Tag Archive | Jesus

Do You Believe?

One of my favorite women of God is Priscilla Shirer, and I was listening to a talk she gave, in which she told a story about a misunderstanding at the airport. The trip was being taken by her, her husband, her children and her assistant. For some reason her assistant ended up in a different line to get through security and her line wasn’t moving as fast as everyone else’s. Priscilla’s husband sent the assistant a text letting her know that they would meet her at the gate which was right outside of security. The assistant acknowledged the text but somehow ended up going to a gate at the other end of the airport and almost missed her flight. When she finally did get on the flight everyone asked why she ended up at the wrong gate. Her response was that she thought Priscilla’s husband didn’t mean to say the gate he had said. His response-if she would have just believed what was written in the text she could have saved herself a lot of unnecessary problems.

Such a simple story about a flight from the airport but it stayed in my mind. How many times do we cause ourselves problems because we don’t believe the words that are written in the bible?  Jesus said that He came to give us life but we continue to live in death because we believe our past. Jesus said that we no longer need to feel condemned but we live in a prison because we choose to believe that friend who is constantly putting us down. Jesus said that we are victorious but we continue to live as a victim because we choose to believe Satan.

God’s word is written plainly and clearly for us to follow but it’s easier to just skim over the words just enough to say that we saw it but not enough to absorb them. We look at the words in the bible and we pick & choose what we are going to believe. We know that instead of complaining we should pray but we say “you don’t know the people I encounter” or “I spend too much time in traffic and people don’t know how to drive” (that’s my favorite statement) or “my job is driving me crazy” however the truth is none of these statements matter. Our conduct needs to reflect Jesus and not the world.

Most of the time,whether we know it or not, someone is always watching how we act and listening to what we say & if we don’t act in a way that displays our belief in the word of God how can we expect someone else who is not a Christian to believe in Jesus. I know it’s hard. Trust me. I fell into this trap a few years ago. I remember talking to my mom and I made the statement that while I don’t always do what God’s word says I do believe everything that is in the bible. Now how does that sound? Notice I didn’t say that I strive to follow God’s word but I sometimes fall short. I flat out said that I don’t do everything He says.

That is just utter defiance and if we have that mindset we might as well not believe. I mean think about it if we said the same thing to our parents -“I heard what you said but I’m not going to do it”- we probably wouldn’t have made it to adulthood but we hold onto that mindset with God. Maybe it’s because we can’t physically see Him. Maybe it’s because there is a level of pride in us. Maybe it’s because we just get comfortable in what we’re doing. Whatever the reason, as Christians, our goal is to continue to strive toward the mark (see Philippians 3:14).

I’m thankful to God that I’m able to say that now I’m striving toward that mark. My goal everyday is to do what He says. Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but God doesn’t call us to perfection. He calls us to holiness.

So my question to you is this, will you believe what is written?

 

Talk, Talk, Talk

SunshineOver the last few weeks I’ve been able to talk about my most favorite subject.

Anyone that knows me knows that I absolutely love movies. Some might even say I was addicted to movies. I love watching movies. Talking about movies. Learning about the behind the scenes of movies to find out why the director cut a certain scene or why the composer chose the music they used in the film. And my love of movies varies throughout all genres-comedy, drama, musicals, action just to name a few. I can talk about a good movie for hours on end especially if the writing, acting and music all fall into place.

I also enjoy talking about a good book. One that keeps me enchanted for hours on end. One that once I start I can’t put down. One that is so well written that I feel as if I’m the character. I enjoy books that aren’t too predictable or too abstract. A good book just as a good movie should stay with you. You should be able to close your eyes and visualize the scenes written in the book or how they were portrayed in the movie. But even though I get excited talking about movies and books they are not my favorite subject.

My absolute favorite subject to talk about is Jesus. I love, love, love talking about Jesus. About His love for us. His sacrifice. His goodness. His kindness. His mercy. His grace. I love how we get the opportunity to brag on who He is and what He does. How He continues to love us even when we fall down.

I love how He watches over us. How He constantly provides for us. How He always knows what we need when we need it. Talking about Jesus always helps to remind me of just how much Jesus loves me. How much He loves the world. I mean think about it, He died for us. He came down from His throne in heaven to live among us all to reconcile us back to God by dying on the cross. Who else but Jesus would do something that wonderful.

He constantly answers our prayers even when we don’t think they are being answered. You see sometimes the things we feel are the most difficult or the times we feel that God is the most distant are the times when He is the closest or doing the most work in our lives. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the distance and asked myself why but looking back I can see His hand all over the situation. I can see His love and knowing of His love for me helps me make it through the day. Even when I don’t feel as if anyone loves me I know that Jesus loves does.

It excites me and rejuvenates me talking about the goodness of God. And I am thankful that I get the opportunity to do just that.

Life

BabyI am not an activist. I’ve never been the one to take up a cause and be on the front lines. I’ve always wanted peace and cooperation more than conflict and I enjoy staying in the background however there is something that has been on my heart for quite sometime that I need to talk about.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the topic of abortion. In the beginning it was mostly on an academic level I think because the decision to legalize abortion occurred during the year of my birth. Then it became an issue that affected me personally through friends I’ve known that have had abortions; once when I was 18 and twice in my twenties. During two of the abortions I was in the waiting room at the clinic and the other was told to me during a conversation but all of them have had great affects on me.

I’ve always believed in God but to be honest I never gave a thought about what it meant to have an abortion and how if affected people. That was how naive I was. I remember sitting in the waiting room thinking more about my friend’s and their well being  My concern was for how they were being treated and what their recovery was going to be like. I never once thought of the procedure itself. Don’t get me wrong I never believed or thought the baby was just tissue-I just didn’t think about the baby.

I am not proud of that.

Over the last few years God has been working on my heart when it comes to this issue. See a while ago I asked God to allow me to have the same concern for the things that concern Him and He has started to answer that prayer. Please know that I am not condemning anyone for the decisions they have made but for me I can no longer think of abortion as just another procedure. My heart aches for the babies not allowed to be born and for the women who felt they had no other choice. No I’ve never been placed in that position myself and I’d like to think that I wouldn’t make the choice to abort but I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that I now pray for life at every stage. From conception to birth to adulthood to death. And I pray that should I find myself facing an unplanned pregnancy that I would think of the child’s life over my own but truly only God knows.

I’ve asked for His forgiveness for my thoughtlessness and because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross and His grace & mercy He has forgiven me.

I only pray that in our battle for rights and for life we don’t forget who is at the heart of this issue-the young girls & women, the unborn babies and their families. They need the same grace & mercy the Lord has extended upon us individually no matter their decision and we need to remember-they are people not political punching bags.

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Prison

I open my eyes and allow them to adjust to the darkness around me. I hear the sounds of nothingness in my ears. My hands feel the coldness of the floors I call my bed. I’ve been here for several years now. This 10 x 12 space has become my home. I have just enough room to move around but not enough to really feel comfortable. My crime? Well that’s not really important. What’s important is that I’ve been sentenced to serve this time. How much time? Well that really depends on me.

Everyday men, women and sometimes children are sentenced to serve time behind bars. Their crimes range in severity as do the time they are ordered to serve. These individuals are sentenced to a physical imprisonment placed on them by the justice system but what about people who imprison themselves because they can’t let go of the past? I’m sure we’ve all seen them. They are walking around just like we are going about their business day after day. Nothing really seems out of place until you sit down and have a conversation with them. Most of the topics consist of situations that have happened to them in the past. They still get angry, disappointed, hurt when they think about how someone did them wrong. The feelings are so strong one would think these are fresh wounds instead of old scars.

I’ve been one of those people. Constantly picking at a wound that God was trying to heal simply because it was familiar to me; something I could depend on. I kept myself imprisoned by holding onto hurts, slights and disappointments because I felt justified not realizing that each day I was adding bars to my cell and days onto my sentence. And to be honest there are days I visit my old cell. I’ll be sitting thinking about my life and the next thing I know I’m replaying situations that happened to me when I was in my early twenties and those old feelings start to come up again. That’s when I start reminding myself that as long as I stay locked up in that prison Satan is happy and the last thing I want to do is make him happy. See as long as we focus on the past we can’t move through to our future. It’s like we are wearing blocks of cement. We become stuck right where we are.

Jesus did not die for our sins and free us from eternal death to watch us imprison ourselves again. John 10:10 says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (NKJV)” So let’s break out of the mental prison we place ourselves in and live as free children of God.

Eagle

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Valentine’s Day

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February 14th. Valentine’s Day. A day of love. A day of chocolate, flowers, champagne, cards. Stereotypically single people, women in particular, have felt left out and men who are in dating relationships have felt pressure to propose on this day.

And to be honest I’ve been one of those single women because everywhere around me were couples either in dating relationships or married celebrating their love. I often felt a serious “woe is me” attitude. I felt alone, depressed and I felt as if people pitied me because I didn’t have a man in my life and yes I still sometimes feel that way but this year I wanted to think about something different.

What happens on February 15th? Why put so much pressure on ourselves to celebrate one day of love when our entire lives should be a celebration of love?

I am always teased at church because I give hugs that let people know that I genuinely care about them and I want them to feel the love of Jesus through those hugs. 3539242149_8be9702397_o.jpgAnd I will take that teasing all day long because it’s more important for someone who has never felt a kind loving touch to understand how gentle, caring and comforting it is to be in the arms of Jesus. Now I’m not saying that I am Jesus because I could never die on the cross for the worlds sins but as a child of God I am supposed to reflect His attributes.

Love is not supposed to be something you buy and parade around once a year. Love is supposed to be who you are. I know it’s not always easy especially when we are called to love people who don’t look like us, act like us or have the same ideals as we have but that still doesn’t mean we get a pass on love. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about what love, especially for a believer, should look like. And as a believer, as a Christ follower it should be our standard.

So as we move closer to February 14th let’s all remember what true love looks like. It’s not balloons, it’s not flowers, it’s not candy, it’s not jewelry. It’s sitting with a friend after they’ve lost a loved one even when you don’t know what to say. It’s getting up in the middle of the night when your child has had a nightmare. It’s opening your doors to someone who doesn’t have a place to stay. It’s climbing on a cross and taking on the world’s sins to reconcile them back to their Father.

What is your definition of true love?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

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Dashes

15458354908_50b1ea8ab9_o.jpgThere are two major dates in our lives. The day we are born and the day we die. The question is what do we do in between those dates.

I recently lost someone very close to me and I miss her everyday. I’m constantly thinking about how much her life impacted not only her immediate family and friends but people that only knew her through her family and friends. As I got the opportunity to spend time with her before she died I started thinking about how much she means to me and how much of a legacy she was going to leave behind. And then I started thinking about what kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind.

Everyday, whether we know it or not, our lives are affecting someone else. Just as my brother said the other day we encounter people at the grocery store. When we are filling up our tanks. When we drop off our kids at school. Even when we are driving down the highway. What kind of impression do we want to leave with them? Princess Diana was a in this world for a short time but her legacy of humanitarianism is being lived out through her children and prayerfully her grandchildren. Martin Luther King Jr., Medger Evers, Malcolm X all spoke out against injustice and while their methods were all different their ideals are still being spoken about today. Jesus encountered thousands of people in His three year ministry and everyone’s life was changed as a result. People’s lives are still being changed because of His encounters. I don’t want my life to be “she was born and then she died”. Nobody’s life should just be “they were born and then they died”. Everyone should have more than just a footnote to put between the dashes.

I feel very blessed to know that I’ve been able to touch the lives I’ve already touched but I still have more living to do and more lives to touch. When I die I want people to know that Jesus loves them. That I love them and that they matter. I don’t need to know personally everyone that I touch but I do want to know that my six degrees of separation doesn’t just stop there. Paul wasn’t satisfied with just touching a few people with Jesus’s message of salvation-he wanted to touch the world.

My aunt poured a lot of who she was into me and I’m a better person for it. So this post is dedicated to her and the legacy she leaves behind in her daughters, her husband, her grandchild, her brother, her sister and the countless others she has touched. Thank you for your life Mama Barb. I miss you everyday.

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Be Ye Transformed

1426971482233What does it mean to be truly set apart? This is a question I’ve been struggling with for quite sometime. Why? Because it means dying to myself and letting God take total control.

I love to read. I haven’t done it as often as I would like to lately but a few years ago I read a series called Black, Red and White by Ted Dekker. The books are about a man whose life is lived between worlds. Eventually  he has to decide which world he will stay in. But making that choice means he has to die. It means he has to give up what he has in order to gain even more.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s what Jesus asks of us each day. Each day we wake up is another day to do what Daniel did when he was taken into Babylon. In Daniel 1:8 it says that he purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the food and wine that was offered him. See Daniel didn’t “purpose in his heart” when the food was presented. He had made up his mind long ago to serve God. Because of that decision he already knew how he would respond when faced with temptations and trails. Now I know what you’re saying “that’s only food and wine, what’s so wrong with that?” Well nothing on the surface but when you dig deeper you realize that was more about what the food represented.

By eating the food and drinking the wine Daniel would have become just like everyone else-a Babylonian but God had something special planned for Daniel and it required him to be 100% set apart even in a pagan world like Babylon. He had to stand out so that he could tell people about God.

Which brings me back to my struggle. I am going to let you in on a little secret-I’m not Daniel. Everyday I wake up and purpose in my heart but everyday, minute by minute I make choices that keep me in the world. It’s getting tiring but also feels comfortable because it’s what I’ve known.

But tomorrow is another day. Another day to bask in God’s grace. Another day to get it right. Another day to purpose in my heart. So as I walk out this journey to live a life set apart for Jesus ask yourself this question?

What do you need to purpose in your heart to do?