Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

God is Awesome! Judgmental People Suck!

Hehe...maybe worded a bit strongly, but I felt the picture captured my sentiment. ;) What a week!!! Oh my word! It could best be described as the "week of judgment".

To this day, I find it so insane how we, who call ourselves God's loved children, can be so unfathomably unloving.

The grandest of ironies really.

People loved by the God of grace...incapable of extending forgiveness and unmerited favor.

People cherished by the God of "neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female"...distinguishing based on DNA, association, status...

Pawns more than powerhouses...  Pride, assumption, prejudice...

Why, God? Why???

Probably because satan is really good at his job...and humans are amazingly terrible at misplacing agreement with his lies.

The added frustration, I must admit, is that I picked up the attack and wore it for a while. Letting it completely knock the wind out of me. Permitting myself judgment in return. Viewing myself as isolated in the storm. Robbing myself of the security that comes from truly identifying one's self as Abba's child regardless of what comes. Sigh.

So...back to the drawing board. Standing for truth, extending grace...getting my own act together. Hehe...life never lacks for drama. ;)

Oh, How We Trust Resurrection MORE Than Grace...

"We find it easier to trust the miracle of resurrection than the miracle of grace. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection, lest heaven be even more disappointed in us than we are. The result? The weariest people on earth.

Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments. Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders.

Stop it!...

God's promise has no hidden language. Let grace happen, for heaven's sake. No more performing for God, no more clamoring after God. Of all the things you must earn in life, God's unending affection is not one of them. You have it. Stretch yourself out in the hammock of grace. You can rest now."

From a Biblegateway devotional that my Uncle Tim sent me. Wonderful. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Real Strength

Here he is! :) I'm not going to embarrass him too much, but I have to comment on at least one thing!!! (OK...we all know it's one of many to come. Hehe.) You know where this picture is taken? At a wedding that I officiated this weekend.

Yep...this man actually encourages me in my calling, prays for me in my assignments and challenges, and stands with me!

You have no idea the blessing this is. I've dealt with men who have convictions about women in ministry (which I respect as some have respected mine), other men who found it intimidating, and still others who have been just plain cruel and critical...all summing up to a load of rejection over the years.

This man???...he's a "wild at heart" man. He has authentic strength and doesn't need me to be less for him to be more. Because of that, I feel like I can open my heart most fully and be my true self....and...yep, support him in his calling too.

Wow. Just Wow. :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What Our Responses REALLY Say?

We reveal our true, heart-born understanding of redemption in our responses to others.

Truly...it's been a heck of a year of learning this. Some through the hardship of judgmental abandonment. Some through the celebration of community investment.

I've been bumping into it lately with a particular response to a typically happy situation. A happy situation!!! So bizarre! A few who cannot let someone's old story be just that...their OLD story. Instead of celebrating who God is and His profound redemptive work, they spew bitterness and flex their control muscles.

Makes me so sad...for them!!

I get the need for accountability and boundaries and all that...but WOW!! Given a good amount of time??...with demonstration of repentance and God's restorative work???

What healing have we not known ourselves that makes us incapable of extending grace? What freedom has been forgotten that we exchange God's lenses of love and potential for unforgiveness, gossip and pride? What makes us evaluate our own old stories as superior to another's, giving us a grand pedestal from which to point fingers?

Sad. So sad.

Good reminder for me...that's not how I want to behave anymore. Never, Ever Again.

And so...that said...CONGRATULATIONS!!! God's peace and blessing be on those who get back up after a fall and find themselves fuller and freer than before!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yep, He's a Keeper

I just had to survive a winter camping trip with my high schoolers. If you know me...ya, not my cup of tea. Haha! It was great fun though!!! We had to alter the plans when the -20 degree temps were paired with serious winds, but the times we were out were fabulous!!

That said...my man-friend was one of the chaperones. So awesome...he's an expert at pretty much everything, including survival...but I was a little freaked at times about how my survival appearance must have looked. I'm guessing words like "horrific" and "nightmare" flooded his mind with background sounds from Psycho. Hehe. Some girls struggle with feeling insecure in those situations, and I definitely had moments.

When he was dropping me off at home last night, we talked about how this was a good experience for us, seeing each other in tough situations. I made a reference to my crazy appearance...he commented that he has now seen me with frozen snot-cicles, rooster hairs in every direction and eating skills like someone who's "challenged"...and that he loves me even more.

HAHAHAHA! Yep, he's a keeper. ;)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Letting Go...

There come moments in our lives when it's time to "let go of Egypt". The Israelites, while wandering in the desert, always found themselves longing for the good old days of slavery in Egypt whenever challenges came their way. That inability to release the old kept them stalled for 40 years. Dry, desert-living...the Promised Land out of reach.

It's so interesting, isn't it???...how seasons of dysfunction and slavery seem so much safer and familiar than the unknowns of "new". We lose a ton of authentic living to those "Egypts" in our lives. Missed opportunities, blessings, lessons...

Then the Hero comes... Jesus invades to invite us to new, open doors...all the while offering to close the doors on "Egypt". He introduces the possibility of walking forward without looking back.

Letting go can be very painful...but it's so worth it. YOU are worth it!

So long, Egypt!! :)

Theology Evaluation

How true!!!! I stumbled across this quote on Facebook today. It was posted by Bethel Church in Redding, CA. So many Christians will "agree" with this statement..."of course, love is the point!"...but when it comes to the "action" of their lives..."how about homosexuals? how about muslims?"...well, love goes right out the door.

I heard a sermon recently that challenged us to use the armor of God appropriately. That belt of truth and that breastplate of righteousness, they are defensive in nature. For the wearer!!!...to guard their own heart. They aren't designed to be removed and used offensively. Boy, does that have me thinking lately.

We need to evaluate!!! More love, more wisdom...action from the place of intimacy with the Trinity.

Time to evaluate.