The World Is Doomed

Tonight I realized that the world is doomed. Many people have been saying this since the global pandemic hit earlier this year. Not me. Some say we are living “the end times” and have been for quite a while. Not me. My instinctive response to comments like “the world as we know it is ending” is to think “then we need to preach louder and harder!” My soul screams “if the world is ending, then we need to reach as many people with the Gospel as possible!” But, not any more. That part of me died this evening.

There is a global pandemic going on all around us. “No biggie” I thought. “It’s a great opportunity to share God’s love with a world who is hungry for the hope of the Gospel” I thought.

There is hate and violence all around. “This has been true for centuries” I thought. “This is nothing new” I thought. “I will pray for those affected” I thought.

There are riots and looting and mayhem; our cities are being shut down. “It is too much” I thought. And it is. It is too much. The world is doomed. There is no amount of preaching more, or working harder, or going farther, that is going to save this world. There is no turning it around or rescuing it. The world is doomed.

That’s when I broke down in tears. I wept for the world. I wept for the lost souls in the world. I wept for my own sin in thinking that there was anything I could do to save it, and them.

You see, the world has been doomed since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree in the garden of Eden. There has never been anything we could do to save it. There has never been any amount of spreading of the Gospel, or teaching, or preaching, or good humanitarian works that we could do to save it. Jesus came to save the world. [John 12:46] He is the only one who can save it. [John 14:6]

It would be easy to feel overwhelmed and throw up our hands saying “what’s the point then!? If what I do doesn’t matter, then what’s the point in trying?”. The Starfish Story1 immediately comes to mind. “It mattered to that one” he said as he threw the starfish back in the water. We are here on this earth to glorify God. Everything we do, every moment in time, should join the battle to bring glory to God.

We, as followers of Christ, are called to spread the Gospel. [Mark 16:15] We are called to be in the world but not of the world. [John 15:19, John 17:15-18] We are called to be set apart, different than people who don’t believe in Christ. [1 Peter 2:9] We are called to serve others. [1 Peter 4:10] We are created to glorify God. But we are NOT called to save the world.

Who has been receiving the glory in your life? Are you more focused on saving the world, or changing the world, than you are on following Christ? Are you more focused on the world falling apart around you than you are on Christ’s judgment raining down on people around you? Are you more grieved by the brokenness of this world than you are by souls spending eternity in hell?

One may read doom and gloom in a post titled “The World Is Doomed”, but I encourage you to see hope instead. We have hope because Jesus Christ died on a cross and resurrected three days later for our sins. Where this world is doomed, we have the promise of eternal life in heaven to all who believe in Him because of His sacrifice.

THEOLOGICAL CLARIFICATION: The burning desire to tell the world about Jesus transformed into a burning desire to be obedient in serving God, however He may call.

1 Peter 4:12 – “Beloved do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Romans 12:19 – “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.””

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

1 (https://www.learningtogive.org/sites/default/files/handouts/The_Starfish_Story.pdf)

Bumper Stickers

There has been a bumper sticker on the back of my car for the last four years.  It’s a dragon inside of an outline of Texas.  It’s the mascot symbol of where my kids used to go to school and also of the state in which we live.  The kids can always tell which car in the parking lot is mine because of the identifying sticker.  Even friends in our community can tell my car apart from others because of this sticker.  

The only problem is my kids don’t go to that school anymore, they haven’t gone there in over 2 years!  Yet I still have that darn sticker on my car.  That sticker which defined our life to the point where we wanted to show the world our allegiance, no longer defines us.  We are still the same people, driving the same car, but simply no longer identify ourselves with that school.  

Salvation in Christ is our bumper sticker.  Over the course of time that is the one and only bumper sticker that will forever hold true in our life.  Schools, sports, states, even countries will fall away, but Christ will forever remain.  When you accept Christ, your old bumper sticker is removed and the new sticker of salvation is replaced.  You are made new in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).  It’s also what distinguishes us from the others.  We are set apart and unique in our identity in Christ.

This week I removed the dragon sticker and replaced it with a Bobcat (current mascot) sticker.  Same me, same car, new heart, new identity.  I encourage you to do the same; give your life to Christ and be made new.   Remove the bumper sticker representing your old life and proudly wear the sticker of your new life in Christ.  There is nothing more freeing than the love, grace, mercy and joy found through a personal relationship Christ.  

See also Waving Flags for additional encouragement.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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.

Colossians 3:9-10 – Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 – And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them.  I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them.  And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

 

Called To Be

We each go through phases in life. Phases of joy and times of sorrow. Phases of stress and times of quiet. Phases where we are close to God and times when we are far from him. The one thing we do know is that a phase is just that, a phase. No matter how hard it seems, we know it will come to an end.

Recently I’ve struggled with a phase of spiritual apathy. Life had become routine. Closeness with Christ had become routine. What I was already doing should have been enough, at least in my own mind. Reading, studying, leading, discipling, I mean, what more could I do?

Follow.

I’m failing to follow. No, if I am being honest, I’m refusing to follow. I can give you any number of excuses: I am too busy, I am already doing enough, I just don’t want to, etc. Netflix is more appealing than quiet time with God. Accomplishing tasks on the to-do list is more important than engaging with others. God has been calling me to be present and engage with others, yet I choose myself and my wants instead.

Through this lesson I’ve learned a few important things:

  • Spiritual apathy is not a phase. There’s no confidence that “this is just a phase.” (Proverbs 1:24-26)
  • Sometimes we aren’t called ‘to do’; we are simply called ‘to be’. Be available. Be self-sacrificing. Be enraptured with Christ. Be faithful. Be still.
  • God is merciful. He is faithful to those who love him (Deuteronomy 7:9). Confess and ask for a heart change, and God will be abundant in his grace and mercy.
  • Pray, pray, pray. Start with baby steps in recommitting your all to Christ. Start with prayer; the rest will follow.

I pray that you are encouraged, knowing you are not alone in your journey and in your struggles. If you find that you are wandering, straying, today is the day to recommit to Christ. Lay it at the cross. He already knows how messy you are, and how messy you’ll be, and he decided that you are worth sacrificing his son on a cross for so that you may have eternal life with him in heaven.

James 2:5 – Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

2 Thessalonians 1:11 – To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power.

John 15:16 – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Daniel 12:2-3 – And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Smoggy Stars

The moon looked so perfect this evening.  Just like in the story books that show the crescent and then shadows that make it look like a man is sitting there fishing.  It made me smile looking up and seeing it.  Then I started looking for the North Star.  The problem is I have no clue how to differentiate the North Star from any other star.  So naturally I started looking for the brightest star (because it feels like someone somewhere maybe told me that once).  The only problem is that living in the city means there aren’t any “brightest” stars, or really very many stars at all.  The smog and the light polution of the city made it hard to see the stars.

Sometimes in life we can get so engrossed in life we can’t see the way forward.  We are so fixated on what the next step in the path is that we miss the journey.  We so badly want to know what the future holds that we forget to live in the present.  We are so buried in our own selves that we don’t see the world around us.  We are entrenched in sin to the point that we can’t see hope or redemption.

Don’t lose sight of the forest through the trees.  Don’t fixate on the puzzle piece you have but, rather, on the puzzle as a whole.  Don’t stop walking the journey just because you lose sight of the path.  When the stars are hidden in the smog the answer isn’t to abandon course and assume the stars are gone.  No, you start to take measures to clear the smog.  Remove the barrier.

Sin is that barrier in our life.  Sin is death.  Where darkness is, light cannot be, and where light is present darkness cannot exist.  Jesus is light.  When you live in sin you are pushing Christ away.  When you draw near to Christ you become more like Christ and thus sin inevitably will fall away (although no one is sinless except Jesus).

If you are feeling lost, confess your sin.  If you are feeling far from Christ, repent of your sin.  If you are feeling alone, know that God is always there.  Just like the stars are always there, even hidden under the smog, God is always there with you.  All you have to do is reach out and take his hand.

John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Psalm 18:28 – “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”

Ephesians 5:8 – For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 18:28 – For you light my lamp; the Lord my God illumines my darkness.

Ride to Greenville

God is so great and so faithful.  He recently taught me how small my faith truly is and, through that experience, how great He truly is.

I was recently at an airport flying from Atlanta to Dallas Fort Worth.  It had been a long travel day (two flights over 19 hours) and I was worn out.  I decided to read my Bible while waiting on flight number three.  (Don’t think highly of me, keep reading…)  A kind lady, we’ll call her Sarah, sat next to me and engaged in conversation about how much she loves God’s word, how different Christian speakers had impacted her, and so forth.  Through that conversation she mentioned that she intended to take an Uber from the Dallas Fort Worth airport to Greenville for a conference.

Greenville, Texas is not close to anything, especially not close to the airport.  Uber would be an expensive option and it was apparent that she hadn’t budgeted for the distance, and cost, that this Uber would entail.  We pulled up driving directions on my phone and yes, it was an hour and fifiteen minute drive.  There was no way she was going to be able to afford an Uber to Greenville.  After two flight delays, two hours of conversation and dinner together, we parted ways to board the plane. Our conversation ended with my saying “I’ll pray for a ride to Greenville for you.”

But if we’re being honest, there was no way she was getting a ride to Greenville.  At least, there’s no rational way she would get a ride.  I did pray for a ride for her, absolutely, but no one goes to Greenville.  There was no way she was going to find a ride.

I found my seat on the plane and sat next to a lady, whom we’ll call Chloe.  Chloe was on her third flight as well, headed home from a two week mission trip in Kenya.  Through her mission trip she had encountered Christ in the most unexpected ways.  We talked for the next two hours about all the great and mighty things Christ had done in our lives over the last couple of weeks.

It was an hour into our conversation when she mentioned that her husband and six kids (yes you read that right) were picking her up at the airport and then making the two and a half hour drive home.  She lived in a small town I’d never heard of and when I asked her where it was located relative to the airport and surrounding cities, she mentioned it was north of Greenville.  (Which is random in and of itself because no one talks about where they live in relation to Greenville!)  I about died right there in my seat.  I said “Did you say Greenville?”

You can probably imagine how the rest of the story goes.  In the end, Chloe, her husband and six kids gave Sarah a ride to Greenville.

The song “How Great Thou Art” keeps running through my head.  Within 1 hour of reading my Bible and pouring my heart into worshipping Christ I became doubting Thomas by not believing that God would really deliver a ride for Sarah.  Oh ye of little faith!

How often do we doubt God’s greatness?  God’s goodness?  God’s glory?

Our God is a great and mighty and faithful God.  He taught me that day that there are no small prayers, there are no ridiculous requests.  He can absolutely do miracles, big and small.  That day, even though I doubted, God delivered.  Even though I failed, God persevered.  Even though I stumbled, God did not fall.  He is greater and mightier than we’ll ever comprehend.

Never give up hope.  Never give up faith.  God is with you all the time.  Right now.  He’s with you walking beside you through life, good and bad.  He never leaves you nor foresakes you.  You are loved and cherished.  There’s nothing too big or too small for God.  Go to him, seek him, lean on him, talk to him.

May God receive the glory for the miracle he did that day.  Many thanks to Sarah and Chloe for playing a role in changing my life.

Ephesians 3:16-19 – That according to the riches of his glory he may grant to you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith –  that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is in the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Mark 11:22-24 – And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoevere says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Luke 1:37 – For nothing will be impossible with God.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

20,000 Words

Did you know that the average woman speaks about 20,000 words a day? (Not a scientific statistic.)  Well they clearly have never met Livi.  She most definitely speaks minimum 40,000 a day!!  But, if we’re being truly honest, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  One of the things on my “must work on myself in this area” list is to be quiet more, i.e. shut up Lindsay.  Writing doesn’t count does it!? *Insert winking smiley face here*

It’s funny how we are each communicating all day long.  Sometimes on social media, sometimes over email, other times in our own head, and even more often verbally.  We often hear about reflective listening skills and it’s importance in the transmittal and receipt of communication.  When someone is expressing something to you, you demonstrate active listening by stating “What I heard you say is [blank].”  We also know that before we fire back with our first instinctive response we take a deep breath, process the information we just received, and then craft a response from a place of grace-giving love rather than hurt-filled anger.

What we sometimes forget to realize is we are constantly transmitting communication with our Savior as well.  When we are too busy to have our quiet time.  When we cuss at the driver that just cut us off.  When we go to bed and realize we completely forgot to pray all day.  Or even when we look in the mirror and all we see is flaws and imperfections.  All of it is communicating loud and clear to our Lord and Savior.

What are you communicating to God today?  How are you communicating with God?  We are all broken messes, and we will forever have areas in which we can improve.  God loves you, he loves me, and he wants us to live in the freedom that the saving grace of Jesus Christ brings.  In a relationship with Christ, we can be messy and be forgiven.  We can know the true meaning of unconditional love.  Take this grace, take this freedom, and run with it my friend.  Love others, love yourself and most of all, love Christ.

Ephesians 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Psalm 17:6 – I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Best of Places, Hardest of Times

My backyard is one of the most peaceful places on earth. At least the most peaceful place closest to home without the headache of traveling. (Ha!) Have to give credit where credit is due; God has made lots of wonderful places on earth. Anyway, we have a small pool with a stone fountain, tall hedges, lots of privacy and the hot tub has a waterfall into the pool. You can lounge on the sofa in the shade of the gazebo and listen to the birds chirp. Squirrels run along the fence line and rarely do you hear a barking dog. There is nothing better than sitting outside, waterfall in the background, breeze blowing, Francesca Battistelli playing on the speakers, eyes closed and praying to Jesus.

God and I do lots of talking outside. We do lots of talking on my couch inside too (Texas heat!). It is in the quiet  that I hear him the most. Unfortunately, there isn’t much quiet in my life. I have to make the quiet happen. Whether it’s after everyone goes to bed or the 15 minutes between picking the kids up and getting dinner started, I make it a point to find the time for the quiet. Sitting outside sets the stage for quiet and sets the stage to be vulnerable (I guess because no one else is around?). Make your quiet time intentional. Start small, don’t try to conquer the world in a day.  Even just a minute or two is a place to start. 

It is in the best of places that I have my hardest of times. It’s when God speaks to my heart and the tears roll down my cheeks. It’s a place to confess my sins, to breakdown and tell God I’m a mess.  It’s my place to sob about death and mean kids at school and consequences I am suffering. It’s a safe place to cry out to Jesus that I don’t have it all together, and I don’t know what I’m doing so I sure hope he does. Then he holds me and loves me. I can imagine his arms around me, just holding me and comforting me, letting me get it all out of my system. And once I’ve got all the messy out he simply says “I forgive you. I love you” and continues to hold me.

Those words, those simple words are life-giving words. They will set you free for an eternity.  You can start your eternity with Christ by accepting Jesus today.  

James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.

Matthew 6:6 – But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Mark 1:35-37 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.

 

Respect the Inbox

Man!  The spam junk emails never stop coming!  I’m not a New Years Resolution type person, but if I were going to make one, eliminating spam junk emails would be at the top of my list.  It seems like every few months I get on an unsubscribe kick and sit for an hour clicking “unsubscribe” at the bottom of every junk email.  Within a couple weeks, sadly, my inbox is just as flooded, if not more so, than before.  It’s impossible to find the emails I really need through all of the junk!

Even more frequently than we receive junk emails, we receive junk emotional, spiritual and physical messages.  “You aren’t smart enough.”  “You aren’t pretty enough.”  “You aren’t good enough.” Those are just a few “frequent flyers” that swirl around my head and heart.  These negative statements are in each of our lives.  All the negative junk messages in our head make it impossible to truly hear the loving and encouraging ones, which are the ones we really need to hear.

This year, join me in an effort to intentionally declutter, not only our inboxes, but our emotions as well.  When the voice of insecurity rises up, speak LIFE louder!  When the voice of fear and angst speaks up, speak LIFE louder!  When God is for us, who can be against us?  “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

Go “Marie Kondo-style” on the voices in your head.  If they don’t bring you joy, eliminate them!  Get rid of them!!  Now, that’s not to say you should remove the voice of reason, or accountability, or the Holy Spirit.  Those may not always bring you joy, but you can’t live without them.  🙂

PS:  If anyone wants to have a spam junk removal party, women’s Monday night Bible study is a great place to receive God’s truth in a loving way.  We cling to His truth and hold each other accountable to God’s word.  Comment or message me if you’d like more information.

Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Zechariah 8:16 – These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace;

Proverbs 10:19 – When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Psalm 25:5 – Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 86:11 – Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Hungry for Purpose

We all want to be someone, belong to something, have some purpose.  We hunger to know our place and draw comfort from knowing our identity.  Sometimes we go through seasons where we don’t know our place or our purpose, though.  I frequently struggle with the “why God” and “when God” and “where do you want me God” questions.

Friday I was at an all-day business meeting for work.  Our leadership team was wrestling through some really big issues, issues that would impact the direction of the company for years and years to come.  Everyone came to the table with ideas and suggestions.  We were all excited for a resolution and a clear direction in which to move forward.  You could literally feel the energy in the room!

Our implementer kicked off the meeting by asking everyone for their suggestions and input on a specific topic.  We went around the table and everyone’s ideas were written down on the whiteboard.  What a massive and broad list!!  Then we started the process of combining ideas, or eliminating some.  Then again, and again.  Everyone had strong feelings about one idea or another.  Passionate debates ensued.  Then more debates, and more.  People started to grow weary of the process and just wanted to jump to the meat, the conclusion, the purpose.

That’s when it hit me:  it’s more about the process than the purpose.

The process of wrestling through the issues made the final result so much more meaningful.  The process of passionately debating made us a stronger leadership team.  The process of God working in my life through divorce has made more of an impact than had there not been a struggle.  The process of God working in my life through the car wreck has made more of an impact than if there had not been pain.

The process is what makes us grow.  The process is what makes us appreciate the purpose.  Don’t miss the beauty of the process because you are too hungry for the purpose at the end.

Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:17-18 – Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Dusty Distractions

My favorite quiet time spot in the house is actually our living room sofa, around 11pm, after everyone including the hubby have gone to sleep.  Overhead lights off, lamp on in the corner, just me, God and the Word.  Sometimes Alexa streams Christian music softly, sometimes not, it just depends on the mood of the day.

The only hard part is the “11pm and everyone asleep.”  Livi still doesn’t sleep through the night so usually during this would-be-quiet-time she’s strolling through the living room half awake needing a drink of water.  The two dogs are just getting their second wind and don’t understand why I can’t pet them and read the bible at the same time.  (And what’s super funny is it is 11:10pm and I hear someone coming around the corner now!!)

So, post interruption, where was I again?  As I stare off trying to refocus on where God and I left off, my eye catches a fuzzy growth in the distance.  What in the world?  (Livi has now gotten up twice at this point.)

Back to God, or rather the fuzzy growth on the lamp at the end of the sofa.  I struggle to focus with distractions present.  Sure enough, upon closer inspection there is a mound of dust on the lamp.  How in the world could this heap of mess have piled up right before my eyes, day after day and night after night?  How could I have missed this?

Areas of sin in our life are much like the dust on the lamp.  We get so distracted by the busyness of life that we don’t stop to clean house in our hearts.  Habits of apathy and distraction settle in and slowly but surely sin creeps in and starts to settle.  Before you know it you have a messy fuzzy growth of sin you didn’t even realize was there.

If we weren’t a mess, we’d have no need of a savior.  Today I’m thankful for my dust because it gives me a greater dependence on Him.  When the Lord reveals these areas of sin to you recognize it as an opportunity to grow with Him.  It’s a chance to confess, clean house, purge, and then start afresh walking in fullness of joy with the Lord.

PS:  The picture is my actual lamp and my actual dust.  I am not perfect.  I am a mess.  My house is messy and my heart is too.

Psalm 119:133 – Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Psalm 51:1-2 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Romans 3:20 – Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

I Just Really Don’t Want To

Right!?  Please tell me I’m not alone in this.  Sometimes I just really don’t want to.  Don’t want to do the dishes, don’t want to fold the laundry, don’t want to respond to that text, don’t want to adult in general.  My face expresses what my heart feels: “Enter at your own risk”, “Do Not Disturb” or “Beware, guard dog on duty”.

Sometimes those “sometimes” last longer than I care to admit.  Those moments become days, days become weeks and before I know it, weeks have become habits and patterns that define a larger period of time.  “I don’t want to” becomes more of a lifestyle than an attitude.  It becomes more of a passive condition of my heart than an active choice.

God has been tugging at my heart about my lack of writing lately.  At first, it started as “I’m too busy.”  Then it became “I don’t know what to write” which quickly turned into “nothing that I write matters.”  Did you notice how many “I” statements that was?  All of them, which is all of them too many.  And yet in life, none of it is about us.

Every bit of life is about our relationships with others.  I write because I am called by God to write, not because I enjoy it or have an extra abundance of time for it.  Writing isn’t about what matters to me, it’s about uplifting and encouraging others in their walk with Christ.  As long as we are stuck on ourselves, or within ourselves, we will be unable to experience true growth and freedom in Christ.

I can tell you that not writing the last few months has been nice.  I haven’t had to stretch myself into territory that is uncomfortable.  I haven’t had to be vulnerable or scared of rejection.  I haven’t had to check numbers or care if anyone reads the posts.  I haven’t had to research Bible verses or study extra hard.  But I also haven’t experienced true joy in Christ.  Joy that only comes when we are fulfilling our purpose and our calling by God in our lives.  The joy that comes from resting in Him knowing you have served your God well.  The joy and purpose that comes from hearing “…Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

Tonight I rest in the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) in the presence of my savior.  I invite you to rest in His fullness of joy with me.  Whatever you are wrestling with, whatever you are putting off, now is the time to surrender.  Stop wherever you are and give it over to God.  Let him remove your sign of “Beware, enter at your own risk” and instead replace it with “Welcome, Joy Abounds”.

Psalm 16:11 – You will make known to me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever.

1 Peter 1:8-9 – and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

John 17:13 – But now I come to you; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have my joy made full in themselves.

Romans 15:13 – Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will about in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Worst Day Ever

Last Friday was a day anticipated more than Christmas!  Through a school PTA fundraiser the girls were given a “Ride to School on a Firetruck.”  The girls waited patiently through the Christmas holiday for school to go back in session and for me to arrange their ride.  We got the arrangements made and the plan was for the truck to pick them up on Friday at 7 a.m.  The girls waited and waited, counting down each day of the week until finally the big day (Friday) came.

Everyone’s alarms went off at 6 a.m. on Friday, thirty minutes earlier than normal.  The kids shot out of bed, even though they went to bed over an hour late the night before, and raced to get ready.  I dragged out of bed, after having slept less than two hours, and threw on clothes piled on the floor that I had worn to work two days earlier.  (Truth and honesty here, right??)  Everyone was excited for the firetruck to arrive!   The girls because, hey, it’s a firetruck, and me so I didn’t have to hear them talk about it all day every day any more.

7 a.m. came.  7 a.m. went.  7:15 a.m. came.  7:15 a.m. went.  7:20 a.m. came, and Livi insisted that they forgot us.  7:25 a.m. came, and we all piled into my car and went to school.  Every morning I tell them the same thing: Have a super, awesome, fabulous, stupendous, amazingly incredible day.  Livi responded “This is the worst day ever!”  When I picked them up from school and asked “How was your day?”  they both responded “It was the worst day ever!”  I tried to console the girls by letting them know the ride was rescheduled to the following Friday.  They weren’t moved.

Finally the big day came.  This time the alarms went off at 6:15 (we learned how quickly we could get ready with some motivation last week) and everyone, including myself, hurriedly got ready.  It was another successful morning of everyone fed and ready by 7 a.m.! 7 a.m. came.  7 a.m. went.  7:15 a.m. came.  7:15 a.m. went.  7:25 a.m. came, and we all piled into my car and went to school.  Livi insisted that the firemen forgot them and that I was a liar for saying they probably had an emergency like last week.  When I dropped them off at school with their standard morning encouragement, Livi once again responded “This is the worst day ever!”.

After making some arrangements, I surprised the girls by picking them up 15 minutes early from school.  Both girls were truly surprised when they saw the firetruck sitting outside the school waiting to take them home.  The firemen were incredible and drove them all over town.  They let us wear the headsets, and we talked and laughed the whole time.  It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  At the end, as we walked up the driveway after waving goodbye to the firetruck, everyone agreed it had been the best day ever.

God’s plan in our lives works the same.  We see the pain of today, but God sees the hope in tomorrow.  We see the mess of right now, but God sees the beauty in the future.  We feel the hurt in this moment, but God sees the joy in days to come.  What may feel like “the worst day ever” may actually be “the best day ever”.  Don’t let waiting for your firetruck make you miss your ride to school.

Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Isaiah 14:24 – The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.”

2 Chronicles 20:6 – And said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.”

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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.

Confession Is Good For the Soul

So, true confession, I am not a writer.  This whole blogging thing is not my thing!  It is completely not within my comfort zone, nor is it in the top ten “Lindsay attributes” list either.  That being said, I always, and I mean always, pray before sitting down to blog.  This blog is for God’s glory, not my own, and therefore it’s my hearts desire to allow Him to lead my heart and my fingers.

More often than I’d like to admit, I’m not sure how to start my prayer time with him, though.  Usually my brain is still churning on the events of the day and not ready to settle down into God’s word.  I try to imagine kneeling before him, hands open, head bowed, submitting to his will.  Sometimes that imagery is the catalyst to the beginning of our quiet time together, and sometimes I still feel distant and alone.

One day mom and I were out running errands together (I was 4ish years old), and I committed theft.  We were at Michael’s and while standing in line I started playing with some small suction cups.  Totally random, I know, but I was fascinated by them.  They were the size of a quarter, clear, bendy, and fun to play with.  Mom wouldn’t let me have them, though, and I really wanted them.  My fingers NEEDED them.  So I did what any child would do when their mom told them “no” and to instead of putting them back on the shelf, I stuck them down my pants.

Later that day, mom was assisting me in the restroom and, as I pulled down my pants, out fell the suction cups.  There was no hiding it, they fell out right in front of her.  She knew exactly what I had done.  She knew I had stolen them after she told me no.  Needless to say that was the longest, most quietest, ride back to Michael’s that she and I ever had.  There was a chasm in our relationship that couldn’t be bridged until repentance took place.

Mom drove me back to Michael’s where I had to hand over the suction cups to the employee on duty and confess my crime.  I was sure that they’d handcuff me right then and there.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.  The employee accepted my apology, permitted me to put the suction cups back on the shelf, and leave the store with my mom (no jail time!).  The ride home wasn’t as silent as the ride there; Mom and I started our repair.

If you’re having trouble praying today, try confessing your sins.  Confess to the sin of putting self first, greed of finances, gluttony of food, anger towards others and lack of love in general.  As your sin pours out, God’s love pours in.  Thank you God for filling my ugly heart with your everlasting love and grace.

Psalm 32:5 – Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

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

Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Psalm 69:5 – O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

James 4:7-10 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.