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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!

Eternally Grateful

Have you ever just gone up to someone who hurt you and given her a hug? What about you when someone was cussing you out, did you just walk up and give her a great big bear hug? Or what about the time someone punched you or slapped you? Did you smile, put your arm around him and tell him you forgave him?

Do you realize, Christ did this for us AND more? He made an eternal decision for an eternal life. We were guilty. We were condemned. We were on our way to an eternity of death and destruction, without any care or concern for Him. We were destined to bust hell wide open; yet, He decided to leave His glory, come to earth as a man and die for us! He didn’t do this, because we deserved it. He didn’t do this, because we were worthy. In fact, we caused this destiny of death to even exist; yet, He made the decision to change it all. 

Why did He do this? Because, He loves us and longs to be with us. Can you imagine a greater King? Can you imagine walking away from a love like this? He offers it freely to you today. Not one cost involved. Not one cent. Not one sacrifice. It’s all been paid. Paid in full

…ps. And by the way, He’s not still dead. When you decide to serve Him, you’re not serving a dead god, a statue or some inate object that has no connection or life. He’s a risen King who cares about and loves you in real time! ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s just awesome that way!

GOOD NEWS!


Today, as Christians, we celebrate Easter, not because “the Easter Bunny came to visit” and not because momma has fixed some “fine meat and potatoes” for after service today. We come together to celebrate, because “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8), and because Paul reassures us in 1 Corinthians 15 that we don’t serve a dead King, but rather, we serve a risen Savior and He is returning one day to take us all home!

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HAPPY EASTER!

Now that is something to shout about!!

Living In The Reality of What Is

(Proposed Reality vs. Fantasized Perspective)
Living in the reality of what is rather than the fantasy of what should be is so important, even when it proves to be painful and awkward. Living in the reality of what is may not always be the most enjoyable spot, but it sure beats the foolishness and perpetual agony of the fantasy of what should be. Living in the fantasy of what should be might seem fun and even peaceful for a moment, but it will only bring deeper pain when the fantasy proves to be untrue and a waste of so much time. Let me share with you why…

In the fantasized perspective, you will:

* Imagine yourself being someone you’re not. You will fabricate a whole new personality, character and interaction than what is actually true. 

* Trade the true affection and acceptance from those who love and care for you and replace it with the fabricated affections of those who will only use and abuse you. 

* Fantasize about what could have been, should have been or what would have been, had things or people just been different and live in a perpetual state of denial, blame and justification. 

* Accept a false reality in the attempts of achieving the fantasized world of which you have dreamt. 

* Accept the reality someone else gives you to live. 

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In the proposed reality, you will:  

* Recognize who you are and who you are not and embrace whom God has called you to be. 

* Grow beyond what or whom you desired to have and embrace your God given purpose and engagements. 

* Have to accept that you are unwanted, unloved and unaccepted by the crowd in which you long to belong, but also, open your eyes to see who truly does want you, love you and accept you for who you are. 

* Let go of false expectations and embrace the reality of where you are and to where you are commissioned by God. 

* Accept the reality God brings to you. 
Through those painful moments of life, I have often been tempted, to slip into the fantasy of what could have been or should have been; however, I have learned over the years, this temptation is just that, a temptation for a counterfeit in my life. As I grow older, I have learned (and sometimes, am still learning) to embrace those people and things of value in my life and just let go of those of a fantasized value. I’ve learned to count my many blessings and realize those who aren’t or who have no desire to be in my life don’t need to be fantasized into the beautiful tapestry of life God has woven for me. Because of this, my life has become much fuller and richer. 

Living in a fantasy of what should be might bring you a temporary joy, but it is an exhausting journey that will leave you washed up like a broken seashell on the shore, and it will unravel any shred of peace and serenity you might find. We were never created to live in that fantasy. We were never called to fabricate a fairytale in which to abide. God created us to be who we are, and He called us to a time, a purpose and a people. It is our job to seek out that calling, get busy fulfilling it and let all the rest of that stuff go! 

…otherwise, you end up living your life like this…๐Ÿ˜‚

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Where Is He?

Did you see that baby cowering in the corner, trying to hide from the screams and profanity swirling around her head?

Did you notice the young boy who got into a fight at school, making his friends a substitute for his anger, because he can’t hit his abuser?

Did you recognize the young teen shielding her face from the crowd, looking for the one who will make her feel loved and secure?

Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?

Do you see that man marching off to war, preparing to slay a few demons of his own in the battle?

Do you notice the woman working three jobs, living a frazzled, exhausted life, simply trying to give her child something a little better? 

Do you realize the old man wandering the halls, the same who doesn’t even know his children’s names who desperately long to love him and reach through his darkness? 

Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?

Some ask and plead. Some scream in demand. Some just sit and stare. Others simply walk away, veering this way and that, never making much sense of the journey. 

“He’s always there and always faithful,” says the church walls. “Just look up and you will find all you need,” states the sign as the tender ones lie dying on the front steps. My mind wonders if we really make a difference. Do we really share and care?

Some lash out in anger. Some wallow and cry. Others become cold and stone-like, never realizing hope knocking at the door.

His love never wavers. His mercy never fails. Just because you cannot see the sun through the tornadic clouds doesn’t void its reality. Hurricanes never validate the lack of peaceful showers on the ‘morrow. 

Some answers I will never find until the other side. Some questions will still remain after the crisis of one life has vanished. Yet, I have found this truth to remain:  He is faithful. He is love. He is true. 

He will be there when you need Him even in the quietness of your soul. He will never leave you in your deepest sorrow or shame. He will remain when all else fails, when everyone else has disappeared into the dark of night. He will remain. He will be a shield. He will be a refuge. 

Just call on His name and find He is the Hope which remains. 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

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Are We Like Him?

As Easter draws near, and we get ready to celebrate with our songs, our meals and our families, I wonder if we remember who Christ truly is. He is Christ the King. He is Life Everlasting. He is Savior, and He is our Risen Lord.

If we who call ourselves Christian are not living as Christ, then our words are not true. He was light to a darkened world. He was love to an angry crowd. He was truth to the hypocrite, the sinner and the lost. He was a healing balm to the broken and the bruised. He gave up His life for those who hated Him the most for just one to see His forgiveness and love while on the cross.

Does the world see Jesus in me and you? The Jesus that they see, does it make them want more or less of Him?

The Salt Marshes or The River

I have a question for you…

Do you live in the salt marshes of Christianity or in the River of God’s glory?

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You can be a Christian and not experience the fullness of His glory. You can live a good, “saved” life, following His commandments, yet, never comprehend His overflowing joy and complete peace. You can go to church every Sunday, work the nurseries on Wednesdays, pledge your loyalties to every youth and world missions project and still miss out on all He has for you.

Although, I have to ask, “Why?” … Why would we ever want to live beneath His potential for our lives? Why would we ever be “okay” with second best or just comfortable with less than His best? Why would we ever settle for something He knows we don’t need or even detests?

Yet, so many of us do just that! We choose to live in the salt marches of Christianity, and we completely bypass the river of God’s glory. Sometimes, it’s fear that holds us back, or maybe it’s those past pains that blind us from the reality of His promises.

Often, it’s schedules and agendas which consume every moment and spin us out of control, shielding us from the clarity of truth. Too many times, it is the sin of our past, our present, or the contemplation of sin in our future, which binds us to the salt marshes and refuses to let us venture beyond what we’ve always seen, heard and thought to be truth.

It is time to break free. It is time to live in His fullness rather than the anemia of our fears and failures. It is time to move out, beyond the norm, and step into the river of His glory.

You will find He is waiting there just for you.

*Note: I do not own nor possess any part of this video. This is from a simple google search to YouTube.

Trapped Again!

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Gal. 5:1

This Scripture came up today in my Youverse app, and even though, I’ve read it many times before, it seemed to settle in a little deeper this time. Have you ever had that happen? You’re re-reading a scripture that you’ve read for years, but that next time, it’s like reading it for the very first time all over again, because God seems to speak to your heart in that very moment.

That’s how it was today. I’ve been doing this bible study on the power of our words, and it has really been strengthening my faith, challenging my flesh and transforming my words. This past week, we were studying the lesson on gentle words and memorizing the Scripture in Provers 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” …You would know, the one week when the stress loads of life are heavy on our boys and me, schedules are tight, tension is heightened, and words are short and snappy every day, that this is our memory verse and the lesson I’ve got to study and share with the class! …geez! Talk about feeling like a hypocrite! ๐Ÿ˜‘

Regardless of the feelings, I kept studying, and God kept convicting my heart, reshaping my responses and working the repentance out of my mouth. By the day class time rolled around, I had made my mistakes and my confesssions and worked out a plan for us all to do things better this coming week. Amazing how, sometimes,  we have learn how to “adult better” alongside our children. ๐Ÿ˜‰… I guess, if we were perfect, we’d be in heaven already; so, I’m all for the learning.

What struck me about this verse in Galatians is how, too often, we realize those sins of which we need to repent, we ask for forgiveness, and we think we’ve move beyond them; yet, somewhere along the way, we find ourselves trapped again by the very things that tripped us up in the beginning! How does that even happen?

Thinking over this, I was led to another well known scripture in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The devil is always seeking to destroy us. His search for our weak spots, and his schemes to bring us down never stop! He is relentless in His strategy to take us out!

However, I believe, our daily struggle to crucify our flesh (or die to selfishness) and feed our spirit (or live more like Christ) isn’t always so relentless. We get distracted by the cares of this world. We become negligent in the studying of His Word and in the seeking of His face. We allow “the little foxes to spoil the vine,” so to speak, and the battle (for our freedom from sin) becomes lost as we stop being vigilant in our fight. We start lowering our shield of faith and raising our selfish ambitions and outlooks. We start laying down our sword of the spirit to rather pick up those things from which we have been freed, as we become more “me” focused and so much less “Christ” focused. Before too long, we find ourselves ensnared with the very things He freed us from years before.

This is not what Jesus plans for us! This is not what He desires. Let us fight this good fight of faith. Let us not return to those sins for which He died. Let us live freely in the freedom (from sin) He has given us, and let us finish this race well! … There is a generation, of both young people and young Christians, coming behind us. They need for us to remain free and to finish well. Then, we might be able to share our story with them on how it’s done and allow our legacy of faith to be passed on. Live free today!

Challenge of Praise

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I’d like to challenge you today with this scripture…

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels;

Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise Him, sun and moon;

Praise Him, all you stars of light!

Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,

And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For He commanded and they were created.

He also established them forever and ever;

He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,

You great sea creatures and all the depths;

Fire and hail, snow and clouds;

Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

Mountains and all hills;

Fruitful trees and all cedars;

Beasts and all cattle;

Creeping things and flying fowl;

Kings of the earth and all peoples;

Princes and all judges of the earth;

Both young men and maidens;

Old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For His name alone is exalted;

His glory is above the earth and heaven.

And He has exalted the horn of His people,

The praise of all His saintsโ€”

Of the children of Israel,

A people near to Him.

Praise the Lord!

He is so very good. He deserves our praise!

Live For The Eternal

As I visited with my ailing relative today, I was reminded again of how sweet heaven will be when we are all there together. There will be no more sickness and no more pain. Our loved ones will never die, and we will never worry about crises, heartaches, destruction or even the threats of such. We will say no more goodbyes, and the trivial things of this world will have all been lost. 

If I had but one piece of advice to give, it would be this: No matter what you seek in this life, all things will eventually fade away, only those things which are eternal will remain. Never allow the temporary pleasures to blind you from the eternal treasures. Live for those who matter, and let all the rest simply fade with the time of life’s journey. Recognize and acknowledge your reality. Cherish the ins of value, and make sure you are both ready for the other side; so together, you might worship your King in eternity…