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Do you have what it takes?

Philippians 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Tomorrow is my daughter’s very first cheer competition. She and her team have been working since the beginning of October to get this routine together. It has been a road of success and failures, heartache and tears, joy and laughter. They have grown together as a team, but they are nervous.

The one thing they have to remember is this – just do your best and don’t stop. Don’t stop competing. Don’t stop smiling. Don’t stop cheering.

I was never a cheerleader. I don’t know what it is like to stand in front of a crowd and cheer my heart out only to have a bunch of people sitting there staring at me. I do know that it makes my daughter smile when I try to cheer along – for being a band geek, I’m not very good at keeping the right tempo in a cheer. It’s quite embarrassing, actually.

Anyway, I know you must be wondering when I am going to get around to tying this all together. I could bring out something cliche like “Life is like a cheer competition because…” But I won’t.

Every day we are faced with some type of challenge. It may be getting up in the morning or it may be deciding whether or not you are going to take a stand for what you believe in. Competition is out there. Fierce competition is out there. The question is, do you have what it takes to face it?

We think – “I need more time” or “I need this to do this right” or “I need to do this to win”. Nope. You need Jesus. Paul reminded the church at Philippi that God would supply everything they need. Everything. Everything they NEED. Not everything they want. Sometimes we get those two mixed up.

What the girls need for tomorrow is to give the glory to God for how well they are going to do and to trust Him to keep them safe. What I need for today is to meet the challenges I face with a holy and righteous attitude that will glorify my Father in heaven.

God already knows what tomorrow will bring. He already knows what the next 10 minutes will bring. Let Him give you what you need and be ready to praise Him when He gives you more than you deserve.

A Piece of Peace

Philippians 4:4-9 – “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Many people are looking for peace. They are looking for peace in the Middle East. They are looking for peace in their home. They are looking for peace inside themselves. Peace is not elusive. Peace can be found. 

Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us where and how to find peace – in Jesus. Peace can be found in living for Christ. Let’s look at a few ways to find and know peace in our life:

1. Rejoice, always. Do you always feel like rejoicing? Not me. When traffic is horrible and I’m late for work, I do not feel like rejoicing. But I should. I can choose to look at from this perspective – I get more time to pray and think on God’s word OR I get more time to enjoy the beauty of His creation. It is kind of hard to remember that when you are moving one inch every 10 minutes and you know that you are going to have to stay late because of the ginormous amount of paperwork you need to finish today, but it is possible to change your perspective if you give Him the opportunity to do so. 

2. Let everyone see God’s hand in your life. When you have the opportunity, give a shout out to Jesus. Let those around you know how He is working in your life – good and not so good times. You know, “it was raining yesterday but praise God He reminded me to bring my umbrella.” Little shout outs can make a huge difference. 

3. Pray. Lay it all out for the Lord. He wants to know the good, the bad and the ugly along with the praise, the cheer and the joy. This is like the fast lane to peace – when you give it to Him, your burden is so light you can’t help but embrace peace. 

4. Think on the right things. There is so much in this world that is depressing. It is sometimes hard to find good news. But you have access to THE Good News – the Bible. Choose to remove from your meditation the yuck that is so prevalent in the world today. Choose to think on the things of God which will lead you straight to peace. 

Peace is a beautiful thing. It can come and go because we fail. We don’t hold onto it like we should. We think we can handle things and then puff! There goes peace. Peace comes from a constant relying upon God to handle things. The world is too dark and too ugly to allow true peace to be prevalent on its own. We need the True Light to show us true peace. 

So let me encourage you today, Princess, to seek out a piece of peace. All of these things together will bring you peace. But also, one little slice will bring peace as well. Choose one or choose them all. Try one out and experience a piece of peace like you have never seen. God is ready and waiting to shower His peace upon you.

Stuck in my head

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

I have a problem.
I love music. I love all kinds of music, well, not all kinds – I’m not a big fan of rap or techno music. I have a tendency to get songs stuck in my head. Every morning when I wake up, I have a song waiting for me in my head.
Unfortunately, lately, I have not had uplifting songs in my head. And you know why? Because I have let those type of songs be played in my car. My kids like to listen to secular stations after school. And I usually let them. The bad part is that those songs that they play over and over again on every single station get stuck in my head. The songs are not encouraging. They don’t honor God.
What’s a mom to do?

The Bible tells us to think on things that are pure and true and honest and lovely. These songs tiptoeing around in my head are catchy but not pure, honest and lovely.

I think I need a purge. My kids are not going to like it. They need an alternative. And our area just doesn’t have a super good Christian station that plays a wide variety of new Christian music. I guess it’s time to break out the phone and play some music that we already have that we know we enjoy that is catchy and honest.

Music has such a potential in our life. It has the power to bring us to tears or send us to the mountain top dancing. Most people don’t pay two cents worth of attention to the lyrics. But I do. I hear them and am typically appalled when I hear secular music. So why do I let my kids listen to it? That is a really good question. I don’t have a good answer. Maybe it’s because we don’t have cable or satellite and this is my way of allowing them something “normal” in their life. Maybe it’s a break that I need too. Maybe I just want to give them a little control. I don’t really know why we listen to that stuff.

So, let me encourage you today, princess, to really listen to whatever you listen to. Is it true and pure and honest and lovely? Or is it full of stuff that is none of those things? Remember, junk in, junk out.

By the way, “Favorite Song” by TobyMac was stuck in my head this morning. And it is currently fighting for control as I write.

Selfishness

Psalm 36:2 – “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.”

I have been known to say, quite frequently actually, “It’s their world and your just living in it!” Selfishness is running rampant in our world today. Too many people would rather think of themselves than any other. There are children being abandoned by their parents because they don’t fit into the parents’ plans. Families are being torn apart because one spouse chooses to leave the relationship for one reason or another. People are getting in car accidents because the other driver thinks that their text message is way more important than the person they are meeting on the road.

Selfishness is everywhere. It’s an epidemic really. It is a seed that has always been there but in our current social climate, it flourishes.

So, what do we do about it? How do we live an unselfish life? How do we tolerate those who choose to think only of themselves? Well, I don’t have all the answers but I know Someone who does.
Philippians 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
It is hard, sometimes, to do this. You don’t want to be at the bottom of the thought process. You want to do what you want to do. You don’t want to have to think about others along the way. But Jesus commands us to do just that – think of others along the way. Can you imagine how different His ministry would have been if He had thought of Himself at any time?

You see, it’s a great way to show others His love when you think of others more than yourself. You choose the hard things instead of the easy way out. You sacrifice your time and your efforts for someone else’s gain – and you are okay with it. You don’t complain when things get hard, you face them and move through them. You don’t become bitter and nasty when asked to do something.

Princess, I just want to encourage you to be different. Choose to walk away from selfishness. Choose to be the kind of person that is ready to serve no matter the cost. Choose to be the kind driver out there on the crazy road. Choose to be the one who volunteers to do the task. And shine on, sister – let them see His light coming through you.

Everything you need

Philippians 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Would you ask a first grader to write an essay on proper leadership within a multi billion dollar company? Probably not. (I was going to say quantum physics but most adults would not be able to write a paper about that! I know I wouldn’t!)

Anyway, as ridiculous as that sounds, don’t you think it sounds just as ridiculous to think that God would send us out unprepared and ill equipped to do whatever He is asking us to do? I think so. I believe God is constantly training us and encouraging us to grow. I think that through this growth, He is preparing us to do something amazing. However, I feel that oftentimes we hold Him back. We let our fears and reservations keep us from reaching our full potential.

And don’t think that I am just referring to going to a foreign mission or quitting your job to devote yourself to the Ministry. Those things are vitally important to the Kingdom of God. At the same time though, I think that it is the little things in life that add up to make a big difference – deciding to move to a new house, starting a new job, beginning a Bible study in your home, getting up 45 minutes earlier to read your Bible on a daily basis. All these things may seem small and trivial, no big deal, but they are. They can have a huge impact on your life and the lives of everyone around you.

The one thing I want you to get out of this today is this – When God asks us to step out and do something, He provides everything we need to do it. He doesn’t leave us hanging. It is not like a bird pushing his little bird out of the nest and forcing it to fly. No, God has His mighty hand under us and holds us the whole way.

So if God is asking you to change, to make things different in your life, to get out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid. A new adventure is just around the corner if you are brave enough to peek at it.

How to be holy in a modern world of weird – part 6

1 Peter 1:13-16 – “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation”

I enjoy talking. I like to talk to all different kinds of people. People have such interesting stories to tell. You know, words are very powerful. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose mom has said to them, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That old adage has kept me out of trouble many times. And not adhering to it has caused bucket loads of grief.

There is a reason that Peter is encouraging his readers to be holy in conversation. Our conversations should be holy because our heart and mind are holy. Matthew 12:34 – “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Just like “you are what you eat”, so to “you are what you think”. If you put junk in, junk will come out. Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

One verse that I sometimes wish I could hang in front of my face consistently is this: Matthew 12:36,37 – “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” If I could hang that out there like you would hang a carrot on a stick for a donkey, then maybe, O maybe, I would remember it! There are times when I feel like my “idle words” are the only things that come out of my mouth. My conversations are not holy.

I am trying so hard to guard my words. But you see, that is my problem – I am guarding my words. I need to let the True Guardian guard my words. I need to let Him have reign over my tongue. Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” I need to ask Him to make my words and my thoughts what He wants them to be.

Today, princess, I want to encourage you to let The Guardian manage your conversations today. Let Him have your words (and your actions, because sometimes actions speak louder than words). Don’t speak unless you would say your words in front of Jesus. Let me tell you this, that will put a halt to several things that come out of your mouth. And don’t worry when others start to think you are weird. It’s all part of the process – being holy in a modern world of weird.

One heartbeat away

Philippians 1:21 – “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

In my Sunday School devotional this morning, the writer made the statement that we are all one heartbeat away from eternity. That made me stop and think a minute. One heartbeat.

As followers of Christ, we state that we are ready to meet Christ. We are ready to go to Heaven to spend eternity with Him. But are you really ready to give up that last heartbeat?

Have you done all that you are supposed to do or are you waiting for tomorrow? Have you told everyone you can about the salvation of Jesus Christ or are you afraid of offending so your waiting for just the right time? Have you spoken with Him lately? Are you ready for a face to face meeting?

Paul said to the Philippian church that he was ready to live for Christ or die and meet Him. He had his ducks in a row. He knew that he had done, and would continue to do, all that he could for Christ as long as he was given life on Earth. But when his last heartbeat came, he was ready to meet the One who had given him real life.

We go through our little lives never truly appreciating the effect that we have on the rest of the world. We think, and feel, that we are invisible. Unless we live in the spotlight, no one really notices us, right? Wrong. Although we may feel invisible, someone is watching. Someone is seeing the way that you react to situations. Someone is looking at the way that you dress. Someone is looking at the relationship you have with the people around you. Living for Christ means living His principles in your life. As Steven Curtis Chapman says, “Live out loud!” Don’t stand in the shadows hoping to be invisible. Let everyone see Him in you!

And then, princess, be ready to take that last breath. We have no idea when it can happen. Don’t leave things undone. My husband always laughs at me. I like to leave the house with the bed made. If I die while I’m out of the house, I don’t want people to come in and see my bed unmade. Crazy, I know. But I guess in my own little warped mind, it is my way of being prepared. So princess, don’t leave your bed unmade, so to speak. For we truly are just one heartbeat away from eternity.