GO!

I look at so many religions in this world and watch how they fervently make disciples of their beliefs. They go door to door. They call special meetings. They infiltrate and consume college campuses and schools, all to create more followers if their particular system. Yet, I see time and again, Christians hold back from sharing Christ’s story. They allow someone else to take the center stage of testimony. They allow the cares of this world to consume every minute of the day that the busyness chokes the Living Word right out of their lives. They allow the fear of ridicule to silence their stand. 

I know this to be true, because the same has happened in my own life. I haven’t shared this Good News as much as I should, as much as I am truly able. I fall so short in the area of “making disciples.” I often keep silent when I should just open my mouth to speak. It’s sometimes easier to “just keep to ourselves” rather than to possibly be counted with “those crazy charismatics of the cross.”

Yet, sharing His love isn’t that hard. It’s not that lengthy in time, and it’s not complicated. Just share your story. Just talk about Him. He will always show up, and He will take care of the rest. 😉

It is time to speak up! It is time to speak out!  He is a good God. He is a gracious and merciful King. He is a loving Father. He is a living Savior. He is the one true God. Let us GO and tell all the world!

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Like a Lion

Too often, as Christians, we allow the enemy of our soul to defeat us, because we forget the promises we have been given. Too often, we lie down in the muck and mire of our lives and allow our circumstances to overwhelm us to the point of suffocation. We lay down our weapons, and we back away from our destiny, because the way seems too long and the fight appears too hard. We read the Scripture that the enemy is like a lion looking to devour us and we believe it, forgetting the rest of the verse that tells us to “resist him, standing firm in the faith!”

We have been given the weaponry to defeat what comes against us! We are not meant to be wimpy, noodle-spined children of God. We are children of a risen KING! We are destined to win this thing, not because we are so strong nor because we are able to be perfect. We are destined to win, because HE HAS ALREADY WON the victory! The Book has already been written. The end has already been determined!

All we have to do is stand firm in His Word. Ephesians 6:13-14 reminds us, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore…” So, if you are feeling weary today, be encouraged! Take up your sword of the Spirit and your shield faith one more time and slay that giant before you. God is with you, and with Him, you cannot fail!

 

 

 

Where Did We Go Wrong?

I’ve been thinking of the post I posted on Monday. The question keeps rolling over in my brain… Where did we go wrong? How did we get to this place of remaining silent while this world is fading? How did we get to this point in life that “being tolerant” overrides our personal convictions and faith filled standards?

I’ll tell you when we began sliding on this slippery slope:  when the church became silent in the public arena and began turning on itself, accusing each other of judgmentalism and condemnation. It began when we started looking more in the mirror and at our fellow man rather than staying focused on what’s most important: God. It happened when we became more worried about what the world thinks of us than what God thinks.

It is unfortunate and disheartening. We have forsaken our first love for a lie and have become enamored with our own vanity and popularity. We have abdicated our prayer closets of holiness, and we have embraced our gateways of tolerance. We have forsaken our knees of prayer and become consumed by our mouths of gossip and destruction. We have relinquished our rights for higher standards and grasped the liberal demand for concession on every issue. We have surrendered our fight for a better future for our children and allowed our lives to be diminished and minimized to an anemic, powerless and silent walk of faith.

It’s not the world that has been led astray. The lost will always be lost without the Savior. Those in darkness will always be dark without The Light. It’s the church who has veered from the way. It is our responsibility to seek first His kingdom and reach this world for Him. We must look to God and get back to our prayer closets. We must stop looking to our phones and our friends for direction and comfort in this world and return to the One who called us out in the first place.

We must fall down on our knees in prayer and remember from whence He has called us. As Christians, we are called to a higher purpose, and that purpose is prayer and having power with God! If we don’t seek Him, how can we truly reach them?

2 Corinthians 4:1-6, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

Love Doesn’t Mean Tolerance

Okay, so I have a little bit a spiel to spell today. I’m not going to be lengthy nor testy, but if you’ll indulge me, there’s just something I’d like to share…

Just because I am a Christian does not mean I should shut up and just love with no regard for sin. Just because I’m a Christian does not mean I no longer have a voice to speak against wrong. Honestly, I am so tired of hearing people, both Christians and nonChristians, claim that my love is proven when I simply “shut up and love” which in their book means to tolerate with no resistance, because “after all, God is a God of love. Jesus was a peaceful man…He loved everybody.”

Yes! Jesus did love everybody, and yes, He was gentle and kind. He is a merciful and forgiving God. However, He also ran the money changers out of the temple with a whip! He did tell the adulterous woman to “Go and sin no more.” He told the woman at the well all about her past and offered her a better way. He told the rich young ruler to “Go, sell all you have and follow me.” He told Zaccheus to come down from where he was, because He had a different plan.

Just because Jesus loves and is merciful doesn’t mean He leaves you to be who you are and where you are when you meet Him. If that were the case, why would you need Him as your Savior? A Savior is someone who rescues you from the state in which you find yourself. A Savior is someone who changes you from what you’ve been. I am so thankful He is a loving and merciful God, and I’m so appreciative that He has rescued me from a place of hopelessness and despair, but He didn’t save me so I could continue in my sin. He doesn’t give His message of hope to us so we can keep it to ourselves and never share it with someone else.

I don’t want to belabor the point here, but I am passionate about this fact:  Just because He is a merciful God doesn’t mean He’s a silent Savior. Simply because He is a loving Father doesn’t mean He turns a blind eye to sin and allows you to continue in your own ways. The Word tells us He came to save the world and change the world.  The problem is that in today’s society, speaking out against wrong is now tagged with words like condemnation, judging or even hatred. When did we get to this point? When did we get to the place where we cannot even call sin sin anymore?

As Christians, we may not blend in with this world. We may not be popular with those in power, and we may not appease those in the press, but I have to ask, “What will that matter 150 years from now? What will that matter when we stand before our Lord and Savior?” We must decide. Whom are we called to serve, worship and follow, God or man?? The longer we remain silent, the more are dying an eternal death.

John 3:16-21, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

Straighten Your Crown!


This post came across my Facebook account thread last night, and I couldn’t help but repost it today. I wonder, “Does it jolt you like it does me?”

You see, I walk with a limp everyday. I go forward in life with pains that I try to hide from the outside world. I’m always walking around with a scar here and a cut there, which I cover well, and I place a pretty smile on my face to hide the battle within of inadequacy, loneliness and worthlessness, but the scars remain regardless of the facade.

It doesn’t mean God isn’t healing me, and it doesn’t mean I am pitiful, nor do I desire your pity. Just because someone learns to survive their pain doesn’t mean it’s gone away. Simply because I learn to thrive through the storm doesn’t mean the rain doesn’t bring a chill to my bones sometimes. Learning to cope, learning to survive is just what we do. It’s what we all do in this journey we call life. Yet, I don’t want to simply survive till the end. I want to thrive! I want to live victoriously, and I want to lead others out of the bondage they are in!

So, when a post like this comes across my path, I need to pay attention. When a word this deep is sent to me, even indirectly, I need to stop and take note for God is speaking straight to my heart. He wants me to not only hear Him but to truly listen to what He has to say…

You see, I am a King’s kid! I am a daughter of royalty. I am a child of the Almighty. When you belong to a King, you walk differently. You talk differently. You live differently.

God never called us to live defeated lives. He never called us to simply survive, barely scraping by, in this darkened world till He calls us home. He didn’t intend for us to just live day to day, “clocking in and out,” as if it’s a 9-5 job of hard labor, and we’re just waiting for our paycheck to come in the mail. Romans 8:37 tells us, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Emphasis mine), and Matthew 28:19 reminds us to, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” It is our responsibility, our ‘Great Commission’ to go tell the world about the great love and joy we have found!

It is time we speak up, we speak out, and we let our voice be heard. Sister, walk no longer in sin, rebellion or shame. Go ahead, and straighten that crown on your head, and get specific in your prayers and walk in his calling. Share with your world the joy of the Lord, not just the mundane survival of faithfulness. Sustaining until the end is essential, but even Christ won one more soul while He hung on the cross! Why? Because He was overflowing love and hope even at that painful moment, and He was willing to be bold and truthful regardless of His circumstances and regardless of those who stood around Him in disbelief!

He has beckoned you. Did you think you wouldn’t get here? Did you think He wouldn’t come? Walk boldly into His presence and let Him tell you He loves you. Let Him lead you beside those still waters and remind you of who He is. Let Him guide you to that place of security, strength and confidence; then, go out and shout it to the world what you have found.

You are His baby girl, and He will fight for you. Stop walking through this life shamefully. Stop shying away from truth and victory. He has purposes for you to succeed. He has souls for you to rescue out of destruction. He has destined for you to win! (Jeremiah 29:11)

Go now, straighten that crown and live like a queen! 😉💗

To Speak or Not To Speak

For our relationships to be healed, mended and restored, we must speak up and be heard, but we must also shut up and listen. Sometimes, what you are assuming leads to misunderstanding and confusion. Sometimes, what you are avoiding leads to brokenness and pain.

Proverbs 17:27-28 tells us, “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” Maybe, you need to slow down and listen more. I had a teacher in my young life who said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth. Learn which one He wants you to use more.” This has really stuck with me through the years.

 

Maybe you contend that it’s easier for me to stop and listen than it is for the next guy. Maybe my introverted personality affords me more latitude. This doesn’t mean the next guy is necessarily excused from the need, from the expectancy of others. This doesn’t mean he has a better excuse than I. No, it just simply means he might need to work a little harder to open his ears and shut his mouth.

Other times, it’s better to speak up and be heard than to remain silent. In just a few chapters later, in the book of Proverbs, this instruction is given to us, “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Sometimes, when you remain silent, what you are feeling is not simple discomfort, it is pure conviction for what you are observing, hearing and the situation of which you are allowing yourself to be a part. When you remain silent, your actions further condone what is happening. If it is wrong, speak truth. Stop violence. Stop harm against the innocent. Stop evil with your bold speech.

 

 

I could argue that, maybe it’s easier for you to speak louder than it is for me. Maybe your extroverted personality allows you more fortitude. This doesn’t mean I am excused from the necessity of expression, from the desperation of the wounded. This doesn’t mean I have a better excuse than you. No, it just simply means I must put more effort in the articulation of my voice.

The perfect balance comes between the tension of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. It comes from the acknowledgment for the need of both and seeking the right one at the perfect moment. It comes in knowing our own weaknesses and strengths and drawing from them both for the courage to do right, and finding our passion in one and releasing our will for another.

That is the beauty of conflict and the harmony of perfect peace.

 

Counted Worthy

Acts 5:41-42 “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”

…rejoicing because of ridicule and persecution?? Who does that?? I don’t see many in today’s society who get excited over verbal attacks, much less, physical attacks! You can pick up today’s paper or turn on the nightly news and see accounts of those who are angry at any intolerance, any mocking or even the slightest implication of ridicule for their given faith, lifestyle or even choice of words. These men, here in the Scripture, were thrown in prison, mocked, accused, about to receive a death sentence, and ended up simply being flogged (for anyone wondering, that means “to be beat with a whip or stick”), and yet, they left rejoicing, because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 

This Scripture is so challenging to me. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about suffering, and especially, about being beat with a whip or stick. Honestly, that’s not quite my vision of a “fun day!” Yet, these men loved God so much that they were willing to go through all of this just so they could testify of His Name. They rejoiced that the suffering came their way, because it enables them to preach more boldly to others of His glory, and they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news from that day forward!

With the news headlines of all the Christians around the world being killed by ISIS, and so many other happenings in our own nation, this scenario is coming so close to being a reality within our own Land of the Free and The Brave. Growing up, I never thought this could happen here; yet, now, as an adult, I’m not so naive nor idealistic. I know it can happen in the blink of an eye, and to be honest, it does give me pause. 

I read books like Jesus Freak and Fox’s Book of Martyrs, and my faith is challenged by their boldness in the face of persecution. My petty little worries of friendships, light bills and “Are my children doing their homework today?” vanish into thin air in the light of their martyrdom. I pray I can be found this faithful. I pray I can be found this encouraging and this bold to share my testimony with others even if I am staring death in the face. 

It’s so easy to boldly proclaim your allegiance when no one is threatening you. It’s so easy to declare your faithfulness when you don’t have a gun aimed at your head, or your children are lined up at the stake, but as I read Jesus Freaks, I truly wonder if I could keep my bold faith when looking down the barrel of a semi-automatic or my children’s very lives are being threatened.

I pray I am found faithful and true. I pray I can remain steadfast and committed to the One who saved me, forgave me and gave me new life. I pray that, if I am found worthy of suffering disgrace for His sweet Name, I am able to stand, rejoicing, proclaiming His goodness and grace for everyone to see. 

How about you? What do you see? What would you do?

You’re Weird! … I’m Weird, Too!

We all have our quirks and our peculiarities. My husband is so comfortable in his; I have to be honest, sometimes, I’m downright jealous. I know, I know. I shouldn’t be jealous of my own husband! I just wish I could be okay with my oddities all the time.

I love fall and winter weather, but I am incredibly cold-natured. I hate raw tomatoes; however, I love to eat anything made with tomatoes, as in spaghetti, pizza sauce and chili, and  I love to make stuff from tomatoes such as salsa and vegetable soup. I love to sleep with socks on, and I can sleep just about anywhere, but if you wake me up about an hour after I go to sleep, I may not even remember our conversation by morning. I also have a love-hate relationship with the snooze button. I love to meet new people, and carry on long conversations with one or two people; yet, I am an extreme introvert, and I have to revive myself by having long moments of solitude.

Yes, I am a quirky individual, and after 40+ years of living with myself, I am still trying to be okay with these traits. I know, we all have quirks and differences to our personalities, and so many people seem completely okay with theirs, and I am, genuinely, so happy for them. Some even seem a little too comfortable…to the point of rudeness to those around them, and I suppose, this one fact alone causes me to hone in too strongly on my own idiosyncrasies for fear of possibly becoming like them.

I am so concerned with not being rude or offensive to another person, even unintentionally. All my life, I have been conditioned to be kind and accommodating, and I have always had a pretty adaptable personality; so, the moments when someone is offended or bothered by something I have done or said, I am profusely apologetic, sometimes, even to a fault.

Yet, as I grow older, I am learning that this over concern for other people’s opinions can, often, actually be derived from a source of pride and vanity. You see, no matter how “nice and sweet” a personality trait may seem, on the flip side of it is an uglier, less delightful sounding trait. It can be used for either extreme, and we must realize what the root is in order to come back to center, Christ’s center.

Just as the opinionated, outspoken person can be seen as both truthful and rude, overbearing and bluntly honest, depending on the positive and negative extremes, the tolerable, quiet spoken person can be seen as both graciously kind and fearful, flexible and weak. All of these (negative) extremes come from a root of vanity and pride, ambition and envy, and we must recognize, acknowledge and surrender these qualities to God before we move to the extremes of either side.

When we refuse to let the flesh reign in our lives, and, instead, allow Christ to rule and reign, we will find that we will no longer worry over what people think, and we will worry most about what HE thinks. We will no longer err on the sides of brashness and  fearfulness, but rather, we will walk in complete boldness of who we are in Christ, even with all our quirks, failures and peculiarities.

When we surrender our all to Him, we will begin to actually see ourselves as He sees us, not as the world sees. We will begin to believe as He believes and act as He acts. When we are totally surrendered to Him, we will become a mirror of His life, because it will be His Spirit living in us and through us. ❀