Don’t forget, because this is vital:
Live your life in a way where you can look back and say – for Jesus – I did everything I could.
Not because you had to, but because you wanted to…
Not because you were earning something, but because you were loving the one thing.
Do it, so that one day you see yourself:
Victorious, dressed in white (Rev. 3:5)
Acknowledged, not blotted out, before Father God and his angels. (Rev. 3:6)
Seated with Jesus, just as Jesus is seated with the Father (Rev. 3:21)
How do you practically live like this? What does this mean for you and me?
It means we hear beyond the sound and the thrills and the notifications of this world. It means we have ears to hear (Rev. 3:6) what God most desires. It means we focus on the limited running of time, the blip that is our life, to see the ongoing riches of the cross.
We stay eternally minded, and remember, we are earthly endangered.
He is “coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11) What we have is eternity.
The victorious become part of the temple of God (Rev. 3:12). Will that be you? Will that be me?
I don’t want to be so lost in this world, that I lose the greater vision of God that will endure forever. I don’t want to bow down to stress and anxiety only to stand up and realize that I missed greatness, glory and holy. I don’t want to get it all here, and miss it all there.
Do you know what I mean?
There is no hidden agenda or secret formula. The path is clear. Here’s what it looks like to be a type that can look back and say, “I did everything I could”:
1. Wake up! (Rev. 3:2)
2. “Strengthen what remains and is about to die” – leave no good deed unfinished. (Rev. 3:2)
3. Remember what you have received and heard; hold it fast. (Rev. 3:3)
4. Turn yourself back to face Christ. (Rev. 3:3)
5. Be ready. I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev. 3:3)
He is coming not to hurt us, but to love us.
Not to tear apart believers, but to keep them.
He encourages our heart (Jo. 16:33) with the force of heaven.
The Spirit pleads (Ro. 8:26) for our win and Jesus does as well (1 Jo. 2:1).
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
It is a race.
We are winning.
God is for us.
He is helping
We are not alone.
He will lift us when we fall low.
He will guide us when we don’t know where to go.
So, put a stake in the ground and declare, “Jesus, again, I hand it all to you. I am all in.”
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I probably would be the girl that you’d least like to walk behind on a busy street. I might even be the one that you’d silently curse under your breath (although not too loudly or discernibly because you are Christian, after all), but all the same I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. You might even step on my heels a little to give me a quick signal I am being slow, rude and indignant.
Heck, I may even deserve it.
But, would I stop doing it? No way. Would I stop listening to the small voice that speaks about 2 feet below me. I don’t think so.
You see, I think that little voice of immaturity is on to something all the rest of us have been missing. He is on to something that in our pursuit of destination we miss. He is on to the small meaning of life, the beauty in the cracks of a sidewalk and the peculiarities in a bird with a beak of an different variety.
He is mesmerized by creation and affirmed
in God’s determination to show love.
We call it a sidewalk. He calls it a God-walk.
We call it a place where you move from one place to another. He calls it a place you see one glory to another.
We call it a stroll, he calls it God being on a roll.
“Stop mommy, you gotta see those birds over there. Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see that little flower sticking out of the wall? Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see the way the sun is coming out of the clouds? Take a picture!”
Snap that shot mommy and don’t let me ever forget about this little slice of moment where what God showed is greater than the crazy, mundane and forced things in this world. Capture the moment of greatness that only those who have the small eye seeking beauty can find. Get that and let me hold on to it so I can remember how God wanted me to see him above the scary, freaky and dark things of world.
Snap. A moment that will last forever.
How often do I look at the world like one waiting to be mesmerized?
How often do you?
I always thought I could see, but now I see, I was always becoming blind.
Maybe it happens to others like me. The ones who pull “drive” out of their back pocket and put on the glasses of determination to try to get themselves somewhere. Ones who believe they’ll end up seeing peace, joy and life from goals, plans and agendas. These types, they run a fast race; they move like a panther in hot pursuit of prey (work, spouses, cleanliness, promotions, money, vacations, internal value (fill in blank), yet tired and panting, huffing and puffing they always land in the same place – in the alley called dead end, dead life and dead weight.
I should know, busted my head in that alley. I told myself I needed to be best in my class (fail.). I told myself I needed to get the best job ever out of college (I went bust at the job after a year). I told myself I needed to press through an abusive situation (nightmares plagued me).
Dead-locked vision left me for dead and on lock down with discouragement.
Tunnel vision drive, driving towards anything but God’s goals leaves you driving into a head-on collision where you feel like you can’t breathe and you are not sure if you can return to normal life.
I thought those who try hard – win big. Where did I go wrong?
Blind folk start to see again, when they aren’t afraid to see themselves as dirty.
After saying this, (Jesus) spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Jo. 9:6
Yet, I don’t think it is only this. It is not just saying, “Hey God, go ahead, put that stinking muck on me. I am okay with it. I am okay with seeing myself as tarnished, hurt, powerless and needing the reality of myself to cleanse me.”
Nope. I think it transcends this.
“Go,” (Jesus) told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Jo. 9:7
Be willing to wear the grime of your self, your past, your wrongs, and your traumas – and then allow yourself to be sent out. See those things in a way where they earned your masters degree of life learning.
You let the dirt sit afresh on your eyes, you feel the muck and the yuck, and then you let the word “sent” compel your whole being to move to greater insight, vision and power; you move with them and beyond them all at the same time.
Then you start to see. As the grime of what you really are, the disgust of what you have been and the pain of shame wash off, you finally get somewhere.
“I went and washed, and then I could see.” Jo. 9:11
I could see innocence.
I could see through eyes untarnished.
I could see roads untainted.
I could see the slow movement of ordinary things.
I could see worry dissipate and fears calm.
I could see people – pained people.
I could see glory – in sunrises, sunsets, grime and grit.
I could see beauty – in grace extended.
I could see growth – by offering space.
I could see life – budding in the small forging of patience.
I could see flowers – protrude from the cracks of pain. I could see longing, desire and hope.
It is a picture that even words fall short of explaining. So, you just stop, drop your jaw at what you see, then you look for someone that doesn’t have their head stuck in automated zombie-zone, and together, you snap a picture. Usually with the child, the innocent one who gets the greatness of God. And, then, you go about carrying on in the mayhem called planet earth until God staggers yet again with all he has stored up in the unseen places of the world.
She looked at the girl sitting next to me, and said, “Hey it is so great to see you” and continued on not even giving me the time of day.
Who does that?
Who completely ignores someone when they completely know someone?
Boiling hot, I was about ready to make a primed kettle sound. Wwwhhh….
Someone was going to get burned, and I had a feeling it was going to be me.
In an instant, my mind returned to a time of old,
me, the new girl, trying out for the team,
her, a potential friend that I really enjoyed being with,
all was good, until…
[walk in villian], her age-old best friend walked in… (dun. dun. dun.) and whispered to my potential laughing-mate, “Don’t be friends with her.”
Things went cold, I went hot. Wwhhh!!!
Discouraged. Dejected. Demotivated. I lost my athletic swagger. I was rejected from the team.
I felt rejected by everyone. Wwhhh!!!
Clearly, it was apparent that there was something deeper going on here.
I couldn’t help but think:
Boiling over happens because of past pain that lays under. Yesterday returns to sear us with the markings of – unwanted today. The devil is a avid scorcher, using his red trident of age-old shame – time and time again.
He hits us with it – and we almost can’t help it. We jump out of our seat, jump on the person and rip the person apart from the insides out. We say, you won’t mess with me or rule over me or hurt me ever again. Our eyes close, our fists move and our whole will is determined not to live on repeat. Except, when we open our eyes, the person we look at is not the girl on the field, but the thirty year old with two kids and a whole heaping lot of problems just like us.
I want to cut off this record on repeat that won’t stop playing, “I think I am dumb. I think that is why. People don’t love me. They will always pass by.”
This kind of song makes you live in limbo. It makes you live believing people have one foot in and one foot out. It makes you live expecting the next diss. It makes you live wondering when you will feel hurt again. It makes you wonder if God will be out the door on you too.
Wwhhh!!! It starts to rise in you. You feel like hitting again. Except when you open your eyes you realize who you would be hitting, and you remember – he was already hit.
Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Mt. 26:67
You want to get angry, but as you start to soften your face, you remember: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone… Mk. 12:10
The stone that keeps the unsteady fabric of beings from falling over.
The stone that was never thrown.
The stone that binds eternal life.
The stone that knows the depth of rejection.
The stone that rose up to build a church that unites hands around the world today.
The stone with a clear purpose, despite the mocks, slanders and accusations of others.
The stone that was raised on high.
The stone that the Father adored.
The stone that seals us as always accepted.
The stone that pursues us and loves us and owns us always and forever and then forevermore.
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I love you.
This year belongs to me –
as do you.
So know, I have both; in all ways.
There is no way you can be left behind,
I “go before you and will be with you”. (Deut. 31:8)
I “see all your work and your love;
not one labored breath goes unnoticed.” (Heb. 6:10)
Dead-gaze on me, be entranced and shadow my ways,
then your confidence will come easily, your burden will feel light and your heart will get sure:
Sure that you “will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)
Child, please, wear the world like perfume, on one moment – and off the next,
not penetrating your deep, not altering your mind, and having no significant hold on you.
Violence: Let the pain hit, then let it waft into my being.
Opinions: Listen and let them rise.
Fear of man: Get a whiff and then let them go.
Goods: Say nice that you have them, then breathe deep – my love. Then, I will permeate your insides with my infallible grace. Your mold will more easily fit mine and your mind will mock mine. (Ro. 12:2)
Don’t let enemy forces fool you into thinking my love can be thwarted.
Don’t let them plunder your joy, peace and patience by demanding an already established timing.
It may look like you are being besieged, but I am the one who controls the word “proceed.”
It may look like I want to hurt you, but every time I am helping you to grow, glisten and glean truth.
Pain is temporary, but my care, compassion and consolation withstand.
Hardship doesn’t mean I love you less or that I hold you less – it means the world will hold a little less of you when all is said and done.
What comes against also has the capacity to push me into you with the same force.
Let it be so; let me rule.
So, child, watch carefully that you don’t plan against me, but plan with me.
You may set out a course, but, know, I am determining each movement.(Prov. 16:9)
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the me. (Acts 5:39)
My ways are the ways that lead to the places you want to go; let’s go together.
Let’s move holding hands, rather than me pulling you through the mud –
we will both be happier, move easier and enjoy the journey.
You will delight in my love rather than resist it. You will find I have so much good laid out for you – even in a world of set land mines.
Distraction abounds around you.
But so do I.
Keep your eyes set on what matters, what will fill you, what will change you.
I am always there, make a choice to see me above the diversions. See the birds chirping, the sunset and my habitat of love, before you reach to answer that text. Enjoy your children laughing, before you throw your face in front of a screen. Welcome your spouses inviting words, before you think of your next scheduled activity.
Here my ready-to-lift voice above the talking fear-puppets of the world.
My love rises above world issues; it contains the only answer to genuine peace.
Love people like they are me,
but don’t let them rule you like you are Judas.
Money, people, things, toys, voices, actions, words,
they will try to gain a hold in your life,
they will try to rule you by opinion, feelings or control,
but just let me hold you, as you love,
wave to them as they pass you by,
and you will be okay, we will hold firm together. When you realize you can’t control another’s peace, you start to find yours. When you step back from looking at others progress, you make yours.
No weapon forged against you shall prosper. (Is. 54:17) When you realize this, you make instruments of love, and you start singing new songs that make people break down and cry.
Your love begins to dance.
Discouragement will knock on your door,
let that salesman of sleazy goods pass by ungreeted.
You won’t be rude, you’ll be as shrewd as a snake
and I like that kind of thing… (Mt 10:16)
because my encouragement exists all around you.
Hear the knock, say they “There it is”,
but don’t pull open that door,
and, together, we’ll make it out okay.
That sleezeball has never been known to bring an ounce of anything that is from me, why mess with that?
Jealousy, lust, comparison and pride –
they are like gangrene; they hinder my healing, helping and calming work in you,
don’t let them steal your view of what I am at work to do.
They love to come in, take over and make healthy ones fall.
Don’t think you are above their grasp,
for they sneak in…
when that one person does just a little better than you,
your eye strays just a tad too far,
you look at her appearance and mark yours bad.
you pat yourself on the back and vow to keep letting your awesomeness shine. Set up your fence this year, so that you and I can play, laugh and move within safe confines, we don’t need predators hanging around with us.
Let not money be your guide, dear child.
Sure, on earth it rules,
but in my vast kingdom,
that transcends the farthest known galaxy of human comprehension,
I do. Lift me higher and you will see how high I extend. Let me rule and you will start to see how much I rule.
Take a chance of faith and I will see your faith…
and then I’ll answer by faith,
to give you more and more faith.
You’ll come out the other side saying, “Wow, look at me now!”
And until we meet at the banqueting table, dear one, be not afraid, I can’t stop thinking of you, Come, be with me, and I won’t lead you wrong.
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You can do it.
Make it happen.
You’re the boss.
Lead the way.
Get ‘er done.
Life makes us more into commanders than surrenderers doesn’t it?
I have been thinking about this lately, because, sure, I pray to God, I ask him for help, I follow his lead, I read his Word and I go to church. But, how much of my life do I manage, manipulate and mangle rather than letting him mend, mold and make me holy?
In many ways, I step up to God to say, “You are my helper. Assistant. But, you are hardly my rescuer.”
Which translates to:
I’ll call on you in prayer God; you better pull though when I ask.
I have the day-to-day interactions covered, you handle the miracles.
I can figure my way out of the small; I will circle back on the big.
I am the boss of my office; I will call you, the assistant, if I get overwhelmed.
I will buzz you in if there are some things I really don’t want to do.
Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. La. 3:40
I am a large part pride and, I entirely hate to say this, a small portion trust. I often think I can help myself better than God can help me. I run over God with the tread my dirt-laden wheels that head to reeking lands. My direction and intentions leave me with a flat tire and no way out.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help (including Kelly Balarie or [insert your name here]. Ps. 22:11
Trouble is always near. So is the devil; he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8
He sees our trouble.
He is acquainted with our adversary.
He knows our door out.
He knows his door in.
He calls us to it.
He pleads for us.
He advocates for us.
Will we call back to him?
Like a child with a breakage, knowing daddy will run to rescue?
Like a mother of a terminal one, knowing her great physician will save?
Like a distressed homeless one, knowing the benefactor has good?
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Ps. 55:2
He will handle our all as we hand over our all.
He loves our all, we need not be afraid of his all.
He brings us to his all as we seek his all.
This kid was nearly a blackbelt at monkey bars. He lives them, he breathes them, he scampers across them at nearly every playground we go to. There was no doubt he could swing across, even if they were 3 times as high as the others.
“Son, just keep your eyes looking ahead – and move – one by one, bar-by-bar.”
At this point, the hyperventilation begins, the “I can’ts”, the “It’s impossibles” and the “I don’t want tos” come about. At this point, I draw near, look him in the eye and say,
“Don’t give up. You can do it. I will help you. I will not leave your side. Do you trust me?”
And in this split-second moment, as soon as my words left the safety of my mouth, I knew they were not only meant for him, but for me.
“Don’t give up. You can do it. I will help you. I will not leave your side. Do you trust me?”
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Is. 43:2
The bars God calls me to climb, even when descent is miles below, are always bars for which he has well prepared me. Just as I put my arms around my son to encourage, comfort and catch him – God does the same with me.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber. Ps. 121:3
Will we trust him?
So often, we are so like me son, aren’t we?
We find moving across the bars of known and familiar is clockwork, but, pushing ahead into risky is not.
We find evaluating catastrophe, more valuable than believing he will really rescue our fall.
We know that God is near, we just are not sure enough that he will really catch us.
The heights of big, high and different, negate God’s bootcamp of preparation.
We see the different, God sees how he is always the same.
Somehow, when we see the heights of new,
we forget the victories of old already proved.
Then, like my son, we question things, we look down and say, “Whoa, God, this? You want me to do this?”
Then, we question things.
We let our mind run laps.
We give marching orders.
We disaster prepare.
We get bunker supplies.
Do you allow the risky heights of what you see,
divert you from the ample love of the one you can’t?
For the truth is, the adventure which you stand, looking at, considering and questioning, is the exact one that God wants to use to encourage you. It is the exact activity that will bring you to the other side saying, “Whoa God, look what we did together. What else can we do?”
It is ground you end up dancing upon, spinning upon, jumping upon, cheering upon. It’s a place where you look at the vastness of new faith straight in the face. It reminds you that you were always safe, you always are safe and, with God, you always will be safe.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Ps. 37:3
Next time, when you stand on the cold bar of fear with your heart pumping, I don’t know, perhaps you think of my little guy and how much he could absolutely do it! Perhaps you just take a deep breath, move in, move arms and move forward knowing God has you.
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#RaRalinkup Twitter Party is this coming Monday. Encourage a friend, blogger or author using #RaRalinkup on Monday. Your words may make the difference between an okay day and a great one.
Do you miss it?
It is right before your eyes.
Waiting for your astonishment…
It is God showing off.
If you are head down in iPhone…you won’t see it.
If you are worrying your pants off about what is to come…you won’t see it.
If you are yelling to that person next to you in traffic…you won’t see it.
If you are looking at what everyone else is wearing…you won’t see it.
If you are more concerned with your ways than his…you won’t see it.
Not because he doesn’t care for you, because he absolutely does.
Not because you aren’t his loved son or daughter, which you hopefully are.
Not because he is angry at you, because he is not, he just waiting for you to run back to him in repentance.
You won’t see, because you don’t allow yourself to see.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13
Eyes that are looking for God, find him. Eyes that are distracted, miss him.
Last night, my son ran into my room with a mid-night dream he wanted to share. I hushed him up and pushed him back to his bed, deathly afraid I would turn into a walking-zombie mother the next day from lack of sleep. Success! He returned to bed.
Until, he came back. He woke me again, but this time I hugged him. I loved on him as Christ might. I enjoyed the quietness of the moment. Then, I looked out the window…and saw it. Bright as day, as close as the breath of my own child, as bold as a phone call in the middle of the night – it stood. It was the moon, except for one thing…this moon’s rays shined only two ways – horizontal above the earth, and vertical – ground to heaven.
This moon was emitting rays in the shape – of a cross. A cross that owned the world.
(This picture does the cross no justice, because its rays extended far and wide, long and distanced, crisp and sword-like, prominent and powerful. They went straight down to the ground and straight up to the sky…it was gigantic and breathtaking.)
This moon declared Jesus’ victory over the plains of the fearful and the plans of evil.
It proclaimed the earth as belonging to God.
It blazed like a victory flag over our mayhem-ridden land.
It shined eternal sovereignty, which will never, ever, fade.
It confirmed it can’t beat the the sacrifice that will always endure.
It magnified Jesus’ ability and desire to cleanse the world of all pain, agony and hatred.
But, what if I had missed it?
What if instead of stopping to let my eyes adjust to the light of God outside,
I let sleep lure me inside?
Awaken! God is all around, but when our eyes look down, we miss the exact places where he is found.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Ps. 33:8
If we stop in the middle of rush, we will see – that it is us that God wants to touch.
If we look for wonder, we will find ourself wondering how we have such a great God.
If we pray to see, God will open our eyes up wider than they are after our third drink of coffee.
God waits to awe our socks off!
Nature testifies to the natural goodness of God. It is the present testament declaring both testaments of our living King. It confirms his majesty, administration and intentions.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20
If you only see the white noise hum of “bore” before you – you’ll miss the “tremendously more” that God has – for you.
Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Ps. 2:11
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