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!

Friday’s Friends #4

img_1608-1

pinterest

Today is Friday, and that means I have something special to share: A New Friday’s Friend! I do hope you are enjoying these each week, and I hope you are finding some new “friends” here within the blogosphere. 🙂

I’d like to share with you a blogger who has touched my heart with the story she shares. BeautyBeyondBones has an incredible testimony of how she has lived in the depths of despair and came out shining on the other side with hope. Her story inspires me and encourages me to look beyond the smile that someone has and really look into their eyes to see if their soul is truly full of hope.

I do hope you will go and visit her, and I hope you will find her story as encouraging as I have. I love that her latest decision has been to completely live by faith, to live it radically and for a greater cause than herself…this is truly beautiful!

img_1609-1

pinterest

Love Me Challenge #14

img_1768-2

Sometimes, we think we’ve overcome certain fears, and later on, we realize we have to face those fears once again. So, I’m going to share a time when I simply overcame FEAR itself…

It was the summer of 1993, when I had returned home from college. My parents had just moved to the mountains of East Tennessee a few years before, and my room was now a “studio/attic” room on the top floor of their house. I began waking up in the middle of the night with a paralyzing fear. There was a large, double window on one end of the room, the wall I was facing when I awoke each time, and it seemed as if two great big eyes were staring at me. I know, I know, for some this might sound like it is being written right out of one of those cheesy 1970s cheap horror flicks. However, I am here to tell you, I was petrified. I had always battled fear as a child and young adult, but this fear was so debilitating, so overwhelming, I would just lie there in the bed, unable to move, speak or even hardly blink.

This went on for about 2-3 weeks, and the consuming fear of falling asleep was causing me to stay up till the wee hours of the morning, only to fall asleep exhausted and awake to the paralyzing fear just an hour or two later. My mom would just tell me to pray, as I didn’t really give her much detail of what I was going through. The books I’d read would advise me on all kinds of nightly routines to combat the fears and prepare my body for sleep, and the soft instrumental music I’d play seemed to help as I drifted off to sleep but would be off by the middle of the night (remember, this is the early 90s. I didn’t own a iPhone with a playlist built in. 😉 ) It seemed nothing was helping to change this terrible cycle of sleep and fear into which I had fallen. About 3 weeks into this “rollercoaster ride,” I was talking to a former pastor’s wife and describing to her what was going on. She very gently encouraged me to read the Bible more, concentrating on verses dealing with trusting God, combating fear and standing on the promises of God. She encouraged me to memorize one Scripture, 1 Timothy 2:7…

2timothy1

ptl2010.com

She, also, told me to just speak His name. I asked her, “What if I can’t speak His Name?” For, I had not been able to call out to my parents during those times or speak a word of anything. She said, “Then, you just whisper it, and if you can’t whisper it, you close your eyes and think His name in your head until you can.” Ok, now that I was armed with “weaponry,” I was miraculously healed that night from all my paralyzing fears, right?? Unfortunately, I have to say, “NO!” That night, when I was awoken once more by that debilitating fear, I started trying to quote the Scripture that I had not yet fully memorized, this all in my mind, of course. (Remember, I couldn’t speak, because the fear was so great.)

All I could remember was, “God…isn’t…fear.” Oh yeah, that’s just great! How can I battle this fear when I can’t even think of a Scripture to quote in my mind? Then I remembered my pastor’s wife, her sweet voice telling me, “Just say His name.” So, I did. I said, “Jesus” inside my head just as loud as my mind would scream it. I screamed it over and over again, and evidently, I drifted off to sleep after about 30+ repeats. This rolled on for about a week before I was able to whisper His name and the Scripture I was memorizing. After about 2 1/2 weeks, I was speaking this Scripture each time I awoke, speaking the name of Jesus, and very peacefully, drifting back to sleep.

After 6-8 weeks, from the very beginning, I no longer had these “night terrors,” as I now call them. I cannot tell you why I had such a battle, and I cannot answer the questions as to why God didn’t just instantaneously and miraculously heal me from that paralyzing fear; however, I can tell you this, I emerged from that period in my life with a stronger faith and trust in my God. I can tell you that I have not dealt with that type of ‘midnight fear’ again. I can also tell you that I have been able to use this story, over the years, to help people who have battled with a spirit of fear.

I have found that, throughout my life, sometimes, God doesn’t answer our prayers exactly the way we want Him to, but if we will allow Him to and trust Him to, He will answer them exactly when and how He needs to in order to fulfill His glory in our lives.

I do hope this story will encourage someone out there who has battled or is battling fear. He is a good God, and He can help you. ❤

*This is a song set in a Christmas setting, but it is a wonderful reminder to FEAR NOT…         I hope you enjoy…

*I do not own any part of this song, these lyrics or this video. Copied straight from YouTube. Song by Travis Cotrell.

PS. Happy Valentine’s Day!! Love the one you’re with, and share your love with those around you!

Choose Your Weapons Wisely

lion1

pinterest

Monday I posted about winning the battle against the enemy, but it made me wonder…Sometimes, I wonder if we, as Christians, give the right answers to those who feel like they are losing the battle of life. I mean, to the common reader on this site, what does this mean, “winning the battle”…”we’ve been given the weaponry”…”pick up your sword of the Spirit and your shield of faith?” I know for those of us who have grown up around church and the things of church and Christianity, these words might be a common vernacular; however, for others, these might make as much sense as a foreign language.

So, today, I’d like to share a little of what I have come to know. I want to share a little of my storywhat He means to me, and how I have learned to fight and stand tall in this fight of faith. I hope it will help you, whomever you are, and I pray you will be encouraged to seek more of Him to find the truth and love that I have found.

TRUTHS:

Life can be hard sometimes, and being Christlike doesn’t necessarily change that.

Being a Christian does not cause our lives to be perfect.

Loving God does not make all bad stuff go away, never to effect us.

Relying on Him doesn’t mean we won’t have doubts and fears.

Trusting in Christ takes just an ounce of faith and a whole lot of surrendering of our will.

Once you decide to trust, He makes up the difference between our ability and lack of faith.

Our Christianity isn’t based on good feelings, happiness or getting what we want.

He has given us promises on which to stand and build up our faith.

His promises are true, steadfast, uncompromising and unchanging.

He is a God who is full of unconditional love, unwavering mercy and unrelenting faith.

He is a God who is forever reaching to us and eternally seeking to draw us back to Himself.

I could quote Scripture after Scripture of who He is and what He is about. I could recite verse after verse of His goodness, His promises and His commands; however, unless, you actually develop a relationship with Him my words won’t make much of a difference for you. Until you come to know Him, truly know Him, as your Savior and your King, as your Refuge and your High Tower, and as your Prince of Peace, what I have to say will not really make an impact on your heart and mind.

Oh, but if you can just have a moment with Him. If you can call on His Name just once, and grasp even a glimpse of the love that He has for you, I promise you, you will be forever changed. All I can tell you is just try Him. Reach out to Him. Call on His Name, and see what He might do.

 

 

It Is Our Story To Tell

“…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

I have a friend who is dealing with the pain and agony of cancer that has spread across her body. Last month, I was notified of a friend who lost her 16 year old son in a house fire. Just last week, I ran across a FB post from a past church member who lost his wife tragically in a car wreck. It seems more and more I hear of friends going through a divorce, family members who are faced with illnesses and children who are lost and undone.

These stories hit close to home. I am a wife. I have a 15 year old and an 11 year old. Living is hard sometimes, and I find myself wondering why it’s so sorrowful at times. Yet, these tragedies make me realize so many around me are hurting. These moments of grief remind me that we weren’t made for this. We weren’t meant for these illnesses, these tragedies, this death. We are here but for a season…  

This world is dying for peace, for healing and for love. If we will just look around us, we will see so many hurting souls right in front of us. Christ came to this earth that their stories might end differently. The story of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection are the very thing that can bring healing to their brokenness. These details don’t somehow miraculously make all things perfect. This account doesn’t instantly change your circumstance or your plight.

Yet, when you find Jesus, and you believe in Him, He does one special thing for you. He brings you HOPE. Hope to face the storm and come out on the other side. Hope to face one more day. Hope to see the sun on the horizon. Hope to breathe again. Hope to live beyond this current life.

His story is one of HOPE, and if we know Him, we should be sharing this with everyone we meet. You never know, that person beside you might very well need it the most!

We Never Know

We have no guarantees. We have no promises of long life and happiness in this earthly life. Not one of us can predict what tomorrow might bring.

I read a post today about a friend who lost her sister in a tragic accident. She was a wife of 14 years and a mom to four children still at home. Talked to a young man yesterday who lost his mom 7 seven years ago; he’s just a teenager. Another friend is grieving the loss of her 16 year old who was lost in a house fire last month. Tragedy surrounds us everyday, and we may never know what someone is going through unless they share their story.

Sometimes, especially in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we can get so busy with our ‘to do’ lists, our shopping needs and our holiday parties that we fail to see the hurting who may be standing right next to us. You know, the waiter who seemed to not care about whether you enjoyed your meal today? Maybe she just lost her mom last week, and she’d rather escape responsibilities right now; however, she has to work to pay the bills. The cashier who seemed mad that you were even in her line? Maybe she’s struggling through a divorce and won’t get to see her kids on Christmas Day, because the judge granted visitation to dad this holiday. Or the father in the grocery aisle looking lost and confused, who just won’t get out of your way? Maybe he is distracted, because his beautiful wife of 10 years is lying in a hospital bed suffering from an incurable disease, but he’s here, searching for the cereal that his four year old so wants for breakfast.

The promise of our Savior is one of Hope. Isaiah told us He would be called Wonderful, Counselor, a Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, and He is all of this and SO much more!  I have to ask, “Are we sharing Him with the world around us this Christmas?” Are we looking for those in need and taking the time to listen to their stories?

We never know the stories unless they share them with us. Yet, if we will open our eyes and listen to His voice, sometimes, He will bring them right in front of us. Just a smile, an encouraging word, a helping hand might help them make it through another day. God could have placed them in your path for you to see; so, you could share your story…because you are someone who has found the Hope they desperately need.

Pinterest.com

Let us not just be a great church who sits on a hill looking lovely and singing beautiful songs. Let it be our ambition to reach this community, to share the love of Christ to the unloveable and to proclaim His Hope to the hopeless. Let us share our story that has found love and grace and Hope in the only One True God.

Faithgateway.com

What Is Your Story?

My father-in-law shared this thought the other day, and I thought I’d elaborate on it a little and pass it along…

 

tell-your-story

thomasseng.com

 

Everybody has a story. A story of pain. A story of heartache. A story of victory. A story of healing. What is your story? God uses our stories to bring comfort to those around us. If we don’t share our stories, then, others miss out on huge blessings, encouragement and healing for their own situations.

God allows us to go through stuff sometimes; so, we can, in turn, share with someone else our struggles, our lessons learned and the moments we overcame. Why should we hold these within our hearts, never giving them away? You might learn things without a teacher, but isn’t it easier to hear of another’s experience and learn from his or her mistakes before going through the same thing ourselves? We all go through painful storms, but isn’t more comforting to walk alongside someone who’s been through it before rather than walking the journey alone?

We are the Body of Christ. We are made to be a community. We are created to help one another, to teach one another and to even “sharpen” one another. Share your story. You never know the impact you may have.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17