Draw Near to God, He is already Near to You

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Recently I thought I had too much on my plate. I exercised my ability to say “no”, and took my day off seriously. Looking to the future: I tossed the idea of cutting down my hours at work. I wanted to work on future details of our family, make our house a home, and visit my family back home more.

None of that was the plan, for now.

In a recent turn of events I was asked to take on more of a leadership role at the Church, with more responsibility, with pay cuts and budget cuts all across the board for our church.

So. I dropped my plans and fell on my face before Jesus. He has been my Rock. I have peace. I have joy. I am brave.

I know God will make it possible for me to plan our future as a family, cook, clean, plan visits, have people over, take care of our pets, enjoy life… all while taking on this important calling. I just need to listen to His voice.

I’m ashamed to say in these times of turmoil… they are the sweetest times of worship for me.

Why can’t I seem to be this close to my Lord during the good times?

I realized today that I find the most peace and joy in the trials– not because God has changed, but because I have. Tweet this.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you {HE IS already close by}. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

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7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Wants to Be Around

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The corollary to the principle “you see more of what you notice” is “you get more of what you notice. If you catch people doing what is right and complement them for it, guess what happens? They start doing more of it. This is not manipulation; it is influence. It too is contagious!

7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Wants to Be Around.

The Pinterest and Selfies Age

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I was convicted about something really tough recently. I was browsing through the Pinterest boards I’d created and it hit me.

Not only was it wasting precious time (a LOT of time…) but it was also a giant case of the gimme-gimmies.

If you’re a Pinterest user at all, you’ll realize quickly that the pins aren’t really bad… it’s the way they’re being used that can become a negative thing. For instance on a pin of a material item in the description we’ve all been writing things like, “I WANT” or “I NEED THIS”, “Gimme-gimme-gimme”.

I was feeling really convicted so several months ago I did a clean sweep of my Pinterest activity– naming each board with what I knew about God and His word pertaining to that category. Maybe to you that sounds doofy. But I needed to do it. It helps me use Pinterest less, and when I do use it, it helps me choose mostly inspirational, how-to’s, money-saving, or scripture pins. I’m not there yet, but I desire to convert all my social media to either lift others up or to not use it at all.

I used to take a lot of selfies or write facebook posts without thinking first. Then it hit me one day, am I using facebook/twitter/instagram as a platform? If so, what kind?

I read an article a while back about posting to social media. It asked the reader to examine their motive behind a post. Is it to cut someone down? Is it to promote yourself/set yourself up high? Is it seeking approval? That last one was an ‘ouch’ for me.

When I’m tempted to post at the end of a long, draining day (we all know that’s a disaster waiting to happen) I try to ask myself “why” before I post. As a twenty-something who has every form of social media available it’s really easy for me to get wrapped up. I knew I had a problem when my sense of humor shifted to speaking in status updates in my head. (I know, laugh away.) I had created a monster. I said Heaven help me. Literally. Christ in me– purge this gimme-gimme-pinning-monster and selfie-taking-narcissist! Take away the snarkmonster. Make her new.

If I use any social media as a platform, my prayer is that it’s to lift up the broken hearted, encourage the discouraged, and shout Christ’s name to those who don’t know Him. {Tweet this!}

“Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.” 1 Samuel 12:21

“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.”  Habakkuk 2:18

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Speak Life

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It seems like I always brush right by passages I think I’m doing okay on. But I bet if we all analyzed our days we’d realize we fall a bit short.

What if all Christians took a challenge today- to see each person as a story? A story that has good parts and really painful parts. What if we saw each person and then tried to imagine their hurt? What if we realized our words have the ability to either speak life or death into their soul?

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

Let’s choose to breathe life into people. God breathed life into our lungs when he created us. Because of Him we see green growth in the ground or babies being born- new life is all around us! A kind word is like sweet desert rain on a soul. One word of heartfelt encouragement can turn around a whole life. {Tweet this!}

Let’s be those kind of people who breathe life with our words! Rise up to the challenge!

What you do for the “Lazarus” of These

With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching… charitable giving is on the brain for lots of us.

Having worked in several churches in my young life– I’ve been told time & time again to be super cautious towards the “scammers”.

I know all about the scam going around last year where an innocent looking woman would enter large church during service hours, and appear a little lost, then make her way into the church’s office and steal one of the staff member’s purse, wallet, or even the offering plates for that week.

Not good. On the other hand are those people who call this time of year and say, “I’m out of work, do you give money for gas?” All with a similar story.

Enter whispers of Jesus.

Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Luke 16:19-31, “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

We went through a lot of financial stress from 2012-2013. There were times we weren’t sure were going to make it. Maybe God allowed me to go through all that because he didn’t want me to be like the rich man in the story of Lazarus once we were doing ok again. We have two large salaries and guess what? We love giving it away. When someone calls and even sounds fishy saying, “hey I have no money for gas because my husband works in the oil field and has been out of paychecks for 2 weeks, but now that he has a job…” I can say, “I feel for YOU. Let me guess, he won’t get a paycheck for the next 2 or more weeks, and you have no idea where the money is going to come from? Hey lady no worries I was just there recently.

Maybe if God hadn’t allowed Jonathan and I to experience want in 2012-2013, I would have said to her. “If your husband HAS a job, why are you calling?” I want to make sure not only does “Lazarus” eat the crumbs at my table, covered in his sores…. and a step further- to sit at my table and eat with me.

Jonathan and I have more to come in the next year about an exciting ministry we are going to do just the two of us. It’s crazy, hairy-audacious-BOLD…. so I can’t share yet. But God laid it on my husband’s heart and he just won’t relent. *Update, God’s still on the move!! More to come! 7/8/14*

So maybe I’ve given tons of scammers money and made a fool of myself. But this middle aged woman staring back at me when I asked her what she needed prayer for did not seem like a con-woman to me. She was literally stuttering because I had asked her to take my card and let me know how I can pray.

I’d rather get to Heaven and see Jesus and say, “oops, I got scammed. Many times..” than, “Jesus my walls were up, I tightly held my money. Fear not: NO ONE got the best of me!”

Does the verse, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” {Matthew 5:39} apply to this? If Jesus isn’t directly clear… I’d rather be outta money than be wrong when I meet Him. The only things we can bring to Heaven with us are souls. Time to get this right. {Tweet this!}

Turn the other cheek. It sucks, but you never know.