Please, let’s get real

Can we please get real?  Can we tell people the truth when we invite them to be Jesus followers? How many times have we heard the great “health and wealth” line?  How many times have we told people that coming to Jesus will bring them a peace and joy and life like they have never experienced before? This may be true, just not like they are expecting…

Do we make it sound like their problems will disappear at the foot of the cross? We have to STOP!  What disappears at the foot of the cross is our SIN.  Jesus takes the burden of our sin upon Himself.  He has already done that.  But the sin that is in the world does not go away.

Matthew 5:45 says it rains on the just and on the unjust.

Romans 5:3 “Not only so but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

What about Job?  Remember him?

Forty-two time sufferings is used in the New Testament.  ”Happy”? Twenty times total in the whole Bible.

We need to make sure people know what they are saying “Yes” to!  Jesus Christ IS the answer.  He says in John 14 6 “I am the way, the truth, the life and NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me.”  And that is the FACT.

But I could fill this post with Jesus followers who right now who are going through the trial of their lives.  They are walking a path that is anything but happy.  They are going to their Father with heavy hearts, tears and weariness. But they are clinging to Him because they know amidst the storm, HE is their lifeline. Because if it was about how they feel instead of what they know, they would have ditched this Jesus thing.

So it isn’t about avoiding the pain.  Why?  Because that’s impossible. It’s about having a Father who understands through the pain. Because wherever you are, He has been there already.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
Hebrews 2:9

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
I Peter 1:6

So get out there and tell people about the saving power of Jesus Christ. But make sure you don’t “trick” them into something Jesus never promised. Give them the truth. This may be the hardest path you’ve ever walked. But in the end, it is oh so worth it.

Follow the Leader

What do we tell our kids oh so often?  Don’t follow the crowd.  Stand out.  Be different.  Not so different advice to ourselves as adults. But when we are talking about Jesus, that game changes. He is the one we ARE to imitate.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  When it comes time to answer the question, who do I want to act like? the answer isn’t your best friend, the leader of your ladies Bible study, the head deacon, your pastor, or your favorite blogger.  The answer is Jesus.

It is the time when we are called to follow the Leader.

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow Me, Jesus said…

Matthew 8:22 “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 9:9 “Follow me…”

Matthew 10:38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”

Matthew 19:21 “…Then come, follow Me.”

This is just the Gospel of Matthew.

As you hit the floor this morning:

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…Joshua 24:15

Isn’t Adam’s Race Obvious?

The hardest thing during all this media enraged racial tension junk as a Christian law enforcement family has been to keep our children safe from racial tainting. As they see one group hating on another group they just don’t get it.

Hand of God reaching out to Adam who receives it

You see, we staunchly believe that God created Adam from the dust of the ground.  ”So God created man in His image; in the image of created He him, male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27).  He created one Adam, not one Adam of every race.  Isn’t Adam’s race already obvious?  He was of the

HUMAN RACE

Yep, that’s it. We believe in one race created by the sovereign God of the universe.  From the dust of the ground.  White?  Black?  Asian?  Hispanic?  HUMAN.

So our focus is to remind our children that these issues are about crime not color.

I don’t know one police officer who wakes up in the morning looking forward to killing someone that day whether in self defense or in the defense of someone else.  It is in their very being to protect & serve.  But I know lots of police officers, probably every single one, who wake up and look forward to coming home at the end of that shift.  They hope that they won’t have to kill and that they won’t be killed.

And to every family who knows what this feels like, who has lost a loved one because of the badge on their chest, I salute you.  I pray for you and thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice.

My favorite phrase I have seen going around in the past week is this, “It isn’t a SKIN problem, it’s a SIN problem.”    Please do not forget who we are fighting:

“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” Ephesians 6:12, The Message

All the kevlar in the world won’t save us from this fight, but the armor of God will:

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:13-18 The Message

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

December truly is the most wonderful time of the year around our house. I love Christmas, celebrating the birth of my Savior; I love Easter, celebrating the resurrection of my Savior!  And I love the first week in December.  It is when my husband and I celebrate our anniversary.  We’ve been celebrating for 26 years and it never gets dry, stale, or old.  For the past five years we have gone away for two-three days.  And I tell you, I look forward to that for the two months before like my kids look forward to Christmas.

And to us it is a holiday, a holy day.  Because the day we took our wedding vows we did just that, we vowed, we made a covenant before God and our witnesses that “til death do us part.”  And every day we wake up aware of that covenant and take it very seriously.  We wake up every day and choose to love one another.And I couldn’t feel more blessed to walk through life, the good times and the bad, with the one God hand picked just for me.

And then after we return home we have one more day of school before our extended Christmas break.  And I get really excited about that too! For us that means a daily routine from December 8th until Christmas: An advent Scripture reading, Christmas fiction read aloud, a Christmas craft/project or act of kindness, a Christmas recipe, and a Christmas movie. We take our celebration seriously! Stepping back from the normal daily routine, enjoying one another’s company, and relishing in the season of our Savior’s birth has completely changed the Christmas season for us over the past two years.

I hope you have much to celebrate this Christmas season!

Right Here. Right Now.

 

Imagine sitting in your home right now.  The kids are watching cartoons after school.  Your teenager is doing homework.  The baby is playing near your feet.  Your body tells you to get up and make supper.  It’s that time.  Keep things normal.  Don’t panic. Don’t worry about the threats you have already received.

But you know that in a matter of a few hours your entire life could change.  You may be grabbing those emergency bags you packed and sliding into your garage so no one sees you get in your car. Or you have a friend on speed dial ready to come pick you and the children up and take you to an undisclosed location.

You aren’t in some Communist country waiting to get through the border.

This is your country.  The community that you love.  And now everything you know is threatened.

That is what every police wife in Ferguson, MO is facing right now. And not only does she fear for herself and her children; she has to worry about her husband more than she ever has.  Because he is out there at the front line of the threat, doing what he always does.  Protecting.

I can’t imagine. I hope I never have to.  But this grand jury decision will affect every law enforcement officer across the nation in some way.  They will all become a greater target as people decide to take the law in their own hands and serve their own justice.

So before you take that first bite of meatloaf tonight, before you say good night to your little ones, before you sit back with that last cup of coffee, bowl of popcorn, and the remote.

Please…..pray for Ferguson.

 

Word of God Speak

The words to this song are not unfamiliar to anyone who listens to contemporary Christian music. Thank you Casting Crowns!  There are many times I sing a song, and it’s simply that…singing.Even if I think it’s a great song and one I love to sing along with.  It’s still, just a song.  And then there are times when the music seeps so much deeper than that.  When it pierces your soul and you realize it is not just a song, it’s a sermon. It washes over you and you want to cry it out to the Lord as a prayer of praise and a prayer of petition. That’s where I am with this song right now.
Jesus never promised us sunshine and roses.  If you think He did, you missed the memo and signed on with the wrong King. Some hours are slow, some days are long, some weeks are hard, some years feel desperate. And Satan wants nothing more than for us to feel defeated. Because in some twisted way, he takes pleasure in the anxiety of the saints.  I guess since he knows the end of the story as well as we do, he’s getting all he can out of this life. And he wants the Church of Jesus to suffer.
There is sin all around us.  We live in Satan’s realm right now. But we have something the world doesn’t have, the power of the Holy Spirit!  It’s bigger than you could ever dream, stronger than you could ever imagine, and as a believer in Jesus Christ, He lives in you!  So, nothing that brings us down or makes us feel defeated can have any power greater than that Spirit! And while we may be disappointed for a little while here on earth, maybe in people, maybe in circumstances, we can wake up tomorrow, get in the Word, seek forgiveness if we need to, praise His name…
AND CARRY ON WITH THE MISSION!
Because life is short and we all as followers of Jesus have the same mission-to grow in holiness in our own personal lives and to share the truth of the gospel, the only eternal saving power there is, with as many people as possible.  So maybe you need to be at a loss for words today. It’s okay. Shhhh…..Word of God…..speak.
I’m finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it’s okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

[CHORUS]
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I’m finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

No Way Satan!

When you reach the point you’re ready to give in, to give up, to call it quits, to move on and no, I’m not talking about marriage, although it could apply.  It doesn’t matter what the situation is really, the answer is the same:

Buck up sister and keep going!

This isn’t the time for sympathy or pity.  The situation we are in requires action, reaction, or even non-action.  How we handle the situation, what we do, and how we react is up to us.  The situation is definitely within our control.  So we have two choices:

We can let give in to the lies of the evil one who want to see the work of Jesus Christ crumble because he HATES Jesus.  He hates His Name.  And he hates those of us who are a part of Him.

OR

We can turn around and slap Satan in the face and tell him, “No way!”

No way are you going to destroy what Jesus has patiently worked so hard to do in our life.

No way are you going to destroy what the Holy Spirit has been doing in our heart.

No way are you going to destroy what the Father has been doing in His work in His Church for His Kingdom.

So the choice is up to us.  We can wallow in self pity and doubt and discouragement and let Satan feel he has the victory….

OR

We can immerse ourselves in the Word of God, fall on our face before Him, cry out to our Father, pick ourselves up and give God the victory He deserves!

So let’s go already!

Amen?

Amen!

It’s Not For You

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUiPJdBZQs

Sometimes I forget why I do what I do.  I’m like everyone else.  I want people to like me.  I don’t want to be the one around the cooler being talked about unless it’s to say, “Gee, that Amy’s a pretty nice gal.”

But this song was shared this morning by my niece.  I had “heard” it before, but today I really heard it.  Every diaper I have changed, every spanking I have given, every doughnut I have purchased, every kiss I have  given, every card I have written, every song I sing, every hand I raise, every word I write, every Word I read….

It isn’t for you.

It’s for Him.

And for that I don’t ever need to apologize unless what I do does not bring glory to Him.  So I will never please everyone, we shouldn’t even try.  Our audience is much smaller….

And SO much bigger….

Than that. Because He first loved me, He will be my first love.

So I sang along this morning with this song and I wept.  For worrying about things that are out of my control.  For limiting my BIG God to a tiny box.  For expecting humans to have some heavenly quality that only satisfies my needs and my expectations.  Forgive me, Lord.

You are so much bigger than that.

Our God is Greater..

God loves me.  How much?  Enough to send His only Son to die for me.

Me.  Just a product of a fallen Adam and a fallen Eve.  A product of a flawed school system and imperfect parents who knew they were imperfect and thus had a need of a Savior.

Sounds pretty depressing, huh?  Ah, but then comes the redemption! The heart of the story!  The pulse to the life!  The point at which the light of the gospel came to earth knowing the plan and came anyway!

And yet here I sit.  Worrying that maybe, just maybe, He isn’t aware of what’s going on around me.

I’m pretty sure the Savior of the world who cares enough to number the hairs on my head and my days, who left His heavenly throne to give me eternal life, and who allows me to feel His presence….I’m pretty sure He’s aware of my tiny little circumstance.  And  I’m pretty sure He wants me to get over myself.  To live for more.  To live for Him.

“When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness.  But salvation is so much more!  It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself…

To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point.  We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ.”

Oswald Chambers

Time to take my temperature.  Am I spending too much time worrying about and pointing out people’s sin?  Or pointing them to Christ?