Stillness In Movement

It recently struck me how still you are while driving in a vehicle.  Sounds pretty dumb, maybe everyone else has realized this already, but for me it hit like a ton of bricks.  I was driving a golf cart down the road (this is a normal everyday occurrence in our community), wind whipping my hair, sun warming my face, and I was enjoying the stillness of life.  Then I realized that I was enjoying the still even though moving 28 mph.

Life flies by us.  We have errands to run, people to meet, meetings to attend, kids to chase and general busyness.  At the end of our day, we look around wondering, “Where did my day go?”  We promise ourselves that tomorrow will be different, we will say “no” more than we say “yes” to commitments.  We reassure ourselves that we aren’t a bad friend for not texting back because we ran out of time.  Then the next day ends the same as before, and we tell ourselves “I’m not enough.”

Sister, that’s a lie.  Don’t lose sight of the reality that, while you are flying through life, you are also living.  Be kind to yourself.  You ARE enough.  No one has perfect balance in their life.  That doesn’t mean don’t strive towards it, it simply means give yourself some grace to live life and be messy.

Every moment of every day you can choose whether or not you want to get caught up in the chaos of the moment, or if you want to enjoy the stillness of the moment.  When you’re frantically packing lunches in the morning before school, pray in your mind that God would bless your children when they eat the food.  When you’re racing from one event to the next, pray that God would use you to encourage someone when you arrive.  When you feel “not enough”, pray that God would be “enough” for you, that He would fill the gap.  Pray for yourself that you would feel loved in your messiness of life.

Today I choose to be still in the movement of life.  I pray that God would help me feel adequate and enough.

2 Corinthians 3:5 – Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 3:1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Wash Your Hands

Livi is not a good handwasher.  I cringe every time she goes potty because I know those hands aren’t getting scrubbed well enough afterward!  It’s so disturbing when you think about all the dirty hands that are touching the same door knobs that I touch.

My hands are just as dirty, though.  I live a messy life with messy choices.  I’m far from perfect.  And regardless of how many times I keep washing my hands and starting fresh, I get them dirty again within minutes.  No matter how much we scrub our hands we can never get clean.

The same is true about sin.  There’s nothing we can do to remove the stain of sin from our hands.  It is only by washing with the blood of Christ that we can be made clean.  “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Belief that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that he rose again on the third day is the only way to truly wash away our sins.  Jesus loved you and I so much that he sacrificed his life so that we may live eternally with him in heaven.

Join me today in celebrating the freedom from sin that we have in Christ.

Titus 3:5 – He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

Romans 6:3-4 – Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Acts 16:31 – And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Yield The Right-Of-Way

Okay, so super pet peeve ya’ll: yielding!  Do people not understand the meaning of a yield sign any more?  When you exit the freeway to turn into our neighborhood you have to immediately move into the far right hand lane in order to make the turn.  Which is totally doable if people yielded to the off ramp like they are supposed to.  But they don’t.  Which creates slow downs, backups on the freeway and wrecks.

And it’s not only the freeway off ramp, oh no, it’s at the roundabout too.  The roundabout has two lanes, an inner lane and an outer lane.  The outer lane oncoming traffic has to yield to the out-coming inner traffic.  But when the outer lane doesn’t yield the right-of-way it creates traffic mayhem.

And while I point the finger at so many fellow drivers for failing to yield, I realize there are four fingers pointing back at myself for failing to yield to God.  I want what I want when I want it in the way I want it.  The desire to yield myself to God’s will isn’t my first inclination.

God’s will for our lives is perfect, our way is full of wrecks.  We are called to daily take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  That means yielding what I want for what God calls me for.  Today I pray that I, and you, will be steadfast in our love for Christ and yield our desires for the purpose of His glorification.

Luke 9:23 – Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Hebrews 13:20-21- Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Micah 6:8 – He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Gluten Free Life Style

Livi has had stomach issues off and on for the last couple of years.  Two years ago we went down a long journey with her pediatrician and GI doctor.  The eventual result was to get her “regular” and for her to grow out of it, whatever “it” was.

In recent months she’s been complaining of her stomach hurting again and headaches too.  The doctor prescribed medication to help, but those symptoms are hard to treat when you don’t know the precipitating cause is.  We then started to notice she complained less about her stomach when she ate foods that were gluten free.  When she eats a gluten-heavy meal she always complains about her stomach hurting.

Livi has decided, independently, to go gluten free (mostly).  She knows her body feels better when she doesn’t consume it.  That doesn’t mean she doesn’t struggle with the desire to eat the same food her peers eat.  She loves those chicken nuggets from McDonalds and chicken strips from Chick-Fil-A.  And after she eats them to her hearts desire she gets sick.

Sin is the same.  We want sin, we crave sin.  Sin tastes good.  And, after we’ve eaten it, we get sick.  Our souls ache from the after effects just like our bodies ache after gluten consumption.

A gluten-free life style isn’t about what you can’t have, its about the positive side effects from what you choose to have.  In the same way Christian living is about the relationship with Christ you have when there is an absence of sin.  When you choose to live a life free from sin, you find true love, joy, grace, mercy and hope.

If you are struggling with sin today, be encouraged to say no.  Don’t let sin enter your life and rob you of your joy in Christ.  Choose joy today.  Choose love and grace and mercy and hope.  Say no to sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

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

Romans 6:11-12 – So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.-9

1 John 4:4 – Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Romans 12:21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Photo by Lukas Hartmann from Pexels

 

 

 

Girls Night Out

Okay, so picture five girls ages 9 and 10 having a sleepover in your house.  Then add Livi to the mix.  The decibels of their squeals of laughter was off the charts.  We girls went to the  grocery store to buy every kind of junk food imaginable.  We bought unicorn cake, candy bars, cookies, chips, gum, chicken strips (healthy?) and ice-cream cake, too!  They even requested the grocery store write “Girls Night Out” on the cake.

The girls were having the time of their life.  They blew up balloons, created videos, talked about boys and had tons and tons of laughter.  It was a perfect night.  Then we cut the cake.

We sang “happy girls night to us, happy girls night to us, happy girls night to all of us, happy girls night to us” to the tune of Happy Birthday.  We even lit candles, all of them in the box, and collectively blew them out.  There’s no telling how much spit ended up on that cake in that moment.  Anyhow, the girls then cut the cake.  And, as a natural response to a nine-year-old kid getting cake, they each wanted to pick which piece they got and what size of cut it should be.  All except one that is.

One girl offered all the cake slices to the other girls first.  She sacrificed which slice she wanted to put the desires of others first.  It melted my heart to see her example of sacrificial love for others.

“So the last will be first, and the first last.”  (Matthew 20:16)  God sent his son to be last for us.  He died on the cross for our sins, so that we could be put first.

Who can you put first today?  Your husband?  Your co-worker?  Your kids?  If you are the only example of Christ that they see, what kind of God do they see?  Look for ways to be intentional in putting others first so that they can experience the love of Christ.

Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Matthew 20:26-27 – It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.

John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Breaking Your Chains

I used to live life in heavy chains of guilt and shame.  I remember one day in particular.  Addy and I went to McDonalds after getting her dad’s drug test results.  She was 18 months old and had no clue what was going on, other than she got to play and eat ice-cream.  I, on the other hand, needed a public place so that I could breathe and make sure I wouldn’t fall apart in front of her.

I remember feeling so lost that day.  I was a believer, I had recommitted my life to Christ, yet I felt such overwhelming crushing bondage.  The Bible teaches that we have freedom in Christ, so why did I feel such death upon my life?

Satan whispers in our ears that we are alone in our shame, alone in our grief, alone in our guilt.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth.  Look around at the people in your life.  They each have a story.  It’s probably a juicy, drama-filled story that you’d never believe in a million years.  It is also through those stories that Christ’s glory shines the most.

The recognition of guilt and shame is the first step.  Turn that feeling, that emotion, over to God.  Pray over your shame.  Pray over your guilt and grief.  Fully give them over to God from your heart.  Take them off your “I feel” list and put them on God’s “I redeemed” list.  Then each time the thought of you being ‘less than’ (shame, fear, guilt) arises, instantly call it out, stop it dead in its tracks, and turn it over to God.

Christ has already conquered Satan by Jesus’ death and resurrection, don’t give him any ground in your life.  Call a spade a spade, call a lie a lie.  You are loved, redeemed, delighted in, rejoiced over, precious and honored.  You are my brother and sister in Christ and I am honored to do messy life with you.

**Note: Great resource that was incredibly impactful for me going through guilt and shame from my divorce was Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler.  Here is a link to the book (you can also get used ones for around $4) and his videos are free on YouTube.  It is such an incredible life changing study.  Everyone needs to do it.  I’m currently completing it for the 3rd time. 🙂

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 8:1 – There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43:25 – I, I am the one who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I’ll remember your sins no more.

Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the devil.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Preparing to Crash

Riding on an airplane is exciting!  There’s so much anticipation leading up to preparing to go on a trip, then arriving two hours early for your flight, then more waiting with anticipation for the plane to arrive.  Finally it’s time to board and everyone piles on top of each other to try and get on the plane, for their assigned seat that no one is going to steal yet is somehow a big deal, on a plane that is going to land at the same time and same place as everyone else on the plane; yet we still all crowd around with anticipation to just get on the plane!

Each time you ride on an airplane you see the stewardess demonstrating the safety features of the aircraft.  Some airlines even have a catchy engaging video to entertain you while highlighting the safety feature.  Most of the time the instruction is completely ignored.  People are busy getting settled in their seats, figuring out how to make electronics work, pulling out snacks to keep the kids mouths busy to prevent screaming, etc.  Plus, no one ever needs the information anyways.  It’s not like the plane is going to crash.

Well, let me burst your bubble.  Your plane IS going to crash.  It’s just a matter of when.

Throughout this life you are going to be presented with the safety features of the aircraft called life.  A complete safety guide and general information is contained in a book called the Bible which is available online and in print by request.  You will have several stewardesses available for questions or concerns 24/7.  The pilot is 100% available to you to support and encourage you on this journey, not to mention fly the plane for you.

You have to decide whether or not you are too busy to stop and listen.  Is it worth the time to stop and look at the life raft inflation instructions?  You never know when you just might need it.

God loves you.  He wants to do life with you and be in communion with you.  He wants to pilot your plane and save your life when it crashes.  All you have to do is say yes.  Yes to trusting Him with your life.  Yes to following His teachings and yes to a commitment of right living as outlined in the Bible.

When the plane crashes it’s too late to go back.  You need to prepare for the crash before it happens.  Will you accept Christ into your heart today?

Matthew 19:25-26 – When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Philippians 3:8-9 –What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.