, why can't I activate it when I need it most.

Yet, we're people who have been governed by our Flesh most of our lives until we give Jesus access to our hearts and invite the Holy Spirit to fill us with His power and gifts so that we can be transformed into the image of Christ as Scripture says... "...From glory to glory."

So what about those default setting when our flesh (our worldly, fallen mind, will and emotions) has been ruling and dictating our responses. When our experiences confirm the lies that we've heard whispered in our nightmares and small circles at school and at church. Screamed at us by bullies, mothers, fathers, siblings or friends... What happens when our default setting ruminates on the past failures and wickedness of our existence? What happens when I default to pride rather than humility, or self-sufficiency over His all-sufficient grace, what then?

Pauls writes to us of the answer:
"The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different." ~ Romans 7:26 (The MSG)

So the only thing left for me to do is live that way.

Live in such a way that when my Flesh and its "Default Settings" which mean a loss due to someone not showing up - or in this case not being invited to join in. I must invite God into every place, every aspect of my life and existence. I must ask Him to trim away my flesh and it's desires so I may live fully in relationship with Him allowing His Spirit and His Word to work the transformation from my worldly identity into my God-given identity.

And, if default also means "...a failure to pay a debt." When I live like I still have something to live up to...A debt that I can somehow pay out of my abilities, best efforts and initiative - then I miss the opportunity to glorify God by showing off the fact that as incapable as I am and as much as this fallen reality happens to me, He's still my first priority. He still paid the debt I owed.

And, well Thank God! Jesus acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind (soul and strength) but am pulled by the influence of my flesh, my default setting, to something totally different. Yes, Thank God.

Dear Lord, I confess that I have been trying to do this my way. Overwhelmed by my own expectations and failing to do the one thing I ought - invite You to be my guide. Please reveal to me the lie that I believed that causes me to revert to my default settings of trying to do this thing called life without You?

Please also, show me the Truth that replaces that lie so that I may repair my foundations and live in the Freedom of Your work in my life. Thank You for redeeming me from the works of my flesh and creating in me the exact reflection of Your Image that only I can present. I praise You that You are the God of all flesh and nothing is impossible for You ---- Not even turning this prideful, determined heart into a melting pot of Your will.

Jesus, thank You for paying my debt so I don't have to DEFAULT any longer. You bless me in every way and I am grateful.

So, how about you... When the buttons are pushed what is your Default Setting?


Abiding Branch said...

Michelle!!! Wow! My best friend (Michelle) and I are preparing for a conference and our basis for all that will be prayed for, spoken about, and taught is perspective and this really spoke to me!
Thank you for sharing!

Susan said...


This was awesome and I just loved you pictures to go with it!

How creative my beautiful friend.


Esthermay said...

Our default setting IS our flesh.
...and it's why we must "be transformed by the renewing of our mind..." Romans 12:2 - AND "take up our cross daily..."

GOOD THOUGHTS here for me today, the Queen of procrastination. THANK YOU, Dear Friend. :-)

Thanks for explaining that whole computer virus thing too. I [Ignore] it several times a day. HA!