But I Thought…

This weekend, Jesus took me to therapy. You know, we can be told something our whole lives and when God brings it front and center, is when it actually sticks.

I’ve been assuming the worst in people…That they don’t care, that they don’t want to help, that they don’t like me, that they don’t approve of me, that they blame me, that they just wish I weren’t there, including the people I love.

Isn’t that a sad state of mind? To assume people are mad or upset before you even know if they are? Why not assume people are fine with you. People are busy with their own lives. That people don’t/can’t know your issue if you haven’t shared it, that they want what’s best for you, that they have their own issues going on, that they are happy when you are, and sad when you are. That their hearts beat in sincerity and compassion. This not only lightens your load, but takes the unnecessary pressure off of them too.

I was also reminded that “how we view people (for the better or for the worse) also shows how we view ourselves.” So, that must mean I’m assuming the worst about myself. How sad! Assuming the worst in people and ourselves is not loving others or ourselves. It’s exactly what the devil wants to cause division before a conflict has even taken place. What an evil trick on his part!

How about we lean on the Lord for strength, wisdom, understanding and start trusting that in ourselves? How about we make decisions based on our worth in Him and lean into the joy and confidence that goes a long with that? He is ever present in our lives and He bestows wisdom when asked.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)

You know what they say happens when we assume?

Image result for what happens when you assume?

How about we assume the best, then when someone has a problem, it can be dealt with appropriately when it arises. This seems simple, but it prevents me from assuming there are a lot more problems than necessary to address and tend to. Let’s take them as they come, not as we assume they are.

Let’s love others by assuming the best about them and love ourselves by thinking the best of ourselves. It’s in people’s weaknesses and frustrations that they need love the most, it’s the same with ourselves. We need to love ourselves through a hard day, the hard stuff. Consider God’s open arms of grace when we blow it. Because we need love too. We all do.

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He is BIGGER…

Jesus is bigger. He’s bigger than the church pew you just sat in. He’s bigger than the separation with our kids. He’s bigger than the guilt we carry.

He’s bigger than your divorce. He’s bigger than the sermon you just listened to. He’s bigger than the quote you just shared. He’s bigger than the diagnosis you just received. He’s bigger than differences in theology. He’s bigger than the school you attend. He’s bigger than our mistakes.

He’s bigger than the foods we eat. He’s bigger than the feelings we have. He’s bigger than the words that we write or say. He’s bigger than our intentions. He’s bigger than our fears. He’s bigger than the devil.

Claiming the Name of Jesus is the biggest thing we can do and best choice we can make. When we are overcome with joy, in the depths of despair, when sadness washes over us, when misunderstandings run rampant. Claim His Name.

If there’s TWO things I pray my girls see and remember in me, it’s the grace and love of Jesus. What more can I give?

More of You, Jesus. Less of me.

For YOU know better than I….

 

Why??

Even Jesus asked “Why.” He already knew the answer. He knew what He was doing. He knew what His Father was doing. He knew the job He came to accomplish. But, in His humanness and despair, He cried out..”Why?” Can you relate? Obviously, so can He.

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:46 (NIV)

Jesus knew His purpose. By the time he was twelve, He was “about His father’s business.” (Luke 2:49) He pleaded for the cup to pass the night before, if it all possible, but went forward all knowing, all merciful, and all powerful for the “joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). Joy? He wasn’t looking forward to it. He dreaded it, but the outcome was His joy and His why.

He knew that He would be the ultimate sacrifice. Our ultimate sacrifice. He endured and allowed the emotional pain and physical agony of the cross, for us. “Us” being His joy. We are why He did what He did. Being with us forever was worth it to Him to take on every sin, abandonment from His Father, be beaten, spat on, made fun of, and killed a tortuous death. He was forsaken so that we never would be. He took the hit. The pain of the forsaking (separation) ultimately pushed out the question. He could no longer contain it, even though He knew it. Even Jesus with a “Why, Lord?!”

If He did this for us, He should be our joy. Then and now, we are still His. We should relish in His love for us. Accept His forgiveness. Lean on Him in our trials and praise Him for His presence. Share His life and sacrifice with others. Point others to Him when hurt by church people, work people, family people, people. People proclaiming His name sometimes cause the most hurt. That’s not Him, that’s them.

So, when we ask “Why”, let us remember that even our Savior did. He cried out “Why” to a question He already knew. In His pain and literal darkness, He cried out “Why?”

He was sinless, so we are not wrong to ask this question. We are humans with many questions. May our “whys” be followed with a remembrance that it is also finished. After His why, He also cried this out. “It is finished” and died. All of our questions will one day be wrapped up in Him. He is the answer.

He did not come to hurt, condemn, or look down on people. He came to speak and live truth, teach, heal, be an example of God’s love, die, be raised again, and claim the victory….for us.

May our “whys” point to Him. May we point others with “whys” to Him. May, our “I just don’t know, but one day we wills” be a source of hope and point to the One who cried out the same exact question knowing full well the answer. The answer to His “why” was why He did it. We are His why.

May we always remember that Jesus comes to us in our hurts and empathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). He also knows suffering personally. His “why” was proof of that. It was in His worse suffering that even He asked the question we so often do and our ultimate sacrifice made complete because of it.

You are not alone.

 

 

Because He Died For Me…

Because He died for me, I will live for Him. I have placed Him into each and every hurt I have…May my story, my life, reflect Him. May the difficulties with relationships, misunderstandings, child sharing, child raising, financial issues, family issues, point to Him in my life.

May I never be a stumbling block, but an example of a heart willing to do anything for Jesus, because of what He did for me. May people look back one day and think “I know she loved Jesus” and may everything else fall to the wayside.

May the tears we shed reflect hearts that hurt, not hearts that want to hurt others. May the chaos fade and the coasts clear. May my girls and friends and family know that peace and love is all I’ve ever wanted to give.

May I lift up His cross every day of my life.

Oh, how He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and me. He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…

God builds us up to send us out.

It’s only in the stories that hurt that we can experience His comfort. Have you ever listened to someone share their story and think “How on earth could someone have to go through that much on this earth”? These are the stories that glorify Him most. Because, “if THEY can lean into God through THAT, surely I should be able to.” He comforts us to send us out and comfort others.

He corrects, teaches, and shares wisdom for our own healing and then to share with our children and others. May we learn something from others so that we don’t have to experience everything first hand.

It’s the hard stuff in our lives that is most likely to impart wisdom or recklessness. Anger can wreak havoc on our lives and loved ones. Are you asking for strength, His power to forgive, wisdom?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)

That’s a promise! It WILL be given to you.

When we feel the full expression of God’s forgiveness for ourselves, we can’t help but offer it to others. When He corrects us, someone else needs to hear.  When He changes our desires, it’s to align us with His will.  When we choose to love anyway and in spite of, it’s because of Him. If it’s HIS love that helped you, it’s HIS love you will share.

God builds us up to send us out.

The way He has worked in your life, the courage He has summoned in you, the ways He has renewed your mind, the healing from that specific brokenness, the relationships He has replaced, the hearts you can touch, all come from your specific story. Each one of ours is different and I would LOVE to hear yours…

He meets us right where we are so that we can assure the next person that He will too. Our God LONGS for us.

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (MSG)

In each of your hard places, God has a special purpose. When our faith is tested, it is also strengthened. And, it is strengthened for a reason. Through Christ, we could be used to break a generational cycle, reach others across the globe, touch a heart across the cubicle or our own table, raise a warrior for Christ…all and only through Him. (Philippians 4:13) Who knows how He’ll use you?  That’s part of the adventure. No matter what, giving Him the glory, regardless of the outcome, turns our ashes to beauty.

He doesn’t need us to accomplish His plan, but what an honor to be used in any way, shape, or form for His purposes. This is His desire for us. To turn our lives into living testimonies. Your story may seem too ugly to share, but check your return address…There’s a place with your name on it.

There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. John 14:2-3 (GNT)

Signed with the blood of Jesus, Sealed with His love, and Delivered into His arms…

In Your Heart

It’s not in your day job or side gig. Your credentials or diplomas. It’s not in your trophies or alma maters. It’s not in your bank account or retirement account. It’s not in your likes or followers. It’s not in the concerts you attend or the books that you read. It’s not in the movies that you watch or the instruments that you play. It’s not in the spouse that you have or the child that you raise. It’s not in the school you attend or choir you join. It’s not in your social status or relationship status. It’s not in the car you drive or the boat you own…

It’s not in your parents choices or your grandparents wishes. It’s not in your past heartaches or future concerns.  It’s not in your mistakes, accomplishments, regrets, or failures. It’s not in your report cards or paychecks.

It’s in your heart.

The decision each one of us makes day after day as to whom we will serve, lean on, and trust is our own. Your spouse can’t make it. Your parents can’t make it. They may try, but they can’t. As a parent myself now, this is terrifying, but I turn this over. Over and over. My kids will make their own choices. As will I. As will you.

To love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul may look different to people. It may lead to choices others may not make. He gives us different gifts, passions, and paths. When we ask Him to lead, our lives may take directions we’d never choose on our own. But, the beauty before us is a life lived trusting Him. Let God be your guide.

We find Him in our trials, we help others with what we’ve learned, and we choose Him day after day. In the ups and the downs, we have faith He is with us. And, it’s in THIS faith, that our strength is found. Our callings may be every bit as different as the circumstances we face. But, pointing to the same God, brings us together in one accord.

Brothers and sisters. Hearts to hearts. Trials to trials. Victories to victories. Peace and strength abounds. In one name. The name of Jesus.

 

When Following Him Looks Different…

Over the years, I’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories of people who were shunned for their marriage issues, the smell of smoke, food choices, Sabbath activities, church attire, accidents, and cover-ups never to return again. From a church, a Bible study, a family get together, a school. Feeling unloved, judged, unacceptable, rejected….the polar opposite of how Jesus would have treated them.

Here are a few questions that come to mind…How do you love your neighbor? What about the one who believes differently than you? Do you believe Jesus died for them? Do you believe your rules will save you? Do you believe Jesus wants you both? Do you think your actions or lack thereof will save you? Are you leaning into Jesus and His love for others?

In our church, when we hear the word “obedience” we (I) tend to immediately think of the Sabbath. Like anyone who is not honoring the seventh day Sabbath is being disobedient to God. What if they find Jesus elsewhere? What about judging that person? Isn’t that disobedient? What if God is calling you to forgive and you just refuse? What if you covet someone’s marriage or singleness? Or He’s calling you to love your enemies and you just can’t go there…Isn’t that disobedient? We ALL fall short (Romans 3:23), and there’s no shortage of ways to do it.

Just like we may judge someone by the color of their skin, clothes, neighborhood, food choices, jewelry, or even hairstyle, we judge by the church they attend. I met the love of Jesus outside of my home church and have returned to share what I learned from those who do not go there. Praise His name, since I’ve returned, I’ve found more and more people hungry for this love.

We all need more Jesus.

I love the Sabbath, I came back for it. But, do we worship the Sabbath or do we worship Him? As humans, we tend to worship creations over the Creator. We want something tangible to hang on to. Like our children, marriages, friends, careers, accomplishments, even doctrine. Anything to feel like we’ve got what we need. I have been guilty of this for sure. What we need most is Jesus. The rest are gifts given BY Him to raise, enjoy, love, and study, but not to exalt higher than their Creator.

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath day was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath day. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” Mark 2:27-28 (NIRV)

I feel like if He was sitting in my living room, He would say “following Me doesn’t mean doing things the way they’ve always been done, just because”. There are so many Adventists who worship the day that sets us apart over the One who died to do so. I think this hurts His heart. I can also hear Him saying, “I don’t want you worshipping the day I made any more than the animals I made. Worship the One who made them.” When Jesus comes first, how we treat and love others (all others) is evident. I mean, how would Jesus treat that particular person?

Would you flat refuse to set foot in church on a Sunday to worship our God in heaven with others? If so, what does that mean? Who are YOU worshipping? Do you think Jesus would be more likely to flip tables over in a church of people worshipping on the “wrong day” or people worshipping the day over Him? He knows our hearts and why we do what we do. Think about how public worship is an honor and a privilege that many in this world aren’t allowed to do on ANY day…

On my death bed, as much as I hope my girls are ingrained with a reverence and knowledge of the Sabbath, my ultimate goal is that they find and cling to Jesus for themselves. No matter how, why, or where they find Him, my deepest desire is that they do. God works in mysterious ways. His thoughts and ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is bigger.

May they sense the joy, freedom, and strength in Christ over the shame, fear, and insecurity of ANY religion that lacks unconditional love. Because, God IS love. In the last days, God will call His people out. Leave conviction to the One they have a relationship with. If that relationship is solid, they will hear His voice.

John 10:27-30 says  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.The Father and I are one.”

I claim this! I pray personal relationship into my girls’ lives, that is my deepest desire, because when that’s in place, they WILL hear His voice and no one can snatch them from His hand. No one. Nothing.

Search my heart, Lord. Correct me where I’m wrong and may my heart be and stay ever closer to You.