Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TBN Favor

Last fall through a series of divine appointments I met the station manager for TBN.  It was one of those God stories that I knew eventually an interview would happen.  Then nothing did.  I’d called, I’d prayed, and I yielded it up to God.   I had to keep renewing my mind but I had moments of thinking “Why God did all of this happen and then the interview didn’t?” I was willing to think it wasn’t going to happen this time around, and at some point all of it would make sense. 
God’s timing is so perfect.  I got a call on Monday to come in for an interview.  The very interview I wasn’t sure would ever happen has now happened.  I don’t know when it’ll air yet, and I’ll post the video online when I get it.  It was a good interview, and I’m not sure it really hit me what I was doing until the promo for TBN came on.  I think my chest fell to my knees for a moment, but God is so faithful.  I think it went well.
I am saying all this today in blog form just to remind everyone how so often we can see God do divine things in our lives and then it feels as if those things are never going to happen.  Then we start getting frustrated.  How amazing it is, that even though the call came months later, it still came.  Things still happened.  God knew when it needed to happen, and it did!
Patience and trust go hand in hand.  When you really trust God that something is going to happen, then you can be a peace that it will in God’s timing.  There is a reason why God says to be anxious for nothing
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
            Living a life of faith isn’t always easy, but you have to know Him and you have to trust Him.  He is your daddy, and He has everything under control even when it doesn’t always look like it.  He is faithful to you, and you can trust Him.
            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Because You Are The Human!

My youngest daughter and the dog have developed quite the “sibling” relationship.  I say sibling because I don’t know what else to call it.  The dog picks on her, and runs all over her, she just screams.  I’ve heard her tell him “No” but he doesn’t listen to her.  It usually turns into her crying, me stepping in giving Mojo one hard look and he’ll leave her alone. I’ve tried to explain to her that the dog doesn’t listen to her because he knows he can bully her. It’s not that he’s hurting her, he just pesters her. 
A few days ago I was getting annoyed at this; I was tired of the whining.  I yelled through the living room at my youngest, “Would you please take your authority?”
To which I heard her ask, “Why?”  I wanted to hit my head against the wall.  What do you mean why?
“Because you’re the human that’s why!”  Suddenly as the words fell out of my mouth I realized a powerful truth about spiritual warfare.  It was if a bolt of lightning hit me and I could see God trying to tell me the exact same thing. 
The devil is annoying.  He’s always trying to pester us, and how many times have we done the exact same thing to God, “GOD!  He’s picking on me!  Make him stop!”  But God already made him to stop.  He defeated him at the cross.
The thing here is God already gave us authority over him.  We just need to use it.  All too often we scream and cry at the devil picking on us instead of raising up as the child of God that we’re called to be and taking our authority and demand he back off.

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

            I confess that I have been just as guilty here.  I’ve done this, but as I told my daughter to take her authority over the dog I believe a light bulb of remembrance went off in my mind.  May it be a reminder to you today.  Speak to the mountains, speak to the things that have been pestering, and know your authority….because in faith those things have to move!  Know you have the authority.  Don’t let yourself be bullied!  Watch your situation turn around!
            Remember He has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Remembering God's Faithfulness/Moving Forward

Last Sunday we visited a friend’s church because they were celebrating the 12th anniversary of their church.  This church is only minutes from where we used to live across town.  We decided between services we’d drive through our old stomping grounds to show the kids the old neighborhood.  Memories and stories came rushing back.  I think the kids were humoring us more than anything.  We moved here when my oldest was 4 and my youngest wasn’t even born yet.  But nevertheless, we kept telling story after story of how God had been faithful to us in one situation or another.  We saw the door that my youngest locked me out of the house and when she couldn’t figure out how to unlock it I had to get a neighbor to break in.  We saw the sidewalk where the man on a red bicycle stopped me to hand me money once when we’d had no groceries in the house because of a faith seed we’d sown, but he didn’t know that.  We laughed about how we’d been set to buy the house and then the work at where my husband had worked at the time ran out and three days before closing technically he lost his job, and we bought it without either of us being employed. 

As those stories came to us we began to be reminded at how faithful God has been in our lives.  We could see and laugh at situations time and time again where He had come through for us.  There is a lot of teaching out there about moving forward and forgetting the past.  That’s 100% true.  You put the past behind you. You put all the sin, shame, and condemnation back there and don’t look back.  But all the amazing things He has done you need to tell those stories.  You need to tell your children of how faithful God has been to you.  You have to tell them those stories.  If you don’t tell them, how will they ever know?  How will they ever see God’s faithfulness not just in the Bible but in action of everyday life?

Joel 1:3 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.

During our trip down memory lane a song that has special meaning was coincidently played at the service.  The song “Moving Forward” means a lot to me.  The year that my Mentor and dear friend passed our church onto new leadership he played it whenever he could.  He even gave me the CD.  The day that he moved in with Jesus and left the earth, I played that song on repeat as a bawled.  When I showed up to church on Sunday and that song was being played, I cried knowing what God was saying to me. 

You have to remember His faithfulness, but you also have to move forward.  It’s not easy.  It’s not comfortable, but faith rarely is comfortable.  But faith is what gets God excited.  Faith is what gets things rolling.  I’m not suggestion stupidity.  Faith and stupidity are two different things.  Faith is when you step out in doing what you know that you know to do, even if it doesn’t make sense.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
             Here’s the song: I hope that you listen to it and remember God is faithful to you. 
 God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sloppy Grace & Naive Thinking

I am going to get up on a soapbox for a moment today.  I won’t apologize for my rant.  I think people in the church need to hear it.  There are two schools of thought (actually more but for the moment two I’m going to talk about) that are slipping into our churches and lowing the integrity of the church.

The concept of sloppy grace has oozed its way into the churches.  It’s the everything you do is okay as long as you repent theory.  It’s the “I can go out and commit every sin possible and God will always love me anyhow”.  It’s the concept of “once saved always saved” mentality.  Just because you mumbled a prayer once it does not save you from your sin.  God wants us to strive for a holy and righteous lifestyle.  This does not mean if you mess up, then He’s going to drop a piano on your head and send you to hell.  It’s not like that at all.  But use this for example, if I go up and smack you then say I’m sorry, and then do it again, and say I’m sorry again.  The cycle continues am I really sorry?  Repentance is a complete turn around.  Struggling in sin is different than  habitual sinning.  Struggling means your trying to break free, but habitual means you’re just going to live your life the way you want to.  This is not living a life for God.  This is living a life for yourself and hoping you’ll get away with it.  Many would read this and say “Oh now don’t judge.”  I’m not judging I can’t tell you where the line is.  I don’t believe in living under condemnation and control, but I do believe in living righteously.  You have to remember that one day you’ll give an account for your life.  No, none of us are perfect.  But that’s not an excuse to go live life like the devil and think there will be no consequences.  I assure you that your actions have fruit whether it be good fruit or bad, and God doesn’t like bad fruit!  (Matt 7:17)  As my pastor would say, “If you want to go on sinning I’d question if you really ever believed that prayer of salvation that you have kept in your back pocket for ‘fire insurance’”.  The blood of Jesus does not give us permission to go and act like the devil!

Naive thinking in the church needs to be addressed as well.  We all have pasts as believers.  None of us are perfect, but churches take the naive card too many times and error on the side of ignorance. This inactive approach has sadly caused many horrific situations.  What do I mean?  If someone has been a child molester and they’ve repented, I’m glad they’ve repented.  I pray they’ll move on with life, but just cause they’ve repented or gone through something you think as counseling does NOT make it okay to put them as a volunteer back in children’s church!  Perhaps the children’s ministry is not the best place for them.  If a pastor or leader has a past of adultery, then the opportunity to fall again should be avoided.  That’s why if there is a meeting there really needs to be more than two people in the room. It’s ministry 101 that one man and one woman do not meet for a meeting with the door shut.  We are our brother’s keeper are we not?  (Gen 4:9)  It would not make sense not to shake a chicken in front of an alligator and think one’s hand will not get bit.  But yet I hear stories far too often of horrible situations that happen in ministries that could have and should have been avoided.  But we like to think all is well.  The enemy studies our moves and will and can hit us where we are weak.  If a person has a weakness it doesn’t make since to shake it in front of them.  We’d like to think that nothing would happen, so we stick our head in the sand like an ostrich and then wonder why bad things happen.  Is it wrong for me to say DUH here?  DUH!

Jesus did not die on the cross and be brutally mutilated for us to live how we want and then say “oopsie” later.  Yes, there is grace, but grace can’t be a Band-aid.  We have to wake up as believers, get our head out of the sand,  and live our lives for purpose and with purpose.  We can’t turn blind eyes to sin when there are innocent people in harms way.    We have an ethical and moral obligation to society to guard the flock, and not just to assume everything will be okay.  Whether we are pastors or lay people, or members of the body we have a sphere of influence around us that we need to pray for and guard.

I’ll step off my soapbox now.  Not promising you that it will be for long.  But hear me today, and do not be ignorant of the enemy’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11)

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Playing Tennis in the Dark?

When I was in college two dear friends of mine and I decided we wanted to play tennis.  Living on the Ohio State University campus allows access to a large amount of courts.  Though I’m not hugely athletic I love playing tennis, volleyball, etc.  So I was all for finding a place we could play that night.  But the problem wasn’t us playing.  The problem was that it was already night and we couldn’t find a tennis court that was lit up.  After walking around campus we finally opted to try to play in the dark.  It’s not like it was pitch black out.  We had the light of the moon and the sound of each other’s voices. 

            While I’m certainly not a tennis pro, playing tennis in the dark is a humbling experience.  You don’t actually see the ball until its right at you.  Then by the time you can swing it’s almost too late.  Most of the time we didn’t see the ball at all.  We got frustrated and while we all laughed a good laugh over it, we really couldn’t play well in the dark.  I don’t remember our game lasting too long.  We just eventually gave up. 

            Several times throughout the New Testament a phrase or phrases is used about “he who has eyes to see let him see” or “Ears to hear let him hear” or those that “keep on seeing but don’t see.”  (Matt 13:9, Romans 11:8, etc)  I used to think that was a tad redundant.  I mean really God if a person can see aren’t they seeing.  I don’t get it. 

            It took me awhile but finally I “saw” (pun intended) what God was trying to say in all these times.  He’s saying its like when we were playing tennis in the dark.  People are in the game, they think they know what to do, but the lights aren’t turned on.  Many people are like us playing tennis in the dark.  They are in the room, but they don’t really see what’s going on.

            I try very hard to be a denominational bridge for many.  If you’ve read my writing for any length of time you’ll know I’ve been uniquely fashioned for that: grew up Lutheran, went to a Methodist church a bit, went to a Baptist youth group for years, was baptized in the Holy Spirit in high school, and addicted to hearing the voice of God and the prophetic as a young adult.  I do think its past time for all of us to stop arguing over who has the whole picture, and come into unity and get along.  I am not trying to use this blog to rehash this discussion, but I do want to talk about the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

            Imagine if you will God creates a room.  It is through salvation that you get in that room, but it’s through the Holy Spirit that the lights get turned on.  Many people are living their lives with the lights shut off.  They cannot see where they are going or what is going on, it’s no wonder their frustrated.  So what happens?  They give up quickly, they don’t realize that God has so much for them, and they go through life blinded by the darkness. 

            I want to put out a challenge to you today.  Is the light turned on in your life?  Are you listening for the Holy Spirit in your life?  Or are you living in the darkness.  If you find the latter is true, all you have to do is ask God to open up your eyes to His presence.  Ask the Holy Spirit to come in and reveal himself to you.  The presence of God will change your life if you let it, let God open your eyes (Luke 24:45-47). If you've found your eyesight growing dim ask God for a new touch of His presence.  Let the light be turned up in your life!

            Remember God has awesome thing for your life.   Get  excited!


Monday, June 10, 2013

What Are You Leaving Behind?

            Our beloved little puppy like most puppies has moments of destruction.  Sure it’s minor compared to big dogs, however Mojo likes to rip open things and pull out the stuffing.  You can see in this picture a trail of stuffing that’s been left behind.  You know where Mojo has been, and where he went just by looking at it.

            Our lives on this earth are like that.  What kind of trails are we leaving behind?  What do people see when we leave a room?  Are we leaving Godly character and legacy or are we leaving a mess behind. 

            I remember once hearing Maya Angelou speak and she was saying that when she has a party and people come over, if she hears someone speaking negative she’ll politely ask them to leave.  She doesn’t want their words clinging to the carpet and hanging around in her home.  That has always stayed with me.

            We forget that our lives, our words, and our very being is leaving a trail.  It is easy to forget this.  It is easy to think that it will continue forever, but unless the Lord tarries we’ll all say our final good-byes on this earth.  What will we leave behind?

James 4:14 (ESV)14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

            In a few year span of time several people I’ve known and loved have moved in with Jesus.  The relocation can be difficult, and I know I’ll see them again.  Losing them all makes me think more and more about the time I have on this earth.  Remember this as you go throughout your day.  What kind of legacy are you leaving?  What kind of legacy do you want to leave?  How can you live a life that you want people to remember you?

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

But I didn't mean to do that?!

            When I was in middle school I spent a couple of weeks at Camp Patmos.  It’s a fun Christian Summer camp on Kelley’s Island in Lake Erie.  I have very fond and funny memories from my time there.  From the time my friend and I got stranded on a sailboat with a lady who didn’t know how to swim in the middle of the lake, to the yearly shaving cream fights.  Yup, I love that place. 

            As a rule there is chapel two or three times a day, I think it’s two but I don’t really remember, it’s filled with great songs and messages.  One year I can remember waiting for chapel to begin and a bunch of camp friends were sitting around talking.  One girl I’d met that year named Jill was standing up in the circle.  I don’t know why I did this but I looked at her ready to sit down in a chair and thought it would be funny to pull it out from under her.  Honestly I didn’t think she’d fall for it (literally).  I thought she’d turn around before she sat down, see I’d done that and she’d laugh.  But that’s not what happened.  She sat down like a ton of coal like a trust exercise gone horrible wrong and fell on the floor with a smack!  The kids around us laughed.  She turned twelve shades of red, and I felt horrible.  I felt lower than dirt, and I wanted to cry.  I seriously hope she never ended up in counseling because of me.  She just didn’t understand I really hadn’t meant to embarrass her.  I really did think that she’d catch me and laugh.

            When you go through life things like this happen.  Maybe you were on the giving end?  Maybe you were on the receiving end?  No amount of apologies can make up for the mistakes you’ve made.  Words in these situations have very little meaning. 

            There is only one thing that can make up and wash away our mistakes.  That’s the blood of Jesus. 

1 John 1:7  (ESV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
            That means though we can’t go back in time and erase our bad choices, when God sees us He doesn’t see our mistakes.  When we plead the blood of Jesus, God sees the good stuff.  He sees his child.
            Though many like to preach that “Time is the healer of all wounds.” That really is a lie.  It’s not.  Time can ease the sharp pains only if you let it, but it doesn’t erase what happened.  The only eraser is the blood of Jesus.  Remember that today as you go on in life.  Plead the blood of the situations and your past.  Be free from condemnation and move forward.  If you’ve done this, God doesn’t see your past.  So then why should you?
            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.