Thursday, April 30, 2015

No Confidence in the FLESH!

I feel like every single season of my life I find myself in God has to teach me, and sometimes that means relearning basic truths in His word and relearning just about who He is.

This specific season the Lord is teaching me greatly a thing I have allowed to creep into my walk and shift my focus off of Him a bit. I am learning that I have found myself putting way too much focus and emphasis on man failing and not on Him delivering. I have put too much confidence in the flesh of myself and others!

I know allowing myself to do that has robbed me immensely of my joy in Christ at times in this season, and my purpose, and who I am in Him alone, and I can see it happening all around me too. I am seeing friends, loved ones and just random people in general holding on to hurt and allowing bitterness and resentment to set in when someone lets them down. When a friendship feels like it has turned out to be a sham. When a family member disappoints us. When relationships fall short. When that boss doesn't follow through on their promises. When our spouse says something unkind. When our children do not obey. When we feel like we could not live up to others expectations. When we fall short because we had put too much expectations on ourselves. When neighborhood or groups of people in an sinful act of rebellion destroy the very places we found ourselves just weeks earlier breaking bread in and working along side of these people in and going to school with them in...and moreover...when Godly people we have trusted, looked up to and admired so greatly do ungodly things. We just find ourselves loosing confidence and trust in others, and probably find ourselves asking who can I put confidence in?

Who can I even trust anymore? 

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Philippians. I just love Paul and his teachings and letters, and especially love what he had to say to the church at Philipi. When Paul was writing a letter to the Philippians he had this to say:

No Confidence in the Flesh

"Further, my brothers and sisters, REJOICE in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus,and who put NO confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal,persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, nor have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Truth is...people will fail us, and we, believe it or not, will fail people. 

Of course we can still be upset when others sin against us. Of course we can have righteous anger or be disappointed when our children disobey. We are human. Those are natural feelings to uncomfortable, hurtful and unnatural situations. The problem comes when we place TOO much focus on what man did instead of just rejoicing in who God is. We have then allowed ourselves to put too much confidence in the flesh! The flesh of man, and the flesh of ourselves will unfortunately always fail.

So who can we truly put confidence in if flesh ALWAYS fails? Who can we earnestly and always trust? 


He is the "author and perfecter of our faiths. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." 

Love even more how Paul goes on to say a little further down in the letter to the church in Philippi that we should follow his example and the example of others who strive to live godly lives! Love that he adds that in there! Yes and Amen! We can and should follow the examples of other righteous godly men and women, peeps. Thankful and praise the Lord for those beautiful people!! We should look up to them and model their godly behavior, but we should never put our confidence in them.  Never put it in the flesh. 

Never put it in me or I in you.

Always put it in Christ. <3

Stay Joyful,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The one about: Spiritual Gifts

I heard a quote one time that said, "I'm not beautiful like you, I'm beautiful like me." Loved that quote so much, but how much it can also be said  in the body of Christ with, "I'm not gifted like you, I'm gifted like me." You know one thing I have been learning over the past few months, but seems so predominate and prevalent in my life in the last week or two (and just a side note I have to owe this to some of the incredible God fearing women that I look up to that are huge encouragers of the faith in my life and just His word too that shows us) is that in the body of Christ we are all gifted differently and uniquely in His kingdom. We all have different personalities, and unique abilities that God has given us to help the church function and carry out His plan and purposes in a world that needs to see Him. With that being said, we believers have to stop picking apart other believers, and I will be the first to admit I am guilty and have been convicted of this myself. We are all called differently, but equipped and live by the SAME SPIRIT. We serve differently, but serve the SAME LORD. Some of us are teachers, leaders, administrators, writers, organizers, have gifts of prophecy, and shepherding, musically inclined and I could go on, but we have to stop criticizing others in the church for not having the gifts you have or lets say maybe you do have the same gift, we still have to stop criticizing them for not using it the way you would. (preaching to the choir here).

Scripture tells us that they would know us in the world and ~know we are His disciples by our love for one another~ John 13:3, dang if we can't get along here as brothers and sisters in Christ, we got to remember we are going to be with each other throughout all eternity. That's a pretty dang on long time to be with someone! So we have to stop with the bashing of when we see another believer that is using their gifts and we feel that what they are saying or doing is not what we would do or not do or coming off too bold, or way too soft, or too truthful and not enough grace, or too traditional and too charismatic enough, or too convicting, or too strong for us or not strong enough. Because it all comes down to the heart condition of the gift user and the fruit they are producing with that gift and the spirit they are operating in. Of course we are going to prefer different styles and tastes, but if the person using the gift is being lead by the holy spirit to speak, to write, to defend, to proclaim then what are we getting upset about? Because it would not be the way we think we would use the gift? 

again...preaching to the choir here.

Now, don't take this as I'm not saying we should never rebuke, or train or correct or point out sin, because yes there are times when believers have not 100 % been good stewards of their gifts. Have used them sinfully and hurtfully to appeal to the flesh. So we definitely need to discern and as scripture would also tell us we need "to not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." So we def  to steer clear of those teachings and make others aware and we absolutely want to always discern and approach the fruit people are producing and the spirit they are operating in through the lens of Christ and test it to see if whether it is from God or not. But if its not...PRAY for them and then pray for yourself that God would reveal to you through His word and truth what He wants you to see or learn from this person and situation.

which leads me to....

 If we all didn't know this by now that SIN is sin. I mean lets just call it what is it. It's ugly. It is nasty, evil, stupid, and I HATE IT! We all hate it! God hates it! I hate my own sin! I really do. It disgusts me and I freaking hate it so much. It hurts me to see others sin, a believer, a non believer, whoever, and it hurts me when I sin, and it hurts God. Sin just hurts.

 So if someone gets fired up over sin and freaks out in their gifts and maybe lets just say starts flipping tables 
because they are just angry and upset over ungodliness can we just maybe give them a little room? (and as a woman sometimes when we are fired up over sin mixed with hormones oh lawdy, watch out now...because it might not just be a table). But just PRAY, PRAY PRAY for that person!!! Trust me the holy spirit will eventually convict. Been here and praise God for conviction, repentance, mercy and grace!

 As I am typing I'm starting to think about some of the most influential Christians in the public eye that have some amazing spiritual gifts and I have gleaned so much from in my walk. They all have something in common, other than the fact they are brothers and sisters in Christ, but that all have been criticized in their gifts for being just too whatever and honestly I have seen them flip tables and freak out a time or two in their walks and thought "WHOA" now. They be getting fired up, and I am sure being in the public eye doesn't help as they are more under scrutiny and their witnessing is heavily questioned. 

I am sure you have heard of them, but they all are coming to mind as I type and so I want to share.

 ie. John MacArthur. He is one incredible bible teacher, author and pastor. If you ever get a chance to listen to his sermons or read his blog check it out sometime. ( He seriously is like the Paul of today and has often been referred to that. He is so bold. SO BOLD. It is so inspiring to be that bold in the faith! He has such a heart for his flock knowing the truth of God's word and also warning them of the dangers of false prophets and exhorting his flock to be made aware of false teachings, but I can not tell you how many times I have heard other Christians say he's too judgmental and too bible thumpy, and too harsh etc. He truly cares about his flock and wanting to equip and guide his sheep and he is doing what God has called him to do with his unique gifts. 

Then there is Joyce Meyer! Love her! She has such a powerful testimony! She is such an encourager of God's word and truly wants to see captives set free in Christ from a life of bondage. But, she has been referred to as a false prophet, criticized for being a woman and preaching to men by other Christians and too much of a charismatic for her to come speak at "their" church.

You got pastors like John Hagee (may not be some peoples cup of tea, but man he be on fire for the Lord now...that is for sure). Definitely a John the Baptist of today! He is passionate about end times and about people getting ready for the coming of the Lord. He preaches with conviction and authority. Repent...repent!! (def a John the Baptist move) But look at the fruit he produces. People have been radically changed and set free and saved under his ministry!

You got writers like Jen Hatmaker! So thankful to a couple girlfriends who turned me on to her because I seriously can not get enough of her. She is hysterical, and blunt and straight forward and a no nonsense type of woman. You might be offended if you read some of her books because she kind of just tells it like it is, but this woman is passionate and relentless and gung-ho about going into the dark and ugly places of the world and seeing the lost saved in Jesus name!! Love her!

You got soft spoken people like Charles Stanley who is your traditional preacher that bring so much joy when he preaches. You can't not sit through one of his sermons and not smile. He reminds me of my grandfather Herb, just a little bit taller and slimmer and doesn't wear cowboy boots. :) I know he has been told in his ministry a time or two that he is too narrow minded or that he is too black and white and not enough gray. Needs to be more like his son Andy Stanley, who also has been criticized for too much grace and not enough truth on certain doctrines.

Then there is Ann Voskamp! Such a beautiful writer. So gifted with her words and the way she can melt your heart for the Lord and make you just fall in love with Jesus, but she too has been criticized from the church for being just too much. Too mystical, too wordy and just too.....

There are so many other's I can list in the public eye who are such bold proclaimers of the truth or maybe gentle quite spirits, who have produced GOOD fruit and whose hearts are sold out for Jesus and making Him known, but that have been attacked and criticized for being too forward, or too bold, or being judgmental
or too soft or not enough this and not enough that....

Then I think about those that are unseen, but seen in our lives. Those that we actually do or have done life with, and who have been huge influences in our walks and journeys in Christ.

Johnnie Laye, a beautiful God fearing woman who was an amazing bible teacher. She recently passed last year, and no doubt that this woman is not wearing many crowns and will be sitting next to Billy Graham. I had such the privilege to be my Sunday school teacher growing up and about 2 years before she passed I had the honor of sitting under again one of her bible studies on Revelations and let me just tell you should could teach revelations like no bodies business. You will walk out of her bible study just desperately waiting to see the Lord coming through the clouds and hearing the trumpet sound. But, I am sure she has felt attacked and persecuted at some point in her walk too.

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Tim 3:12

Then I think about such fierce women like my grandmother, Louise. Man, she a straight up spit fire, but she LOVES Jesus and she loves people. She was my mentor when I came to Christ back in my early twenties and she poured so much of Gods word in me and instilled in me a passion to know Him and make Him known and to love music and His word. She is such a lover of His word and has taught many of women in her walk in His word. She also has an incredible voice, so musically gifted and I just know she will be conducting the angels choir for Jesus one day in glory, but she is no different. She has been attacked and criticized for being holier than thou and judgmental, and the more older she get's the more blunt she gets but we love her. ;)

So many others I could type here but this would turn into a book, and I already need a trusted editor and I am not sure you would even read it all......

My point to all of this is we all have different spiritual gifts and abilities, and personalities and just uniqueness about us and it's time we start encouraging one another and spurring each other in love to good works in Jesus name instead of criticizing each other for not being more like the gifts each other have or desire to have. Not everyone will be a street evangelist (I know that is not my calling. I can see someone straight up telling me to just go on somewhere and sit down.) but lets not criticize others for doing it, and
saying they are hurting the church or giving us a bad rap (yes... I have heard this recently...from other Christians) If at least one person comes to Christ was it not worth it? Not everyone will be a bold proclamier some will be quiet in spirit, but let's not criticize them for being Pauls or John the Baptists'.

 Some of us do not know what gifts we have and still trying to figure out the gifts we do have or desire to have. Some of us may be operating in the wrong gifts or still trying to see how God wants them to use them based on their personalities or unique abilities, so as brothers and sisters in Christ, let's all commit to encourage each other in our spiritual gifts and abilities and spur it to good works in Jesus name!!!

REMEMBER: You are doing great Saint! Keep your eyes focused on the Cross. Keep running the race! Keep shining His light in dark places. Keep boldly proclaiming or quietly praying. Keep trusting. Keep loving. Keeping going. Keep running. Keep pressing on toward the prize! Just keep doing and being all He has called you to do and be....

~We got one life to use them, there is one Church to use them in, and one Kingdom to advance. We may have many different spiritual gifts, but there is one Gospel, and one God!!! ~

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The One About Headaches....

Have you ever had one of those tension headaches. You know the kind where it throbs behind your eyes and seeps up around the sides of your temples and shoots down the back of your neck?  You can't lay down. As bad as you want to cry from the headache you can't even shed a tear because it will make it worse. You try ice, and then a hot shower. You pop a few pain pills and finally, finally it eases up and that moment that it does you feel like you can now breathe a sigh of relief...for a moment, but then you realize your sore. Your head and neck are sore. Your eyes are tired and you are plain worn out and exhausted, but, the tension is gone.

I feel like this has been my life over last 4 or 5 months. One big tension headache. It finally let up this morning, but man, I am so sore from it. I am tired. I'm worn out.

Last few months or so, I have been wrestling and battling so much. Trying to find my place in friendships. Trying to trust Him in the direction that He has for our family and what place He has for me specifically in His kingdom. Carrying the heartaches, pains and the devastating news of others, all the while, feeling like I am trying to keep others around me a float and encouraged, and in all honesty, needing it so desperately for myself.

This season I found myself several times mad at God. I have never been mad at the Lord before. Never. Even after several pregnancy losses, loss of family members, and things I have had to endure in my walk with the Lord I have never been frustrated or upset or mad at my God. I have often encouraged others to trust and lean upon Him. To keep their eyes on the cross and to turn everything over into His hands when they have felt angry or confused or frustrated with His plans, and for the first time I am having to preach all of this to myself. Daily having to tell God that I am sorry and ask for forgiveness for being so angry with Him, even when I clearly know what His word says about His goodness and love, I have found that in this season I am having to battle with resting in all of that.

With all of that said, this season I am learning that God can handle that. He can handle me being mad at Him. He can handle my frustrations at His plans. He can handle my emotional outbursts, my sensitivities, the absolutely tender touchy parts of my heart. The immaturity of my little finite human brain at times. He can handle all of that. He actually gladly wants me to be open with Him about that. When we can fully come before Him broken and all poured out, nothing left to give, and truly allow ourselves to be real with God then He can start truly working in us. Refining work. Hard, pressed, shifting, digging, and drilling into the wells of our souls. Clearing, cleaning, purifying and scraping out the well walls. Doing hard manual labor. Sanctifying work.

(This type of work I had prayed for over the summer, and let me just tell you saints...don't ask God to break your heart and sift it if you ain't ready.)

This morning as I was sitting down to try and do my devotions after breakfast I had tears just streaming down my face. The tension was just too much. I tried hard to not let my son see me, but he did. He left his little trucks and cars that he had been playing with and ran over to me, and gave me the biggest hug and kissed me several times, and said, "Oh, mommy. It ok mommy."

In that moment is where the tension left. In that moment I felt my heart being opened to surrendering to His work.

It that moment I felt the Lord wrap His arms around me, and tell me, "my child, it's going to be ok."

Friends, I just have to tell you that whatever you are struggling with in this season of life...please know that everything is going to be ok. Whether you are mad at God, you are suffering loss, you are battling depression, or anxiety, financial problems, a broken marriage, a strained relationship or maybe just difficulty trying to figure out where He wants you to be in life and in His kingdom. You may feel like your life is just one big tension headache with all this pressure and there has been no relief. Please know, and rest in the fact that It will eventually let up. It will pass. This too shall pass. Just be open to His leading. Surrender your heart over. God loves you. He made you. He can handle it. Whatever it is.

 He can handle it.

Now that the tension has let up...I feel worn out, sore and exhausted. But, nonetheless, the tension is gone. I know God can begin to heal and continue to work in my heart. Sanctifying work, and I'm ready.

Prayer: God, you are so faithful and so patient with us. In your forbearance Lord, You sit so quietly and patiently and lets us throw these knock down tantrums in our strong will that we tend to sometimes have. Our hearts can not be more grateful and thankful for that. Thank you for handling all of that. Thank you for being a God that can handle the raw and the rough. The broken and the beautiful. The dark and weak parts of our hearts. Thank you for your faithfulness for GREAT it is! God continue your sanctifying work in our lives. Lord, create in us hearts that beat at the sound of your voice alone. In  your word it says that in you Lord we move and breathe and have our being. Help us to rest in that. To rest in your unfailing love you have for us. Help us to trust you with our whole lives, with every turn and direction. With every single part God we give it all over to you, and help us to rely upon your holy spirit to guide us in all of our ways. In your name. Amen