ALIVE & Kickin’!

Image

 

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28: 1-7

Can you imagine?

A whole city witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

They watched as his body was tortured and as he was persecuted, as they weeped and their hearts broke.

It’s not like there was just one person who witnessed His death, so they couldn’t claim anyone as “crazy”.

Everyone KNEW.

Everyone knew that this was a divine miracle, one that they had no choice but to believe.

This God, the one true God, was bigger than any “thought process” the people could conceive. He made their thoughts, their hearts and everything about them and there was no way to deny such truth.

I mean, could you imagine being Mary or Mary Magdalene?

I would probably say, “Girl, did you pick up the mattress and everything? Or did we go to the wrong grave or something?”

But it says an angel came to them and told them, Do not be AFRAID!

Your Jesus? The one whom was crucified? The one whom was laying here as his persecutors laughed?

No, no He is not here any longer for He has RISEN!

The angel came to confirm to their spirits, “No, you are not crazy! Yes- Your King is alive!”

He instructed them to go tell the disciples for Jesus was already on His way to Galilee, on another journey. There was no time to waste.

It seems like every Easter, my mind comprehends this story differently and my heart seems in shock again.

Lord- HOW!?

Because He is God.

It is that simple.

God did not send Jesus to die so that we could all mourn His death and be terrified of those who stood against Him- no way!

God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us so that we may all see and know that He is God.

So that we may know that NOTHING is too big for Him.

No tomb will keep our King because He is ALIVE!

Jesus rose from the dead so that we may die to our flesh and truly, truly live.

I know that there are no words to say that will express the gratefulness and joy we should experience when hearing this news and being reminded of His incredible sacrifice.

But I do know that Easter should remind us of the God we serve 365 days a year.

One that is not overcome by death and whom is alive and kickin’ more than ever today.

He has RISEN!!!!!!!!

Happy Easter everyone! 🙂

Praying that we all remember that this life is all about serving the risen King.

TGIF -Thank God I’m Forgiven.

Image

 

So cute, right?!

“This would be so cute to hang on my front door or place on my mantle!”

As I sat in my bed this morning and looked at a decorative cross hanging in my room, my eyes welled up with tears.

I started thinking about how so often we see the cross as a decoration and Jesus as a way of salvation rather than a way of life.

He becomes a commodity.

And we consume Him.

Being that it is Good Friday, I, in some way, was hit in the face with and forced to think about the crucifixion of Jesus.

I do not mean that I never think about the sacrifice Jesus made for me/us, but rather I think I often sugar-coat what actually happened.

How much pain He was in.

The fact that the nails pushed through actual flesh on his hands.

His blood was shed and there was much of it. It was real and it was the greatest pain felt that this world will ever see.

Because Good Friday is considered a “holiday”; some people are out of school and others are off work, it can be celebrated like any other holiday.

A day to sleep in, watch Live with Kelly and Michael (maybe I did this), and run some overdue errands.

However, today hit me like a ton of bricks.

I imagined my own father, the one I was blessed with and undeserving of to have on this Earth, getting up on a cross and performing the greatest act of love there is possible.

I couldn’t stop crying.

Image

I no longer was imagining flowery, fun decorated crosses. I was seeing this.

I saw him walking up the long, barren mountain, stepping on sharp bristles while barefoot and carrying the harshly cut wooden cross on his back.

I imagined people yelling at Him, scorning Him, celebrating that he was going to be killed and him continuing to place one foot in front of the other.

I thought about each nail as it was hammered into his hands as he remained still, perfectly aware that this was His will according to His father.

For some reason, imagining it this way allowed my heart to begin to comprehend the love that Jesus displayed for us on the cross.

Although we will never comprehend such love or sacrifice, or pain for that matter, it is necessary that we try.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we may soon wear a crown upon our heads.

He was bruised, beaten and persecuted so that we may experience freedom.

Because He did, we are.

Because of the cross- not the one hanging on your wall or your car mirror- but the cross that bore the body of the one who rescued us, we must remember that.

I do not mean to be all somber or depressing but rather realistic and aware.

His pain was great because His love is greater.

So today, on Good Friday, I say TGIF- Thank God, It’s Friday and Thank God I’m forgiven!

No, literally, thank You God that it is Friday because today is the day that you sent your son, Jesus, to save us all.

And because of that, I am forgiven.

An uncanny, undeniable, crazy, radical, passionate and unwavering sign of love is something that deserves our attention every day of the week.

Happy Good Friday, everyone!

I say the only appropriate response to such a day is to sit at His feet in awe and say TGIF! 🙂


“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” -Ephesians 1:7

Return the Shopping Cart.

Image

 

Returning your shopping cart to the cart bin.

Not throwing your gum out the window.

Saying thank you when someone stays back one second longer to hold the door for you.

Actually throwing away your movie popcorn bucket instead of leaving it at your seat.

Not taking the Chilis honey mustard sauce home along with its’ container…(guilty).

All little things.

Most of which would never get you in any sort of real trouble.

There would be no warrant out for your arrest and you, most likely, aren’t the only one around doing it.

However, I have noticed lately that God seriously will NOT let me put my shopping cart just in the parking space beside me.

Ya know, you’re in a rush and it’s windy outside, so whomever fixes the shopping carts outside- they will fix it, right?  Dude, you aren’t getting paid to do that so why should you.

Because it’s Godly.

Now, Lord have mercy, do not interpret this as me saying that Christianity is a set of legal rules that includes all sorts of subjects to the rules of movie-going to the rules of shopping for groceries.

No. All I’m saying is that we should start listening to that still, small voice inside you say, “Put that back, it isn’t yours.”

Or, “return the shopping cart. It will only take ten more seconds.”

And I have noticed that when I really do listen to this voice, in the tiniest of ventures, it makes a very large difference.

Often times, in situations like this where there seems to be no “personal reward” attached, being faithful is not fueled by our desires by rather by our obedience.

When it comes to others- when we stay faithful in the small things, we are eventually trusted with the big.

When it comes to ourselves- when we stay faithful in the small things, we are much more likely to be able to be trusted with the big.

You may still not want to put the shopping cart sometimes but the difference is that you do.

It could be these very small things that are keeping you from receiving all the blessing God has to offer you!

I know that seems crazy, because they’re trivial and meaningless, right?

But story after story in the Bible, God asks and tests His people to see if they will be obedient in the little things first.

Because the reality is, every task will eventually become “small.”

So how we treat what we determine as small tasks will eventually be how we treat the big tasks.

Maybe this all means nothing to you and that’s completely okay.

However, I challenge you to make that extra step.

Whether it means putting up your shopping cart.

OR even better, seeing someone who reminds you of the old you put it in a parking space, and YOU be the person to correctly roll it on back to its’ home.

I would bet that these little, unimportant tasks will change how you handle the big ones in your life.

And eventually, doing what is right will seem, well, just how it’s supposed to go.

So, CHALLENGE of the day is to notice what small things you handle with less care and make a point to do them right/with patience/with concern/correctly.

And yes, I recently returned a honey mustard dipping container to Chili’s and the manager smiled and gave me two in return.

He will trust you with the big things, right? TOLD YA!

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” -Luke 16:10

Sugar-Free Jello.

Image

Do you know someone in your life who, no matter what they are going through, they ask how YOU are?

Well, my grandfather, Pops (that’s what we call him), is one of those.

Honestly it is insane to me.

Pops had been in the hospital for a few weeks when I called him just to check and see how he was feeling.

He spoke slowly and quietly, as he told me that he was really sorry but his hearing aid wasn’t in today because he had all this “hospital mess” around, so it might be a little tough to hear what I was saying.

I tried to ask him all sorts of questions, hear about how he was feeling and whether he felt like he was gaining strength and of course, making sure he had told his friends at The Waffle House that he might not be there for a few mornings but he would return.

He laughed so hard that I thought about calling my dad to go check on him and make sure he didn’t fall out of the hospital bed from laughing so hard.

As I kept asking questions, Pops interrupted me and said, “Honey, my life is pretty boring. Tell me about your work and your living space in Texas. Are you going on fun adventures?”

I had never heard Pops say the word, “adventures”, but something in me makes me think that laying in a hospital room for a few days will start reminding you that life is short and we should go on adventures until we simply can’t anymore. 

I think Pops wanted to make sure that I was still living my life, despite the fact that he couldn’t go on adventures of his own.

After I finished telling him everything and updating him on my recent escapades, he made a comment that will forever stay with me.

“Just remember, that no matter where you are or how you are spending your time, I love you. And I think you are wonderful.”

With a lump in my throat the size of Jupiter, I truly had no words to say.

“Ya know, Pops, I hope I am blessed enough to be even just a little like you. I am going to come home soon and we can go to the K & W Cafeteria and get some green beans (you can get your sugar-free jello) since you’re a 70-year old stud these days.”

He is 85 but you wouldn’t know the difference.

My grandfather has taught me so many things as I have grown up. Much of which, I don’t think he even knows about.

He is a resilient man, whom I believe can truly beat the odds every time.

He always has the best questions and finds such joy in knowing how life is going for everyone else around him.

As I thought about him this morning, I am encouraged to be a little more selfless.

Even when my adventures aren’t panning out as I thought they would be or when life just seems to be hitting me hard, maybe it would be best to take that time to ask about other people’s adventures.

Share in their journeys and hear  about what God is doing in their life.

It’s often when life has kicked us to the ground a bit that others turn to us to see how we might respond.

I pray that I take on the attitude of my Pops.

I hope I laugh so hard in my hospital bed I almost fall off.

I hope I still ask questions about regular stuff instead of focusing on all that “medical mess”, as he phrased it.

I hope I can tell someone they are wonderful and they are loved and listen, I mean really listen, to all of their adventures.

Stories are extremely exciting when we are the characters, but sometimes, it’s just as exciting to hear about them as our eyes grow big in our hospital beds or our comfy couches at home.

Take the time to ask someone about their adventure today.

Make sure to tell them that you love them.

That they are wonderful.

And you might just feel like you’re in the story yourself 🙂

Trillion Second Handstand.

 

 

Image

 

Kids are so smart.

No, seriously. Have you ever noticed how kids have the ability to say such simple things that speak to a much larger message?

Usually, they do not even realize what they’re saying or the magnitude of what they are teaching you, they just speak what’s on their mind.

Yesterday while babysitting, I was spotting a little girl in gymnastics, as our recent goal has been to stick her handstand for over five seconds.

She fell over and over and over again.

I could just feel her sadness as her face seemed covered in defeat.

“Lan, what’s wrong?”, I said.

She curled herself up into a little ball, sat in my lap and said, “Honestly, I just wish I could be perfect. Then life would be a LOT easier, I would never get my homework wrong and I could hold a handstand for a trillion seconds.”

(You know kids- they only count in increments of million, billion, trillion and infinity!)

I cupped her face in my hands, getting ready to say something to her when it suddenly crossed my mind that what she said was what many of us feel.

Wouldn’t it be easier if we were just perfect?

We would not ever fail.

And we could all hold handstands for a trillion seconds.

Truthfully though, she was just voicing what so many of us unconsciously pray for all the time.

Not sure of really what to say, feeling as though I was caught red-handed wishing for the same thing she was, I said, “BUT if you were perfect, would you need Jesus?”

Not uttering a word, she just shook her head back and forth, as if to say “no but still, that doesn’t change it.”

So I continued…”And if you were perfect, would you ever get to move onto the next level in gymnastics? Would you ever get to make new friends as you progressed from one grade to the next in school? Or what about girl scouts? You would have no way to earn badges!”

She started to fold out her legs and turn around so she could look at me.

So I kept going…

“I know what you mean. Sometimes, a lot of times actually, I wish I were perfect too. We all do. It would make life a lot easier, but that doesn’t mean it would make life a lot better. We all make mistakes, but those mistakes remind us that Jesus IS perfect and He lives inside of us.

And guess what? He can hold a handstand for an infinity times infinity times infinity amount of seconds. He MADE seconds. Cool, huh?”

I memorized the conversation because I played it over and over in my head again as the day went on.

I was humbly reminded that all too often, I pray to be perfect.

In other words, I pray to NOT need Jesus.

I pray to know everything so I won’t have to trust in the uncertain.

Or I pray to look a certain way so that I won’t have to rely on how Jesus sees me instead of how I view myself.

I pray to have a deep relationship with Jesus but to only have to trust Him in the shallowest of waters.

But, as my little girl taught me yesterday, being perfect would be boring.

It would allow for no girl scout patches.

We would be all we need.

And THAT requires no faith.

So, today, I am extremely grateful that I am far, far, FAR away from being perfect. Because in my imperfections, my Savior rescues me over and over and over again.

And a life with Him? It is far from boring.

If we know that Jesus is all that we need, let us pray that we are always reminded of the difference between our value without Him and our significance in Him.

It’s a trillion, billion, million times infinity true: His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Praying for you guys!

“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.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

Synonym for Dreamer: Realist.

Image

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a dreamer.

Actually, if I really think long and hard about it, I don’t think I’ve ever been one to believe that what I see is exactly what the situation will be or that another solution is not possible.

When it comes to thinking about my future, my mind starts to go crazy and I get super excited!

Now, if my life were to be written out and exposed for everyone to see, including all the variables taken into account, where I am right now and where I am hoping to be, people would probably submit me to the looney bin.

I’m very serious.

I think they would officially think I’ve gone off my rocker.

But the thing about the future is, it is uncertain.

As far as where we might live, what we might be doing or how many kids we might have, those are factors we simply do not know yet.

However, I do know who controls my future.

His name is God.

He created the Heavens and the earth. He made each human being with a different fingerprint so that they may have a unique impression that only they can give on this world. He is sovereign.

So because He is who He is, I can be a dreamer and still be considered a realist.

Get where I am going with this?

I don’t mean living in fairytale land, avoiding reality and assuming that if I don’t pay my rent, the King of Kings will park himself outside of my leasing office and turn a check in Himself (that’s still on my prayer list).

I simply mean that if we were to only hope for the circumstances in which we already know exist  or if we let the limitations of this world determine our expectations in this life, well, what kind of faith is that?

Faith is a knowing that there is more than what meets the eye.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” –Hebrews 11:1

Assurance, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is defined as confidence or certainty in one’s own abilities.

In other words, because we have faith in a God much bigger than anything in this world, we are confident in our abilities, WITH JESUS, that exceed the expectations of this world.

So, maybe it should be that a “dreamer” is actually a “realist”… How ya feel about that?

A field is not dirt, grass and dead weeds.

A field is a soon-to-be farm with fresh crops and sewn seeds.

Faith allows us to see a field for its’ potential, not its’ current state.

An unemployed single father is not a failure.

He is a soon-to-be employee who will provide for his kids because God provided for him.

 Because God said “It is finished”, we enter circumstances and situations with a vision in mind. A vision that pictures His favor and His blessing when we practice His obedience.

We do not see the dirt and the floorplan of the house, we see the finished product and we claim such because we are dreamers.

AKA realists.

AKA Christ-followers.

What kind of faith would require us to visualize a house when it is almost completed? Not much faith at all.

But when it is in ruins? Yes- THEN we must still believe in the things unseen.

Webster probably won’t back me on this one, but I would venture to say that a synonym for a dreamer is actually a realist. 

Because God is real, it makes more sense to believe in His greatness and our dreams than to put faith in what we see.

Think about it 🙂

CHOOSE to Celebrate!

Everyday in elementary school, they used the say the SAME phrase over and over and over again.

You might have heard it. It goes a little something like this:

“Today can be a great day. The choice is yours.”

Back then, I heard it as just words and kept right along with whatever I was doing that day.

The phrase was just a bunch of words to be; a sentence; a combination of sounds.

But as of lately, I have been reminded of this phrase frequently and now see it as much more than words, but rather truth.

Let’s pick it apart, shall we?

Today can be a great day.

Today- the current hour that I am writing and the one in which you are reading in- is full of possibilities.

Who knows what the day can bring?! It’s only 10:15 in the morning (11:15 Eastern time), and the whole day is ahead of us.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” –Psalm 118:24

The above translation is the English Standard Version. But I particularly like The Message translation of this verse:

“This is the very day God acted— let’s celebrate and be festive!” –Psalm 118:24

I like this version because it reminds me that having a great day is a verb. It is an action, or a series of actions on my part, in which involve celebrating the fact that we have another day to live!

Going back to the original saying- “Today can be a great day. The CHOICE is yours.”

Why is it a choice?

Because our days are full of the choices that we make.

Yes, we have obligations and commitments, but how we approach those are also a choice.

This may sound like a bunch of circular reasoning, but I guess it sounds that way because it is.

Today is a great day.

IF you act like it is.

IF your series of choices throughout the day reflect that you are thankful for the time you’re given!

IF you remain grateful that the Lord has blessed you with another chance to breathe in the spring air and be alive!

I started reflecting on the past month of my life and the events that have occurred, the relationships that have blossomed and the path in which I seem to be walking down.

It is quite obvious, when taking the time to actually reflect on such things, that the areas of your life are composed of many different choices; some positive and some negative.

Some choices lead us to where we want to go.

Others lead us astray.

Some choices make us feel happy during the moment and ashamed the following day.

Some choices glorify God and others…well, they simply do not.

Now, I am not saying that this life is completely under our control. We serve a God is sovereign and always in control, no matter how we deceive ourselves.

But He is also is a just, caring and SWEET God, to the point where He allows us to have free will and to make choices that will either positively affect our lives or negatively guide our days.

I am held accountable by this realization but more importantly- I am HOPEFUL when hearing this phrase!

Are there things in your life that need changing?

Is there a direction you need to go but are afraid to take?

Or maybe, you just need to be a little more appreciative of your days?

Cliché possibly, but straight up truth: Today CAN be a GREAT day! The CHOICE is YOURS.

Like Psalm 118:24 says, CELEBRATE it!

You’re alive and loved by the most High God and that, my friend, is something worth having a party for! 🙂 

No more plastic furniture.

There is something about a good movie that brings people together.

It opens people up to a world in which they can experience life together, even if just for a few hours, and in those few hours, they are all taking part in a story that is being told.

I am currently reading a book called, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller; I highly suggest that everyone find some time to encounter this book first-hand.

Anywho, Donald spends much of the book discussing the parallels between the movies that we watch and the lives that we live.

While he delves into this comparison in many different areas, one of my favorite ways that he compares the two is when he talks about conflict.

Think about any movie that you have seen recently. Was there conflict in the plot?

If so (which usually, the answer is always yes), was the conflict resolved or left lingering? How was it handled and how did it affect the lives of the characters?

Donald suggests the idea that the conflict is always what changes the person in the movie, not the resolution of the conflict.

In his attempt to create a more exciting life for himself in the book, he realizes that in order for his life to be worth making a movie about, ,he must also be willing to embrace the conflict in his life.

As my mind was processing this information, I started to reflect on different times in my life when conflict has arose.

How was it handled? Did I change as a person because of it? And if so, why and how?

There was a common theme among these memories: When I embraced conflict, my life, although possibly more difficult and risky, was far more of an exciting movie than when I didn’t.

And every single time, the conflict changed me as a person.

I learned the importance of forgiveness and the risk of bitterness.

I learned the heart-breaking reality that people will forever disappoint you but was scooped up and rescued in the fact that Jesus never disappoints.

I learned much about myself and how despite the fact that uncomfortable situations aren’t preferable, they always make us stronger.

We all like good movies because fortunately, we are outside the realm of its’ results and therefore, the character’s circumstances and conflicts do not personally inhabit our little atmosphere.

We encourage them to move forward and take the risk because for us, as the audience, it is far more exciting!

However, when it comes to our personal lives, we claim to want the “movie-like stories”- we crave having a life that is worth writing about- yet we live what I like to call the “plastic furniture life.”

We have the resources. We have the furniture. Yet, in our fear of things getting too messy, we keep the plastic on.

Because being risky can end one of two ways: Good or Bad.

However, don’t you think that even if it ends up bad, fixing a little messed up furniture is more of a life than sitting on the plastic?

Not sure if I ventured off course here, but essentially, I want us to stop watching movies and cheering on characters as they enter into conflicts and we virtually live through them.

Maybe we should write a worthy story on our own. With Jesus, of course. But you know what I mean?

Do not run from conflict.

Do not be scared to take risks.

Do not just talk about adventures, live the ideas that are written on the pages of your favorite novels.

For in life’s uncertainties are formed the exciting parts of all movies.

Want that daring music that you see In movies?

Then take the plastic off your furniture and embrace the conflict in your life.

It is always what transforms the character 🙂

Rudder Wisely.

“He who loves purity of the heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.” –Proverbs 22:11

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.” –Proverbs 21: 23

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” –Ephesians 4:29

“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” –James 3:2-8

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” –Psalm 34:13

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” –Psalm 141:3

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” –Matthew 15:11

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” –Colossians 4:6

And I could go on…

The Bible is filled with scripture after scripture about the importance of our words and the power of our tongue.

I know that I often downplay the influence and impact that my words have on my day and on my mindset.

Think about the last time that you were anxious, upset, angry or experiencing a painful time in your life. Maybe it’s now.

What kinds of things filled your mouth? What did you speak about?

Even if having a conversation  with yourself, did it go something like this: “I’m just so anxious. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I feel completely helpless.”

Or maybe: “I am so angry. I hate him (or her). How could they do this to me??”

Or: “I just can’t do this anymore. I am exhausted. I need some me-time.”

Do you see the pattern here?

Just READING these responses makes me feel mentally defeated for my day and it’s barely begun!

Like the scripture in James says, the tongue is a very small part of our body but it is the rudder that steers the ship.

Putting two and two together, if you want to have a positive, victorious day: You speak POSITIVE and VICTORIOUSLY!

If you want to sit on your couch with a bowl of Ben & Jerrys and look up quotes on Pinterest (don’t be ashamed), You will feel helpless!

The same goes with your friendships and relationships: The tongue is a rudder that steers the direction in which they go.

If we want to have fruitful relationships with other people, we must provide encouraging words that are soothing to the soul and pleasing to the Lord.

Let me assure you with this: I know it is not always EASY.

But, remember that words may be forgiven and forgotten, but the pain they cause is extremely real.

We are to provide words that are like honey to a body rather than salt to a wound.

How have you steered your ship so far today? Are you letting your circumstances determine which way your rudder goes?

Think of it this way: If you were sailing a ship and the waves became treacherous, would you choose to take greater control of the rudder or pay less attention to its’ direction?

EXACTLY!

You would be alert and focused on how you steered your ship.

The same goes with life.

The more helpless our circumstances feel, the more important our tongue and rudder becomes.

Speak LIFE.

Choose to believe in the One who has overcome it all and speak encouragement into your situation and the lives of others.

Do not underestimate the power of the tongue; like a rudder, it is small but mighty and powerful.

So, let me encourage you with some truth about your day as you get started!

You are LOVED.

You are FORGIVEN.

You are CHOSEN.

You are REDEEMED.

You are PRECIOUS.

You are BEAUTIFUL.

You are WORTHY.

You are HIS.

And lastly… You have a VOICE.

Rudder wisely 🙂

Be Obedient.

In doing my devotion this morning, I was thinking about the importance of being obedient.

I thought about all the many stories in The Bible that talk about the obedience of the disciples and people who were willing to take a bold stand for Jesus at a time when His name alone could cause someone to be imprisoned and persecuted.

I started to think about my prayers recently and how I was praying to have the “strength to be obedient”.

I realized that I was assuming and believing that being obedient to what God was calling me to was going to be painful and undesirable.

I think I was totally missing the boat on this one.

Why would we expect a negative outcome when we are pursuing a good God?

Now, I didn’t say that being obedient wouldn’t be uncomfortable or difficult sometimes.

However, I believe that in our obedience comes our biggest blessings.

For example, (pretend like this is real), say you think God is calling you to be-friend someone that is not in your “group”.

You aren’t familiar with them and from the looks of things, it doesn’t seem like you two would hit it off.

But you negate your own doubts and you message that person on facebook anyway; invite them to a lunch date and just say that you would love to get to know them.

From this experience, you end up gaining a sincere, life-long friend and that person gained a much needed companion.

Why are we so surprised when things work out this way?

Of course, being obedient with the intention of being “doubly blessed” is not what I’m saying; however, we must trust that when God is calling us to reach out to someone, to speak boldly in front of our friends, to step away from our normal daily routine or to serve someone, it is because He wants to bless us too!

Our self-centered, “me me me”  mindsets seek out the blessings first.

But our Christ-centered, “Him Him Him” mindsets seek out His obedience first.

Do not be surprised when God rocks your own world when you are obedient to Him and you serve and love the people around you!

He is a good God. That is a constant that will never change.

Don’t you think that being obedient and following the only unconditional provider of love will lead you into a life filled with love?

So, now Instead of praying for the “strength to be obedient”, I will be thanking Him for the blessings that come from obedience. I will be thanking Him for the strength and courage to be obedient and that comes from obedience…which in itself is a blessing 🙂