46 things I’ve learned from 2013

Last year was a rough one, and a beautiful one for Jonathan and I. In a snap decision, we followed God a really long way from home where we knew no one, and watched it unfold beautifully in His timing.

I learned more than ever before. God truly became my closest friend and ally. I messed up a lot. I changed a lot.
Allow me to share my post a year ago about what I was learning at that time, and still rings true today!

Most of all last year I learned that 1 Corinthians 13 is pure truth. Love is a game-changer in any battle. Love is the still small voice of God that fights harder and longer than any other tactic. When we carry this love for others with us in the everyday spiritual battles, God {who IS love} wins.

Consuming Fire

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  1. Give things time.
  2. Even when you want to- don’t burn bridges. Take the higher road.
  3. Everyone must give account of their actions someday to God.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Just because things don’t go the way you’ve planned doesn’t mean you get to skip out on your calling. It hasn’t changed, and neither has God.
  6. Write everything down. Everything.
  7. You need soul-rest. Get alone, sit and have a hot drink with Jesus.
  8. God is always a step ahead of you. Because he transcends time he’s behind you, with you, and taking care of the future.
  9. Take a bath, hippie! {no seriously… it’s therapeutic.}
  10. Don’t write people off. Even though it’s hard. If you don’t make friends with messy sinners… you’ll never have any friends.
  11. Prayer is important- but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. It’s useless if you don’t read God’s love letter- the Bible.
  12. “They can’t drive you crazy if they…

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And These Three Remain

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing….

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
(‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭1-3, 13‬ NIV)

Quick thought for the day: love is the greatest. But the other two- faith and hope are close by.

If a person who has lost all hope- when someone loves them with Christlike love; it calls them out of their darkness and despair and gives them renewed hope. And can even strengthen their faith. All because someone took the time and effort to love them- no matter how difficult it is to love them.

An act of love is more powerful than we can even know.

Born to Die

I’ve been listening to the Bible this Advent season, and it has helped my “old way” of reading to go away and has made way for a fresh way of thinking about many of the passages I’ve read over and over.

I’ve been on a journey the past two years of trying to study Jesus’ leadership. (trying to be more like Christ is just that- I try and fail!)
I believe that the Word of God is true cover to cover- and that with the proper interpretation from the Spirit of God alone, as well as emulating Jesus as feet-on-the-ground sent from Heaven: we can understand His Word- a love-letter to humanity.

I can’t believe we have a Savior who said His “heart went out to {us}”(Luke 7:11-14), a Savior who IS willing to make us well (Luke 5:12-13), the Light and Joy of our lives (Luke 8:16-18).

I love that our God, THE God, cared enough to be born into a lowly family, in a lowly town, in a tough government, who said “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance..” for, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭31-32‬ NIV)

Lastly, I can hardly believe Jesus came to die for us. How many times have we seen Jesus revealed in some fashion right before our eyes, and yet rejected His love and care?

This is the story Jesus used to tell the Super-righteous-religious crowd about His death as the Messiah:

“A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!” Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” (‭Luke‬ ‭20‬:‭9-18‬ NIV)

He is willing

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” (‭Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭12-14‬ NIV)

So many times we as Christians in our affluent and self-sufficient culture ask the Lord for things but we don’t really mean it. We don’t really think he’s going to answer… And I daresay some of us don’t even think he’s willing.

I think we’ve created to God in our minds that’s not willing to reach down to our level; to be born as a baby, to live among us, to love us, to sympathize with our weakness. To rescue us by his death and resurrection.

God wants to heal us, all we have to do is ask. He told the leper he was willing, and how many of us request from God that way? “Lord, if you are willing…” When Jesus is patiently standing there waiting, saying “I am willing.”

What do you think you should dare to ask for? What requests to you believe He is waiting and willing to answer?

Son or daughter of God- healing, deliverance, and wholeness in Christ awaits you!

Try Something with me…

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This time of year for worship leaders… and all people in general… is so hectic it seems insane.

And to boot, combatting anxiety is a pain in the rear and I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit.

Here’s a little tactic I felt the Holy Spirit tell me. He told me when I cried out for help in the midst of a season that takes away peace; when it should be our time to let the Prince of Peace rule our hearts. The tactic goes like this:

Reflect over your busy-ness. What is making you busy?

Now – can you remember a time when you didn’t have that thing? Maybe you’re a young mom or dad, who prayed for children, and now your home is full of coos and cries and food splatters and noise.

Or maybe you begged God for a calling and a ministry in the form of a full-time job. Major change happened. God delivered you, provided for you, and now you’re working your tush off for the kingdom.

Insert your own scenario if you like.

I just sit here, this busy holiday season, learning new things I never dreamed I’d have the chance to do, along with new coworkers, a new wonderful boss and mentor, a loving Savior who died for me, sympathizes with me, and I have a roof over my head, a loving, smoking-hot husband to spend my life with… yeah, I’d say I’m pretty thankful.

Sure, among the busy-ness I forget an obligation or two, flub up an announcement in front of church, play a wrong chord (or 5…), double-book myself, quit cooking or cleaning for several nights in a row (who am I kidding.. weeks..) but I’m so thankful for a God who loved me enough to die in my place.

That is all :).

Receive this advent blessing from Christ, into your hearts:

Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,

    one who will arise to rule over the nations;
    in him the Gentiles will hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:12-13