Saturday Night Contemplations

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I think we are most self conscious when we are acutely others conscious. . .

Don’t punish self for crimes committed by others.

Awkward stares, rudeness, insensitive comments, misunderstandings, heartbreaks. . .

Even though you have good reason to, don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Take heart. 
Our world is incomplete partly because we have so many impersonators and not nearly enough originals.

We need you.

The real you.

Then it occurred to me, many of us have spent so much time and energy trying to be something we’re not, or running from who we don’t want to become or trying to maintain an image or trying not to come off as weird … that we really don’t know who we are.  Some may try to shame you for this.  I say, congratulations. They say when you know better, you do better and now that you know, you have approached the passageway to a beautiful place called self discovery. It can be a lonely city; the names on the mailboxes of most of its citizens are Incognito and Inconspicuous.  Few people are willing to admit that as self assured and confident as they appear, it’s only a charade.

But it’s ok.

 Journey through your own adventure of self discovery. Take God with you. You’ll be a wilderness child spending unnecessary time going in circles if you choose to go without Him.  And as with everything I post here, this one is hitting home.  You won’t be alone. We’ll be neighbors.

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Oh, Kanye!

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius, I would be lying to you and to myself.”

~straight faced Kanye West

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Ok.  So there is MUCH I could say about Kanye West.  The one thing I don’t want to come from this post is for people to think that I am supporting him and encouraging people to go out and buy his albums.  My first allegiance is to Jesus Christ and I try to live in a way that reflects such.  For me to encourage people to buy a Kanye West album would confuse what I believe and who and what I stand for.  That being said, as troubled, mixed up and confused as he is, the guy ain’t all bad.  He makes some good points.  Sometimes.  Like in his recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel.

So, I first heard about the interview in a conversation between the ladies of The View last week.  The table was split with differing opinions around the portion of the interview from which the above quote was taken.  Some of the women felt that it was appropriate for West to tout and give himself props and respect for his talent, skill and vast array of contributions.  Others felt that it was too much and that in general it’s better to let others tell you how great you are rather than tell the world about your greatness.  There’s a strong argument for either side but, for this one (JUST this one), I’m going with Kanye. . . kind of.

I thought of many things regarding Kanye’s comments after I took a few minutes to gather myself from laughing so hard at him.  Not that I thought he was joking, but the contrary.  The sincerity and seriousness in his delivery incited an uproar of laughter.  It was just that good to me.  Who says of themselves that they are genius?  In fact, most of my life I was encouraged to do the complete opposite and it (with suitable accomplices) produced a girl who struggled with low self esteem, low self concept, masquerading with false humility and an inability to appropriately accept a compliment.  So where I start to lean toward Kanye’s perspective is slight, but enough to say it’s okay to say you’re great . . .so long as you know why and how.

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. ~Romans 12:3 (AMP)

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.   ~2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)

It is no more right to walk around pretending to have low to mediocre talent when you know you exemplify excellence an area than it is to walk around replaying your own commercial on your greatness.  So many of us, present company included, need to be convinced, repeatedly, of the ways that God has gifted us thereby delaying our participation in His plans for us, and stubbing our effectiveness in being salt and light wherever He has placed us on the earth.  Kanye was on to something but, dear one that he is, until he comes to know, truly know Christ, he’ll only and always be great in his own eyes (as well as a devoted family and a few wool-eyed, adoring fans) and will be unlikely to cease his work of convincing other people of it.

When you know that you are great because you have believed and received Christ’s great sacrifice and walk in the ways that He has especially and specifically called and gifted you for His purposes there are certain benefits.  Namely, you don’t suffer from identity crisis– you know who you are and whose you are.  The chances of you identifying yourself by anything other than who God says you are, are slim.  Should satan grab hold of your mind and cause you to question, you reach for your manual (the Bible) for reminders.  You greet each day in light of your calling and you surrender your purposes to His will for your life.  You stand up a little straighter and you dare not compare yourself to others because you realize that you have your own work to do.  As provocative as it may be to hear Kanye call himself a genius, believers in Christ are tied to greatness in an unshakable way and we don’t have to shout it out.  But when He reveals His glory to us time and time again, we seem to do that anyway because we come to understand that our greatness is but a mere, faint shadow of the power source enabling us to show up everyday.

I’ve posted the last part of the interview here.  Watch it if you’d like but, save a psych eval from an unprofessional, after watching it I have compassionately added him to my prayer list as I sincerely feel for him.  I posted it because as Kanye was talking about what his mother told him to believe, I could only think about my relationship with Christ and what my heavenly Father, through His word, has told me to believe.  Can’t go wrong with that.  #tryJesus

Photo Credit:  http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/06/20/kanye-wests-yeezus

The Accidental Sabbatical

sabbatical

I haven’t published a word since April.  (gasps . . .  womp)  And I didn’t even plan to take a break from blogging! (crazy eyes, collapses to head in hand . . . smh) Thanks to God’s sweet grace, and a few inquisitive readers, I’ve found my way back to the qwerty keys and I’m ready to rock! (BIG grin, rubs hands together)  I hope to fair better this time around with a few tricks I’ve learned about being a successful blogger.  I appreciate the patience, kindness and encouragement I’ve found in some of the readers who frequent this little den in cyberspace.  As long as I am able to fulfill this calling, I will write.  I sincerely hope you’ll stay around and continue to journey with me.

#can’tstopwon’tstop (does a P.Diddy ditty and finishes with a spin, suit jacket blowing in the wind)

welcome back!!!!

(wink)

Photo Credit:  http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-sabbatical.html

Happy Monday!

Yes! Happy Monday, You Beautiful People!!!

Happy Monday

Thinking of you and praying for you today.  I’m actually praying that we’d be tickled pink to start this day today!  Wouldn’t that give satan a kick in the teeth?!?!!!  I’m convinced that with as many people who dread Monday mornings (or Monday altogether), he thinks he has our joy on lock today more than any other day.  But we can have victory in Jesus.  Remember to take your medicine.

May you have a blessed, encouraged and positive start to the work week–whether you work in your home, outside of your home, or not at all.  I’m praying blessings, effectiveness, provision and fellowship with the Lord for you today.

I’m finishing up Beth Moore’s 10 week bible study called Believing God and it has been phenomenal.  This is the prayer that I’m praying for myself as I start my day today:

My Lord and my God, I thank you for another day to know You and believe You.  Whatever means you may choose to increase my faith today, I commit myself to that end.

~ Beth Moore in Believing God

Believing God takes courage but it also takes us on a fantastic ride.  You may think your life has enough excitement, for good or for bad, but dare to actively believe God in every area of your life and allow the Lord to thrill you with His revelations and His goodness and your life will never be the same.

Pray this prayer with me today?

On Love . . .

on love . . .

Love heals.  Heals and liberates.  I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.” ~Maya Angelou in Mom & Me & Mom 

Thinking about when was the last time I loved on purpose . . . As a mom and a wife, most of the time my love is set on default; it’s just what I do.  Love is in every move I make, every sacrifice, every offering . . .the sweet good morning hugs and hellos, enthusiastically and  intently listening to the same story more than twice, giving lessons, watching movies with tired eyes and a heavy mind, embracing, caring, sharing . . .  But, I asked myself today as I reread this impactful, little passage, when was the last time I made love my ambition, purpose, aspiration, intent . . .my ulterior motive?  In this world of broken hearts and distracted minds, surely there’s someone in my life right now who needs me to consider this . . .and act on it . . .

illustration by my niece, Nazaria Metz

His

All my fears and inhibitions fade away when I recognize . . .

. . .that I am His . . .

. . .my identity is in Christ . . .

. . .who I really am is in Christ . . .

. . .everything I need is in Christ . . .

. . .Christ is my source. . .

. . .Christ is my self-esteem . . .

. . .He is BIG in me!!!!

Hallelujah!  You are BIG in me!!!!

…… lying with the quiet calm that comes with the end of a day.  It’s rather late, so perhaps you won’t read this until morning but my mind is swirling and looping with all of the events, conversations, people and responsibilities that filled my Monday.  However the thought that keeps circling back to the front of my mind is my identity in Christ.

I can sense my savior’s urgent message for me to identify myself by no other standard than by the word of God.  And I believe He wants that for you as well.

I was sharing with the ladies in bible study tonight that for so much of my life I have been running from being labeled a statistic, running from my past, past mistakes made and poor choices executed, doing my best to define and position myself so that I can control how people see me and therefore what they think of me.  I have been able to accomplish and have some good things in my time but they became the standard by which I identified myself.  If I were to list even a couple of these things it would only be perpetuating the very thing that the Lord is trying to get me to pull away from: identifying myself by the standards of this world.  I am nothing more and nothing less than what the word of God says that I am.  I draw my strength, my value and my identity directly from the heart and mind of the almighty God.  

Now, how does that sit with you?  Does finding your identity in Christ and not in the pieces of the American Dream you currently do or don’t possess scare you?  If you lost absolutely everything you have today, perhaps your own version of a Job experience, would you have any clue about who you are?  Take heart.  He wants us to know the truth about ourselves.  As I explore His word to find myself, I am taking refuge in the fact that I am completely His and I’m putting this on repeat:

The Spring of Things

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I think that spring is God’s way of calling on nature to remind us of the sweetness and beauty to be found in new beginnings . . .

     that is, if we dare to receive them . . .

The cycle rolls ever onward;

22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” ~Genesis 8:22 ESV

We can be seized by the mundane rote disguised as the day to day.

We can drown in our legitimate sorrows and stresses.

Or . . .

. . .we can hope against hope,

(re)set goals,

lift up prayers (even for those situations and people that have been filed away in the “lost cause” pile),

submit plans (tweaked and reworked where necessary) . . .

We can try, yet another day, to begin again.

Even if that means beginning at 1.

After all, spring rains till the ground for some of summer’s most enduring blooms. . .

what I’m trying to say is,

. . . while the earth remains, there is still time to begin again. . .

So, I’m blowing the dust off of the small, black qwerty pegs as I say a prayer for discipline and grace to make a beginning once more.

What are some goals, plans, or works that you’ve set aside and need to return to?  Will you join me?

Not This Time

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“But then I remember something that fills me with hope.  The Lord’s kindness never fails!  If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need, I can depend on Him.’  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is good for us to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.”

I needed to be reminded of my memory verse this morning.  Such a good verse to have memorized.  In the face of all sorts of changes: job loss, doing ministry, walking by faith, doing something scary that you know the Lord told you to do but you still feel a little scared to jump out there and do it, seemingly incessantly irritating and frustrating moments in my day, being kind in very mean situations and relentless people, disappointing times and disappointing people, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, addiction, death.  SO many opportunities to despair.  OR

Then I remember something that fills me hope.  The Lord’s KINDNESS NEVER FAILS!  If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can ALWAYS be trusted to show MERCY EACH MORNING.  Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need.  I CAN DEPEND ON HIM.’  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is GOOD for us to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.

Playtime is over.  As Dr. Crawford Loritts said,”We’ve got to go beyond the cliches of our faith, beyond inspirational talks, and live in the book.” This walk . . . this walk is not a game.  I have a real enemy who always shows up to play hard, as if He has a great chance at winning.  But not this time.  I take a deep breath.  Say it as many times as I need to.  Squeeze my eyes tight, clench my fists together and command my mind and my heart to receive it.  Everything, yes, EVERYTHING is going to be all right (that’s right, ALL RIGHT).  This is but a moment that satan tried to use to scare me, distract me and steal my faith.  But not this time. Because . . .

Then I remember something that fills me with hope.  The Lord’s kindness never fails!  If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need.  I can depend on Him.’  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is good for us to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.  ~Lamentations 3:21-26 (CEV)

Amen.

Oh, but there’s more!

“That’s the only reason why I’m a Christian,” she said, “So that I don’t go to hell.”

My heart sank just a little bit after hearing her words.  But it wasn’t weighed down by judgement.  No, my heart sank as I thought, That’s all you think there is to this?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I know that being saved from hell is a very, very good thing.  It’s a real thing.  It’s an eternal thing and it’s a logical beginning of salvation for many people.  Some are frightened by it and come running into the arms of Jesus out of fear of the unknown, fear of this horrid hell that imaginations have painted red and the bible has described as a lake of fire.  And although many people shun coming to the Lord out of fear, I stand alongside Paul who accepted the preaching of Christ no matter what people’s motives were, so long as the gospel was preached, and I say, come to Him, ALL of us no matter our motives, so long as we come because once we come, truly come, He changes everything.

But I still found myself moving out of her vision with brow furrowed, mouth agape, head cocked slightly to the left and mind bewildered at how she could have missed that we were saved for more.  That He saved us not just from hell, but to be in relationship with us, to show us His love and have us recognize it and revel in it once we realized it . . . to give us power to live beyond ourselves . . .to do the supernatural . . .to make us worthy of having His spirit placed inside of us . . .to show love to others, even the most unlovable so that they too would come to know Him . . .to see His goodness in the land of the living . . .to have joy, unspeakable joy, in the midst of trying times . . .to have peace that surpasses understanding . . .to know that we have a savior who came to bind up broken hearts, heal the sick, make whole the broken . . .to live with purpose and intention, no days on earth wasted . . .to have hope . . .

. . .and then it dawned on me . . . that’s why I moved here–to be an example of this very thing.

See, I know that people are speculating, what’s the real story? who in their right mind would move from there to here?  I bet they ran up on hard times and just needed to move back home for a while.  hey, it happens to the best of us. . .   But there are no secrets.  We really did change everything and give up everything to come and be salt and light.  We came for moments just like these– to live among people and show them the more that God is calling us to.  To wrap our arms, minds and hearts around the harvest of souls waiting for a glimpse of recognition from the Father.  Yes, He sees you.  Yes, He wants you.  He stands at the door and knocks and it would serve us well to answer.  Answer because you are afraid of what’s behind the other door.  Answer because you are afraid not to answer at all.  Answer because you want Him and what He has to offer. Answer because you’ve answered everything and everyone else and you’ve been sadly disappointed every time.  Whatever the reason–Just don’t miss out on your opportunity to answer.  And when you do, I pray that I’ll be ready to be used, should He choose to use me, to demonstrate that being saved from hell is just beginning.

6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (John 10:6-10 The Message)

Wednesdays with Beth: Taking Your Treasure Back pt. 3

I’m not sure how many of you actually take the time to click the link and watch these videos, but if you’ve never taken a chance to do so, you should give it a try.  Beth Moore typically speaks for about 15 (or so) minutes and then James and Betty Robison, the hosts of the show, come back and speak about their missions work and invite viewers to help them change the world by meeting the needs of some of the people who need it most.  In all, it’s about 28 minutes of your day really well spent.  You get an opportunity to grow in your relationship with Christ as Beth Moore teaches and gives fresh perspective on a never changing God aaaaaaannnnnd you are offered an opportunity to change someone’s life.  I almost always enjoy the broadcast and I try not to miss it.  I offer it here on the site because I’m sure there are others out there who’d love it as well.  I would encourage everyone to take a look but especially if you haven’t ever tuned in, try it today.  Click here and see what I mean.