Saturday, February 21, 2015

When you answer the call

(via)

 
Have you ever felt terrified?
Unable to move?
Desperate to change course, but fearful to walk in a new direction?

I've been at that place at different times in my life, and have wondered why...

I know that I have heard God's voice. He has called me to a particular place of surrender, and yet, the desire to hesitate is strong . The tendency to pull back from that brave moment of stepping into the light feels better than pushing back against the fear.
 
Even our Messiah, the Savior of the world, was faced with uncertainty when He was considering His next step.  His Father had sent him to the world with a greater purpose in mind...the forgiveness of sins.  Our redemption hinged on Christ's willingness to walk forward, towards pain and uncertainty, while trusting the Father's plan.

You can read about the night of fear that Christ faced in Matthew 26. 
Verse 39 shows a particular moment of anguish:


And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." (NASB)

He fell on His face.

He prayed.
He surrendered.

I've been doing a lot of "falling on my face," recently.

God has called me to a few things specifically...

He has called me to be His.

He has called me to be the wife of my husband.
He has called me to raise 4 children.
He has given Brian and I the call to pursue adoption.
He has asked me to be faithful in mentoring women and teens.
He has begun to open doors of ministry that weren't there a few months ago.

In all of it, I am tempted to run and hide.



The other day, I fell on my face...on my bed, and cried silently..."I don't want to be a grown-up anymore."

Mostly it was because I was way behind on laundry...



No, seriously...this was only a small part of it.

This "growing up and being who you are called to be" is tough stuff.  There is no beating around it.  There are days that are confusing, discouraging, and lonely.


Finding the correct balance in being a Christian Woman, Wife, Mom, Business Owner, and Activist for Social Justice (wink) is tricky.

And, I am not alone.


Everyone reading this knows what I'm talking about.

Some days it feels as if we are rushing somewhere, determined to get there first, with the best scores, and a pat on the back when we are done.

I want Wife of the Year award.
I long for my children to rise up and call me "blessed."
I want a successful business.
I would love to have a part in changing an entire generation with the message and hope of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

And, I want to get enough sleep every night,
 eat right,
drink 8-10 cups of water ever day,
exercise,
have children with perfect test scores,
make it to every home party,
help clean the church,
volunteer every week,
pretty much just change the world.

I've been overwhelmed by the vastness of things to do.
I've been terrified by the hugeness of the calling from God.
I've been listening to the voices in my head that tell me, I. am. not. enough.

But guess what?


I will never be enough.

Me, alone, is not enough.

I am not capable.

But, God doesn't call the equipped.

He equips the called.

And, Friends in Christ,
I. have. been. called.

And so have you.

May we never give into the lie that "us + God" is not enough.

It will always be more than enough.

Would you join me in praying for the courage to:

Shake off the fears.


Ignore the lies.

Resist insecurity.



"Insecurity only has power over you when you allow it control over your thoughts." - Lysa TerKeurst (The Best Yes)

I don't want to allow it  control over my thinking.

It's easy to give in to the lies we have submitted to before.

The ones that say...

"You are the only one."

"You are too dumb to handle this."

"You can't handle the enormity of this call."
But, we know the truth!


We are not alone.




We are not dumb.





Christ can handle the enormity of the call.



When we answer the call, He answers our cries for help.

He who calls us is FAITHFUL;
He, yes HE, will surely do it
.




 

 
 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Hollywood knows we are Hypocrites.



"They know what we want to buy, and they will sell it."



How many of us have willingly stepped on the bandwagon of "movie boycotting" recently?  I won't even type the titles of the movies that are drawing people in droves, for fear that it will give them one more ounce of publicity.  Hollywood is releasing some whoppers this year.  But, is it any different this year than last?  Haven't the filthy entertainment options been there for awhile?

Would you allow me to lovingly tell you that if we want the entertainment industry to stop making trash, we need to stop filling our queues with it.


What does our Hulu and Netflix history say about our desire to watch wholesome entertainment?

I speak as one who has been convicted about shows I was watching, only to stuff that feeling down...thinking I was just being "oversensitive."   As time went on, I found my conscience wasn't being pricked as often.  I could go longer watching something inappropriate, and not feel that sweet voice of God...warning me.

Let's talk about this.
What is the big deal about what we put in our minds?




Some people argue that if you read the Bible, you are reading an X-rated novel.  They have a point.  There are some horrific stories in God's Word.  There have been times I have set my Bible down after reading a passage, and shuddered at the gruesome content.

One might argue, "What's the difference, then?"  "Why does it matter if I watch explicit scenes, or movies that glorify immorality?"  Lot's daughters helped him get drunk, and deceived him by sneaking into his tent and having sex with him.  David was immoral, and an unwise parent... He covered up his son's sin...after that son had raped David's daughter.  Noah got drunk and ran around naked. People slept with their in-laws. Ugh.

Pretty disgusting, right?

We come from a long line of messed up people!

The Bible is a redemptive "tale" of God's faithfulness in spite of man's sin.


And, quite frankly...without the grace of God, we wouldn't have a chance either.

The sins that God hates. the. most. are these:

Haughty (proud) eyes
A lying tongue
Hands that shed innocent blood
A heart that devises wicked schemes
Feet that run to evil
A false witness who breathes out lies
One who sows discord among brothers

I want you to be aware that this post does not come from a place of judgement.
I come to you as one who has been as guilty as anyone when it comes to using sound judgement in my life choices.

I have been proud.
I have lied.
I have felt hatred.
My heart has devised unholy, wicked schemes.
My feet have run to evil.
I have gossiped with and hid truth from my friends.

Thankfully though, I have a loving Father in heaven who has spoken truth into my heart and mind.

He has called me away from a life full of wickedness.

He has made me new.

He has given me a love for Him, a desire to be holy, and a heart that wants to lean into His goodness.

It wasn't always like that.

There have been times when I actually wanted to hide and watch, listen to, or read material that numbed my conscience.  Even now, I am tempted on a regular basis, and I have to make a choice.
We live in a sick world...full of unholy content at our fingertips.  Now, more than ever, we have to be vigilant.

Where do we draw the line?  What should we put into our minds?

That, my friend, is between you and God.  And, if you are not a follower of Christ, then, it's between you, and you!  Which version of yourself do you want to be?

This is the version I long to be...
"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."


What does it mean to serve the LORD?



Follow Him: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27)

Fear Him: Deuteronomy 10:12, 20-21 reads, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”  Fear of the Lord in Biblical context refers to a sense of awe and worship.

Keep His Commandments: "The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;" (I John 2:4)

Listen to His voice:  The best way to listen to the voice of God, is to allow Him to speak to you through His Word.  He gave it to us for the following purposes...teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (II Timothy 3:16) 

There are times when we legitimately don't know how we should live as followers of Jesus Christ.  And, when we open our hearts before God, ask Him to teach us through His Word, and then listen for His instruction, amazing growth is possible. 

Serve Him: Romans 12:1 reads, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."
If we truly believe that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit...the place where God has chosen to dwell, would we not want to be careful what we put in the temple?  Whether it be what we read, the music we listen to on a consistent basis, or the images we allow into our mind.  All of it will have an effect on the Spirit's dwelling place.  Would He want to dwell in a place that is filled with unholy images?  I think not.  In his word He speaks quite frankly on the subject.

Galations 5:22 "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,"

Do the things we are filling our minds with promote the following?
LOVE

JOY
PEACE
PATIENCE
KINDNESS
GOODNESS
FAITHFULNESS

Do you leave the theater saying to yourself..."That content made me want to be a better man/woman?"

Or, do you leave with thoughts of lust, anger, frustration, envy, desire for pleasure?

When you have a steady diet of [enter TV show here] do you find your attitude becoming better or worse?

I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't be reading/watching/listening to.  That is the Holy Spirit's position of power in your life.  How awful would it be to have multiple "Spiritual Policemen" in our lives, telling us their opinions about what we should or should not be doing.  That's not the point!

We should be begging God to reveal His plan for our lives.  His ways are so much higher than our ways!


He knows the things that will bring harm to us, and He is pleading with us to listen to Him!

And, that brings us to the final note of instruction found in Deuteronomy 13:4

Cling to Him: What does clinging to God look like?


Let's start with a basic defining of the word: 
"to hold on tightly to."
synonyms: hold on to, clutch, grip, grasp, clasp, attach oneself to, hang on to; (source)


How can we, as people who love God, cling to Him (a perfect, holy God) and still cling to "works of darkness?"

It doesn't even make sense.


We can look at that idea objectively and realize that it is crazy.

And, yet, we as imperfect human beings, think we can continue to wallow in filth, and never get dirty.

We can't.

If we have a steady diet of dirt, the fruit of that will evidence itself.

I ask you this...

How can we cling to God, and cling to the practices of the world at the same time?


We can't.


Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NASB)

Tap into the power that comes from the Spirit of God.

If you have never given your life to Him so that He can transform you, I urge you to consider doing that today.

His plans for us are so much better than the ones we have in mind.



What can we fill our minds with today that will bring "life to our body," and "health to our bones?"

Consider these verses from the Proverbs:

"Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
 It will be healing to your body. And refreshment to your bones." (Proverbs 3:7-8)

May you be blessed today as you make choices that will create hope and healing.


I pray for each of you that will read this.  My heart is full of love for every one of you.

This is the prayer I am praying today:

 "To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

II Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NASB)