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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Watch your step -

What an eventful past couple of days. It snowed and because I am from the south that means we made snow cream, and went sledding for hours. I also watched The Godfather for the first time ever and I have to admit I liked it. I also cooked huge meals because the girls have been out of school for 2 and 1/2 days.  We have really enjoyed this time away from the outside world. There is something about knowing you can't get out that brings about rest. It's as if we were forced to take it easy and just breathe & laugh without a care in the world all in our pj's. This morning I was reading in Proverbs and I stopped in chapter 4 verses 25/26 

"Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure."

To ponder something means to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply. I know for my own self I have made impulsive decisions based on feelings and my emotions rather than really praying and weighing out my options. In the end I found myself unsure and questioning the very sovereignty of God and calling on my life.  We like to equate success with Gods favor to the point of taking the factor of submission and the cost to follow Him out. We crave normacy in our lives.  From little girls dreaming of their white picket fence marriages, to perfect bodies, yummy Pinterest recipes and of course the perfect job. We want our lives to be full of love, laughter & wrapped in a pretty bow of perfection. We want our ways to be laid out before us. When we were sledding the other night I couldnt see any holes or sticks because the snow was covering them and because of that I hit a stick and suddenly I was on my face. I'm sore today because of that fall.  My path wasn't clear and I fell.  The last part of that verse says  "then all your ways will be sure". You see it's not up to me to choose the right path but it is up to me to keep my entire focus on Christ alone.  To think quietly means I have to soak myself in the word while praying and thinking about the things of God. No outside noise or people can dictate my steps if I am locked in on Jesus. To think soberly means I can't let other gods such as food, body image, dreams, ministry, along with other types of things take me away from really listening to the voice of my Creator.  His word alone will move me in the direction He is leading me to.  To think deeply means that I am not responding with my emotions I am listening with intent and just waiting for God to move first. Pondering takes us away from uncertainty and into that place of intimacy and being sure of our ways. Who has your ear today? Who or what is occupying your time and mind? These questions answer whether or not you are pondering the path of your feet. Remember wherever our heart is our feet will follow.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

go ahead and stare ....

I absolutely love people watching. Sometimes I am sure it’s weird for them however I enjoy it.  It’s a sport that has been around for ages. I believe it started in malls with little old men sitting on the benches as their wives shopped.  Then I looked into the bible and saw that it happened way back. From the Pharisees watching for anyone including Jesus to mess up at any point.  The disciples always watching others and then glancing to Jesus for His responses.  This morning when I got to the YMCA I got two cups of coffee off the little coffee cart and headed into the Revolution church office with one cup of coffee in one hand and the other cup I had to put in my mouth because my other hand was full and I needed to somehow get the key in the door. Not one but at least three people passed by. One said hello, another just looked, and the other well he was determined to not make eye contact. I made it and thought to myself HELLO people I needed help.  I don't think those three people were jerks, self-righteous or even non-believers it’s just at times our thought process is often fueled around thinking people have it under control, or we just can't I mean it’s not intentional right?   We are so wrapped up with what others think at times we hold the hands and feet of Jesus hostage.  We aren't intentional about not giving to the homeless we just don't have any cash on us. We aren't intentional about not sending someone an encouraging text we just don't have their number. We aren't intentional about not praying with someone we just don't want them to feel awkward.  We aren't intentional about asking someone to help with our brokenness we just don't want to inconvenience them. We aren't intentional with our lack of passion for serving its just our time is so precious to us. We aren't  intentional about missing church it’s just the flu season and we don't want to get sick, or maybe our favorite team is playing.  You see we are not intentional at times but the enemy is always intentional with our time, money, and thoughts because he looks to steal the moments that will further the kingdom of God.  Those people that passed by me didn't spark resentment (if I would have dropped the hot coffee on myself however I would have been ticked haha) but it did spark within me this call to be intentional.  Will I choose today to build up the kingdom? My money is not my own and therefore at times I have to intentionally trust God and allow people to bless me. My time is not my own therefore I have to chase daylight to honor Him with my hands and feet. In Luke 11 Jesus was asked by a Pharisee to dine with him and instead of seeing the willingness, and thoughtfulness of Jesus saying yes He judged him for not washing his hands before eating. He only saw what He didn’t do.  The response from Jesus wasn't "oh sorry let me run wash my hands" no it was a moment to tell him what for.  I love when Jesus spoke up and out to those who looked for lines of religion to cross and even created those lines at times with the hope He would.  There are those people in your life even now that are waiting “unintentionally” for you to fall. They are waiting for you to mess up. Let that not STOP you but fuel you. Let your brokenness be the tool that brings you back to the feet of Jesus. Let your time, money and circumstances be the instrument of change. Others are watching you and some with eyes of envy, and yet others are truly needing to see a glimpse of Jesus.  Remember that wee little man Zaachaeus who climbed up a tree just to see Jesus? 

Luke 19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 The eyes of Zaachaeus were locked in on seeing Jesus. Those around him were locked in on Jesus eating with a sinner. Jesus was locked in on meeting a need and making him new.  Your family, friends, co-workers church members may be climbing out of addictions, defeating thoughts, financial ruin among other forms of complete brokenness and they are looking to you to see Jesus. Let them stare, glare and watch you because our weakness, vulnerabilities only set us up for God to blow our minds. Be encouraged today and SHINE even when you feel as if there is no shine left. God is about to do something that will cause not only you but those who surround you to look UP! Hebrews 1:5  “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."   

Sunday, January 26, 2014

castle in disguise...

This afternoon Richard, Rachel and I went outside in our backyard and worked on building Rachel a fort. They put up a tarp, hung a basket from a tree and tore down branches and it went from just a back yard to a castle in disguise. She was so excited and told us all the plans she has for spring. Richard talked about how he use to work on his forts for hours and then retreat with his star wars figures and play for hours on end. When Rebekah was small she would hang from trees and yell at the top of her lungs that pirates and fairies were surrounding us. She would literally say "mom don't  move" and then she would jump out of the tree and proceed to a sword fight.  When both my girls would dress up in princess costumes they would suddenly walk, talk and wave like royalty. One of the greatest things we can possess is our imaginations. Imagination means; the ability to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen or experienced. I have imagined many things both big and small from what it would be like to jump out of a plane to what Heaven is going to be like. I have never experienced either and yet I can almost get there in my mind. One of my favorite definitions of dream is this; something that fully satisfies a wish. When I look back at the last 10 years of my life it wasn't until I truly let go of trying to satisfy others by allowing them to dictate my dreams or allow my insecurities to push me in the opposite direction of this calling on my life that I began to fully walk in the completion of my Creator. Think about the definition again - FULLY satisfies a wish. For years a bag of oreos was my satisfaction. Getting alone and binging on food satisfied a longing that I couldn't seem to fill. Trying to be who others needed me to be led me into this place in my mind of trying to achieve that and then food was my escape. I wouldn't even say it was a struggle but a war that would always start in my mind.  I have lost a good bit of weight over these last few years and the battle of the bulge still wages on. I workout, eat healthy and some weeks I lose and others I don't and that's ok.   If I am honest there are also days that when things are going bad I truly believe (in the moment) a bag of oreos would fix it. What I KNOW is that nothing satisfies the longing of my soul but Christ alone.  Paul tells us to take every thought captive and because we know that the imagination can take us away from reality and the enemy starts whispering those insecurities that lurk and before we know it our actions have followed.  We must know that dreaming BIG is not bad in fact God births mighty things in us to allow us to see Him and His power along the way. It creates intimacy and really pushes us to move beyond the captivity around our hearts and minds. Today think about those dreams that you have been chosen by God to pursue and don't let anything other than Him satisfy that longing. You see just like Rachel's castle in disguise God wants to take all the things that keep you from moving forward and transform them, renew them and redeem them to set those beautiful dreams in motion. Its time you are set free to dream BIG.

Acts 2:17 And in the last days it shall be, God declares that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Freedom comes in all shapes and sizes

Freedom happens when we realize we have no control over the outcomes of our circumstances. As human beings we spend most of our day controlling the things we can like our outfit choices, food choices among other things such as choosing whether or not we will work or call in sick. We allow our choices either wise or not to drive us from being out of control to thinking we have full control. Fear is something that is very real and devours the dreams and thoughts of ever getting us to take that first initial step of risk taking and stepping out in complete faith.  Fear neutralizes our passion and leaves us to feeling as if we are in control of our destinies. God sent His son to set the captives free and to bring us eternal life and we often miss the freedom part because we can't wrap our minds around what freedom really is. For some freedom scares you because it means exposing some dark areas of your heart and that's too hard to handle emotionally  and I get that I really do. Exposing light on a dark area doesn't mean you stand on the corner and scream out whatever you have done or what has been done to you but it means you stand before the throne of God completely bearing your soul to the very one who created it asking him to set you FREE.  That means no more control on your part of protecting it, no more hiding it because of having to deal with the emotional effects of it. God takes it and brings about a healing that eventually leads you into a place of FREEDOM.  I chose Peace as my one word this year because of the definition. It means freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions. I am attacked in my mind more than any other area and because of that my emotions follow and I have found myself in defeat more times than none. I want you to also experience this freedom. The kind that when you wake up no matter what season you are in joy comes first. It's the kind that when life is literally spinning out of your control you see things in slow motion because you are locked in on the goodness of your Creator. The kind that comes from letting go of what doesn't matter and surrendering to something much greater than you. Freedom comes in all shapes and sizes and it's a beautiful thing to move from bondage and start believing and dreaming beyond the captivity around your heart! It's time for those bars of insecurities, addictions, regret or what ifs to come down. Walk in freedom today!!  

Galatians 5:1 It is for FREEDOM Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore nd do not submit again to a yoke of slavery -