Archive | February 2015

Choose life

Deuteronomy 30:19 – “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live “

Yesterday was the anniversary of a friend of mine’s car accident. This accident left her with significant injuries that require 24 hour nursing care. I didn’t know her at the time of the accident. But yesterday, the reality of it all just kind of hit me (so to speak). 

She has been dealing with all kinds of issues for nine years. And do you know what she said yesterday? “I should have a party because I died, but I lived.” That statement makes me want to cry. She wasn’t down about her condition or feeling sorry for herself because of all that she now has to face. She wanted to have a party and celebrate the fact that she chose life. 

Before we accepted Christ, we were all in that dead state. We really didn’t know how to live. Oh, we may have had a good time and did some fun and crazy things, but we weren’t truly living. Real life, true life only comes through Jesus. Walking in His ways brings true joy, true life. 

I see all that my friend goes through and all the challenges she faces and I wonder “why?” Why does she have to go through all this? Why did this happen to her? And then I remind myself that the reason behind it all is not my burden to carry. God has a reason for all of it. God has a reason that He wanted her to live. God has a reason that He wants me to live. 

You know, the day that we accepted Christ should be a day to be celebrated every year. It is the day we chose to live. Days may get murky and problems may seem to be sweeping you out to sea but always remember this – You have chosen to live. So live today, princess. Live in each and every moment. And don’t just live for yourself. Live for the One who gave you life – Jesus. 

One step away

Romans 2:1,2 – “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.”

Judging. It is a common practice for us today. It is easy. You look at someone or see some action and boom! Judgement is passed. 

It is hard not to judge someone. We think that we are above reproach and therefore have the right to pass judgement upon someone, especially someone “in the world”. We see their action and see their clothes and we automatically assume that we know exactly how they are. What we don’t know is that on the inside a major war is raging for their eternity. We have no clue of the internal struggles that these people may be going through. Instead of bombarding them with judgements, we should be embracing them and encouraging their desire to walk a different path. 

We also read about and hear about people who have made the choice to seek out another affects instead of their spouse. In this case, we know by their actions and their choices that they have made this decision. However, we need to be cautious of our wrath and disappointment. We need to understand this truth – we are all but one step away from the same decision. 

One step away from choosing someone else over our spouse. One step away from seeking out the temporary comfort of drugs and alcohol. One step away from maxing out our credit cards and stepping into the world of bankruptcy. One step away from losing our jobs and our homes. 

There are times that require us to make judgements in regards to someone’s choice and actions. However, when those times do present themselves, we need to do so with love and the opportunity for forgiveness and restoration. Vengeance is something that we are to reject. It is not our responsibilty to seek it out. God will take care of that. But above all, we need to be careful. 

We need to be cautious in our judgements and we need to remember that only by the grace of God do we stand where we are today. He has given us the ability to recognize problems and potential situations that may cause us harm. We need to use it. We need to listen when He is whispering to our heart that this is just not right. 

I want to encourage you today, princess, to be cautious in your judgements. Be aware and appreciative of your delicate situation. Remember, you are only one step away. 


$10 or $10 million

2 Timothy 4:7,8 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Yesterday in Sunday school, I proposed this question to my class – Hypothetically speaking, would you rather have $10 now or work for me for 20 years, giving up all you plans and dreams for me and doing all that I asked you to do without complaint, and I would give you $10 million at the end? Guess what most of them said. They said $10 now. I was a little shocked that someone didn’t want the $10 million. The point of the little exercise was to teach them that God offers us so many blessing for following Him. But sometimes those blessings come a ways down the road.

We live in an instant society. I find myself getting frustrated when the internet won’t load a page I want to look at quickly enough. Or I get frustrated when my online banking is down for an upgrade. Silly stuff like that bothers me. And it shouldn’t. It’s crazy. But we are all about instant gratification. We want our stuff and we want it now.

Yet God encourages us to wait. He wants us to live our life for Him but sometimes He makes us wait for our blessings. And that can be tough.

I know that with every load of laundry you fold and every load of trash you take out and every meal that you cook and every ride that you give to school can be difficult. I know that it is time consuming. I know there are a million other things that need to be done instead. But you are serving. You are running the race. I know that every Sunday school class you teach and every minute that you spend in the nursery and every second you spend cooking for the potluck is a moment in time that you have given of yourself. I know that every paper you write and every class you attend and every homework assignment you complete can be taxing. And I know that every dollar you earn and every complaint you listen to and every mistake that you fix makes you want to pull your hair out. BUT…

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Just remember, you are “loving His appearing” when you do all that you do for Him. All that I just mentioned, that is what you can do for Him. That is serving Him. That is loving Him. That is showing Him your dedication to Him by living your life for Him. That’s what He wants when you are His.

My little kingdom

Ephesians 3:14-19 – “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

As a Princess, it should be my desire to be more like Christ each and every day. But you want to know something, I fail. I fail miserably. I get up each morning thinking that today will be the day when I am most like Him. And then I go to bed each night filled with regrets with just how much I was not like Him.

I have had “More of You” by Colton Dixon stuck in my head this morning. The part of the song that keeps repeating is “this is my kingdom and it needs to fall”. Gee, I wonder what God is trying to tell me here?

My kingdom. My own little world where I’m the big shot. I do what needs to be done and what I want to do. But that’s it. I rarely make the effort to go above and beyond. Now, sometimes I do, but rarely. I don’t listen to Jesus whispering in my heart to do this or do that.

Man, am I Debbie Downer or what today! But seriously….

Paul was writing to the Ephesians here – the church at Ephesus. He was praying for them. He prayed that they would allow Christ to dwell in their hearts. He prayed that they would truly know the depth of Christ’s love for them. And he prayed that they would be filled with the fullness of God.

Paul knew these people were human. He knew that they would try and fail miserably. He knew that they would wake up in the morning with the desire to go and do what God would have them to do and that they would go to bed at night frustrated that they failed. He knew that they would have their own little kingdoms where they listened to no one. I think that is the reason that he prayed that they would understand the love of Christ.

You see, despite all our efforts and all our failures, Jesus loves us. He loves the fact that we have the desire to serve Him to our utmost every morning. And He loves that we come to Him with our sorrow and regret asking for forgiveness and for one more chance to get it right. He loves that we recognize that we have our kingdoms. And He loves that we have the desire to let Him tear them down.

When we give our life to Him willingly, there is nothing that we can say or do to lose our adoption. We may not always be filled with the goodness of God, but we always have the opportunity to go back and get a refill. In fact, we need a refill every day. That is why I try to encourage people to get into God’s Word every morning. You wouldn’t start out anywhere without gas in your vehicle. Why would you leave the house without the fullness of God in your heart?

Today, Princess, fill up with the goodness of God. Be open to the kingdom walls that need to come down. Go to Him with your hopes for the day and with your regrets at night. Let Him deal with them.

Hungry

Proverbs 15:3 – “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

Do you realize that in the place that you live right now that there are probably hungry people within a stone’s throw of your house? And I’m not talking about casually hungry. I’m talking “I haven’t had enough to eat for days” kind of hungry. There are people out there, close by, who can’t afford a new pair of cheap tennis shoes. There are people out there who are trying to figure out a way to make it to next month without losing their electricity and water.

I don’t appreciate these situations like I should. I have never been truly hungry. I have been blessed that if I need new clothes, I can go get them. I have been blessed with a good job and an awesome husband so that I don’t have to worry about paying my bills. For the most part, these are foreign concepts to me.

But last night I was searching the Internet for a food bank in my area. We are doing a teen project at church and would like to donate canned goods to a local charity. I found out that 10,000 people in my small part of the world are hungry at some point every year. And 4,700 of those are children. 4,700!!! That’s 47%! How can that be? I have been told stories by one of the young ladies at my church that when she was in high school that this club she was in would provide canned goods for students to take home over the holidays so that they had something to eat when they weren’t in school. I can’t imagine. Just shows the bubble that I live in.

But there is One that sees it all – Jesus. He sees these people who are desperately struggling. He knows their needs. He sees their heartache. So, you might ask, “Why is He letting these people struggle and go without?” I don’t know how to answer that question. But I do know this, He has given us the opportunity to step up and step out. 1 John 3:18-20 – “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”

You and I have the opportunity to be the help that someone needs. We have the opportunity to do something. It doesn’t have to be anything big. You could simply pick up some extra groceries at the store this week. You could go volunteer to stack food at the local food pantry. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen this weekend. You could give a donation to a provider of needs to those who truly need it. There are lots of ways to help.

But more importantly, you need to do it for the right reasons. If you go in there with pride in your heart and tell every one every where what you have done or are planning to do, you have just blown it. You have received your reward. You see, God wants us to help others because they need it, not because you need a pat on the back.

So today, I want to encourage you, princess, to step out of your comfort zone and do something for some one else. Show them God’s love by giving of yourself unselfishly. Find some way to reach out to those in need anonymously.

Monday

Romans 12:1,2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

It’s Monday. You will probably walk into work today and most people will ask you how your weekend was. They will ask if you did anything special for Valentine’s Day and then they will want to know what it was.

It’s Monday. It is the first day of the work week. It is a time for new commitments. “I’m going to eat less sugar this week.” “I’m going to park in the back of the lot and walk.” “I’m going to mop my floors this week.”

It’s Monday. Time to start counting the days until Friday. Time to figure out a way to make it through the week.

Monday is a day of renewal. It’s like you have January first every single week. It’s a day to turn over a new leaf, to decide to do something different.

I think these verses are great Monday verses. They encourage us to get our act together and stop living like everyone else. They challenge us to choose to be different.

Most people dislike Mondays. They dread the day. I will admit, there are times, like today, that I would like to skip Monday. My kids are going to be at home and I have to go to work. I would really like to stay home with them. But I chose to commit to a job that requires me to work today. So, I honor God by honoring my commitment. I also honor God by choosing to let Him have my brain today. It’s not much, but it’s my reasonable service.

My challenge to you today, Princess, is to choose to have a different kind of Monday. Choose to see it as an opportunity for renewal and transformation. Choose not to deliberately count the days until Friday. Let Friday sneak up on you because you are so caught up in living for Christ.

Revisiting “Cowgirl up!”

I wrote this post back in September of 2012. I thought you might enjoy it today!

 

Women are caught between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes we are encouraged to be quiet and listen. Other times we are told to speak up and speak out. What is it that God wants us to do as His daughter – a princess?

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

God did not put it in the heart of a woman to be run over. We may be weaker physically but that does not mean that we should cower or feel inferior to man. Now, don’t get me wrong – this is not something feminist. A princess does not back down from a challenge but she knows how to be tactful and full of grace in the midst of troubling times.

You have a spirit of power in you, princess. Power from the Most High God. Don’t let that fall on deaf ears. Pull on your big girl panties and “cowgirl up!” Be respectful but be bold. Be brave but know when to ask for help. God has placed some amazing women in your circle. Find their power and lean on their experienced shoulders.

You have a spirit of love. God has placed within you the capacity to love just about any thing and every one. Now this is not always easy but necessary. Don’t let the devil shield your view of the opportunity to love someone who REALLY needs it. Remember, love covers a multitude of sins.

And finally, you have a spirit of self-discipline. This means holding your head up and making the right choices, even the hard ones. Don’t let the other two empower you and then trip up on this one. Self-discipline includes everything from not eating that donut to choosing to follow Christ through it all. Yep, hardest one yet.

Don’t sit there and take it – know how to handle it. Life is full of hard choices and sometimes we need someone to hold our hand and tell us the truth. Don’t be timid, sister. Get it out but do it in love.