Wisdom and Weakness

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:13-18 ESV

These verse’s were a part of my devotional today.  I immediately thought of a couple of current events in my own life and even in this country.

Our country is facing an epidemic of enormous proportions. I am greatly disheartened because many of us believe we are becoming wise when we are spiraling farther away from our Creator, and in this worldly wisdom we are becoming weak.

As a culture, we refuse to take personal responsibility for our actions, or attitudes and behavior.  Even among Christians, we defend our sin.  We blame our childhood or those we decided are difficult to work with, we lash out at those we should love or decide that is the way were were made.  We excuse the need for self-control because that’s just the way we are.  We live our lives as we desire, rarely giving thought to how the Lord Jesus desires us to live. Or worse yet, we twist Scripture to make it be what we want it to be so we can justify our lifestyles of sin.

And our hearts become hard to the pricking of the Holy Spirit.  And then we begin looking like the world.

“Compassionate “Christians often attack those that stand for righteousness.  They defend immoral and vile behavior in the name of compassion.  Forgive me for being blunt, but offering worldly compassion to those living a sinful lifestyle is not compassion. Not only that but it is likely sending those people that you say you care about to an eternal damnation without hope.

Arrogance and pride lead to lies, coverups, theft, false accusations, blame-shifting and so much more.  Oftentimes people are manipulated to  believe a wrong view of the Gospel.  Instead of allowing those steeped in sin to get the help they truly need, the compassion and mercy that Jesus Christ offers, they are allowed to believe the lie.  A pornography filter might keep one with a porn addiction from eye candy on a computer, or a plagiarism program might stop the theft of  words written by others but these kind of things  will not address the deep roots of perpetual sin. Only under the conviction of the Holy Spirit will we realize the depth of our sin. And oftentimes that means lovingly confronting those living in sin.  You might even be screaming at your screen right now.  “DON’T JUDGE!” but that too is a wrong interpretation. Lovingly confronting those in sin is compassionate.  It is kind.  Yes, we all sin and fall short of God’s glory, but it doesn’t mean we live as we desire, and we allow others to live as they desire.  It doesn’t mean God’s word is wrong.  God often uses people for His purposes on this earth and loving confrontation is one of those ways. .

I fear that those defending sinful lifestyles instead of lovingly confronting them will be among those standing before the throne one day and crying, “Lord, Lord!”  My heart aches to think of this.  My heart aches to think of the many with the best of intentions, and the purest of motives being so deceived.   I am devastated by this worldly wisdom that has infiltrated those who claim to be followers of Christ.  In their effort to be wise, and compassionate, they have become weak to sin.  They no longer stand firm with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of salvation or the shield of faith.  They are deceived, wishy washy and weak.  They are strong to stand and defend behavior that is un-Christ like and leave people that desperately need the Cross in despair and without hope.  And in an effort to be compassionate in their way, they please the evil one.

My heart longs to “fix it” but I cannot.  Only by the conviction of the Holy Spirit can these eyes be open.  Only Jesus Christ can offer the hope these people long for.  I know first hand.  For much of my young adult life, I lived for myself.  Seeking love in wrong places, trying to fill the void with 25 cent drinks on ladies night at an ’80’s dance club named Confetti’s. And I was miserable inside.

Last week I made the statement that

Permissiveness to sin is not love.  It is apathy.  Love is boundaries.  And sometimes love is discipline.

My friends, this is true.  When we twist Gods word to make it mean what it doesn’t.  When we make excuses for sin, we are sending those people we claim to love straight to eternal damnation.  Boundaries are necessary in life.  God’s word is true.  God is just and holy and righteous.  He loved us enough to send his son to the cross in our place.

All I am left to do is pray.  To cry out on behalf of those that been blinded that their eyes might be opened.

Lord Jesus I pray fervently that you will open the eyes of the blind.  That you will open my eyes to see my blind spots because I know I have them   That we may see the truth outlined in your Word.  That we will desire to put our sinful lifestyles behind us and run toward our Heavenly goal.  I pray that you will free those living sinful lifestyles from their prisons.  That you will prick hearts steeped in sin.  That they will fall on our face in repentance.  That, when we sin, we will be truly remorseful for the pain we have caused instead of making excuses.  I pray that you will bring about the consequences of our sin for our good and ultimately for your glory!  Thank you Jesus for your death, burial and resurrection on the cross.  That you took the place of those who call you Lord.  That we can be delivered from our wretched and sinful lives through your blood.  Abba Father, Thank you!!!!  You are awesome and amazing and we love you.  In Jesus Name, Amen!

Christy

 

I may be linking up with Kate and the gang at Five Minute Friday. I haven’t decided yet.  But this weeks word was the inspiration for this post that doesn’t meet the rules.  This weeks word is “weak.”

He’s Not Safe. But he’s good

You may recognize the quote from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  It’s part a discussion between Susan and Mr. Beaver about Aslan.  Although it appears that C.S. Lewis denied it, it is quite evident that Aslan represents Jesus.

Jesus isn’t safe.  God the Father isn’t safe, the Holy Spirit isn’t safe but they are good.  And they are just and righteous and holy.  Which is something we, in and of ourselves are not.  I fear human spiritual discernment is waning in this post-Christian culture.  I see much acceptance and not only acceptance, but defense of things God speaks against by my brothers and sisters in Christ and it is very concerning to me.

The Word says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for one to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  (Matthew 19:24)

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find.

In the quest to be merciful,  I fear Christians are becoming lukewarm.   We are often told that we can’t “judge” others because we aren’t perfect ourselves. So we walk carefully, not wanting to upset those that might be deceived. We don’t want to stand against sin because we can’t imagine that God doesn’t wants us to be happy.

My friends, this is not mercy.

Stop.

This is deception at it’s best. Satan is the Father of lies and he wants us deceived.  God does not lie and He is not mocked. There are not many ways to the Father.  There is ONE way.  Jesus Christ. There is not mercy for those living rebellious lifestyles of sin without remorse.  There is not grace for those that blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

We can convince ourselves that “God would never…. ” in this life. But the Word of God says there is a judgement coming.  There is grace for those that mourn their sin.  There is grace for those whose lives reflect the Holy Spirit living within.  And, though it’s not popular to talk about it in pleasant company,  there is a place of eternal damnation.  Sadly, I fear many many will stand at the heavenly gate and proclaim that they lived for Jesus and will sadly be turned away.

God does not lie. The words of Jesus in the book of Matthew are clear:

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Not only will these that believed they proclaimed Jesus be turned away, they will also be called evildoers by our loving and merciful heavenly Father.

Contrary to popular culture, God the Father does not want everyone happy.  He wants obedience because we love Him. He wants joy, yes, but joy and happiness are two very different animals. He wants us striving for the goal and running the race with endurance. He wants us thinking about whatever is true, noble, right pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. (Phil 4:8)

As humans, we tend to define God in our terms.  We define God’s love the way we define love.  But God’s way of love is so much more, some things we can understand others, are beyond our comprehension.

Permissiveness to sin is not love.  It is apathy.  Love is boundaries.  And sometimes love is discipline.

Yes! God is love.  But sometimes love is not safe.

Christy

*****  This is a post that has been on my heart for a long time.  I realize it may not be popular, and I may lose “friends” because of my position and that is okay.  I am not here to win a popularity contest.  I will not falter, I will stand firm on God’s word and I will trust Him only and always.  I will be happy to politely discuss this post, but any inappropriate comments will be removed.  *****

Let’s All Breathe

I’m warning you ahead of time, this is not going to be a positive upbeat, hands raised in worship because I can handle the fire post.  Because I can’t.

Life continues to hit hard.  “Little” things adding up and I am feeling overwhelmed with it all.  It seems we’ve all (and I include myself) have gone mad. The benefit of the doubt is no more.  Kindness?  Gone.  Realizing the other person may have more experience or wisdom in a particular area?  No more.  It seems everyone’s an expert, and few are willing to consider something different.

Yes, I tend to bring it on myself.  I’ve seen the nitty gritty ugly side of adoption pretty up close and personal.  I’m tired of the double standard of the left and the riots and looting in the name of “peace.”  The unfairness of being lumped in with others that you associate with when things go wrong. The conclusion that I’m a certain way because of my beliefs, or because I don’t look like my children or because….

I told Shane this morning,   “Social media is going to be the death of America”

While we cannot live and let live, we can each be entitled to our own opinion and our own experiences and we can show grace and confront lovingly when necessary.

If you’ve never had to deal with a child that terrorizes your home, good for you!  But I have and I know many others who have.  In fact, I know few adoptive parents that haven’t had to deal with attachment issues of some kind.  I want prospective foster/adoptive parents to go into it with their eyes as open as possible, so hopefully, they can avoid some of the pain and trauma I’ve seen.

If you voted for Hillary, good for you! That’s your privilege in this country to do so.  But, the people spoke, Trump was elected rightly.  Put your big boy pants on and deal with it.  That’s what conservatives did while we lived with Obama destroying our country.  Expressing our opinions, exposing the truth?  Yes.  But you didn’t see us curling up and crying ourselves to sleep and you certainly didn’t see us rioting and looting in protest.

STOP

I’m old enough to remember when people were mostly unoffended. When most people could actually have civil conversations about most things instead of bashing and personally attacking those that differed. Today people walk around with what we used to call “a chip on their shoulder.” Today, that seems to be the norm.  Many walk around arrogantly and rude.  They are concerned about their rights before anyone else. Honestly, some may see me that way. I’m opinionated, and not very quiet about it. That rubs some people the wrong way.   However, there’s a difference in being opinionated and firm and attacks on a persons character and rudeness.

Quite frankly, we could use a little more grace for each other.  It’s time we all stopped to breathe and rest from the rhetoric and craziness of the world around us.  Let’s return to the adage of “if you don’t have something nice to say.”  That doesn’t mean we can’t express our opinions and views. We should.  Part of having this blog is to be able to express my views.  My FB page is a place to express my views.  Your blog and your FB (and Twitter, and instagram, etc.  is your place to express your views).  Everyone has their own perspective and social media certainly makes it easy to express it.  But instead of speaking ugly, or attacking the person that posted something you disagree with, wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually consider the other person’s perspective and maybe even exchange in some civil dialogue?  And if you can’t do that, then why not keep scrolling instead of trying to set the record straight?

Social media makes it easy to be unkind. It makes it easy to spout out our words before we think.  I have been known to do just that, I’m guessing we all have.  I’m asking kindness to reign.  Let’s allow everyone to have their own opinions/positions/experiences without bashing them because our opinions/positions/experiences different.

This does not mean that we keep quiet.  We are called to speak truth where Satan twists lies.  But we are called to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.   Esther shows us how to do this.  Abigail was masterful at this when she presented David with the provisions her husband had refused to deliver.

We are called to speak the truth in love.  The world has redefined love, which makes it easy for Christians to be deceived about God’s perfect love.  Jesus was firm where truth was concerned.  By today’s standards, he was even “mean” to the Pharisees.  In case you’ve forgotten, he called them a “Brood of Vipers.”

We have called what is good evil and what is evil good.  In many situations, we’ve done this in the name of love.  We’ve become hateful and ugly all in the name of tolerance and peace.  So again, I implore, let’s breathe…let’s find our filter.  Let’s speak the truth in God’s love which means standing firm for those things the Bible speaks against and offering grace to those that disagree.  God is a big God!  He can handle it.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe. Let God be God…

Christy

 

 

Taking Some Control

God is in control.  Oh yes He is!  His very existence is control.  Things might be spiraling  down all around me, but I know I can trust Him because he sees all, knows all, His power is beyond my comprehension.  He’s in all things and all things are created by him. And yet, there are things that I can and should control.

Let’s face it, life is insane right now.  Facebook, Twitter, many other social media sites that are available to us.  Hopefully we’re all involved in a local church.  Kids have sports, we want a date night. Extended family problems, children going this way and that, Doctor appointments, Bible studies, etc.  Add in the craziness of the “OH MY GOD TRUMP is PRESIDENT” crowd, the “women’s march” the nasty attacks and general ugliness of many all in the name of tolerance, but that’s a different topic.

It’s just CrAzY!  It’s out of control.

And I find myself retreating.  Pulling into myself and taking control of what I can.  I’ve refrained from making comments that might bring more stress and ugliness into my life.  I’ve found myself backing away from unhealthy relationships. Or relationships where tension and friction is great.  I’ve found myself drawing close to God, and pulling into family activities and time with my hubby.  That’s what matters.

I can control whether I’m in a relationship that causes me harm or good.  I can control some of my environment around me.  I can say good bye to people and situations that are not necessary in my life and I can say hello to others.

Sometimes we need to let go and let God take control of things that are out of our hands, things that we cling to because we think we know better than Him.

Other times, we can take control and let go of those things that wear us out or bring us down.

Stop

The fact is some of these things just don’t matter.  They don’t matter at this moment.  They won’t matter 10 minutes from now.  That certainly won’t matter next year or 5 years in the future.

We, humanity lived for millennia without the internet.  We lived without Facebook, or Twitter.  We lived without “you’ve got mail” and having the world at our fingertips.  We lived without having “friends” that we will never meet in this lifetime.  Just a few short years ago, mail was carried by the Pony Express and we’d have to wait weeks for word from family that lived far away.  Travel by cars and planes? Impossible!  Cooking food on an electric or gas stove?  What was that?  Much less a microwave.

I’m finding many of these things that are supposed to be more convenient are actually more stressful. Simple times is what I crave.  Kinder times are what I crave.  Yes, standing for those things that are right, standing against those things that are wrong is necessary. But stepping back from caustic situations.  Finding more peace outside of my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Every morning, my sweet Tabby has dance time.  A few minutes where she whirls and twirls around the dining room.  This morning she got a bit crazy. She lost her balance and danced into something that was sitting nearby.  I stopped her.

” Take a breath honey.  Come sit close beside me for a minute.”

Sometimes it’s necessary to step out of situations or activities to breathe.

Christy

Linking up with Kate and the gang for 5 minutes of free writing on the one word she provides each week. 

Refiner’s Fire

Once again it’s time for the Five Minute Friday link up.  Once again, it’s several hours past Friday before I make my appearance.  So be it.  I’m here and I’m writing and right now, that’s what matters more.  This week’s word is refine.  Time starts now:
Do you remember the oldish praise song Refiner’s Fire?  There are many verses in Scripture that talk about the Refiner’s fire.   Fire is used to purify.  As many of us probably sang that song, I’m guessing few thought of the depth of the meaning of those words.  Fire is hot.  Fire burns.  That kind of fire isn’t like a nice warming flame that takes the chill off on a cool autumn evening.  More like the heat of Hell’s fire. And yet many sang that song, swaying, raised hands.  Asking to be refined.
And some of us got what we asked for.  Some of us are still being refined.  And it’s not easy.  Sometimes it’s like a Job moment only worse, because relationships aren’t what they “should” be. And words are spoken, or letters are written.  Not so nice words and not so nice letters and you’re left scratching your head.  And sometimes it’s wiser to speak nothing because answering only twists things up more than they already are.
TIME
At some point we realize that answering ridiculous accusations has no value. And we realize that these situations are part of the refining process.  Separation from those things that keep us from growing where He wants us. And we cling to Jesus and we seek out our brothers and sisters that can encourage us and pray for us. And and we are ultimately strengthened.  Purified.  And that journey continues until Jesus calls us home.
Refine:

1 :  to free (something, such as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material

  1.   to free from moral imperfection :  elevate

  2.   to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing <refine a poetic style>

  3.   to reduce in vigor or intensity

  4.   to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth

There are many ways one can be refined.  Hopefully, as believers we grow more Christ like in stature.  Sometimes that means going through a hot flame.

Or many hot flames.  Truth. At some point I realized what I was asking for when I sang the words below and I think I even stopped singing them for a while.  And yet, what I desire most is refinement in my Christian walk. That may mean hot flames, or many hot flames over the course of my lifetime.

That may mean that I am wrongly accused or that ugly words are spoken to me, or about me.  It may mean that some of the people that should be my biggest fans, for reasons I don’t understand, are not. But just like a small child when told “no” by loving parents, I will leave those things that are too heavy for me to understand at His feet.  I will look to my Heavenly Father to sustain men.  I will look to Him for strength on those difficult lonely days.  I will be thankful for those in my life that know me better than anyone walking today whom I love and who love me.  I will be thankful for a loving God.  One who loved enough to send his son to take my sin to the cross so I could have the hope of a heavenly home for all of eternity.

Jesus never promised an easy walk.  He  promised refinement.  Refinement.  Not without purpose.  Not to destroy us but to purify. To find the gold. to make us holy.  To set us apart.  God calls us to be a peculiar people.  Strange people.  We are supposed to be weird. And some will be blinded to God’s work in our lives, in fact some will be downright repelled.  Others will see what we have, the peace in the middle of the storm and will desire to know more about it.  And we set about our lives doing the Father’s will not out of compulsion but because we can do nothing else.

Sometimes the most difficult places we walk on the earth are the places that draw us closer to him.  We may be accused of many falsehoods, we may be told we are crazy. Like Job, we may lose family, belongings, or status but an eternity away from Christ is not worth compromising the path the Jehovah has laid before us. Much like the Israelites, we are wandering in a land that is not our own until the time the Father has appointed that our Brother Jesus Christ return to carry us to our eternal home, to the place we don’t deserve.  The place with no tears, sorrow or pain where the soul never dies.  And what a glorious place it will be!  Hallelujah!

In His grace,

Christy

 

Refiner’s Fire

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure goldRefiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holySet apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master

Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

I just can’t seem to find words to write.  I’m weary.  Battle weary.  Tired.  Worn out.  Confused.  Hurt.  In the middle of situations we never thought we’d find ourselves in. I have tried writing a Five Minute Friday post for the past 2 weeks.  Several times I’ve sat down but my mind is going so many ways and yet the only words that seem to want to come out are not words that I want to write. I refuse to stoop to the level of those around me.  I will not call out those that have chosen to not have a relationship with us for whatever reason they have.   But I am reminded; God’s word says he did not come to bring peace but division. (Luke 12:51).    The word I chose to focus on this year is surrender.  So right here, right now, I’m going to surrender those feelings that come with feeling abandoned by so many. I chose to focus on the truth.

This weeks FMF word is “middle.”  I’ve broken the rules once again.  But, this week, it is more important for me to write and push the publish button than to worry about the rules.  And the end goal is for the participants to write…

I wonder why I feel the guilt for those situations. The situations we’ve found ourselves in the middle of over the years.  Why, when we’ve done all that we can to live at peace, do I feel the guilt? Why when we’ve stood for truth am I, at times still, writhing in pain.  I know that even though Jesus has overcome the world, Satan still attacks.  My guilt?  False!  Truth?  I have not always handled things perfectly.  In fact, sometimes I have downright sinned.  But I have also done my best to make things as right as possible and I have repented when I’ve sinned.  What the other person does with my repentance is not up to me.

Lord Jesus help me know  my responsibility.

Yes, no matter what those I’ve repented to do with it, here’s the truth.   I deserve so much more.  So much more pain, so much more devastation.  I deserve to be abandoned.  I deserve death.

But God in his infinite goodness sent Jesus.  Oh yes!  Without Jesus there is no hope.

With Jesus, all things are possible!

I will focus on the fact that I am God’s child.  Chosen by Him and set apart for the work he has for me.  And if that work involves being abandoned by people I thought were friends and by family so be it.  The fact is God sent his son Jesus the Christ to take my place so I don’t have to live with the guilt, with the pain.

The fact is, even if all abandon me, Jesus will not abandon me!

And the fact is, the 5 people that I live with know my warts better than anyone. And I know theirs. And they love me and I love them! I can’t imagine my life without them.

What is God doing?  I really don’t know.  But I know this,  I can trust him.  Whatever comes our way, he has us right where he wants us.  He will walk ahead of us, he will carry us when necessary.

He IS and he WILL.

 

Psalm 34 (esv)

1I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

4I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Amen! And Amen!

Surrender…My Rights Are Not THAT Important.

Wouldn’t you know, I changed my word.  I’ve left the original post on “kind” below the addition to the post on the word that I believe better resonates with where I believe God is leading me this year.  Maybe even last year, because when we trust we will surrender our rights.  When we surrender we will be kind.  God weaves all of these thoughts together just as he weaves His story together in the Word.  And that’s where my focus will be.

In case you didn’t catch it, my new 2017 word is SURRENDER.

I need to surrender my need to be an Alpha female control freak.  And I need to surrender to the little things.  Like for real, why is it so important to know WHO left the Ketchup out?   I need to just put it the dumb bottle back in the fridge and move on. And, you know, this seems to be a far reaching problem in the human condition.  The current culture is replete with rights.  So much that in the name of freedom, the rights of others are violated.  But this is not what I’m here for today.

I’m here to talk about MY problem with surrendering my rights.

And then I get all bent out of shape thinking that I should be wiser than this…but the truth is, I’m not.  Just like everyone, I’m a sinner. And sinners are selfish. And sinners have a hard time surrendering their rights for God’s will.

And I am reminded to surrender…

my will to God’s will for what happens to us in the future.

There are several things that I haven’t wanted to surrender to Him.  Some that I try to manipulate.  Some that I try to second guess.  Some that I convince myself that if I only do _______ He will do what I want.  But that’s not how it works.

Since I entered the modern decade and joined the iphone family, I’ve been reading Proverbs 31 First Five app.  We’re in Jericho.  Joshua has been told to have the people go to battle by marching around the city 7 times.  And after the 7th time the walls fell.

Sometimes that’s the way it works.  Sometimes God asks the most absurd things of us. March around the city without weapons and the city will be yours.

As Lysa asked, what would have happened if they had not marched around the city 7 times?

I’m guessing full obedience would not have been rewarded.  I’m guessing the wall would not have fallen.  I’m guessing Jericho would not have been given over to the Israelite’s.

Surrendering my will for God’s will in several situations in my life will bring many benefits.  Less frustration, less stress, less and more.  More peace, more patience.  And better relationships with those in my life I care the most about.

And below you will find the original post:

For the past several years, instead of resolutions that will NOT be kept, instead of goals that I KNOW won’t be reached, I have chosen to chose one word.  One word I can remember, well maybe not because I could not remember what last year’s word was, and had to go back to my dashboard and search to find it.   It was trust.  And I can say that God did not forget my word.  I’m honestly not sure if I learned to trust God more.  There was a bunch of disappointment towards the end of the year and I’m honestly not detached from the entire situation enough yet to say long term if I trusted God more.  I know I TRIED to trust God more.  I TRIED to give the ugly situation over to him.  But did I?  I’ll let you know in a few months after I’ve had more time to process everything objectively.  Maybe I didn’t do so good with the one word last year, so maybe one word won’t work either.  But I’m here to try again.

This year’s word?

Kind.

Interesting that I just read an article by Piper with a quote that struck me:

“How you do what you do is vastly more important in the eyes of God than what you do.”

Oftentimes, we are sorely lacking the how.  It is so much easier to focus on the what.

It’s easier to put a check off and tick off those godly attributes than to treat others with kindness.

It’s easier to get frustrated when things go awry for the umpteenth hundred time than to step back and breath before letting a slew of ugly spew out.

This is something I’ve struggled with.   I see this verse and yet, I often find myself using ugly words, and attacking others instead of being kind-hearted and gentle.  I find myself jumping to conclusions and thinking ugly thoughts.

I am also reminded of the verse in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Can I combine parts of the NLT with the ESV?  I like the way the NLT uses the phrase “proud obstacles”.  Proud Obstacles definitely keep me from knowing God and obeying him. My pride is often what keeps me from taking the thoughts captive in my mind and making them obedient to Christ.  And oftentimes, the thoughts in my mind are unkind and ugly.

 

And of course, kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit and also a definer of love in 1 Corinthians 13. And I wonder, if we live unkindly to those around us how can we demonstrate God’s love to them?

I don’t believe I’m the only one that struggles with kindness.  Social media has made instant ugly possible.  Many times fingers type before words are filtered. A little more kindness in the world would go along way…

I’m off to write my one word and these two verses, along with Piper’s quote on a note card to take beside my bathroom mirror.

His Grace is Sufficient!

Christy

Now is the Time for Being Exuberant!

Linking up with Kate and the gang for the last Five Minute Friday of the year. The word is “now”

This nativity sits on our piano.  It was made by my Aunt many years ago and is one of the joys of my life as it brings back many great family memories every year.

Time begins now:

It’s Christmas!  The season for jingle bells and mistletoe and all things bright and shiny.  It’s the time we remember a couple that traveled across country to be counted. And we remember an Inn.  A stable. A baby.  Shepherds.  Wisemen.  And gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Now is the time to be exuberant!

I am overwhelmed with JOY!  It’s been a tough season in our lives. The grief is real. The pain is deep. But, the understanding of it all is become clearer as time passes.  A lifestyle of sin is difficult to face.  Merciful sheep don’t wish to fire the one that should be their shepherd, and it’s easier to turn on those that have stood up for what is right over the years.  It’s easier to let the masses trickle out.  Firing someone, voting “no confidence” is hard.  It’s hard to admit that the one that should be serving the flock is instead living for himself instead of for the ones he should be serving.  The roles reverse and that is sadder than I can even find words to express. And I believe this is why not everyone is meant to shepherd.  It is certainly a calling and an office that is to be desired, because the burden is heavy.  The pain we’ve felt has been great. Our youngest doesn’t understand why we’ve said goodbye to those we thought were friends. But being able to step back and look in from the outside, we realize how thankful we are to be out of that oppressive situation.  The requirement many put on themselves, the legalism, the necessity to be “perfect” or at least appear perfect, the necessity to “correct” others that are “wrong” or misspeak is great among those that proclaim grace yet live as though freedom in Christ is unattainable.  Everything looks pretty but…

Our family has no pretenses.  We know our beauty is only through the blood of Christ.  We know who we are and everything hangs out.  Maybe sometimes a little too much.  We have no qualms letting people know the “real” us. And you know what? We don’t want to hide our struggles.  We don’t want to hide our pain.  For that is what makes

STOP

For that is what makes God’s miraculous gift all the more amazing!  God’s testimony in our life is the glory revealed in failing humanity. The sin of man covered by the blood of Jesus the Christ who arrived as a babe in a manger in a faraway land in a time long, long ago and grew to a man, but not just any man, a God-man who took that sin to the cross and suffered the pain an agony each of us deserve.

And through all this pain, God has been kind.  Yes, there are struggles, yes there is still anger seeping in at times, yes there regrets.  There are the what if’s and I wish I had’s.  but God has shown His love and mercy to us in amazing ways.

And the exuberance of the season overwhelms me!  I cannot help but stand in awe at the amazing FREEDOM Christ has given us.

And I cannot help but look forward to what God has planned for us in 2017!

Merry Christmas!

Christy

 

Count it All Joy; Hard Stuff

Finding the joy in trials can be hard can’t it?

As I look around me, I see hurting people.  I, in fact, am one of those hurting.  But others have trials that are larger, that are greater, and yet we all struggle.  Dying marriages, single parenthood looming.  Financial difficulties, facing the death of a child,  imminent terminal illness, and so many others.

Yet we’re to count it all joy.

And what I really want to do is be angry!   And what I really want to do is to seek revenge!  I admit it, at times I want to shake my fist at God, but even in the deepest place of my heart, I know God was not the author of these things.

Sin entered the world through one man and salvation entered the world through another.

And God says,  “count it ALL joy.”

And I admit that it is hard to find the joy when the troubles of life loom.  But when I put it into perspective.  When I think of the love the Father had for me and for humanity, to send his son into a dying world, into a world of pain

TIME.

into a world of sin to save a wretch like me, then I am reminded that I deserve nothing and it is only God’s divine grace that allows me to face the pain of life, the pain around me, and the pain of those that are struggling with things greater than I pray I ever face.

And I am reminded that every hard thing, every consequence of sin, every bit of evil that this world endures is necessary for the growth of our faith.  For if life were easy, if we always had everything we thought we needed, if we never faced hardships or struggles, then we would never learn to cling to the Savior.  And as difficult as it is to face the pain it would be more difficult to face an eternity without Christ.

And maybe that is the place where JOY resides! The place where perseverance meets the hard places.  The place where God’s grace takes the pain and brings us closer to the foot of the cross.

And maybe there we can lay our burdens, our pain, and our ugly before him and maybe like the fat placed on the altar as an offering in times past, God will reach down in our hearts and accept our burnt offering and bring forth gold in it’s place.

Oh Lord make this my prayer!  “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong”

His Grace is Sufficient!

Christy

Life Lessons and What I Crave

Anyone that’s read me for any length of time knows that I don’t slink around tough issues.  I speak real, whether it’s about myself or about things I see around me.  Today is no different.

A few weeks ago, my family and I went through what I imagine an ugly divorce would feel like with our church. We exposed some deep seated and long standing sin. Sadly, instead of it being dealt with, we became the subject of contention with many.  Nasty rumors flew, we lost our position, our reputation (with some), and relationship with the church, and with people we thought were friends.  (No, sorry, liking Facebook posts doesn’t replace picking up the phone and asking how we are doing).  Shane resigned his position as elder and we withdrew our membership a week sooner than we assumed would happen, but what was not known to most is that we had  decided before the sin was discovered, that if something significant didn’t change, we would be leaving that church…our family was dying a slow spiritual death.  Even with Shane preaching and teaching, it was not enough to sustain us.

This week was hard.  We knew a community event was coming up that happens to be held in the church building.  We had a go away, come closer relationship with that event all week.  We began attending the contra dances when they first began and had only missed one or two.  Our kids have always looked forward to seeing friends they didn’t often see and it was FUN! Not to mention the trip to Dairy Queen afterwards –because who can resist ice cream?  In the end, we decided to hold our heads up high and attend.  We knew we had nothing to be ashamed of, we put our smiling faces on and entered what felt like the wolves den. Even though 3 of us had showed near the end of the last dance, this was the first time we’ve entered the building as a family since Shane resigned his position as teaching elder and we withdrew our membership.  And the good (and really the bad) is that everyone pretty much pretended that nothing was wrong.

What I realized this morning is that what I crave isn’t what I received for the past 8 years. Walking back into that building, I saw everything that looked good.  Beautiful, tasteful decorations, happy smiling faces, hugs and even “we miss you” from a couple of folks, nothing much different than when we belonged.  But what I have been realizing and became even more clear last night is that most of the pretty is surface with little depth. And I think of a cemetery. Most cemeteries are pretty.  They have beautiful, fancy headstones and well manicured lawns but the fact is, under the pretty isn’t very pretty at all.

I crave relationship.  I crave real.  There’s nothing fake about me or my family.  What you see is what you get.  Especially with 3 of us.  We try to live our lives to the glory of God, imperfectly? Yes, but to the best of our ability with the Holy Spirit living in us.  We like getting dirty and working with people.  I’ve often said, you can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl…I feel the same way about ministry.  You may take the pastor out of the church but you can’t take the love for the body out of the pastor.  Shane has a pastors heart and always has…even last night I watched as he visited with one of the young girls about everything that has been going on in her life this past month…yes, I had to walk away before I cried, but it further showed me that God will use us where ever he places us next.

And although this verse is overused and the go to verse for when hard things happen, I am reminded that “all things work together for good for those that love him and have been called according to his purpose”

And I can see the good.  Our children are no longer blaming themselves for not getting anything out of the sermons, we’re excited about going to worship again! We’ve been blessed to hear Gospel centered sermons at every church we’ve visited.  We’ve enjoyed visiting other churches and getting to know fellow believers and workers for the Kingdom.

And last night another step of healing occurred, and while there are and will be relationships I do and will miss, I trust God and his perfect plan…and I’m reminded of another verse stated by the prophet of long ago:

Here I am Lord send me.

Off to decorate the tree!

Christy

Linking up today with Kate and the gang over at Five minute Friday where once again I broke the rules, lol…good thing they’re not hard and fast.  5 minutes of free writing on the one word prompt Kate gives us.  This weeks prompt was “crave”