How everything around me moved from the safety of
white-picket fences and neighborhood playgrounds
to a territory where the wild things are?
What will happen to me? Is this world going to eat me alive? Will my kids be okay? Will I be punished for my beliefs? Stripped of my goods? Hurt?
Today, we seem to live in risky territory. Raw territory. Hunt and be hunted territory. Even a head in the sand can’t hide this fact. It can’t take away the feeling that we don’t know what to do or, really, how to even prepare.
Fuzziness ingrains fearfulness.
Panic invokes more panic.
Rage makes us rage.
Then the unknown makes us certain our demise will become known.
The potential of “anything” swirls like a reality-bomb ready to explode.
The people against us become big and the people with us – become little.
Even when we tell ourselves “we are getting extreme again” and try to check ourselves in to a better mindset, we still don’t do well, for our mind comes undone, yet again, at the next catastrophic world blow-up.
We return to square one at this point, asking God, “Why do you allow this stuff?”
His answer looks something like this: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:12)
God doesn’t hide the truth from those who want to hide their head under the blanket of this-all-can’t-really-be-happening. And, maybe, just maybe this is the point.
It is what it is. And God is who he is.
And fear is profitable when channeled properly.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling… (Phil. 2:12)
When I start to fear my big God, that stands over all world problems – I find peace. I find hope. I find resolve.
Hope that looks like:
He will save us from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we will find refuge; his faithfulness will be our shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Ps. 91:3-6)
Open your eyes and turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, makes way for forgiveness of sins and a secure inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 28:18).
Protect us, God will. Because he loves, he will rescue. Why? Because we acknowledge his name. We will call on him and he will answer. He will be with us in trouble. He will deliver us as we honor him. As we satisfy him all of our days, he will show his salvation to us (Ps 91:14-16).
Eternal glory in Christ Jesus will be ours, after we have suffered a little while, for he will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Pet. 5:10
Hope that leads to RESOLVE. RESOLVE to believe. RESOLVE to stand, no matter what. RESOLVE with fear. But, RESOLVE, nonetheless. Not in a fake way, not in a shallow way, not in a comfortable way, but in a I-can-only-do-it-with-you way. In a you-won’t-abandon-me-way. In a if-I-stay-in-your-truth-you-have-me-covered-way.
Reaching to a God who saves. Expecting him to fulfill his promises. Searching for his teaching amidst the terror. Obedient to his steady promises above wavering feelings. Leading our mind to his dwelling not the dwelling of the agonizing, torturing and demoralizing. Vindicating and convicting, left to him. Entering the holy dwelling place of the Spirit to reside with the comforter, the leader, the teacher and speaker of all truth.
Resolve in the name of Jesus. Resolve in the name of true belief. Solid gold, unbendable, unbreakable and untorchable belief. Believe that he is protector. Believe he is mightier. Believe he is more powerful.
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It is the best thing we have and, yet the hardest thing to walk by.
It is the gift of moving beyond our self, and all the same, the gift of seeing into our self.
It is the know-how that we don’t know-how.
It is the reasoning, others call mis-reasoned.
It is the bootcamp for endurance and perseverance.
It is the beginning of progress and the end of self-loathing.
It is both our movement and the mercy of Jesus co-mingling.
It is the knowledge that what we can’t do, we always can do – through Christ.
It is a step towards the unknown, where we trust the known is holding us.
It is the access point to amazing.
It is the hope of all glory laid down on earth.
It is our calling, the thing that I love and the thing I so often hate. It stretches me. It pushes me. It calls me to the cliff, in a way, it wraps it’s hands around me and shoves me over m cliff of safety. It makes my heart pump. It gets me sweaty. But, all the same, it works every time, when I let it.
So why don’t I let it work?
I just went to Allume, a bloggers conference. It was destined to be a glorious time! A time God had cut out for me to love others, to offer prayer and to walk with him. Yet, at the very beginning of the event, faith started to walk out and doubts started to walk in. All I seemed to be left with was a slip and slide experience of doubts ready to splash away all my dreams of excitement. Whoosh! Away she goes.
So, what is one to do when we see ourselves slipping away from God?When we find the trigger point to our doubting point has been pulled? We have to find out what compelled us to pull the trigger in the first place.
5 Ways We Self-Destruct Daily Faith
When we walk hitting our self with the force of all we can never do right, we walk with an internal wrecking ball that stands to tear down the joy we have in the Lord. Forgetting grace means, building a monument to shame that you can’t stop looking at.
TRUTH: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. La. 3:22
Being Someone Else
The second we walk in someone else’s skin is the second our own skin ends up crawling in discouragement and doubt. We can’t expect to feel full when we are emptying all that God created us to be on to the floor to be trampled upon.
TRUTH: For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7
Looking at Other’s Best Pictures
When we take those horrid both-eyes-closed-with-a-double-chin pictures and compare them against others glamour shots, it is no wonder we feel like God couldn’t love us.
TRUTH:(Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 8:39
Thinking There Really is No Plan
When we think he’s not sending us anywhere, we start sitting nowhere. We will fall back on the couch – stagnant, scared, indignant and like repellant to change. Loaded schedules, relaxation, timidity and entertainment become the pursuit of our life.
TRUTH: So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16 (to be considered in light of John 3:16)
Not Keeping an Always-Eye Out for God
When we go through the day living by our minds rulings, we consistently miss who is ruling. It is the fastest way to move away from God, fast.
TRUTH: In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9
God has great stored for you. Will you open it? Will you walk to it?
For me, at Allume, my soul got right with faith on day 1, so that on days 2, 3 and 4, God could walk through. And he did. I praise Him for this return, because if I didn’t there is no doubt I would have wandered like a lost little red riding hood.
What I came to see was the faith-eating wolves where really sheep that God wants to use to bless me far beyond my greatest pre-conceived dreams. Taking a stand in faith, is always the best stand one can take.
Where will you stand – lost? Or found in God’s great plan?
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There is one small shiny nugget that will make all the difference in your faith walk if you truly dig down and find it.
Not in a cliched,
I have known this forever,
of course it’s truth,
I say I believe it…kind of way.
But in a real, I seizing it, I am rushing to it, I will never depart from it or let go of it – kind of way.
Moving this foundational truth from background noise to real and present truth, changes it all. Moving it from head to heart will transform your faith.
You’ll more easily move from claimed by the past to claimed by God. From owned by people’s words to owned by the owner of it all. From feeling guilty forever to feeling exalted forever.
The small nugget is: knowing, not just thinking, God loves you.
So many times, I have lost my way without this deep-down heart-felt belief (usually when trials hit me 100-mi/min). Yet, when every morsel of my being, and every part in my heart feels unsure, unsteady and unable, I am starting to tap into God’s unbelievable strength. It stands waiting to become my fall back position, resuscitating my life – if only I give it that chance.
Is God’s real and valid love your fall back position?
Does it catch you from landing in pits of fear, anxiety and depression?
Does it fly you high to new levels of peace and security?
As we fall into this iron clad truth, the lies explode, and combust.
Lies can’t exist amidst the full power of peace.
Knowing this, I want to seek God’s love like a gold rush. I want to go after it. It is that valuable. I need it. I almost can’t live without it; I certainly can’t live joyfully.
May we rush after God’s love as much as we rush after plans to fix and change the things that ail us. Perhaps, then we will find the greater gift.
As we park ourselves in God’s heart of love – as we sit down in it –
we rest under the safe-covering of his hand.
When the burdens of life smother, sit down in his love.
When the feelings of I can’t come at you a mile a minute, sit down in his love.
When the weight of finances crush like a 100-pound gorilla, sit down in his love.
Love that says:
I engraved your name on my hand. Is. 49:16
I know how many hairs are on your head. Mt. 10:30
I love you in an everlasting way. Jer. 31:3
You sinned, I eagerly died for you. Ro. 5:8
I sent my own kid to rescue you. 1 Jo. 4:10
You may fall, but you can’t fall from me. Ro. 8:39
His love is best summarized as this: freeing handcuffs that lock you as forever his, not because of what you did, but because of what he did.
His love can’t be undone. Not when you remember back, not when you feel like you left God, not when you said that thing, not when you did that thing, not when you accept him at the last minute, not when you feel shame, not when regrets hit you, not when problems surface.
It always is. It always is – for you.
God wants you to have it. Nothing can thwart it. It belongs to you.
Life can’t hold you back from it. Trials can’t keep you from it. God defines it. Yet, He waits for you to receive it.
Keep in God’s love.
Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:21
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Oftentimes, all seems well in my Christian life until one small thing happens to completely knock me down.
It could be an unexpected bill.
An unexpected argument.
An unexpected tantrum.
An unexpected suspecting mole.
An unexpected heartache.
An unexpected injury.
But, no matter what kind of unexpected thing comes to tackle me, it usually takes my eyes right off the ball – right off of Jesus.
As one unexpected issue heads at me straight on, another issue comes to pound me, and then another. It’s like everything is set to force me to the floor. All of life’s opponents are after me.
In this moment, I wonder, How can I keep my eyes on Christ
when all I can think about is preserving my life?
Because all I can only see the weight of the issue from this vantage point; I have no sight beyond that. I can only see the weight of things on top of me; the things that are loaded one after another, like a big pile of worry. They keep me from seeing the light. They make me feel like I am suffocating.
They avert my eyes from the light of Christ’s glory and grace. They make me want to run – but their heaviness reminds me – I’m stuck.
How do I release myself from the powerful force of these issues?
Because, one thing I know, one covered, can’t be shining.
One loaded under the weight of issues,
can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.
Either I am uncovered by the grace of Jesus
or I am covered by the weight of worry and fear.
This truth calls me to rise above my momentary troubles. It calls me higher than defeat; it calls me to fly high to grace. To fly high above the problems that plague me to see the beauty that I hold.
Not a ball, but Jesus Christ.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Ro. 8:11
Life is always available through Jesus Christ.
If my life is set to his playbook and I seek to run into the world with his light,
doesn’t he call me to more than defensive living?
Doesn’t he call me out to live offensively?
In the light? With his power? Understanding his grace?
I am being called to lay down my fears so that the love of Christ can shine into my dark places and the world’s dark spaces.
You are the salt of the earth. Mt. 5:13
Then, and only then, will I be able to shine the light he gives me.
I won’t be able to contain it.
I will shine it into the hearts that come against.
Into the situations that seek to tumble me.
It will shine as a beacon of his love, calling all to know and love him.
It’s light will cast away my issues, and illuminate the issues of those around me.
It will light the steps towards love, verses the step towards fear.
The light of Christ makes the difference. It guides us in the way we should go. We no longer have to live defensively, because the light of Christ let’s us move offensively.
The more we think of Jesus, the more we see our issues fade and his light takes over.
We can stop letting the unexpected things throw us down, and instead, let the unextinguishable light of Christ propel us forward.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 Like a lighthouse set on a hill, the light of his love will not contain us. We will radiate love.
“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Phil. 2:15 Like stars, our light testifies to the Creator’s majesty. We will draw awe and wonder at the display of his great beauty. The presence of God is displayed through us through light.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 Jo. 1:7 Light = Fellowship, unity and purity. Light draws out love and extinguishes fear.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12:9 As wise children, we shine heaven far and wide to brighten the path to Jesus. We reveal the glory of his eternal destination.
“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.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 As torch-bearers, we cast his light into the darkest pits of despair. Glory shines in places where there once was no hope.
“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”1 Thes. 5:5
We stay in the day, where we are safe in his ways. We are children of the light! Our light can never be put out.
Eternal light can never be covered. It will always shine. There is no opponent who can defeat it or unexpected threat who can beat it. We always have hope.
Even more, we serve as the present day light-carriers of Jesus Christ. There is too much at stake, too much important work to do, to allow our lights to get put out. People are desperate for this light. We need this light to thrive and to revive – the world.
Uncover your light, so you may shine bright in Christ.
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Not so long ago, I had been delivered soul-crushing news.
News that gave me a new revelation of the past.
News that made me wonder if I was still good, worthy and valuable.
It made me see myself in a new light. It was I-don’t-know-if-I-can-handle-it type news.
I knew God says, “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:23)
But, did God really have faithfulness stored in this?
It seemed this news, this turmoil, and this trouble now excluded me from His promises.
Attempting to push past feelings, I called out to God with all my heart, saying, “Come Lord. Save me in this situation. Heal me and help me.”
Shockingly, as I drove up my driveway later that morning, something caught my eye. A white as snow gift-wrapped box leaned against my garage door.
I couldn’t find a name, but when I opened it and was awe-struck with its contents. What it contained inside changed my entire perspective.
It was as if the very heart of God was delivered to me in a box. It was as if a giant hug and a note of his faithfulness was sent.
Inside lay a picture frame with the words, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14)
These words were the exact message that I needed; they healed my heart and spoke to the depths of my pain. I was touched by God, but I was so deeply touched by the love poured out by a friend.
She had been used as an angel of God that day.
She never sought recognition or acclaim.
She had no idea of my pain, but did a nice act all the same.
What she probably doesn’t know is that this act meant all the difference. It changed my vision.
It wasn’t about her recognition or acclaim. She had no knowledge regarding my issue – but, all the same, she offered a gesture of love. Love that was sacrificial, that took her time, that used her money, but that healed a heart.
I was brought to my knees. I was touched. I felt so loved.
I don’t know who this woman is. I may never know. But, what I do know is that God has special rewards for her in heaven. I also know that she taught me a lesson in friendship that day.
She makes me wonder:
Do I go out of my way to make small acts of love?
Do I give my time and money intentionally?
Do I see the friend who is likely hurting?
Do I shower them with advice or do I love them under the radar?
This friend inspires me to love through the power of God. Because friends are often the messengers of God’s faithfulness. I want to deliver Jesus’ messages.
Small acts of kindness do matter and love does conquers all. Friends are the best vehicles for his love, mercy and grace. They drive his truth home in our hearts.
Small acts of kindness matter; they completely transform lives.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis
“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” – C.S. Lewis
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I am prideful.
When I see the face of my sins, it nearly breaks my spirit. It burdens.
But, broken pieces draw us to the original crafter –
the one who puts all things back together again.
And in his light I can see:
I did everything wrong, but Christ did everything right.
I did nothing of worth, but he is entirely worthy.
I dropped the ball, but he holds it – the entire earth is in his hands.
I am destined to death, but he took death on the cross so I wouldn’t have to.
I come to him a broken daughter
and he leaves me as a beautiful bride.
Mercy. Mercy after mercy, time after time, minute after minute, offense after offense the Lord never stops extending, keeps offering and keeps keeping on – after a broken heart that continually draws wayward from him.
What I don’t deserve, he gives. What I am not, he is.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (La. 3:23)
He never stops giving. 24-hours later, new mercies arrive.
His ways are greater than our days.
His mercy makes us worthy and his grace keeps us blessed.
Mercy definition (Google):
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
Grace definition (Google):
the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
Mercy brings us into the goodness of God; grace is the extension of it. Mercy saves us from punish; grace brings us into joy. Mercy takes what was ours (punishment); grace gives us what isn’t.
What we don’t deserve we get. What we deserve was taken from us. In this, all offenses are seen through a new light, the light of Jesus sitting in glory on high.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)