Archive | July, 2014

Called For More

30 Jul

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

As Christ followers, we are called to live Holy lives. Lives free from sin, living in such a way that when other’s look at us, they can’t help but see Jesus.

I fail. All the time. I seriously feel like I just never get there. He must just shake his glorious fist at me sometimes.

Give me a journey that is laughter, sunsets, no money issues. I am THERE! I am in-tuned, plugged in, so God focused and driven. Yep. I am great with no distraction. When life is smooth…

Now, throw a hardship in my way and I am all over the place. I become drama mama *big sigh*

Here is the truth. I know too much now. I am not a child any longer. I have grown into a mature Christian. It is time for me to walk like Jesus. What does that mean? Does that mean I am wiser, more confident in myself, sin less, take life’s ups and downs in stride with ease? Actually it doesn’t. It means I submit more, seek more, trust more, hope more, lean more, obey better, learn more,become convicted quicker and surround myself with friends that will keep me on His path, not my own.

Maturity isn’t about wisdom, it is about knowing where to find my wisdom, whom my wisdom comes from. Maturity isn’t about telling other’s how to live, it is about showing other’s the truth about living in The Light of Salvation. Showing other’s where my hope comes from, about showing them how I get through hard times, being transparent and sharing all the Love I receive.

Maturity is knowing, nothing I have is because of me, but because He has showered me with favor. Nothing I have lost is because I deserved it. It is all meant to keep me close to Him. Maturity knows that I am to Love. If I love God first, ALL people second, and love this person I have been created to be, then the rest of the law is redundant.

My life will always be shared, I will be transparent. I think in a world that has had so much hurt and harm done, even in the name of thinking they were doing good, it is important to share my heart, my mistakes, my weakness, my complete hypocrisy. I will seek to ask myself if I can cast a stone at you, before I throw it. I will do my very best to always be truthful with myself, I will surround myself with friends and leaders that will speak truth into my life, even when it hurts. Friends that will say, why on earth are you holding that stone? I am a willing example of a truthful journey to understand and know God, to seek truth and to give all of my heart and soul to pleasing The One, The Way, The Hope, My Savior.

You heard the story! You know what He did for us! What is my life worth without that? He is so patient with me. The bible uses the word forbearance. Synonyms are patience, long-suffering, sufferance, tolerance. Such truth in that word! He didn’t just suffer on the cross, He is still suffering over me! I am so not close to being Him…. But I would so love to love His people like He does.

Romans 2:4 (MSG)

3-4 You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Matthew 8:23-27 NIV
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Romans 3:25 (NIV)

25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

Does This Muscle Make My Faith Look Small?

16 Jul

1 John 2:16 (NKJV)
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:16 (NLT)
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

We are built to worship, and to sin. While Moses was up on the mount, just after God showed himself in a most incredible and grandiose way, (Exodus 14:21) they built an idol of gold (Exodus 32:1). Of course they did! We are so incredibly unfaithful, short sighted, impatient and self righteous. We do not like to be still and wait for God’s best and God’s perfect timing. It’s uncomfortable. It could be our fear that we suddenly feel as if we fall short, unworthy, that He left us. But why would He? We are so needy! He doesn’t break His promises to us, He never leaves us.

Money became disappointing to us in the past 10 years. We shifted from spending it,to chasing it, to bigger houses, to what we thought we would be able to control better. That didn’t work out so well.The bubble burst…. Now what?

I have watched this shift of idolatry from money to muscle. To fitness and looks.

There is pride in there and control. Doing a thing because we love it, because it brings us joy, is one thing. There is nothing wrong with balance and right thinking. Pride in how we look needs to be addressed. Pride in how tough we are, setting goals, achieving them, for personal gain is a very slippery slope.

If we focus on improving our health with removing gluttony and laziness. Great! If we are putting more emphasis on performing, working out, etc, than we do on God, and Godly things, then we have built our own idol of gold..(Gold’s Gym) … see what I did there. ha!

The focus on the external is so significant. Justification to use the physical is as worldly as it gets. The focus on what you do to achieve health gets convoluted with how you look. We flatter one another in our workout attempts. We congratulate the accomplishment of weight loss. We say this in terms of health but that is untruth. You don’t look at someone and say, you look so healthy! We say.. “wow, you look great!”

I was always in good shape, blessed with good health. I am not in my prime. I am not in the greatest shape or with the best looks of my life. Outward appearance was a very big deal to me. Something that broke me, deeply, was the reason my husband gave me for leaving my marriage. “You got fat”. I wasn’t in great shape anymore. Well, I am still not that sassy, skinny girl of my younger years, yet, I feel more beautiful than I ever have in my life.

What is the difference? I think the true difference is I have finally matured to the point where outside voices, or even the whisper of the enemy, cannot overshadow the knowledge that I am His Prize. Think about that statement. God’s Prize.

I wonder what our children think. I wonder if they are being told they are worth more because of all He gave or because of what they accomplish and look like.

My beauty comes from a knowledge. It isn’t the outside of me. It is from this acceptance and knowing that I am cherished, adored, beloved. My beauty is HIM. It is joy, love, truth, knowledge, hope, peace, forgiveness, Grace, Mercy and all that is Jesus. It is the reflection of love and laughter in the faces of the people God puts in front of me. It is the light in my grandson’s eyes when he looks at me.

It is the overwhelming gratitude of seeing Jesus on the cross and being so incredibly humbled and loved.

Our body is a temple and we are to take care of it. There is so much to be enjoyed in a good healthy lifestyle. The warning comes to those that may be building an idol of gold, instead.

1 John 5:21 (AMP)21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)—[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be)
Exodus 20:3- (NIV)3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

Jonah 2:8 (AMP)8 Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness

Galatians 5:19-21 (MSG)19-21 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

1 Corinthians 10:14 (AMP)14 Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).

Leviticus 19:4(NIV)4 “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.

The Call to Surrender

12 Jul

My beautiful, fellow Christians. I have so much to share with you. This is what God has shown me in the last few weeks, with all this avalanche of hard times, scripture and questions coming at me left and right. We are being strengthened and called to keep our eyes firmly on Him. He is showing up and He is doing a great thing in us. He is preparing us for something big. I see this.
This is the season of hardship. I do believe we are being put to the fire to get us on the same page of surrender right now. We are not under attack from Satan, we are being honed by our loving Father; pruned and honed. Our questions, if we seek Him, will be answered. If we ask for and seek the wisdom He is waiting for us to seek,it will be ours. Being put to the fire, is difficult. Dustin, my pastor, once prepared me for the painful process of this, quite some time ago. It IS painful, but he gave us The Holy Spirit, to soothe our troubled hearts and quiet our troubled minds.
He gave us The Word, the beautiful Living Word that will give us instruction during this time of hardship. Seek the truth, choose your close friends wisely, they will sharpen your knowledge and your walk, with great love.Let them. He gave us fellowship. Seek it, find it, let other’s know you need prayer and ask how you can pray for them. If we are praying for other, we tend to not feel our hardship quite so deeply. He gave us His promise. To love us even as he puts us through hard times.
I am coming through to this eye opening,understanding and calm. This, what I am feeling, is a different knowing. This is peace that surpasses understanding, but with a deep sense of purpose. I feel equipped and prepared for what comes next. I don’t know what that is, but it is coming. I feel it. Pull together, set aside ALL the things that don’t matter, and ask Him to whisper in your heart..

Father, I am yours, and you are mine. Ready my mind, ready my heart to be all you have placed me to be on this earth. Surround me with the Body of Christ followers. We are strong in numbers. Put our minds on the same page, removing the traces of fight and battle amongst your believers so we can walk together in unison, with love, with gentleness, with mighty supernatural strength. Prepare us for the breaking. So we can lift one another, carry one another. Fill our boats to overflowing with new believers. We are your Army, ready for what comes next. Amen.

John 14: (MSG)
The Road
14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

John 14: (MSG)
25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

John 14: (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 5:11 (NIV)
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
 let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
 that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him,
 and he will make your paths straight

Hebrews 10:24-25 (MSG)
22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Matthew 18:20(NIV)
20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20 (MSG)
18-20 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

Colossians 2: (NIV)
2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
James 1:12 (MSG)
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5(MSG)
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Job 11:13-20 (MSG)
Reach Out to God
13-20
“Still, if you set your heart on God
 and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
 and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
 and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
 they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
 every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
 you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
 you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
 They’re headed down a dead-end road
 with nothing to look forward to—nothing.”

Zechariah 13:9(NIV)
9
This third I will put into the fire;
 I will refine them like silver
 and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
 and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
 and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Matthew 26:36-44(NIV)
Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.