The way we talk to others, about others and even about ourselves will often reveal the truth in our hearts. The words we speak can bless or curse our lives and those in it.
Words stick to us. Words will dig deep into our souls. If it is a word of truth, a beautiful tree full of life can grow.
If words are full of viscious lies, the damage is severe and where life was once full, vibrant and strong, words full of lies and hatred can beat down the beautiful life until only a scarred, burnt, black tree remains. Some of us feel this way about ourselves or we are desperately trying to speak life and beauty back into those torn down by the stinging, cursing tongue.
Jesus is truth. He is life. He is love.
When Jesus enters the canvas of our lives His words transform, heal and restore. The scars heal, new growth breaks forth and a hint of green begins to break forth past the blackness that overtook the beauty. Branches grow back full of leaves, and roots grow deeper in the truth.
Restoration can occur. Healing can take place.
Speak life. Choose a better way. Value everyone, even those in the womb. Will your tongue reveal a darkness within or light and love? Are you choosing to value life and love deeply? Look around you and you will see.
I don’t know when things changed. I cannot tell you when it happened. What I do know is that I have forever been changed. My life looks a lot different than I ever thought it would look, and it is better than I imagined.
One day I made a choice to not live offended or full of anxiety and fear. At first it was not easy. It took a lot of discipline and consistency. I had to surrender my flesh and allow Holy Spirit to reign. Each day that I chose this, I moved closer to the feet of Jesus. One day, “it” just happened. Instead of finding myself shrinking back and silent, I was running towards my enemies in a full on attack. I had had enough and it was time for the thieves and liars to be put in their place. Every day I confronted injustices. Boldness grew to a 10ft giant inside my soul.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 NLT
I see pain in others and injustices running rampant, and instead of fear I get angry at the abuse and mockery I see. My heart pumps full of love for those hurting. I want to run towards the evil causing the pain! I want to demolish it in its path. It is payback! I’m chasing it. It deserves to go back to hell where it belongs. Boldness grows because I know without a doubt who God is. He is big and mighty and so good. His heart is full of so much love that He designed eternity for us to experience His love every day.
It is His love that has held me steadfast in 2020. I have chosen to get caught up with Jesus rather than the current political climate, culture upheaval and media frenzy. Jesus is always the best decision. He calms storms, provides stability and brings contentment in every circumstance.
Stop sharing the news and begin sharing the Good News. Get caught up with Jesus.
Reflecting on the past several months and I have realized a few things. What has come to the surface during quarantine and “reopening” has revealed what is deep in our hearts. Things we’ve tried to hide or didn’t realize were there have been sifted.
We have seen darkness exposed. It was always there. I often have wondered if it’s been by choice not to acknowledge it or if blind eyes simply have been opened recently. Many of us didn’t realize we had idolized government, our routines, entertainment, the busy and our jobs. Others have had to face the reality that they didn’t really trust Jesus all that much as worry consumed them.
But there have been a huge group who have peacefully embraced each day and chosen joy knowing Jesus would come through for them. A huge group revealed the beauty of the church as they reached neighbors and those who’ve never stepped foot in church. When the building was requested to be closed an entire group didn’t let that stop them from praise and worship. The awakening of hearts finally collided in our neighborhoods and families slowed long enough to come together again, unified.
Perhaps the gifts given during this time were ones that reminded us that church wasn’t a building but of people? People who were intended to disciple others instead of leaving it to church leaders only. People who began to see their neighbors again, their family again… People who needed a nudge out of normalcy in order for Christ to refine the parts of them that had become too comfortable sitting in the pew, territorial of it and selfish. Perhaps the greatest gift we have received has been the threat of our normal being stripped away. It has caused us to open our eyes out of slumber and look to see the need around us and within us for Jesus.
Our hearts should burn for Him. Our hearts should burn to see no one perish. Our hearts should burn for justice and love to permeate our homes, neighborhoods, cities, states and nation’s. Our hearts should burn for unity where our focus and words no longer cause dissension and turmoil for one another. What we are seeing from closed doors, states, over-sexualization of children, violence in the streets, hatred for our brothers and sisters, are all coals for revival. The more it surfaces and exposes itself, those coals burn hotter until everything is aflame.
What is coming is far greater than we can imagine. Hope for everyone. The devil has shown us his hand. There is an army rising and growing and getting stronger each day to confront the darkness and see light, life, hope and unity come again into every place. Jesus in our homes where reconciliation and miracles take place which spill over onto our neighbors, our streets and impossible situations. Jesus in our justice system restoring the justice that corruption and sin took away from kids, parents, police officers and every human being unjustly treated. We’ve limited our voices to only black and white causing a wider divide. Jesus conquered that divide.
A gentle, peaceful uprising is occuring that cannot be stopped. The coals are burning hotter.
What needs to burn away and what needs to be refined for the holy, pure, and loving fire to come and heal each of us?
Revival has begun. Will you let it consume you and restore you or will you let division and death lead you instead? It is time to choose life.
It can be easy to get caught up in life and feel the need to know everything. Somehow we tend to elevate ourselves on dangerously higher pedestals within our own minds to meet these grand expectations of knowing how to live life without flaw. At least for me personally I have had to ask the Lord for forgiveness for this way of living because this expectation of myself and the pride behind thinking I know how to meet all of what life brings within my own strength, separates me from Him. I become free and less weighted down when I can say, “I do not know how to do this. Can you help guide me?”
There is so much beauty in humility.
“To know” the ins and outs of life often comes with acknowledging that we are not the experts. We must come and ask God for strength and wisdom. Too many times we believe the lie that we have to know all the answers and know how to do all the things. It is not a bad thing to not know. In fact, not knowing is the perfect set up to know God. As we allow Him into everything we do in life, we can rest assured that He knows and we do not. A load can be lifted off of our shoulders.
If you are struggling to know how to parent, love your spouse, work, and navigate these crazy times full of masks and heated opinions, you are perfectly set up for a great victory. Because God knows and understands our weaknesses He is ready and waiting to help.
Humble living invites His loving support and strong yet gentle hands to guide us. If you feel frazzled today, you are in the perfect position for God to come and bring peace. It is okay to not know and it is okay to not feel okay. God knows and Has the best solutions.
One of the beautiful things about Jesus is the HOPE and the JOY He brings to any circumstance in life. I am constantly amazed at this life I get to live because it truly is the best! In can be easy to focus on the wrong things. The wrong things bring about worry, strife, fear, and anxiety. This is not the way we were intended to live. The Jesus life truly brings freedom and victory from those things even if life looks bleakest. He is so good! He is the greatest of all time! This is why I will not be silent. I will open my mouth and raise a hallelujah! I will raise a hallelujah on top of the mountain and in the valley. I will praise His name because He is good. I know He is working all things together for good. It may look dark for some of you. Others, you may not know how to get out of bed without worrying about the next hour or day. What I can tell you is that He loves you and has the best in mind for YOU. If life is tough, sad and bleak right now, HE is there… HE has you. He provides peace and a place to rest if you choose to abide with Him. I won’t be silent! My God is the greatest of all time. He is worthy of all my praise— even in the storm.
Life right now has my time and routine in a strange new normal. I have been working on some behind the scenes work which is why my public posts recently have been few and far between. New blessings have entered my life and I’m doing my best to catch up to life even though there are moments in quarantine that feel like slow motion. I have had moments of working through extreme loss. In those moments I have allowed Jesus to come and heal those areas. In a parallel moment I have also been embracing extreme blessings. These blessings are beyond compare and I cannot wait to share the many dreams that are coming true this year! (Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some announcements) Life is overwhelming me currently. There are moments of heartbreak but I become so overwhelmed by Love. These are the moments when I try to catch my breathe only to start crying with gratefulness and awe. God is so good! He is so caring… So loving! I am continually overwhelmed by Love.
It can be easy to get caught up in what has been lost or stolen at any time of our life. There is a time to grieve and mourn. If you are in a time of mourning whether due to the virus or other life events…
Maybe your business is suffering or you’ve lost your job. Perhaps someone has passed away or this quarantine schedule is wearing you thin. Maybe you continue to wait for breakthrough in your health or other circumstances and it is a struggle to see right now.
All of you. Everyone! I will shout this, whisper it to your heart and speak it for the rest of my life: God is faithful! He is faithful! His steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 136)
You may not be able to see it right now but blessings are coming your way (double blessings!). His strength is for you today! His joy is yours today. His peace is for right now. He is for you!
Do not blame him for the tyranny of this virus. Do not blame him for the loss. Blame the devil and then tell him where to go because he is losing and has lost… Celebrate the victory. Because no matter what evil may come to try to tear us apart it will not prevail.
God is faithful! He always has been faithful and always will be.
I keep hearing phrases like, “In these uncertain times” or ” These are uncertain times”… And I don’t like it. I get it but I don’t like it. I like knowing what is going on. I like having a sense of certainty.
Even though we don’t know what is going on… How severe things really are or aren’t… Even though life has changed drastically so suddenly, I do know one thing for certain: God is good and He can be your certainty. He can be your source of peace. He can be trusted!
We see in the gospels where Jesus commanded storms to be still… He healed the sick. He delivered people from oppressive demons. He never faltered, never stammered and certainly he never doubted. He was available even on the Sabbath to help someone.
If fear is making your heart race, your thoughts go round and round and stealing sleep, and moments of joy… Let God come. Peace. Be still. Fear go back to hell. Peace. Be still.
He is not scared. Let Him take care of you and your family. To any storm you face, He can and will speak,
Many of us have this thinking process that is not true. We think that if we don’t have every detail figured out then we shouldn’t try something because we will not succeed. Failure. It actually is okay to fail as long as we get back up. It is okay to not have everything figured out. Sometimes our lives take twists and turns we were not expecting.
I heard the phrase, “If you aren’t failing then you aren’t living”… I don’t remember who said it but it stuck to me like glue. Essentially, by living life fearlessly despite possible failure, despite knowing every step to take, you are succeeding.
My entire life I was afraid to fail. If I wasn’t good at something or did not know the next step I was hesitant or gave up too soon. Ever since that day many years ago, I have made it a mission to fail (to live life fiercely, passionately and fearlessly) and as I have I have seen God do so many things I never dreamed would be possible!!
It is a freeing thing to realize that you don’t have to have it figured out. God already knows the steps down to the tiniest details. It is prideful of us to think we must and should know every detail and do things perfectly. We aren’t God.
If you are afraid of failure, afraid that you won’t please everyone, and often beat yourself up because things were not perfect, step out of that path! You are given permission to fail today, to not do things perfectly. You may need to ask for forgiveness, repent or wipe the dust off of your knees but learning the Jesus life is the best life. Trust and obey the one who lived a perfect life knowing you wouldn’t. His grace never runs out as you trust, obey and do better each time. He doesn’t expect perfection. He expects obedience.
One of the things that I’ve realized more fully is the busy state of Americans. Anytime that I go overseas I struggle greatly upon returning because our culture is not my preference. Busyness, programs, sports, cellphones, money and a lot more all dictate our time. I promised myself that I would not succumb to it again.
But here I am strategically trying to figure out how to change.
What I do in and of itself is not bad but longterm it definitely takes a toll. I long for the days of solitude where I sent letters in the mail and I knew my neighbors well. A phone would be for emergencies or to catch up with a friend. As much as I would love cellphones not to consume people’s lives, here I am writing my blog on one (there is a balance to everything I suppose). Busy has become a badge of honor and I am over here ripping it off yet failing to overcome it.
There is a song that Kim Walker Smith sings called, “Just Be”. It has become a soothing way to start my day for the past week and a half. All I want is Jesus. Everything is right, good and safe with him. In his presence everything either makes sense or there is a reassurance that someday I will understand.
No matter what load I carry, Jesus is all I need. He is all I want. When the load is heavy and I feel like it will overtake me (I see a flat version of me under the boulder even though I know that image is not a true one) I take a moment to let Jesus come and fill me again with his vision and hope.
He is more than enough. When we do not understand what is going on or when we cannot see in front of us, He is all that we need.
Take time to slow down.
Put your phone down. Embrace the one’s you love more than the time spent with your phone in your hands or your eyes looking at a screen.
Write a letter and send it in the mail. Bake a meal as a family rather than getting fast food. At your meal sit down and talk about your day. Keep phones, TV’s, and devices turned off in order for connection to occur and love to grow. Look your children and spouse in the eyes as you talk and laugh. Make family your first priority.
Busy is not a badge of honor but loving Jesus and loving others well, is.
Slow down long enough to be filled with new breathe.