Rise and Love Through His Love

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I run to the masses. My march falls into the rhythms of this noisy world. The chaos consumes my weary soul. It never fails. I end up tripping over my own feet. So, I watch as the world marches on. I am left behind. I get lonely.

Then He reminds me…I am never alone.

I lie in His pasture. I bask in His presence. I soak up His peace. I build my strength. He tells me to rise. He tells me to go.

Again, I run to the masses. This time, I march to His beat. I am alongside the world, but not in its midst. His power works through me. I plant seeds. I am shade for those who need rest. I am whatever He needs me to be. I tell my story, I tell His story.

We will always fall, but His pasture is always there for us when we do. Because of His unfailing love, we have the strength to rise and love through His love.

Never Apart

The Word was once just a book to me.

It contained truth and knowledge.

It told me how to live and love.

It was something to study and put to practice.

And it was all good.

And it was all powerful.

But that all changed.

The words began to stir and come to life.

One by one they sharpened.

One by one they pierced my soul.

No longer did I want to depict the world’s eye view of it.

I saw the significance of the Law.

I saw the significance of the Gospel.

I saw how they can never be torn apart.

Because one with out the other is simply a pile of words.

It felt so black and white, and yet so gray.

It is all so black and white and yet so gray…

You can be doing it all right and still be wrong.

You can love and yet not know what real love is.

We are blessed with the grace bestowed upon us through His blood.

Without it, there is no salvation.

The Word allows us to see what grace is truly about.

It also opens our hearts to the law and changes us from within.

It is only with Him, not on our own, that we realize…

The Gospel without the Law is just a pile of words.

You or me without both are just a pile of flesh and bones.

It is the Law together with the Gospel that sets us apart from the world.

It is both.

It always has been,

from the very beginning.

Words

We need to stop believing in our own power to change people through our words, says a blogger who is using words right now. It is the truth, though. We depend too much on our own thoughts and opinions and our need to be right. Our emotions inevitably pull us away from the whole truth. We need to keep the power with the One who actually has it.

As Christians we have a duty to become wiser with our words. There are many verses on what our words do. I’m not saying we should pretend to be perfect. I’m not saying we cannot have opinions or feel passionate. With all that is happening politically it is hard not to. Yes, God works through us to reach others and yes through our words as well. We (myself included) just need to be more careful to ensure our words are doing what the scriptures tell our words to do…not what the scriptures tell our words not to do. Will we screw up at times? I don’t think I even need to answer that.

Look at all that is happening right now. Scroll through your Social Media newsfeed and see the debates between brothers and sisters in Christ. Then, think about it through the eyes of the enemy. If I were the enemy (Satan) I would be very pleased with how things are playing out right now. He knows the work of the church, bringing others to Christ, cannot be done fully when we are battling against each other.

We need to stop claiming to be more Christian than the other or that the other has hate in their heart-or that the other just doesn’t get it. Trust me, you don’t need to come straight out and say any of that outright. People know what you are implying…and sometimes they just think you are implying that. We cannot always prevent people from the latter, but we should be aware and sensitive.

We are wasting too much time trying to be right that we are missing the point of what is right.

Let’s take a stand by kneeling. We’ve all been standing too long. Am I the only one that is tired? Let’s trust God. Surely, prayer can change others and it can also change you. Let us pray more than we vent, pray more before we speak (even if it is the truth), and continue to do the work set out before us. It has to be better to give this to God. Because, pushing people away from the church over politics and emotions is devastating.

We are Moana

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I must confess, the movie Moana ignited a bit of inspiration. There may have been a few times I pulled out my phone to take notes for this exact moment of sharing my thoughts with you. I’m laughing at myself, but at the same time I must embrace it. I think we can and should find inspiration wherever and however we can.

The day before, the subject of life journeys was planted during a bible study, so it was already somewhat on my mind. We discussed  Mary’s journey to be exact.  Yes, I know Christmas is over…but we are a group of busy moms who get behind from time to time. That is much the norm in the journey of motherhood.  Things never play out exactly as we have set out in our minds. There are more bumps and bruises than we ever thought possible.

Anyway, I enjoy making parallels between peoples lives. It allows me to feel connected. It helps me to see how even we really are. Although Moana is a fictional character in a fictional plot…the core of the story (not the entirety of it) is powerful and relatable in our ordinary lives.

The following may seem to be quite the stretch and in a way it is, but this is truly a glimpse into my over-thinking head and how it functions. No, this movie was not biblical. There are just parallels I decided to point out. Was there worldly thinking scattered throughout this movie?  Yes, of course there was. Just as there is worldly thinking scattered in my own mind. It wasn’t a Christian film. But despite that being obvious to most, I feel it actually is important to point this out. At the end of the day, I want you to know our power comes from God, not ourselves as the world will try to tell us. That point is by far more important than anything else I am about to say…

The water chose Moana to embark on a journey to save her people. God calls us to do the same. She felt a pull in her do be doing something more-something different than what her little world was telling her to. One time she went into the sea like she thought she should and it ended in disaster. It left her feeling lost and confused. It was because it wasn’t the right time, she needed to know more. She simply was not ready.

When the time was right, she knew it. She got into her boat and off she went. She felt brave, encouraged, and empowered. Then, things got messy. We all know how messy life gets, even when we are doing the right thing. Can I get an “Amen”?

Her boat flipped.  She got tired and scared.  She got angry and yelled at the water (just as we do to God). The water would gently pick her back up and placed her back on the boat when she went overboard. The water picked her back up…but did not make her journey easier.

Moana made it to Maui and was disappointed. He was not what she was expecting. He was not the hero she envisioned. How many times have we felt the same. Maui doubted the water and even asked why the water couldn’t bring the heart back itself. Many in this world ask the same sort of questions about God.

There was even a point where Moana tried giving the heart back to the water. She went back down and got it. The rough waters didn’t calm because she decided to carry on. Maui didn’t magically become easier to deal with. Why did she do it? Nothing could silence the voice inside her. Nothing can silence the voice inside any of us. Sometimes we need to work on how to hear it. Sometimes we choose to ignore it.

God will never force us to answer His call. It is out of His love for us that He doesn’t use force. It is hard to wrap our heads around it…I know. He doesn’t calm the waters of life. But He is always there with us. Always.

You see, I am Moana. We all are. We are called, in our own unique way, to restore the heart of the Lava Monsters who have had their hearts stolen by the world. One difference (and there are more) is that we are still on our journeys. Our happy ending is yet to come.

Baa Baa Booyah

I want to start out by saying I am no sheep expert. Not even close. The most I know about sheep is what I have read in the bible, been taught in Sunday School as a child, or have heard in sermons. They have no sense of direction. They don’t like being alone. If they fall and get in a certain position they can’t get out of it. We’ve heard the stories of sheep wandering, not being able to find water, or whatever else. We are told they are not the most intelligent animals. Then, we are compared to these animals right after we are told how dumb they are.

Hmmm, I don’t think God sees us as dumb or wants us to look at ourselves as such.

I mean I get it. We are sinners. We screw up.  We can do dumb things. We are human. There is a certain sense of humility admitting these things.  So, naturally we say we are dumb like sheep. Maybe we are wrong to say this. Maybe calling sheep dumb stems from worldly thinking. What the world sees as wise and strong is not the same as what the bible tells us is such. Maybe sheep aren’t so dumb after all.

Think about this:

  1. Sheep know and follow their shepherds voice. They know it is better to follow their shepherd than to be in control of their own life. Don’t we all struggle with submitting to His will?
  2. Sheep know it is better to stay with their flock.  Yes, sometimes they get lost (don’t we all.) The point being is wandering away from the church, the body of believers, usually doesn’t turn out so well. This isn’t saying we shouldn’t be around people who don’t have faith. We need to love all people.
  3. Sheep have four stomachs.  Totally unrelated but crazy, huh?
  4. Sheep know their weaknesses. Come on, if we all admitted our weaknesses and allowed God and others to lead us in places where we falter…whoa…we could accomplish so much more.

See where I am going with this?  It takes a wise person to know following our Shepherd is the best way to live. Without a doubt, the wisest people I have known in my life were the ones who followed Him faithfully. Times when they got lost, they allowed our Shepherd to carry them on His shoulder to go back to the flock.  Ultimately they knew how dumb they were being when they lost their sheeplike (humble) attitude. I don’t know about you, but I see sheep a little differently now. What a blessing it is to be a sheep. Baa baa booyah!

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The Fickleness of Life

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I took this picture as I was driving one evening. It was New Years Eve to be exact. I know it was a bit risky, but there was something about the sky that night.  It was in the clouds, the sun setting, and it was my contemplative mood. Maybe it was in my contemplative mood that made the sky more beautiful than usual.  Though still, when I look at this picture I am drawn to it.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I would go for drives out in the country when my mind was weary.  I remember some of the moments that led me to grab my keys and go. They were all moments that grew me as a person. Moments I wouldn’t want to relive, but also moments I wouldn’t want to take back.

Nowadays, with kids, seldom do I find solace in the car.  I use it as a time to connect and reconnect.  We talk sometimes about life and faith. I turn up the tunes and jam with my kids. I listen to them converse with each other. We play I Spy. It is fun. Peaceful?  Not so much.

I no longer have the freedom to take off as I please.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it.  It is yet another sacrifice I am willing to make as a parent.

I will get my car rides back some day.  The peace and quiet…the scenery will soothe my weary mind. I will think of my car rides with the boys. I will hear the loudness and feel the chaos in my mind. It will then be those car rides I miss.

Funny how fickle we are.

 

Death

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I’m dying.

The air doesn’t fill my lungs,

as it did in the past.

My body aches.

Every step I take is slower.

I hear a voice.

I reach out.

All I feel is empty space.

Empty promises.

I close my eyes and pray.

His Word fills the emptiness.

I let out my last breath.

I am free.

New air fills my lungs.

The pain is gone.

My path is clear.

My steps are boundless.

This truth is where,

my peace is found.

I no longer live,

it is He who lives in me.

Through the power,

through His endless love.

I am brought back to life,

time and time again.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
-Galatians 2:20