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Monday, August 25, 2014

His Love Never Fails


Do you believe that?  That God is always there.  That his love will never fail you?

I learned recently of a girl who didn't feel she had anything to live for.  That life was too stressful and too hard and she figured life would be easier if she wasn't in it.   She's heard people tell her God loves her.  She has heard others tell her they love her, but her CIRCUMSTANCES were bigger than her faith could stand.

We've all been there - we look at our circumstances and we wonder where God is.   When life is going according to our plan, when things are good and bills are paid and when we are happy, its easy to believe God loves us and is good.  But, when life turns tragic, we start to doubt God's goodness.  We lose our confidence in God's love for us and our faith gives way to doubt and despair.

When I heard of this young girl and her despair, I felt extreme sadness and the tears wouldn't stop falling from my eyes.  This is a girl I love.  I have tried to be a mentor to her.  But I realized I'm not there enough.  I don't see behind her closed doors.  I only see her a few hours a week - and she needs so much more.  What can I do to reach her more? What can I do to love her more?   Do you know anyone in your life that may need more?  We have become so self-centered, selfish with our time when there are people all around us hurting and alone.  Didn't Christ call us to be his Hands and Feet?


Kristian Stanfill leads this song about God's love.  His love never fails, it never gives up.  As this world around us crumbles and falls, as people are being killed in our neighborhoods, its opening my eyes to see IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!!!!  We as Christians need to start realizing this.  People are lonely, hurting, scared, and broken.   We are here as Ambassadors for Christ. We are called to tell others about Him.  How will they know of His love if we don't show it?  Demonstrate it?  Tell them about it?  But, too often we get comfortable in our own blessings or in our own despair, and forget about those around us.  The Church needs a wake up call.  People need Jesus and if we don't' tell them about Him, who will?  If our lives don't demonstrate His love, why will they chose to follow Him?

We need to quit being afraid of hurting someone's feelings or offending them.  Their eternity depends on it!   Am I saying go out in the streets and stand on the corners with Bibles, preaching God's word?  NO.  What I'm saying is, reach out to those around you.  Love them.  Help them.  Listen to them.  And when they ask for help or advice, give them God's word.  Tell them what you would do in that situation.  Open your hearts and don't be afraid to let them see Jesus in you.  But, don't judge them.  LOVE THEM.  And make sure they know GOD LOVES THEM.  Its the first step toward Jesus for them. 

I want this young girl to know I love her.  I was heartbroken for her because I can feel her pain.  Her loneliness.  I want her to know I'm here - day or night.  No matter what.  I want her to know I LOVE HER and GOD LOVES HER.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Redeemed



Abandoned.

Dumped.

Alone.

Scared.

Hungry.

Discarded.

Dirty.

All adjectives to describe JoJo when he was found.  They describe us too, don't you think?

We live our lives abandoned by people who used to love us.  Friends dump us when we no longer meet their expectations.  We are alone in a world that is full of people.  We are scared, hungry for affection.  We are tossed aside - discarded - because we don't fit in.  We are dirty with sin and shame.

JoJo was redeemed.  On a bright August day, he was found and rescued.  He was cleaned up and given a home.  He was fed and loved.  

So it is when Jesus came to redeem us.

He knew we couldn't do it on our own.  We needed a savior.  Someone to pick us up, dust us off, wash us clean. 

I sit here with this kitten on my lap, curled up and purring.  He's happy, he's secure.  He doesn't realize the gift that was given to him.  He just knows he has found a forever home with people who love him.  

Jesus has given us a forever home too.  Yet so many of us don't realize it.  We go about our lives, and sometimes we fail to recognize the gift we've been given.  Jesus died on the cross to rescue us, to redeem us, to save us from the pit of despair we are in.  We live our lives as if we are promised tomorrow.  We wait to tell someone we love them or miss them, because we think we have more time.  There are so many things we put off for "another day", when today is the day we have been given.  We think we will live for God tomorrow, but today we will stay in the mud and dirt of our sin - thinking we have time.  God sent his only son to die on the cross for us, to give us an eternal home.  Yet unlike JoJo, who has embraced his new identity, we turn our backs to it because we are selfish and self-centered.  We want to live in our sin and ask God to forgive us "tomorrow", once we are done having our fun.

Take a lesson from JoJo.  Embrace the gift that is given.  Accept the hand extended to you - the love that is poured out.  Climb into the lap of Jesus and curl up - rest in His loving embrace.  Once you feel His arms around you, you will begin to purr inside - happy, content, safe, secure, cleansed...

REDEEMED.
 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Words...oh how they can hurt


I was in college - I think it was my sophomore year.  My grandma, whom I loved dearly, was in the hospital.  I took a weekend and went to visit her.  She had quite the sense of humor and I spent many summers with her and my grandpa at their small lake cottage.  Mom needed their help so she didn't have to pay for daycare.  So, I grew close to my grandparents.

I remember distinctly bending down to give her a hug to say goodbye, and she whispered in my ear "you'd be so pretty if you'd lose weight".  The words still pierce my heart today.  I know she meant those words to encourage me to lose weight, but I heard "you aren't pretty now, but you could be if..."
I have been on a roller coaster of  ups and downs since then, trying to lose the weight so I would be pretty.  

I share this so you can see the power of the tongue.  Words meant to inspire hurt instead.  Words meant to encourage can be painful.  

Sticks and stone can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.  You remember that don't you?  On the playground at school as a child, someone says something mean, you come back with that phrase.  But, inside, you are hurt.   Sticks and stones can bruise your body for a few days, but words can bruise your soul for a lifetime.  Your heart suffers from the deadly shrapnel of painful phrases.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death.

When people speak against us, we have a choice to make.  We can accept what they say, or we can reject those words as lies from the devil.  

What are some phrases that are etched in your mind?  "You aren't good enough", "Why aren't you married yet?", "Did you mean to do that to your hair" (recently said to my son by kids at CHURCH!)..."why can't you do anything right?" "you are the biggest disappointment to me"

Those words hurt.  My son was hurt.  What was said to him he compared to bullying.  But, one friend came up to him and said "Do you like it? People are afraid of change, but you aren't.  Its great that you are being different - and individual.  Who cares what they say".  He was confident enough to walk with his head high, but inside I know he was hurt. 

Life-giving phrases - do you remember any of those?  "I'm so proud of you"  "I'm so thankful for you".

Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov 16:24

We can't control what others say about us, but we can control what we believe.  We may be rejected by men, but we are affirmed by God.  God says we are perfect in His sight.  God says he loves us with an everlasting love.  God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

I know my grandma didn't mean to hurt me with her words.  I know she loved me.  I have allowed those words to take up residence in my heart and my mind for years.  I am working on releasing those words, and knowing that I am worthy and loved and beautiful just as I am.  I know God loves me and made me who I am and I am His masterpiece.   When I start to negative self-talk, I turn to God's word and what He says about me....and I turn to those who love me as I am and soak up their life-giving words of affirmation.   When someone tells me I'm beautiful, I try to accept it now, not reject it as false.  When someone tells me they love me, I let that sink into my heart, because love is not based on my size or my weight, but on who I am and WHOSE I am. 

Today, give words of encouragement, not negative or hurtful.  Give them to yourself and to others.  

"I am a new creation in Christ, the old has gone.  the new has come"

"I have everything I need.  God is my source of joy and life"

"I have all the faith I need for this.  Who are you to come against my God?  Today my God will give me victory"

You have power to create life through your words.  You also have the power to take life using lethal language.  The choice is yours.

IT'S ALL A MATTER OF WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU SAY IT.