Purposeful Faith

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My Confessions & Our Return Back to God

my confessions

Lord, I don’t want to go through life thinking wrongs are normal.
I don’t want to go about striving, thinking that I am thriving.
I don’t want to do anything, thinking you won’t help me.
I don’t want to waste my life, thinking that you’re average.
I don’t want to take my hurts and brush them under the carpet.

When we let the piles of wrong build up inside,
they end up cover our eyes,
and blind us from the most majestic view – of you.

We follow a shadow of darkness and box God’s power to a limited distance.

No more God! I want to hear your voice.
No more going through motions! I want to see your face.
No more trying to do better! I want to hand everything over to you.

So here it goes:

Lord, I am sorry. I am sorry I pursue self over selfless. I am sorry that so often I make my needs King. I am sorry that I try to Lord over people. I am sorry that I don’t trust you in the gap of the unknown. I am sorry that I miss so many pre-set opportunities for faith, because I allow myself to sit in the agonies of fear. I am sorry that my pride makes me think I need to pry doors open. I am sorry that I listen to the voice of victimhood instead of your voice, the sound of eternal victory.

I am sorry that rather than living by your very Word, I have been living by rushed standards of this world. I am sorry that my mind is quick to dwell on nothingness rather than the vastness of you. I am sorry that I first see how you won’t be there for me, rather than how you will. I am sorry that I determine where I should be, rather than just being in you. I am sorry that I forget to thank you for all your little and unseen protections. I am sorry for how I have believed you won’t come through, when you promise you will.

Will you forgive me? For I want all of you. I don’t want to settle for a half-way God, a marginal interpretation of your love, I want the full deal. I want the whole kit and caboodle. I ask you to restore trust and to rebuild my life in ways that are exceedingly abundantly greater than I could even ask think or imagine.

God, I know when all I need is you,
I get everything I really need (Ps. 37:4).

This is truth; you are all I need.

You are all the answers to my greatest questions.
You are the sustainer to my very breathe.
You are the pipeline to my wildest dreams.
You are the beginning of life change that doesn’t cease.
You won’t ever fall from high.
Your throne won’t ever break.
Your power won’t ever cease.
Your mercy won’t fail to work.
Your grace can’t possibly give up.

You bring me high as I let you carry me.
You pursue my heart every waking hour.
You lead me to repentance so I can walk in complete assurance.
You give me power, even when I feel week.
You strengthen me in the face of opposition.

There is not a day you are not for me.
There is not a week you aren’t working on my behalf.
There is not a month you will turn the other way when I mess up.
And there is not a year that you will not delight over me with singing.

For you are love,
and your love is mine.

You are salvation,
and salvation is here,
it waits for me – literally every hour, every milli-second even, of every day.

I want to turn into it,
I want to miss it no longer,
for in many ways following Jesus,
is about returning back,
again and again.
It is a life dedicated to a grand return.

A return like hurt child runs to her daddy;
So I will run to your arms,
and you will lift me up,
swirl me,
hold me,
squeeze me
and then I will know,
there is nothing that can ever remove me from your love (Ro. 8:38).

I will know that you and me, we are once again united and such a bond like this – it can never be broken.

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Snapping Beauty, Crushing Vision and Tiny Stitches

Snapping Beauty

Snapping Beauty

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.

Snapping Beauty

“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!”

Snapping Beauty

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.

Snapping Beauty

Snap.
Beauty.

Snap.
Meaning.

Snap.
A moment that will last forever.

Crushing Vision

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?

Tiny Stitches

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

Untitled design (8)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.

Snapping Beauty

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.

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The Good and Bad of Giving Up

Post By: Katie M. Reid

She wants to give up, and rightly so.

She has been fighting hard, in faith—on her knees, with her time and finances, and with a broken heart.

She sacrifices beyond what she feels capable of. She doesn’t experience the noble results her heart aches for and she is weary.

She is one of the strongest women I know, and she is hanging on by a thread.

She has experienced injustice, fought corruption and been slammed up against disappointment more times than she can count.

She reaches out to others as she falls to the floor and waves the white flag.

She wants to give up and it’s understandable.

But, giving up can be bad:

  • It can rob us of the miracle just around the corner.
  • It can tempt us to walk away from the One who can do the impossible.
  • It can take us down a road of regret.
  • It can chew us up and spit us out—further from our faith than we ever dared to go.
  • It can trip others up, taking them down as we fall.
  • It can leave us depleted, like a dead man walking.

“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

It is understandable to be in a position where you want to give up. We are human. We have limits. But, if God has clearly said He will do it and laid it out in His Word, than you can count on Him to come through.

He cannot lie. Even when the road ahead is a mangled mess of darkness and tangled roots, His Hope can be found.

O God illuminate the way!

Don’t give up hope but give up control. This kind of giving up can get us somewhere.

Because, giving up can be good:

  • We reach the end of ourselves and we cry out to the Creator.
  • We cease striving and resolve to let Him fight for us.
  • We trade our grasping control for His steady Sovereignty.
  • We pour out our hurts and He meets us in our brokenness.
  • We lay down and He lifts up.
  • We yield and He fills up with peace that passes understanding.

As we begin this new year there are destructive ways of living that we should give up—bad habits, addictions, angry tones and murderous thoughts.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

And as the new year begins there are beautiful things that we can give up, as lavish offerings to our Lord—trusting Him even when life hurts, following Him even when we can’t see the next step, abiding in His Word even when it’s not popular or convenient.

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name, bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29

Giving up can be an act of defeat or an act or worship. Which one will you choose today?

Dear God,

You know the depths of the burdens that we bear. Yet You carried the weight of sin upon You so that we could live. Help us to lay down our cares and catastrophes at Your feet. Give us hope in dark days. Give us help to keep going. Give us strength to believe that You are who You say You are. You became a dead man so we could walk free. Now You reign at the right hand of the Father so we can be resurrected one day as well. We take a moment, on the cusp on this new year, to declare that we believe in You. You are good. You are trustworthy. You see all and are able to sustain us this day. Help us not to give up hope but to give up control and rest in Your ability to hold us, and the whole world, together. We love you and we thank you that You gave up all for us to prove you won’t give up on us!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Katie M. Reid Author

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.

P.S. Katie is delighted to have a memoir piece published in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond by Matilda Butler. The book launches tomorrow, January 8th, on Amazon for only 99 cents!

 

Cutting Ties from The Need to Please

Cutting Ties

You live to make others happy. String.
You can’t be happy if others are upset. String.
You are burdened if you made a wrong choice. String.
You can’t disagree about life issues or opinions. String.
You feel responsible for how others act. String.

Ever wondered how to live life with no strings attached?

For so long, I have walked like a shoe with warn down treads and strings wrapping me. These strings seemed to both keep me together and squeeze me. They seemed to be known and detested at the same time. For so much of my life, I would tie these strings up and say, “I just care a whole lot, a whole lotta lot about people. I would give everything for them and to them.”

The only thing about strings so tight like that is – they squelch the very person wearing them.

When we give everything to everyone, we really become a no one to everyone.
When people seem to control our every move, we move into places of anxiety and fear.
When we don’t have a way, we allow others to define our way.
When God is not making our way, we lose our way.
When we hand over our identity, we live insecurity.
When we live insecurity, who lose all surety.
When we are at the beckon call of man, we find ourself far from the peace an’ call of God.

Have you ever considered that being an over-giver is unhealthy?

Have you ever pondered how eyes on man divert eyes from God?

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

I am considering all of this. Deeply. Meaningfully. Carefully.

I choose to seek the approval of God.

With this, here is what I have come to:

1.  I can’t help another, if I haven’t given God a full chance to help me.
2. I can’t control the environment of happy, peace and calm by telling others what to do.
3. I can’t make others see, do or say what I need them to in order to keep me balanced.
4. I can observe a situation or happening without making it declare me bad.
5. I can give space and grace rather than side glances of judgement and disappointment.
6. I can be free to be me, when I trust it is God, not man, that will take care of me.
7. I can say that I am beautiful, when I stop believing man thinks I am not.
8. Others opinions belong to them, not me, and I am not any less for their correct or incorrect assessment.
9. God wants me tethered to him, not tethered to ties that keep me stuck to the past, emotions or fears.

So, take that strings! Take that, because I am cutting you!

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Prov. 29:25

For each will have to bear his own load. Gal. 6:5

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel,
so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
1 Thes. 2:4

Snap,
strings unleashed,
movement unknown,
plans uncontained,
life unrestrained,
unmoved by the shaking,
but uncovered in the trembling,
Trekking towards the once declared “impossible”,
yet moving all the same,
to the place where surrendered feet stand on holy ground,
God’s ground,
the place where you know all will finally be okay.

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Celebrating Conflict

Celebrating Conflict

It is that thing that pretty much all of us hate.
It’s what we would rather run from – than run straight into.
It’s what makes us think bad thoughts, nasty thoughts and mean accusations to our closest.
It’s what drives us batty and crazy because we wonder if we will ever be understood.
It’s what sends us to mindsets of sin instead of the peace of holiness, faster than one can whip out a quick retort.

It’s conflict. The worst 8 letter word around.

It is that thing that we don’t know why, we as Christians even have to deal with, but, still, we do. Somehow and sometimes, we are bound to hit it. And as ugly as it is, we often stand right in the midst of it, wondering how something so icky, so yucky and so unsavory, could exist in one who is trying to pursue God so hard?

How a God seeker could turn into more of a raging lunatic than a calming saint?

How this very growth of mold could threaten to swallow whole God’s very light shining on it?

But, yet, if we stop and think, this is the point isn’t it? There still is light. God’s light is still shining on it, right? There is no amount of disgrace, shame and darkness that can remove the ray of light that is above you. Light won’t let go of your hand, it won’t stop warming you and it won’t stop quenching darkness. So, even though you feel your feet stand in the death and decay of relationship, have you ever considered…

…maybe it’s more about focusing your eyes on the land of repair, instead of the face of despair.

Let’s reflect…

Maybe, just maybe, instead of focusing on all that person didn’t do, it is much more about focusing on what God is about to do – in you…
How God is preparing you.
How God is molding you.
How God is bettering you.
How God wants outstanding for you.
How God uses people to reconstruct you.
How God cares more about his life in you, than your happy life around you.
How God can fix the most complex junkers into complete beauties in his perfect timing.

In any rotten moment,
God extends his hand of love out to you.

Will you take it?

Hold on to it. And let him lead you?

Conflict is the body shop of God’s repair, for it is here that he points out, kneads and buffs out the greatest defects of our hearts.

But, it requires we get open, real and ready for his work; it means we get humble.

For a heart bowed down, clears more space for the light of Christ to rest over it.

The light is always the answer. It is the proving point to a mind that thinks like this:

Be not discouraged, he is helping us.
Be not dismayed, he is with us.
Be not disgraced, he calls us to see.
Be not downright angry, he leads us to listen.
Be not debased, he calls us to set our ways down.
Be not defeated, he calls us to victory in Christ.
Be not dejected, he calls us to new ways of thinking.
Be not defamed, you are always loved in his eyes.
Be not defensive, the correction spoken might be your ticket to fullness.
Be not down and out, you are always Christ’s new creation, created in his image.
Be not disqualified, nothing can remove you from the hand of God.
Be not denied, Christ already died to fully accept you.

Thinking like this leads a person. When they feel ready to fall prey, they simply fall down and pray. Suddenly and often, what they find is – God has the best way. Imagine that.

They find themselves being and doing the wild and crazy things they never dreamed they had in them or available to the mean folk who love to come against them:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12

And, what they find is – real love. From God and to man.

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When Others Make you Uneasy

Others Make you Uneasy

When I was with her, like a mind-reader, I could sense her emotions.
I could feel her temperatures rising – to the heights of Pluto.
I could sense all was not well with her soul.
Her words were shorter, her breathing tighter and her laughter less.

And all I could think was – what can I do to make her feel better?

Do you ever feel like me? Responsible to make others happy?

It wasn’t that life was crashing in. She was just handling groceries, dishes and daily clean up.

Yet, still, no matter how I talked, or what I did, her feelings didn’t seem to clean up. They didn’t. Despite my underlying words of: “Pull it together, so we can have fun together,” she didn’t budge.

And, then, what I did made it ten times worse, I’ll tell ya’ll, because I literally walked over, picked up her feelings and placed them inside me. I attached them to my heart like a fungus that even armies can’t beat. I wore anxiety just the same as her.

If you can’t beat ’em, join em,
unless you’re trying to minister to ’em,
and then you have probably just wrecked ’em.

Stepping back has given me the chance to see some things:

  1. The wounded can’t easily be rescued by the wounded.
  2. The wounded often need the Master Physician not the master fixer.
  3. The wounded are hurting and sometimes space is the place where their heart finds peace.
  4. If you want to minister and not manipulate, you have to terminate your need to placate.
  5. If you want to stay at peace, you have to let others own their own feelings.

I am not the peace-maker, the joy-jester or the emotion-keeper, I am just as much a sinful soul that could fall down right next to that person if I am not careful.

I could fall down with the thoughts:
I did something wrong.
It is all my fault.
She will not return to happiness today.
I will have a horrible day.
I don’t know what is about to happen.

Knowing this, there is only one place to land oneself in a moment like this –
at the melting-point of God’s Word:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… 1 Jo. 4:18

If God is in charge, I don’t have to be.

If I can leave him with my anxieties, I don’t need them.

If I trust him, I can trust he will work out that persons issue.

If I let him work, he will accomplish change in atmospheres better than I ever could.

If I let go of worrying about others, I can find peace.

If I step back, I can see his power at work between the space of me and them.

If I lean on God in the turbulence of fear, I can find strength in the face of hope.

Where might God be calling you to lean in?

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Getting Back to Simple Faith and Joy

Simple Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

It is all about simple. Not getting duped by the complex theories, herculean hypotheses and advanced equations of genius conjectures.

It is all about simple. Not joining the madness of consumerism and collectivism.

It is all about simple. Not looking left or right or up or down, trembling, then constructing your own bomb shelter of safety.

It is all about simple. Not getting involved in the wars of deep-seated theology that are bound to leave relational battle-wounds, simply, unrepairable.

It is all about simple. Not counting the pennies of another, while staring at your possibly empty piggy bank.

Simple.

The more simple our faith, the more abundant our life.

The more simple our reliance, the more wisdom we accrue.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor. 1:25)

“Simple” is eyes that trust the unseen.
Not seeing the world as its driving force.
But God, as he pushes us, in safe protection, to his known.
It is keeping simple in the face of other’s complex.
Jesus in the forefront of rushing minds.
Following his lead,
the one who is the pure – the untainted apple of truth.
Not biting into fake, fraudulent or bound to fry,
but staying attuned to the basics, the reality, the hope,
despite the grey nuances presented by talking heads.
Despite the exotic languages that come in ones mind – only sent to confuse.

It is where mission bubbles up,
and it is hope that actually – fosters hope.
And strength that has the strength to endure – it endures the fire.
And life that actually brings more life – it creates it.
All join hands to light a spark to boldness,
so one can walk through the fire and come alive on the other side,
believing that will happen is they will emerge refined, shining, glowing,
a pure byproduct of him who is pure.

Themselves, yet all the same one who they always wanted to be.

And this is all that matters. That we follow him. That we listen to his voice. We hear his Word. We love. We listen. We do as he did.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal. 5:6

Simple faith.

Simple faith leads to simple love. Simple love is simply what this thing called faith is all about.

Jesus never cared much for the deep insight of man, but he cared far greater that, of him, we are his biggest fan.

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Surviving Holiday Drama

Holiday Drama

We are all gathered around the table. I can’t keep my eyes off the pumpkin pie, the mashed potatoes, and the creamed corn. I want to devour it all. My mouth is watering.

But, as I smile, as I look, as I sit, deafening sounds quickly pull me out of my delightful daydream, and throw me back into reality. A storm is brewing. Someone is annoyed – again. Agitated -yet again. Frustrated – just like last year.

Who knows what irritated them! It could be one of many things – drinks weren’t served fast enough, a rude piercing reply was launched or a digging question was fired over the table. The “why” is not of as much concern as “how” this sinks my holiday south.

Joy stolen.
Agitation mounting.
Disappointment abounding.

Why can’t we give thanks in peace?

Why can’t we all get along?

Why does it feel that we have to endure holiday rather than enjoy it?

This is should be a time of thankfulness – of gladness – not a time of madness.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are days we expect to be perfect gems of sparkle, joy and peace. Somehow, we think, because we control the preparations, the decorations and conversations, everyone should meet our expectations. But, when they don’t, we tend to get bloated with disappointment.

Yet, God calls us to enjoy this day, rather than endure it. He calls us to leave perfect in the kitchen to embrace imperfect at the table, so we don’t end up hiding in the bathroom with tears.

5 Tips to Survive Holiday Chaos:

1. Seek to embrace verses erase the person in need.

Jesus ran to the people in need. His heart was inclined to those in pain. He didn’t demand, but gave his best.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Sit under the shade of the cross. Then you will find compassion for the meaningless jabs, frustrating arguments and aggravating words. Heck, you might even see you are just as sinful as they.

2. Be truly thankful – for both the yummy and the yucky of life.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:12)

True thankfulness takes abundance and scarcity, trials and triumphs, jerks and joy – and gives thanks no matter. Why? Because all are from the Lord. All have a purpose. All are meant to refine.

3. A storm may brew, but without a doubt, God will bring you through.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Is. 41:13)

It’s ok to feel weak, but unnecessary to feel ruined because God stands ready to help. Call out to God. He waits to run to your rescue.

4. Know you stand secure, no matter what others do.

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. (Ro. 8:38-39).

People can do what they are going to do. But, none of this impacts our standing with Christ. We are in Him. We are secure. We are loved. We are a new creation. If we stand in Christ, we can’t stand outside of him.

5. Find a heart of thanks for the burnt food.

True gratefulness is not just being thankful for all the delicious pickings, but also for the burnt food. If we have food – or family to complain about – we are already blessed. We are blessed with the perfect, but also with the imperfect. Why? Because through the imperfect, we see our need for a Savior. Through our failings, our trials and our frustrations, we find hope in One who is greater than these things.

God makes imperfect burnt food taste delicious when we see it for what it is – an undeserved gift.

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

Bonus Tip (consider it your second helping): Realize it is impossible to control others.

We can’t control things. We can only control ourself. And, no one can take our spirit of thanks away, without us allowing them to do it. No one can steal our heart – unless we allow them to.

When we stop looking for everyone to be perfect, we can start enjoying them for who they truly are.

When our standards aren’t higher than the twinkle-lighted roof, we can see people’s hearts, history and pains.

And, we sometimes, can even empathize and minister to them.

So, this holiday season, let’s celebrate and see all that we have – burnt food and pickings. People will always disappoint – and we will disappoint people. No one is perfect – except One. But, the ultimate truth is that God’s grace never ends. It nourishes us when the spread leaves us hungry for more love.

Let’s lay this truth on the table so we can pass, dish and eat up all the goodness of grace – in our own hearts and towards the hearts of others.

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How I Saw God Last Night (and you can too)!

I Saw God

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.

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(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!FullSizeRender (3)

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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The Burden is Off, My Friends

The Burden is Off

What would happen if I packed up, crammed all my stuff into a moving van and found a new home – God’s dwelling? Might God whisper “The burden is off, my child”?

If I truly said:

God, you own these kids, so I release myself from the burden of mismanagement.
God, these goods are under your roof, so if you don’t like them – for me, you can remove them.
God, when things break down in our house, you care – it is your house too.
God, you’re in the very center of the air in this marriage. You are in our midst in this house.
God, this home doesn’t actually belong to me, it belongs to you.
God, these plans I make are under your owned roof, help me come to you first, before I steamroll ahead.
God, you care about the mother and father who walk these rooms, their feelings and thoughts you oversee.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Ps. 91:1-2

If I put everything I own under his roof, his bullet-proof roof will wrap me with protection.

Cooking, caring, helping, guiding, serving, homeworking, loving, speaking, thinking and teaching will no longer rest on me, but it will reside under him. Every time I look up, the ceiling will remind me of whose shelter I am under. Every time I feel pressed against a wall, it will remind me I am not trapped, but wrapped with his love. Every time I feel it is too much, I will remind myself that God is much more in this place then I could ever be. Every time, I fear the dark, I will remind myself that he keeps me in his shadow, because he wants me close, not far so he can hurt me.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

Covered.
Gliding.
Moving.
Progressing.
Understood.
Safe.
Sound.
Armed.
Alarm set.
Tucked in tight.
Into the arms of the father.
Within our own home, which is his.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Ps. 91: 9-13

As God rules a refuge, he protects it. As if he places an invisible bubble of armored protection around it, harm hits it hard and falls, disaster is diverted, angels are concerned, my foot is not stubbed, the opposition walks scared and I walk defeating them.

The burden is off of me – and onto God.

Lord, God, come into my home and make your home. Everything belongs to you. I belong to you. My children belong to you. My goods belong to you. My heart belongs to you. My faith belongs to you. My life belongs to you. Rule in your shelter as I live under it. Help me stay in your ways and within your heart, never to depart. Amen.

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