Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category
Life is messy. But for so long she’s been trying to walk through life without getting dirty.
She’s walked so carefully, with her white shoes, and white gloves, being careful to not make a mistake that would cause her to fall down into the messiness of life and soil her nice white, clean clothes.
Sure, the bottoms of her pants have rubbed against the messiness of life and they’ve gotten a little tattered, but you can’t really see them. For the most part, at least as far as people can tell, she’s still clean, she hasn’t let the messiness of life get the better of her.
She’s grown up with a sense of pride that she’s made it this far into life without getting really dirty. She’s made good choices, hasn’t made a lot of mistakes and played it safe. That’s how she’s come to be so clean. You can’t be taking all kinds of risks and expect to stay out of the mud. Everything has it’s time and place and she’s got a plan for just about everything. Can’t be caught by surprise if you want to stay clean. Her thoughts swarm, as she takes each careful step through life, “What a perfect life I’ve led so far.” “Look how clean I am, not a spot on me!” But when it’s time to tell the stories she comes up short.
“No, I didn’t fall and get my gloves dirty. Why? Oh, well I guess because I played it safe. No, I can’t say I’ve ever been up to my knees in the mud… I mean look at my pants, they’re so white… Why? Oh, well I guess because I never took that big step. What kind of stories do I have to tell? Mmmmmm, ………………………… My gloves are really white!”
Does she carry a pride of never messing up? Does she think life’s goal is to get to the end of her life with her clothes still white? What is wrong with celebrating imperfection? Isn’t it okay if not everything lines up? She’s made all the right choices and because of that she’s been blessed. But what if the blessings were the consequences of taking a risk? What if the true blessings were the lessons that come with falling into the mud? Why is she so afraid of being wrong? Messing up? Making a mistake? Taking a risk?
What is faith? Faith is making sure each step will be the right one… faith is making sure each step will keep her away from the mess. No, that’s not right. Her mind and heart are at war, but she cannot let it keep her from moving forward. One last look at the clean, white gloves and she decides. It’s time to get messy. It’s time to try some new things. It’s time to take the risks. It’s time to take the big steps.
Sometimes we can get so busy with life that we forget the small things. The things we think won’t matter in the long run, or the things that we subconsciously put at a lower priority than other really important things. I’ll make my list of what I think these things are. Feel free to add to it in the comment section.
- Prayer–How often do we really do it?
- Holding the door for someone
- Giving an encouraging word
- Doing the right thing–even when no one is watching
- Picking up a piece of trash
- A phone call just to say hi
- Putting something back where you found it
- Stop. Listen. Learn something new about someone
- Go a whole day without complaining
- Enjoy the journey–not necessarily the destination
- Include someone
- Write a thank you note
- Buy someone a gift for no reason
- Think about someone other than yourself
- Help someone with their project
- Have someone over for dinner
- Be honest
What do you think are some small seemingly insignificant things in life that are actually quite important? Share your thoughts!
Everybody wants to go to heave, but nobody wants to die.
Except my grandma. No, really. That wasn’t a joke. My grandma wants to die.
We had a family gathering the other day and my mom had the unfortunate task of telling my grandma, who we call Nanny, that one of her close friends passed away. My Nanny cried at this news. About five years ago she lost her husband to cancer. She’s since been remarried, but ever since she suffered a stroke about two years ago, she’s wanted to go on and be with the Lord. The news of her friend’s passing brought a strange emotion. Jealousy.
How strange to be jealous of someone who died. My family and I wonder why doesn’t God just give her what she wants and let her go and be with those she’s lost, but clearly He is not done with her yet.
Which got me thinking. She still has purpose. And if you’re alive right now, so do you and so do I.
Too often people can wander through life without a purpose, but it’s not because they don’t have one, it’s because they haven’t discovered what that purpose is.
For my grandma, her purpose is to be a prayer warrior for her family. With 11 great grandchildren, (almost 12), and 12 grand children, plus her own two daughters and their husbands, she has more than enough reason to continue the battle through prayer. A small reminder of this the other night brought a new found confidence in what God has called her to do.
So what about you? Do you know your purpose? Are you living it out the best way you know how or are the weeks and months and years passing by without it being fulfilled?
If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life. –Warren
I’ve learned a lot about waiting in my short life span of 23 years. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that in the waiting God can be trusted to bring about the best possible outcome. Maybe it won’t be the outcome you expect, but we can trust, that whatever it is, it is the best for us.
When I am struggling to trust God in something it helps me to take a look back on my past to see how God came through in other areas.
I can remember the first time I really learned to trust God with the outcome of a certain situation. I was raising money for a leadership trip overseas. I wrote support letters and saved all I could, but I was coming up short. Very short. It looked like I wasn’t going to be able to go. So I prayed and made the decision in my heart that if I was supposed to go on the trip, the money would come. Two days before the money was due, my uncle Paul gave me a check for $2,000. It paid for my trip in full with more than enough left over so I could help a friend with his money as well. God came through. Yes, it was at the last minute but sometimes I think He gets a thrill out of sweeping in and rescuing us when it seems like there’s no hope. That way, there’s no mistaking who gets the recognition for making it happen.
Another friend of mine tells the story of how she and her husband couldn’t get pregnant. For seven years they prayed and tried everything to conceive but nothing happened. When they gave the situation up to God and decided to trust Him with the outcome, they ended up pregnant, two weeks after a pastor prayed over them to conceive. My friend tells me that during those seven years she ministered to many people bringing them to Christ. If she had been a mother earlier, maybe those people wouldn’t have followed her in prayer to receive Christ.
So, what are you waiting for? Most of the time it is in the waiting that God teaches us to trust Him. The problem is we might miss the lesson because we’re too caught up in what we think is best.
What are you waiting for? Think back over your past and recall those times God came through for you. Has He ever let you down?
What are you waiting for? Do you need to drop your worry at His feet and decide in your heart that whatever it is will happen if it’s what God wants for you?
What are you waiting for? “We know that God works all things for the good of those who love Him…”
What are you waiting for? Trust Him.
When I was young, my dad used to always tell me,
“If you do one thing everyday that you’d rather not do, over time, it will build character.”
As my young brain begin to make the connections I observed that my parents lived out this statement. I remember the day that I realized dad didn’t always want to go to work, but he did it anyway because he provided for our family. I watched as my older siblings learned this lesson and realized they were living out the big word: RESPONSIBILITY. There were days when my mom wanted to send us all to public school, but she kept to her calling to homeschool us.
So I tried it out one day. Growing up, we had what we call chore cards. Small individual note cards that had the job written out on them. As kids, we would look through our stack of chore cards and grumble over the ones that were particularly difficult and time consuming. One such chore was changing out the rabbit cage. (Could I sound more “Little House on the Prairie? Sheesh!) Yes, we had a pet rabbit, her name was Satin, and all of us hated changing out the cage. It was nasty and smelly and the goal was always to get it done as fast as we could. Of course that meant cutting some corners. So one day, as I was learning the importance of character, I decided I was going to do this job, and I was going to do it to the best of my ability, no matter how long it took. I felt good about myself that day. Very grown up and accomplished, but the truth of the lesson has followed me ever since.
Character. The traits and qualities that make up who we are. Having strong character is the ability to silence the excuses that come when you’re faced with responsibility. It is the strength of character that enables us to do what is right even when it would be easier to take the short cuts. And sometimes, when things get tough it is our character that will be the only thing we have left to stand on. You see, my dad had learned the importance that a fulfilled life was one of sacrifice, service and selflessness. I have remembered his words and carried them into my adulthood where they couldn’t be closer to the truth.
So, today, I challenge you: Do something that you would rather not do, and do it to the best of your ability. Over time, you will begin to build character, and character will always stand.
In our day and age, truth is a lost virtue. No longer is there an absolute truth. Truth is more of a relative term, to mean anything the believer wants it to mean. If it’s truth to them, than it’s truth.
Truth–noun: the true or actual state of a matter; conformity with fact or reality; agreement with a standard or original.
When we look at the word Truth, we see that it’s meaning points to something. It must point to a standard or an original idea, item or origin, otherwise, why would we need to measure for truth?
An example would be to take a blue pen, that is the original item before us. The truth of the matter is that the pen is blue. You can’t say that the pen is red, because that would not be true. However, many people, especially from my perspective in working with students, will try to argue that the pen is red. Why? Because they don’t want to believe in an absolute truth.
Taking the meaning a bit deeper, let’s use the Bible for our standard of Truth. Hopefully if you are a Christ-follower this is what you use for your standard of truth. But sadly many professed Christ-followers would admit that the Bible does not represent absolute truth for them. Truth is truth. Truth is not what you make it. Unless of course you’re believing lies.
There is a whole other angle we can come at with this subject. Many of you know my passion for truth as it pertains to freedom from insecurity. To know and believe the truth about yourself is to be free. The truth really does set you free, as the Bible says. But knowing truth, and believing truth are two separate things. Do you know the truth of who you are and who you were created to be? Do you believe that truth and are you walking it out in your life? Or are you stuck, with lies blurring your vision of the truth? No wonder we struggle so much with believing truth! We first have to believe in an absolute truth before we can believe the truth about who we are.
Truth is a lost virtue. But we desperately need truth! What can we do to get it back?
Next week, LifeChurch.tv begins a new series called Lost Virtues. In this series we will look at a few virtues that seem to have lost their importance in our society. I won’t tell you what the virtues are, but I will share a few virtues of my own that seem to have gone by the wayside.
Commitment–Verb: To give in trust or charge; to pledge oneself, to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance.
I love that the word commitment is a verb. An action word! It takes action to be committed! Commitment in our day and age is a lost virtue. No one wants to commit to anything anymore.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about this virtue is because I work with volunteers. When you work with volunteers commitment is the only thing you have to motivate people. You can’t pay volunteers therefore you can’t fire them. When a volunteer is commited you know it. They show up every week, on time, ready to give what they can. They understand the world doesn’t exist for them, they exist for the world, to give back what they can. (Thank you to all of the commited leaders at N-Dub SWITCH. You enable the ministry.)
I was raised to believe that commitment should be taken seriously. That when you give your word to something you follow through. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 5:37 “Simply let your yes be yes and your no, no. Anything else comes from the devil.” Be a person of your word. Commitment is one of my core values, something I manage my life around and will someday instill in my family.
What about you? Do you believe in commitment? Do you think commitment is a lost virtue? Why?
Sometimes, my husband tells me I’m stubborn. I, of course, argue my case, not backing down for anything…. which just goes to show that of course he’s right. I am stubborn, but admitting it would be a kind of surrender. One I’m not quite ready to give.
Stubbornness, for a woman can either be her friend or her enemy. Our stubbornness is that rebellious streak hardwired into each of us as a daughter of Eve. Sometimes it gives us the ability to face and conquer the issues of life as they come. But it is also that same rebellion that can get us into trouble if we don’t know how to use it to our advantage.
How do we use rebellion to our advantage? How can we put the power of stubbornness to work in our lives to bring about a positive outcome? It’s all in what we choose to rebel against.
- Instead of rebelling against obedience to God, rebel against sin.
- Instead of rebelling against your husband, rebel against the desire to always be right
- Instead of resisting change, rebel against mediocrity
- Instead of allowing life to just happen, rebel against laziness
Rebel against that which is against you. Harness the power of your stubbornness and use to bring about positive outcomes in your life.
What do you need to rebel against?
Lately I’ve found myself in the same conversation with many different people. Some have confessed to sin, others admit depression, some want to give it all up. My question in each of these conversations has been the same:
“How is your time with God?”
The answers varied but most landed on: Non-existent. As they were relaying their pains and doubts to me the answer was evident. They had been spending more time flexing their flesh than their spirit. What does that mean, exactly? I’ve always seen it like this:
Our flesh and our spirit are at war within us. They battle for control and inevitably one will win. Which one wins, however, is completely up to us.
Think of your flesh and your spirit like two muscles. Which one do you flex more? Are you giving in to your flesh more, therefore making it stronger? Or are you feeding, working, and flexing your spirit muscle, making it the dominate of the two?
I know for me, I haven’t been feeding my spirit as I should. I can tell a big difference in my attitude and outlook on life when my spirit is starved. It’s not that I’m intentionally starving my spirit,–no one ever does. But by being unintentional I have inevitably allowed my flesh to become stronger.
What about you? Which muscle do you flex more? What ways do you think we can starve the flesh while feeding the spirit?
Jesus: Do you love me?
Peter: Yes, Lord.
Jesus: Feed my lambs.
Jesus: Peter, do you love me?
Peter: Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.
Jesus: Take care of my sheep.
Jesus: Peter, do you love me?
Peter: Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.
Jesus: Feed my sheep.
What is meant by “feed my sheep”?