Yeah, You be YOU!

There’s not a lot I need to add to that. You be you, because God didn’t make you to be someone else! If He wanted us to all be the same, He would have created us as clones with no individuality and no difference of personalities, and definitely no difference of backgrounds, families or even race. Yet, here we are, and not one of us is the same!

So, why do we have such a growing consensus that demands everyone to think, speak and act the same? STOP IT! Let us all demand individuality instead of demanding conformity. Let us all expect uniqueness of those we encounter in this world instead of uniformity.

If we will refuse the cultural agenda to make us all identical robotic minions, we can turn the tide back to originality.

Be original. Be unique. Be like no other.

You be You!

Is God Good?

Is God good, because of His own goodness, or is He good, because He does good things for us?

Many who are believers would automatically reply, “God is good simply because of His own goodness.” However, I’d question if you truly believe this truth. If this is your stance, let me challenge you with a question. “The last time a tragedy hit your family, did you say, ‘Praise God! He is so good!’ or did you rant and rage, wondering where God was in your hour of need? Did you rejoice and celebrate Him as the afflictions came into your life, or did you curse His name for ever tempting you with His promises of love and mercy?

Yet, for many nonbelievers, you might reply “God is good only when He proves He is good by bestowing blessings and goodness.” You might demand His eternal goodness for you to ever be obedient to His Word and submissive to His authority in your life. If this is your stance, let me challenge you with a question or two, “Why do you trust in all kinds of entities in this life that are proven to be untrustworthy; yet, to the one Deity that has been proven time and again (by scripture and by personal testimonies) to be trustworthy and faithful, you don’t hold the same standards?” You might wonder what I mean. Let me expound a bit…

So many, who question the integrity of God (because they feel “He has let them down” in one way or another) completely depend upon, and keep faithful, in entities of life which have proven to be faulty at one time or another. One example would be money. You hold onto that money, buying, selling, giving and receiving, as if it will last forever. You never question it’s worth. You never question it’s reliability. You never question if it will remain stable tomorrow, next week or even years from now, because you simply trust you will receive that paycheck, cash/deposit it, and withdraw it and use it at anytime you need. Yet, time has brilliantly proven the stock market can crash in a moment’s notice, and poverty can beset us all!

Another example would be government. (*Now, don’t get hostile on either side of the “party lines.” I’m not choosing sides here; I’ll hit you both. Lol.😂) You support that system; you trust that system; you invest in that system; you defend that system, and you live by whatever rules and regulations that system hands down to you or demands of you. Yet, time and again, through political scandals, bailouts, voter frauds, twisted officials and structural brokenness and gaps, that system had proven to be faulty and less than trustworthy.

There are so many examples to give, but I will give one final example here, and that would be simply the human condition. We all have people we have loved, people we have trusted, people we have leaned on, and people in whom we’ve confided our greatest fears and failures, our hopes and dreams. Yet, there have been people in each of our lives who have wounded us, damaged us or simply failed us in a multitude of ways (And if that’s not you, well, keep on livin’, my young friend). People have proven to just be people, with ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, and so much more. Yet, we keep repeating this cycle of trust time and time again.

So, with all of this on both ends of the spectrum, let me repeat the question, just so we are still on the same page…

Is God good, because of His own goodness, or is He good, because He does good things for us?

God is good, because He, in and of Himself, is full of goodness. Nothing He does can have bearing on His deity or on His character as God, because He is consumed of goodness and everything good comes from Him. He cannot lie. He cannot be untrustworthy, and He cannot fail.

Our believing the sun isn’t hot simply because we can’t touch it or feel it on a rainy day doesn’t change the gastric heat it contains. Our believing the ocean is no longer wet, because we are in a desert land and can’t presently be immersed in that sea doesn’t change a bit of the moisture it holds. Just as our believing God is no longer good because of a tragedy or because He didn’t grant our every wish never changes the goodness He is nor the goodness He can give.

God is God, nothing more and nothing less. His promises are true, and His goodness flows like a river for all to receive. All we must do is have the right perspective. We have to see Him clearly, and we have to believe.

Burn That Bridge

Yeah, I’ll probably just leave that right there…

When you take care of you, and you remove toxic, dangerous or destructive people from your life, it’s okay to burn a few bridges. It’s not mean. It’s not hateful. It’s not even a spiteful act on your part (granted, you don’t add a lot of hatefulness in words or actions😉). Just burn that bridge and move beyond.

That girlfriend who chased you down, and then, went a bit psycho when you needed some space… yeah, burn that number.

That boyfriend who beat you to a pulp, and then, said he was sorry, wouldn’t do it again… yep, need to light a little fuse.

That childhood friendship whose crises-to-crises living is sucking the life from your veins… yes, close that door, burn that rope.

That old flame who wanted you to cheat on your spouse just so he/she could “make you feel alive” one more time… yeah, you better take that lighter fluid and pour the whole can out.

Walk away.

Light that match.

Burn that bridge.

You’re better than that. You deserve more.

And those who truly love you deserve more.

Do it now before you second guess yourself.

Just do it … and breathe.

Hidden Strength

Strength isn’t always what you might think…

Strength, especially when it comes to women, seems to be such a divergent scale. Some would say women of solid vocals and boisterous actions are strong. Yet, I’ve seen those of the meekest demeanor muster a measure of strength to fight that made these shutter.

Some would say women of fierce glare and untamed tongue are full of valor. Yet, I’ve watched those with a gentle glance and words like a lullaby slice fear like a knife.

Some would say women of intense stance and stubborn rebellion are destined for such greatness. Yet, I’ve witnessed those holding a stable foundation and a submissive heart to truth become more ferocious and full of purpose than the others could ever imagine.

Strength is not measured in the affluent or vociferous generation. It is not valued in the vivacious muscle of a class. It is not even symbolized in the insurgency of defiance and contempt of a race.

Strength is signified by honor, integrity and absolute truth. It is manifested in unity and compassion for life itself. It is evidenced in a life consumed by liberty for all not just for one. It is revealed by mercy, justice and grace all intertwined in a purity of hope and love.

Strength comes by laying down our wants and desires for a higher purpose. It blossoms by releasing our ambition and selfishness for a greater cause. It grows by realizing this is not about me but rather about us and what will become of tomorrow as a direct result of what we do with today.

Filling In The Gaps

It’s been amazing to me how God’s goodness has just followed me throughout my whole life. This doesn’t mean my life has been perfect, nor does it mean that it’s been devoid of pain and sorrow. That’s actually very far from the truth. However, looking back through the years, and even at the very beginning, His goodness was there, almost lurking in the shadows at times.

I can see His hand at work so many times, comforting me, shielding me, overshadowing me and even uplifting me to be encouraged and reminded of this. I hear often, from people who want to reject Him, ask the question, “If He’s so good, why do bad things happen? Why do people get hurt? Why doesn’t He rescue all from evil?” To completely, and theologically, try to explain the answers to these questions, it would take too long for this blog, and it might be too deep or too boring for some.

Yet, I will say this much, typically, these questions aren’t from true searchers who would actually accept God if they found Him. These questions are designed to set up rebellion in a heart and argument in a mind to the point of stubborn resolution that either there is no God or He’s just a deity that is too lofty for our minuscule life, and He never cared anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and I’d have to contend that you are not a true seeker nor a very good reader. You don’t do any research or read anything to truly help you find the answers to the questions you ask. But I digress. That will be another post for another day.

We live in a fallen world, and just as a person being sick doesn’t make the doctor less of a doctor, dealing with the evil of a fallen world doesn’t make God any less God. Having bad things happen in my past doesn’t nullify the Sovereignty of my God nor does it mean He loves me any less. There are a ton of reasons bad things can happen, and I won’t try to pretend to have all the answers for the Whys. I will say, the more I focus on Him and on His goodness, I see more and more of Him intricately intertwined into every piece of my life’s tapestry, and for this, I am eternally grateful!

I see the godly men He brought into my life when my own father abandoned me time and again. I see the godly women He brought into my life when my own mother and I could never see eye to eye. I see the friends He brought in when another would wound and scar my tender heart. He has always filled in the gaps when the entities of this world left my soul wrenching in pain and agony.

God places specific people in your life to fill in those voids that others leave, those gaps where others have failed their purpose. Sometimes, we are too fixated on what was lost that we fail to see the refreshing fulfillment He places right before us. We have to get our eyes focused back on Him, and He will give us sight to see what we could never have imagined possible.

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” 1 Samuel 16:1

Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:11

To Steal One More Quote from LOTR

Everything we do impacts another. Everyday we impact someone.

Will you be ordinary?

Will your deeds be extraordinary?

For good or for evil, we all must live.

To Steal A Quote from LOTR

What will you do with the time given you??

Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It Is Time

I’d like to ask our modern culture and our “evolved” Christian believers, when did we get to the place where Truth cannot be spoken for fear of offenses and Sin cannot be confirmed for fear of judgement? If we are a follower of Christ, Truth is absolute and irrevocable, and sin is sin, not “grace-filled” or “judgement-filled.” It just is, because God deems it so.

When did we get to the point where we care more that we not offend someone than we do about their very souls? When did we get to the point where we work so hard to preach grace that we forsake the reality of sin, hell and an eternal death? If we read the Bible, from the front cover to the very last page, God is so very clear.

We’ve come to the place where we’d rather argue, too often quite hatefully, with our brothers and sisters in Christ over the possible offenses taken or not taken over an issue rather than the merits of truth. We’d rather drum up dissension over the intentions of someone’s words rather than seek His Word for His truth on the subject at hand. We’d rather slash the hearts of our fellow kinsmen, and in turn, wound those who are listening and trying to find their own answers, rather than speak with love AND truth and let the Holy Spirit bring forth His conviction and mercy.

It sounds too much like the arguments of old when men and women would argue over the color of the pews and the length of the choir robes while their babies were battling issues of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It smells too much like the wayward youth of decades past who fought so hard for their independence and their owns rights that they forsook the ancient boundaries set before them to show them the only way. It looks too much like the sly dealings of darkness who always brings forth confusion, contention and chaos in order to distract, disengage and devour those who are most vulnerable and afraid.

Wake up, Church. Lift up your eyes. Look upon the One whom we have pierced! Gaze upon His torn flesh, His stripes, His pierced hands and feet. He was wounded for OUR transgressions! He was bruised for OUR iniquities! It was not for someone else. It was for our own prideful stance. It was for our own arrogant words. Not a one of us is not guilty. Not a one of us is worthy of the mercy and grace He gives.

It is time for us to stop claiming our own opinions and laments as Gospel. It is time we stop doing what is right in our own eyes. Lives are at stake. The innocent lie within the balance.

It is time we all repent. Moses stood between the children of Israel and God’s burning wrath. Moses stood between the children of Israel and the armies of Pharaoh. Moses cried out to God for their lives to be saved. Moses was their hero. Yet, he could never have brought them to freedom had they not listen, followed and obeyed him! He was not God, but He did show them God, and they chose to receive.

Whose hero will we be?

Whom will we follow?

Sometimes, My Heart Just Grieves

I’ve had several conversations over the past few week with friends who are going through incredibly tough seasons of life, and, as I think back through them all, my heart just feels heavy tonight. Many days, these conversations cause me to seek good, practical advice, Godly wisdom and a lot of scripture to encourage, admonish and uplift their weary hearts. Often, these stories told cause my spirit to rise up in righteous indignation over injustices done. I encourage them to fight, to never give up, to seek God, as well as, to seek their personal well being at all cost.

Yet, sometimes, like this evening, my heart just grieves over their losses and their pain. I wish I had a magical wand that could, somehow, make all the heartache, fear, doubt and turmoil just disappear. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

If you’ve not experienced sorrow yet in your life, well, just keep on living, because it will come. If I can give you a piece of advice, both for those going through the trial and for those who are listening to the story, find someone to lean on. Don’t ever try to carry your burdens (or theirs) alone. You aren’t meant to.

Especially, for those of us who call ourselves a Christian. God never set up the Body of Christ for you to walk through this life experiencing all the brokenness it can bring and travel that painful journey alone. Find yourself a good church family, a wise pastor, spiritual leaders, and pour your heart out. Let them pray for you. Allow someone to come alongside you and help carry those burdens!

If you’re the one always walking alongside helping to carry the weight, you’ve got to learn to lean as well. You can’t always lean on those hurting, because they may not be ready to help carry you; however, you can find someone stronger than you to lend a helping hand. You’re not Superman! (Sorry to bust your bubble!)

Learn to lean. It’ll help you stand stronger.

Learn to release tears. They will wash your soul and help you to breathe deeper.

Learn to grieve. It’ll help your heart be real.

Learn to take a hand. It’ll help you to walk steady on that road to eternity.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Listen to both and be encouraged today. 💗

Be True to YOU!

I found this quote on Twitter awhile back, and it struck a chord within my soul. We hear so much today, in social media circles and in pop culture, about “being true to yourself,” or “being the ‘real’ me,” and while these statements have an element of truth, the real place of authenticity is found when you are true to the most healthy, healed and whole version of you.

Too often, we can get caught up in a popular trend or the peer pressures of life that we lose the authenticity of our soul. [yes, even adults can have “peer pressures!” It just comes in a little different, more subtle ways.😉] We start becoming something or someone we’re not simply to please the crowd or to fit into the environment in which we live, work, or “play.” Or we get so consumed in a past wound, trauma or tragedy that we cannot release the pain, and we become someone we were never meant to be.

Let me be clear, I am not trying to trivialize or make light of any trauma or heartbreak you have experienced. Believe me, I have plenty of my own. Yet, I believe in this day in age, with all the psychobabble and selfish outlook that too many “in power and spotlight” (celebrities, talkshows, politicians, even some therapists and teachers) give to those who follow, we have less people seeking healing and renewal of their minds and bodies than ever before. We have too many in our culture who make excuses for their pain and use a blaming, justification or gaslighting approach to life; so, they don’t have to “own up” to their own struggles and wrongs. They can simply hold someone else responsible for their own actions and words, and they never have to change.

This should not be, and it makes for a very sick, dysfunctional and perverse person and, eventually, will lead to a very wicked and evil society. If you are going to be “true to yourself,” then, why not be true to the best you you can be? Why settle for second best or broken or damaged? Why not take a risk, push a little harder and work toward getting help, healing and resolution to those wounded placed in your heart and soul? Why not work on discovering a new, healthy, healed, whole you?

Is it too much work? Not if you want better than you have right now. Is it too hard? Actually, that’s a decision only you can make. However, I can tell you this. If health and healing is your goal, you will discover more strength, along the way, than you ever thought or imagined possible! Once wholeness is between the goal posts of your life, it will give you a thirst for accomplishment that you didn’t know you could possess, and that thirst will be unquenchable until everything else is laid aside for the “win!”

This may sound like a funny comparison, but it’s like being a kid when your granny is cooking a chocolate cake (or whatever deliciousness is your favorite), and you come in when she’s on her second batch. So, the house is consumed with the yummy smells of the dessert, and she asks you if you want to lick the bowl/spoon. You get just a taste of that chocolatey goodness, and it becomes all you can think about. You can hardly wait until she pulls that cake out of the oven, lets it cool and tells you it’s ready to consume. You become so anxious and impatient that she finally kicks you out of the kitchen in fear you will just jerk that thing right out of the oven and hurt yourself! 😂

That’s exactly how it is when you commit to being “you” in the true, healed and whole sense. You get that taste of strength, of peace, of joy and of renewal, and you won’t want to go back to the broken, desperate and desolate being you once were! You’ll long for that wholeness and become so consumed with the possibility that nothing will keep you from it’s revelation!

Are you hungry yet??

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)

He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth andrighteousness echo His name.” Psalm 23:3 (The Voice Bible)