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!

Live Now…There’s Nothing New

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We toil, and we struggle to get the work done in a day. We hurry here and hurry there, scrambling to stack the hours into weeks and weeks into years. We are constantly busy with something new, something pressing, something important that must be done right now, in this moment. 

Then a crisis hits. A tragedy befalls our friends or our family, and it seems everything changes in an instant. We are then focused on that problem, that issue, that crisis which has taken center stage. 

Too often, the everyday life and the momentary crises can take over, and we forget to live in the moment. We neglect the importance of living in the here and now. We bypass any and all around us, like an ostrich, we have our head in the sand, seeking dutiful ways to bow out” gracefully” of the life and purpose we live.  

King Solomon reminds us that in Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) There is no new emergency that hasn’t been before. There will be no new ‘created agenda’ which has never been thought of or tried. Everything we encounter, someone else has already experienced. In one way or another, someone has walked that journey of pain, sorrow, joy or apprehension that you are walking right now. It is only new to us and our lives.  
Sometimes, we have but one moment to make an impact on a life around us, and we miss it, because we allow the cares of this world to blind us. Sometimes, we are placed in strategic locations, a funeral home, a hospital hallway, an ICU waiting room, even a grocery store line, to reach someone right in the moment of their need. If we are not living that moment deliberately, we can miss it! 

Let us never be so caught up in the present crises, the present family issue or anything else, that we fail to remember why we are here. Let us never be so consumed by the present chaos of our lives that we can’t live in this present moment and reach someone else whose life needs His hope maybe even more than we do. 

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…😂

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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?

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Today, I’d like to share with you a piece our oldest son wrote the other day… his honesty through prose simply amazes me and humbles me…

Pretend your heart is like white converse. You wanna keep it clean so you pray and worship while you’re at church, but once you go to school, you may cuss someone out cuz they “hurch” you. And it’s like dirt, cuz it ruins your reputation. You see reputation comes along with your outspoken salvation. Cuz, once you’ve made an example to one person, it’ll spread. And though you may apologize, you’ll keep living in dread, cuz of the one thing you maybe said keeps coming back to guilt you. So, you think that if you keep doing it, you’ll be okay, but to your dismay, you just dig yourself a deeper hole. So, when you lie about it to your parents, your mindset will take its toll and mess you up much more than you could ever imagine. Your demons turn into dragons, and you have these night visions of flames of hell engulfing you while you’re waiting for God to start talking to you, but you’re too far gone, because you haven’t confessed of what you’ve done. So you try and run. Run from the ones you hurt and skurt to a last resort to be like Kurt. You start to flirt with death. But all around you, it’s like Macbeth, cuz your world is falling apart at the seams when you replay the memories like scenes in a movie until you can’t take it anymore, and you fall apart. This is a lot of what I’ve been going through. I’ve been lost, not knowing what to do, until I talked to someone, and he told me the truth, and I’ve been trying to get closer. Closer to who I need to be. Now, if you can see where I’m going, I ask for you to accept my apology. I know it’ll take time, and I need a clean slate and accountability, but if I confess and repent, the Lord will help. So, I ask if you could forgive me for what I ruined with y’all, and after I’ve knelt before God, I hope I can make things right. That’s all I have to say tonight. Thank you. 

Penned – JG – 3/28/17

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…

Listen Up and Receive

Proverbs 15:31-33
“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”

Have you ever met anyone who just wouldn’t listen to wisdom? You know, that one to whom you could talk till you’re “blue in the face;” yet, he or she just simply refuses to open his or her ears to hear. To be honest, when this happens, I have to fight genuine anger within my heart and then I have to fight pure pity.

To watch someone who is so stubborn in their own will to refuse God time and time again infuriates me on the onset, because it is as if I am standing at the top of a waterfall screaming out to her of the coming danger. I am jumping up and down, waving my arms, yelling at the top of my lungs, desperately trying to make her see that if she continues to travel in her canoe, ignoring the rushing rapids, she will find herself busted and destroyed in just a short time, maybe even beyond repair. It is as if I am furiously throwing all lifelines out to help him get to safety, and yet, despite all my efforts, he shoves the ropes off the boat and scoffs at my concern.

Then, the undesirable but inevitable happens. She finally realizes the error of her ways, but it is now too late. She violently attempts to turn around, only to find the craft is teetering over the edge and racing toward the rocks below. There is nothing more you can do, except wait until he steps out of the destruction and finds himself again. You can pray, and you can cry, and rightly you should; yet, until he decides to remove himself from the debris, you will be struggling in vain.

That is when the pity and the sorrow settles into my view. To see her fighting against the hope which remains breaks my heart. To see her waring against her Maker draws tears to my eyes. To see him clawing and assaulting his Savior, refusing the grace and mercy right within his grasp, shatters my serenity and peace.

There is hope for all who are lost. There is redemption for all those broken and shattered by their own muck and mire. He loves you. He will redeem you. He is waiting there for you to see. Just call on His name. You will never be the same.

Decrease Me. Increase You. 

You teach me through Your Word that I need a reformation. I need reproofing, and I need transforming to be more of who You desire me to be. Yet, I find myself, time and again, pushing against Your sovereignty. I find myself entangled in my own desires, my own selfish perspective.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You draw out of my soul the ugly, the begrimed and the despised things. You point to the waywardness of my heart and challenge it to change. You mark those fleshly wanderings and call them to a duel. You refine and chastise to remove that wretched sin.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You extract the waste that Your purity might flow. You entrap the filth that Your Spirit might invade. You ensnare all that is lost that Your anointing might abide. As the mire is expelled, Your holiness can thrive.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

I find that as I yield my heart and surrender my will, You are enabled to dig deep within my soul. You eliminate all that is not like You. The fire refines me. Your love renews me.

I step back from the pruning to see there is so much less of me, and then I realize there’s so much more of You. ❤

 

Do you chatter or Do You Speak?

Have you ever met someone who just rambles on and on, and it’s hard to even get a word in edgewise? I’m not talking about when you run into your “long lost friend,” and you’re both talking so fast, excited to share what’s happened over the years. I’m not referring to those times when your spouse and you are trying to iron out some differences, and I’m not even implying those moments when your teenager is allowing the deepest soul beats to overflow for your ears to hear. 

I’m talking about the person to whom you go when you need the “latest and greatest news.” Come on, you know the one. Even when you shouldn’t listen, and even when you pretend you don’t, she has the most recent, “juiciest” word on the street, just dying to let you receive it! The string of gossip is so delicious, so “hot off the press,” she carries it to you like it’s a hot potato, and she can’t wait to release it from her flapping lips. 

If you’re a living, breathing soul, and you’re an honest one at that, we can all attest we’ve been there. We’ve been caught in that moment between wanting to hear the herald and knowing we shouldn’t give it credence. So, we are faced with a dilemma. Do we receive it, even if it is only to appear gracious and kind, not wanting to hurt her feelings? Do we say, “We really shouldn’t be talking about this,” yet, continue to allow her jaws to chatter, or do we kindly (or rudely, if needed) tell her we will not lend our ears to this gossip, no matter how close to the truth it might be? 

What do we do? What should we do?

If we are God-fearing, God-pleasing and desire to be seen as such, then we should choose the latter, no matter how hard it may be to speak, and no matter what “friendship” it may cost us. When you become a person known not only by the words you speak, but also, by the company you keep, you carry with you a reputation which speaks when you don’t have to. You become known as a person of integrity, trustworthiness and higher standards. When you close off gossip, not only from your own mouth, but also from those mouths that surround you, you close off needless chatter. 

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People are drawn to those who are of a reputable stature. They will be intrigued by your silence rather than offended by your babble or the gibberish that surrounds you. People of integrity and trust will begin to want to hear what you have to say when you choose to speak. So, choose your words and your “atmosphere of words” wisely; then, you will become known as a person who speaks and doesn’t just chatter. 

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