Paralyzed With Fear 09/21/2010
Our life is a journey, a journey along a path with Jesus by our side. The ultimate destination is full communion with God in heaven. We sometimes stroll along our path through the rolling hills, taking in the sights, not worried about what’s up ahead – those are the times when everything is going well. Occassionally we hit a valley and begin an exhaustive run, anxious to get to the end of our struggles.
From time to time, we stand still. When circumstances get overwhelming, we become paralyzed with fear, stopping in our tracks. And it’s no wonder we’re afraid. This fear comes from a distance with Jesus. But the distance is not Him staying away from us, it’s us relying on the world to cope with our troubles rather than Jesus. Jesus never leaves our side. He’s always there, forever whispering our next steps, the answer to our prayers, a resolution to our troubles. When we’re close to Jesus, His love surrounds us and fear has no room to creep into our lives.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Next time you’re at a standstill, paralyzed with fear and unsure of what to do, look foward because Jesus continues ahead, beckoning us to follow.
Intimacy With God - Part 2 08/25/2010
Good morning ladies! On Sept 10 & 11 our high school dept will have a much-needed girl’s retreat to give our crazy-busy students a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Not only have I (very willingly) been given the task to help coordinate the retreat, but I’m also presenting our first breakout session entitled, “Intimacy with God”. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, for God and I have interwoven our hearts together over the past few years in ways that are hard to be verbalized. Bear with me here as I attempt to, for literary sake…God has presented me with such privileged and intimate communion, dripping with His sweet sentiment that it always leaves me craving for more. It’s a feeling so comfortable that it leaves me quickly drifting off into a sweet peaceful rest, unconcerned about the world. To visualize this peace, I always picture myself hanging out in a hammock in the backyard, the warm sun and a cool breeze dancing across my face, the trees gently bending in the wind, butterflys floating by, zero humidity for a perfect hair day….
But my point is, my desire is for all of you to share in this feeling. After all, when you find something good, I mean truly fantastic, don’t you want to share it with others?
So I would like some input from other beautiful ladies about what intimacy with God means to them (yes you, you beautiful knock out!) How does God make you feel? What does He do to nudge closer to you? What clues does He provide to remind you of His presence? How do you get intimate with our Heavenly Holiness?
Hidden Pride 05/06/2010
Pride is not always evident in many people’s lives. There are those who give off the most godly impressions to others but their heads harbor a hurricane of prideful thoughts. Each thought, intentional or not, is obsessed with an attitude of “what’s in it for them”, but that attitude is frequently hidden from the public. In fact, many times they disguise their pride through altruistic actions. Opportunities to serve others become opportunities to feel good about themselves. Volunteering for a special project at work becomes a chance to earn extra income. Offering to lead a bible study puts them in a position of power.
This attitude of pride is not always intentional. The enemy is crafty and if we are not careful, pride seeps into our heads during times of emotional trauma. When humans are pushed to the limits emotionally, our pendulum has a habit of swinging the opposite direction in a futile effort of recovery. We seek out “me time” in an attempt to make up for the time spent devoted to the source of our trauma. It’s a natural reaction, yet that’s what makes it so dangerous.
In other instances, prideful attitudes are clearly intentional due to a complete disregard and rebellion against Christ. After all, it is pride alone that causes rebellion. A prime example of this hidden pride comes from those within our ministries that are lost and working with deceptive motives. But we shouldn’t hopelessly look upon those people as evil. Once deep into the mire and muck of pride, their vision can get increasingly clouded. As they move farther and farther away, it takes that much more effort to return to our Providence. This is our opportunity to prayerfully work behind the scenes for their own salvation. They are not a lost cause. They are just lost and it’s our cause to intercede on their behalf. Pray that the Lord softens their hearts, revealing their misguided motivations and convicting them of their sin. Pray that He removes their pride and realigns the reasons for their work. Encourage them in their faith and help them to continue their work by providing sincere love and service to others.
Above all, don’t hesitate to inquire to God about your own motivations towards service. He will show you if your intentions are pure. If not, never underestimate the power of prayer and repentance. It pleases our Lord when we accept our limitations and rely upon Him for deep everlasting change.
Intimacy With God 04/23/2010
I’ve always had trouble imagining God sitting up on his heavenly throne, his robes cascading around him, carefully monitoring his creation. To me that feels like a ruler out of touch with his people. Don’t get me wrong – God is all-mighty, all-powerful and deserves our exhaltation, but that’s not my God.
My God always stands nearby with a kind and gentle spirit. His arms are wide open when I need a hug after a long day. He partners with me for a dance of celebration. He leads me hand-in-hand through the pathways of heaven as he patiently answers my questions and provides much-needed guidance. He rocks me to sleep when I’ve had a bad day. He carries me when I’m weak and gently nudges me forward when I need to be strong.
He shows me visions of splendor in my dreams and meditations. These visions God blesses me with are full of depth, digging down deep into my soul to expose my weaknesses and provide loving direction to strengthen my faith. They are so minutely detailed, showing me exactly what my heart and mind need to press on. And each of these visions exude his overwhelming comfort and the warmness of his eternal love for me.
But these images don’t come when I am busy with life. Sometimes God wants to show me something and can only do it by getting my attention. I can get myself so busy with work, family, my to-do list and even activities at church, that I miss God’s faint calling to be still and listen. He always has something important to say. He calls in his faint whisper, my response warming his heart that his child was anxiously awaiting his voice.
You see, to me God isn’t necessarily the all-mighty, all-powerful overruling figurehead directing my life from above. He’s my confidant who knows my deepest, darkest secrets, my counselor that listens to me complain way too much, my guide who holds me by my right hand as I go about my day, and my encourager who pushes me towards greatness.
That’s my God, and I’m so grateful to know Him as intimately as I do.
Drama Queen 03/12/2010
For those of you that know me well, you know that my daughter is quite the drama queen. Earlier today she said to me, “Mommy, here’s five reasons why today was the worst day of my life,” and she began to list five very harmless (in my opinion) things that happened to her that caused her to be so miserable. She’s not alone. Many of us will have a few small things go “wrong” in our day and we’re ready to put on our pajamas, make up a huge bowl of ice cream, and shut ourselves out to the world until a new day begins fresh and anew. I’m guilty of that sometimes myself (mint chocolate chip is my favorite).
But why should we let one, two, three or even 10 things ruin our day? Sure, things don’t always go as we want them to. We wake up with a game plan for our day and someone else swoops in to ruin our perfect schedule or to-do list. Our outdoor plans are ruined because of rain. A friend or stranger lets their crazy day get the best of them and they decide if they’re miserable everyone else must be also. You get to class and there’s a pop quiz about a subject you’ve having trouble understanding. An unexpected bill comes in the mail. Another driver wasn’t paying attention and hits you. There are a million things that could go the complete opposite of the way we want every day.
Instead of letting my daughter dwell on the things that caused her to be miserable, I asked her to list six reasons why the day was a good day. That was easy for her. Then I proceeded to tell her that if six things went right and five things went wrong, she actually had a good day after all. Although she had trouble admitting it, she said she felt much better after giving me her good list.
Next time you feel like your day isn’t going as you would like for it to, try listing even more things that did go well. Keep your thoughts on what you’re thankful for, the good things that remain constant in your life, or things that went well in the past. If you just can’t think of anything else, think about the day Jesus had when he was nailed to the cross. Did he let that incident get him down? No, he remained thankful for his father’s constant love, of the loving sacrifice he was offering, of knowing that three days later he would rise from the dead in a glorious light to walk among us.
Not every day will go as we’d like for it to, but just remember that every day goes exactly the way God wants it to, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:27-29.