Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Free to Do

As soon as I decide to be different, I come up with excuses to stay the same. After all, it’s easier to stay the same—no new territories to conquer—just status quo. I tell myself that I don’t have what it takes to be that person. And in the place that I’m currently in, I don’t have the strength to do new things. But if I begin moving forward, I soon find that I do have the strength for a new territory—motion begets strength. Staying still begets laziness.

When I’m still, I’m waiting on my own gumption to propel me forward and that usually only works for brief stints of motion. When I’m moving forward, I’m trusting in God’s ability to change me. It’s amazing what I can do with God surrounding me. If He sends me, He’ll go before me and back me up.

“I can’t” is a typical excuse that I come up with. Moses said that. He gave his list of inabilities to God instead of looking at God’s abilities. God answered him with, “Who gave man his mouth? Don’t you think I can do it through you?” God will back me up.

Is anything too hard for Him? I need to remember that God can do great things through me if I just stay in motion and give Him the opportunity.

There’s always opportunities to help another person. There’s a multitude of opportunities to serve another. The human race is a needy bunch. I want to stop my excuses and just do what I can and let God take my meager efforts and create masterpieces.

I desire to encourage others in daily ways and write entertaining stories that have a godly message. This world needs encouragement and good messages. If I work in that regard, God will be with me. I say, “But what if I fail?” God says, “I will not fail you.” I desire to just begin, do what I can each day, and let God fill in the gaps. Perseverance is a great quality and I want to pursue it. The more I do, the more I’ll feel energized. I need not shoot for perfection. I can be like a little child alone with fingerpaints–messy but having fun.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Live in Love

I tend to live under the constant weight of my own disapproval. And if I think this way, then, of course, God does too. This thinking only leads me to guilt, condemnation, and hopelessness.

Jesus loves me. He loves my Martha works and Mary worship. He even loves me when I come empty-handed and bound. While I was a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). He comes to me when I can’t go to Him. He comes to me when I have nothing to give. He sacrificed His blood and life.

Grace defies my self-defeating thinking.

There is no formula to living a purpose-driven life. If I do steps 1 through 3, I’ll be okay. I can’t just run through the steps. I have to run toward God.

Grace needs to penetrate my self-condemning mind. Perfect love (1 John 4:18) speaks of me finally driving out my insecurity, which is rooted in fear of punishment. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Let God love me and let myself live in love with Him. God’s love seems too good to be true! But it is good and it is true.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Think on These Things

I will think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. I will purposely think about such things (Philippians 4:8). I am better off when I park my mind on things that fit into the previous categories—when I remember the good over the not-so-good or bad—when I mull over possibilities instead of dread.

Why do memories of hurts of the past still hurt today? Why are they often more clear than good memories from the past? Why is the bad stuff easier to believe? Hurts go so deep that they get lodged in the nervous system as well as in the brain. This is why I have to make conscious decisions to pray about past hurts, talk about past hurts with trusted friends, and force my mind to remember God’s truth over those hurts. It’s not easy and it takes much effort but it’s very possible—with God all things are possible.

True thinking is based on fact, not my imaginings—even when those imaginings seem real to my mind. Noble thinking dwells on God’s perspective on any given issue. Right thinking helps me to respond with compassion instead of bitterness. Pure thinking looks to the good that God inevitably brings from bad situations. Lovely thinking seeks the good in others. Admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy thinking is grateful to an all-knowing, all-loving God.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Love Covers

The Father covered Jesus in His love. Jesus covers me in His love. Jesus brought the Father’s love down to my level. Now I need to cover other people with that love—not because I have to but because I am so full of God’s love that I have no other choice.

Jesus’ love completes me so that I am able to live as a complete person—not complete when I do better or more—but complete right now—just as I am. I don’t need to search for that next best thing to help me improve. I just have to tap into that love that I have already been given. Because of Him, I am complete, whole, and loved. I am secure to do what He wants me to do. I can reach out to other people and help them. His love covers a multitude of sins. When I show love to others it makes up for any mistakes that I make in the process of loving them.

I need to approach a world filled with incomplete people with a joy in my heart that comes only from Jesus’ love. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Loved & Filled to Love & Help

God loves us with an everlasting love. Sometimes it is hard to fathom that love. And even harder to believe it. But when I fully believe it, I sense God’s favor and I walk in peace. When I let worldly cares crowd in, they seem to push the love of God right out of my head. Thankfully, they only seem to do that. In reality, I can’t get rid of God’s love. It is always there just waiting for me to pay attention.

My prayer is that I continue to be rooted and established in that love, may I have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Through this fullness and power, I can accomplish anything that God allows (and that is more than I can ever imagine. I can be healthier and more energetic. I can write every day. I can finish stories that will inspire hope and encourage. But the key is that anything that helps me accomplish more—anything that sets me free—should be used to help other people. If I keep it to myself, I have nothing. But if I fill myself up with God and His love and do good works in His Name, I have everything.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Enough is Enough

Satan wants me to look for multiple ways to comfort myself. As far as he is concerned any old thing will do—food, laziness, television, etc. Anything that is except God. God is the only thing that can really comfort me in a satisfying and lasting way. And there are no bad consequences or regrets later on when I go to God for comfort.

I have circled this mountain [of deceiving myself] long enough. Now I need to turn North (Deuteronomy 2:3). It’s time to move forward. Self-pity, fear, pride, and negativity have paralyzed me long enough. Ending this cycle of defeat takes courage but if I don’t do it, I will remain a victim and stay stunted—unhealthy, unfulfilled, full of regrets.

I am setting my compass to True North. I am going to stop circling that mountain and begin climbing up it instead. I’m taking off my mask and becoming who God made me to be. My relationship with my Lord will lead me onward. His love will lead me into true fulfillment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Accomplishing Goals

How can I accomplish goals in spite of daily circumstances and distractions? Make a plan that includes a little bit each day. Faithfulness in little things leads to bigger things (Luke 16:10). Celebrate small successes daily.

I can choose to put more than 100% of effort in each day. I can become who I want to be someday. I can be that person today simply by taking small actions. Making my next decision or action today and the becoming will take care of itself. Today is all that I have. Tomorrow has its own worries (Matthew 6:34).

To move forward with a genuine sense of purpose and direction, I must make sacrifices because everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). Today is my day to contribute. Today is my day to make a positive difference. Today is my day to encourage another.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Take the First Step

I am afraid of God-sized dreams. I am afraid that I won’t have what it takes to achieve a huge dream. And you know what? I won’t. I don’t have what it takes to achieve great things. When God plants a dream it will seem too big for me to do. It’s not going to be easy. I’ll have to work hard but I’ll also have to rely on Him to help me get it done. True God-sized dreams can’t be accomplished by human strength alone. They can only be accomplished by my work infused with His help. If I take out His help then I have nothing but insecurities and the fear that I will fail Him.

My challenge is not to focus on how hard the work will be or even what will happen if/when I finish. I need to focus on seeking God who promises to show up as I work and trust Him to multiply my efforts. Like the priests in Joshua’s day (Joshua 3:13), I have to take the first step into the water before it will part. Miracles happen when my feet are wet and I’m trusting my God.

Dear Lord, help me to not be afraid or discouraged by the bigness of a task at hand. I know that You will not fail or forsake me. And help me to remember that usually the joy is in the journey and not just in the end. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is Love?

What is love? Love is patient, kind, doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, isn’t arrogant, isn’t rude, doesn’t insist on its own way, isn’t irritable, isn’t resentful, doesn’t rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never ends. Faith, hope, and love are good but love is the greatest of them all (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13).

If I have love for the Lord and love for my neighbor, even the neighbor that isn’t lovely, I fulfill the whole law. This is a simple truth but it takes a lifetime to learn.

I want to live this definition of love. I want to but I don't always do it. I need grace when I'm about to say or even think something that is unkind or unloving so that I don't go through with saying it, or even think it. I also need forgiveness when I don't think beforehand and I go ahead and speak something unkind.

I am here to love. Not much else really matters.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Lent or Not to Lent

Today is the first day of the Lenten season. I have nothing against this season's objectives if those objectives are to 1.) remember the blessings of the cross of Christ or 2.) give up something that is hindering your walk with Christ. But I don't usually take part in this season because I do those things year-round, or at least try to and repent when I don't.

Knowing Jesus Christ isn't about crossing things off of a to-do list. It's not about not doing things on a don't list either. It's about a relationship with the living Lord and trying your best to walk with Him so you grow to be more like Him. And when I do this, God is glorified in my life. It's all about Him anyway. Anything I do or don't do because of my relationship with Him serves to worship God and if it helps my life in the here and now, as well, then that is just icing on the cake.