Friday, February 22, 2013

Do not be afraid!

The truth is so foreign, because the lies are so familiar.

I am called to be a voice of truth. 

The big BUT...

Sometimes I get scared. Sometimes I don't want to speak. Sometimes I don't want to write. Sometimes I feel completely shut down, shut up, and completely blocked-- and it doesn't feel good. It feels gross. But I give in and just stop.

I'm done with those excuses. I'm done with those lies. Why? Because they are all fear-based. I am not subscribing to be a woman of fear, but aiming to be a woman with great faith.

Fear that I will say something wrong and completely mess up. I can guarantee that will happen, I'm human. As you read and listen please remember this. I am very prayerful about everything I write and say, normally I feel completely inspired with what I'm given. I don't take anything lightly, but I unfortunately cannot spend hours over each thought. So I will write and release. Preparing myself for mistakes to come, but walking in obedience to be that voice.

Fear that I will offend someone. Again, I am not perfect. I will get things wrong. But if I offend by speaking the truth, that is something I have to learn to be okay with. Often, the truth is challenging. You better believe it probably challenged me out of my comfort zone, long before I was able to acknowledge it.

Although I could go on and on with fears, I've chosen to become fearless. I've heard it said that "Do not fear" is the most repeated command in the Bible.* When you think about it, fear is at the root of a lot of things that hold us back. Fear so often overwhelms us. When fear overwhelmed His closest companions, Jesus told them to "Get up, and do not be afraid!"(Matthew 17:6-7) My daily reminder will be:
"Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent." (Acts 18:9)
I've chosen to not live and walk in fear, but in freedom. Guess what makes you free? Truth! "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32) This "knowing" is saying, "you will have a constant experiential knowledge of it's power and influence." I personally, want to have this constant experience of the power and the influence of truth in my life. There is a "father of lies" (John 8:44) and he is quick to speak. Our day-to-day lives run rampant with lies and half-truths. People are so quick to speak of the ugly things, I want to be quick to speak of the beautiful things. The beautiful truth.

So here is my running disclaimer and my personal declaration that I will follow through and do what I'm called. Please understand, this is not from a position of "I know better" or even "I live in this truth completely." But an aim to be more surrounded with the truth. I feel we are under an onslaught of lies-- whether they come from music, movies, news, magazines, past pain, current fears, whispers of insecurity, unforgiveness-- whatever the source... daily we are bombarded with lies, so my goal is to turn up truth.

*: (This is one of the resources which lists many of the "do not fear" references in the Bible.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do the Right Thing.

Here's a little truth for today. It's a challenging one, but it's been my reminder this week. It's from James 4:17 and I'm going to give it to you in a couple translations.

"Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." (NLT)
 "In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil." (MSG)

This truth speaks for itself and I bet that just reading it we all will have a completely personal and unique application to it. For me it was one of just a few reminders to recognize and listen to God's voice. Then to actually follow through and obey it!

I was also told a crazy story this week from a close friend, to sum it up: her husband had felt strongly urged to search for and find his estranged half-brother to reconcile with him. Both he and his sister were in agreement that they needed to find him and once again share their love, forgiveness and try to restore relationship and ultimately share the hope they've found in Christ with him. Right before he was going to go public with this declaration that he would find his brother and ask for accountability. He received news that his brother had died. They found his obituary. One of the take-aways from this tragic story was that delayed obedience is disobedience. We can't keep putting off the important things in life, especially when they are God-given directives.

Hearing this story finally pushed me over the edge of following through with two different things I knew I "ought to do". It was like lifting a weight off my shoulders by following through and doing what I knew I was supposed to. I like how The Message version says if you "don't do it, that, for you, is evil."

Then Cole shared a story at Vintage (Oxygen small group) how when he was in the middle of such a struggle to forgive someone, when he had every "right" to be bitter, angry, distrustful, etc. Every one of you if you heard the scenario would agree that he had the "right" to feel those things and even to respond in that manner. But he so clearly heard God speak to him,

"Righteous men do what is right, not what they have the right to do."

I'll leave you with that.
We follow in Jesus' example of laying down our "rights" and doing what truly is right, and it's not always easy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Is This REALLY "Reality" TV?

The reality TV shows are booming in popularity. Why? Studies have been done, you can google it. I just read a Psychology Today article, very interesting. Here's the why we're looking at today...

The fact is we all long for something real. We want what is real so desperately. We're sick of the fake. So we watch these shows because it's the closest thing to "real life" on television. But what is real about a guy dating 12+ women at one time, kissing each of them, holding a "relationship" with each of them to find his wife? That's real? I would hardly be in favor of one of my best friend's boyfriends dating around and having multiple relationships, multiple engagements in physical intimacy, multiple statements of "I'm crazy about you". I would be infuriated if I found out my friend was being treated that way, she is worth way more. Wouldn't you? (I can't even start on shows like Jersey Shore or "The Real World.") But we "subscribe" to these shows and slowly but surely our perspectives change.

The enemy is a liar. He is oh so subtle. But in this search for something real, he's got us convinced that the most real thing is a lie. That the word of God, the Son of God, the promises of God, the power of God... is a joke. He has mocked the very truth we all need most-- the love of God. The love He has for us is the realest thing you can find. He's convinced us that either it's not real, we don't deserve it, or it's conditional based on our behavior. Do I love my sons less when they misbehave? That would be the real joke. Of course not, and how much greater is His love for us!

So I want to post some of the reality I have the opportunity to experience and walk in every day. The reality of God's unchanging love for me. The reality of what Jesus is currently doing on a day-to-day basis in my life and the lives of those around me. To expose the silly little liar for who he is. Instead of allowing him to go on mocking the truth, we will bring his lies and his craftiness into the light in our lives, so that he no longer has the right to play with it in the darkness.

Today, I want to share with you the story of Brittany. I could write for days about her story, but instead I'll let you simply watch this video. This is reality TV.

Please feel free to comment your thoughts below. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

You Snooze, You Lose.

"Caitlin Rooooseeee, it's time to waaaake uuupppp." I can so vividly remember the way my mom would say that, I also recall how much I hated hearing it! It was like nails on a chalkboard.

I mean really, who actually likes to be woken up? I remember my dad (who spoiled me as I was the only child) was my human alarm clock and he accommodated my crazy request of coming thirty minutes before I actually needed to wake up and then come back again when it was a must. (This is before the age of iPhone where you can just set your own multiple alarms.) I hated the idea of waking up so much that I felt like this concept was beating it! "Ha! I'll wake up when I want to!"

Who doesn't hit the snooze button once, or twice, or fifteen times. (Yes, I'm one of those... I can actually sleep through snoozing for a couple hours.) The snooze button and I have been friends for quite some time. 

As much as you don't want to hear this (and neither do I on a typical day): it really is time to WAKE UP and say goodbye to the snooze button. I know sleep is something that is so precious to most of us (and rightly so, we need a good amount of it to function and be the best version of ourselves.) But I have proven to myself time and time again, that when I wake up just a little earlier than I need to, just enough time to be still, to think about the things that matter and spend time with the One who knows me better than I know myself.... EVERY little thing in my life will be better.

This is one of my favorite quotes from an artist, Brian Andreas: "I've always liked the time before dawn because there's no one around to remind me who I'm supposed to be, so it's easier to remember who I am."

I know the "waking-up-earlier-than-you-have-to" part is not fun and it doesn't sound appealing. Trust me, as a young mom with two beautiful baby boys, the thought of waking up before them sounds like pure stupidity. But just picture with me: complete stillness, a grateful heart, no responsibilities or expectations from anyone have begun for the day yet, a time to quiet your heart and mind and just sit with you, yourself and I AM. I AM-- the Creator of the universe, the Lover of your soul, the perfect Father, the best Friend, and the list goes on.

Nothing is more refreshing than some quiet time, coffee (it's a must for me!), a journal, some music and the Word of Life.  It's a time to gain perspective, be grateful and just BE YOU without any expectations. Just putting yourself before God and letting His presence make your day. (Psalm 27:4)* We have so much that we carry with us day-to-day. (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22)* No matter what stage of life you're in. I promise it's the most refreshing thing to start your day with Him. You'll never leave thinking, "gosh... I wish I didn't do that this morning!" You'll always want more.

And now this one I know you've probably heard before, but sincerely.... Jesus did it. (Mark 1:35)* And I want to follow His example and be more like Him. If He needed it, it helped Him... than surely I need it and it will help me. We all could use a little help.

Just try it. Please. Just for a week. Seven days. You can do it. I promise it will be worth it. You'll be a better YOU. You'll walk in a better world. He's on the throne already, but it's so important for us to daily choose to give Him His place on the throne of our hearts. (Hebrews 4:16)*
You snooze, you lose. OR. Wake up and live.
I'd love to hear your stories of how it changed your day. So please share!

* Truth in Words
"One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple." (Psalm 27:4 AMP) 

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7 AMP)

"Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you." (Psalm 55:22 NLT) 

"Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray." (Mark 1:35 NLT) 

"Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. " (Hebrews 4:16 AMP)