What if …

A couple of years ago, I felt God impress to me that my husband and I would be missionaries .. not in another country though, right here in our own U.S. of A.  While my husband hasn’t heard the call as clearly as I did, we have both set ourselves up to do the work of the Lord as we feel led.

How do you reach a nation that is so heavy laden with blessings?  How do you reach a people when there is already a church on every street corner?  You would think that with all the churches around, Jesus would be a priority.  Sadly, that’s just not the case.  At least not from my perspective.  In our society, people know about God.  They know all about Jesus.  They even go to church on Sunday.  However, the scriptures pointed out so clearly that in the last days there would be people ‘having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof ..’ 2Tim 3:1-7.

These are some of the people I feel led to reach.

While I was standing in line tonight at a local fundraiser, I watched as people gathered to support the event.  This is an event that is so large, it upsets the economic system because it draws such a crowd.  As I stood there, I thought to myself .. what if these people really knew God?  For all I knew, they could all be professed Christians.

But I got to thinking about … what if?  What if those that do know God got really serious about living for Christ?  What would life be like in our society?  What if people really believed that the power of the Holy Spirit is real and signs really do still follow today?  What if people really believed that they had the authority that Jesus Christ has given us .. to heal, to deliver, to open eyes?

Perhaps we would see people praying on every corner.  Perhaps we would see crowds gathering around to see as the little boy who has been in a wheel chair all his life, gets up and walks.  Perhaps we would see people breaking out in tongues at any given moment as the spirit moved across them.  Perhaps we would see joy unspeakable as mother’s watch their teenagers turn towards God with humility, tears running down their face as they experience a vision of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps we would see teenagers preaching messages and spreading joy unspeakable from the power of God rather than the power of drugs.  Perhaps we would see the book of Acts come to life once again.

What if we really believed that Christ is real?  Would we change our actions?  Would we start reading the Bible and start seeking God for more than just a blessing?  Would we really desire to know and experience God instead of just going through the motions?  Would we really start including God on everything we do instead of just the ‘church’ things?  Would we step out and pray in public for someone we don’t know?  Would we dare to pray in tongues in public as we felt the spirit move upon us?  Would we dare to utilize our gifts of the spirit outside of the church walls?  Would we step out and start doing His work instead of our own?

What if we really took this whole Christian thing serious?

What if ….

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A Desirable Bride

To be desired … isn’t that what every woman wants from her man?  How many times do we witness in couples the following scenario?  Woman – ‘Why won’t you desire me?’  Man – ‘Why can’t you be more desirable?’

Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at desire.

I used to think I knew what being desired meant.  After all, society does a pretty good job of teaching girls how to dress and act a certain way to get your man to ‘want’ you.  Trouble is, the seductive look, flirtatious demeanor, and challenging remarks  invite lust and temptation, not desire.  Prior to knowing God, I would play that societal flirtatious role.  Little did I realize at the time, but I was responsible for leading men where God did NOT want them to go.

Ugh … it makes me sick to my stomach thinking of it.  Thankfully, God opened my eyes to show me that my behaviour wasn’t desirable at all in His eyes.

While I stopped doing those things, I have to tell you, as a converted Christian woman, it has been a challenge and struggle to figure out how to walk as a woman when much of what I had known was identified as not being cool with God.  My dress .. my demeanor .. communication with men .. Is it okay to be a strong woman? .. I’m supposed to let men lead, but what about when I’m the one willing to step up? .. How do you submit without becoming a door mat? .. How do I become a Christian woman without losing my identity?

Then I got married and a whole new set of questions arose!

The good news is, God takes us at our own pace.  How do we become more desirable in His eyes?  Listen to His voice.  Make the changes He asks you to make.  Keep seeking Him.  As for your mate, I’m learning that God takes care of that too.  Turns out it’s more of a process, not a destination.  I will tell you that it IS possible.  With the help of God, I’ve experienced my husband’s righteous desire many times.  It is remarkably different from what the world teaches!

Becoming a desirable bride for my husband has been a process of allowing God to work on ME first.  To deprogram my way of thinking and allowing God to rebuild my thought processes.  I can’t give you an exact formula because it turns out that God really does work on us as individuals.

To be desired .. I really do think it’s something every woman wants.  Thankfully we have a God who is willing to help us find ourselves in Christ first.  He helps us become the desirable bride that our husband’s want.  He does this without manipulation, without conniving, and without me losing my individuality.  He’s in the process of helping me become the best me I can be.  Thank God for this!  I would much rather be desired because God brought out the best in me, not because I was able to manipulate my husband to want me.  It really does make the marriage so much more beautiful.

If He’s willing to do this for one little girl in Wisconsin, imagine what His bride .. the church .. is gonna’ look like … I imagine breathtakingly beautiful and most desirable!  Thank you Jesus!

He’s coming … SOON!

The Zeal of Steve Irwin

Do you remember Steve Irwin?  He was the Australian guy who hosted a show on Animal Planet.  In this show, he would aggressively pursue all kinds of wild, dangerous animals and handle them with his bare hands.  Things like alligators, snakes, commodo dragons, etc.  Unfortunately, he died from an accidental death while he was filming one of his shows.  Re-runs of this show was on this morning.  I told my son about Steve’s death and my son’s comment was, ‘You would think he would have died from getting bit by a snake or something more dangerous.’  Yeh, that’s what I thought.

I loved this show!  Steve had this great attitude and a spirit of fun and excitement about him.    He really was a big kid just having fun doing what he loved.  He made something really dangerous look not so intimidating.  Not that we should go around handling snakes in real life, however I couldn’t help watch the show and see a few spiritual implications to his work.

Similar to our spiritual lives, we find out that in doing God’s work, there are many snakes, vipers, and dangerous creatures lurking in the shadows.  We tend to run and hide from these things, but perhaps we should consider following Steve’s example and pursue these things with zeal.

Let me clarify, not that we should go around creating problems in our lives, however, when we see the enemy, let’s consider taking a proactive approach instead.  The thing is, when you take an active approach to pursuing these venomous creatures, you are more on your guard.  All your senses are at their peak and you are at the top of your game.  All the training you received is put to good use and yeh, you may get some injuries, but remember, God promised protection from lethal snake bites.  I know from personal example that there is most definitely protection from spiritual snake bites!

It struck me, as my son pointed out, that Steve’s death was an accidental death doing something not so dangerous.  He accidentally boxed in a stingray and it reacted by stinging him in the chest with a barb.  A one-in-a-million chance of this happening!  What’s even more interesting is that the coroner suspects that had Steve not pulled the thorn out, he would have survived.  His instinctive reaction to pulling out the barb actually created more damage to the arteries of the heart.

The moral of his death …. don’t be so quick to pull out the thorn.  Even if it did get put there when you thought you were in a safe zone.

Steve and his zeal  …. thank you God for his example!

The Pride of Life

A couple of years ago, God took me through some ‘lessons in life’ if you will.  One particular lesson, I was at a youth baseball team.  My son was playing.  He was new and not as good as some of the other boys who had been playing for years.  When he was up to bat, I prayed that God would help him hit.  I felt in my spirit though, God telling me to just watch.  God wasn’t going to give him a hit.  I knew this.  True enough, he ended up striking out.  I could tell he was frustrated.  But the team and the coach cheered him on and he continued the game.  The next time he was up to bat, he swung a little better, but once again, struck out.  It wasn’t until the third time up, that he finally hit and made it to 2nd base.

As much as I wanted my little boy not to fail, I learned the lesson of God allowing us to achieve versus simply getting an easy hit from God.  My little boy had a sense of accomplishment because he stuck it out, didn’t quit, and when he hit, it was because of his efforts to improve his swing.

I heard a sermon once by Gerald Jeffers where he spoke of pride.  The angle was different from what you think though.  It was very similar to the lesson God gave me.  Essentially, the message was that we get so hung up as Christians on not being prideful that we forget the importance of playing a role in working for God.  It’s good to know that we play a part.  It’s okay to be excited and proud of our accomplishments.  Yes, there is a fine line where pride can get in the way and create a problem if we aren’t careful, but shouldn’t we trust that God will correct us if we get out of line?

It’s not a bad thing to want to be a better witness, to want to learn how to be more effective at spiritual discernment, to desire a better handle on teaching Bible studies.  And it’s also okay to take pride in yourself for the accomplishments you’ve made.  You should be proud of yourself when you look at your walk and realize that you’ve come so far from where you started.  Of course, that is assuming you’ve gotten closer to God instead of further.

Funny that He would use kids to show me that lesson.  Sometimes I forget I’m just a kid in God’s eyes.  🙂

Unchartered Chambers

I’ve started reading the Love Dare.  This is the book brought out by the movie ‘Fireproof.’  It’s a book that explains a different facet of love and then gives a specific dare to accomplish toward your mate.  It lasts 40 days.  While I purchased this with the intent to strengthen my bond with my husband, I can already see how the ability to truly love includes more than just the relationship I have with my husband.  I do know that there are lessons regarding spousal intimacy that would certainly not apply, but beyond that, I suspect this is a good book for anyone, single or married, to read and strengthen their own ability to love.

I wrote a few days ago about obedience.  How it’s a blessed thing and there is a blessing that follows.  This morning, I woke up with a slightly different perspective of obedience.  I can recall countless situations where I’ve gotten into arguments with my son who was in effect, ‘being obedient.’  Yes, he was doing exactly what I asked.  However, there was something missing.  It was frustrating for me because although he was doing what I asked, there was an attitude that accompanied his obedience that was unpleasant.  I’m pretty sure that this is what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of the law not correcting the problem of the heart.

I have to admit that I’ve been, multiple times, to the place that my son has been.  Obedient, but perhaps with a sour attitude.  Not purposely, but perhaps due to my own lack of understanding of my circumstances, or my lack of desire to be stretched beyond my comfort zone, my joy was robbed and the result was rotten fruit.  Perhaps others experienced this as unkindness, shortness, tension, or felt the sting of isolation as I reverted to climbing inside my shell instead of coming out of it.  This is always something easy to recognize in others, not always easy to swallow when you realize that often, God will point out in others, the very things we can’t see in ourselves.

I suppose this is the blessing of knowing Christ, that He will often reveal the unchartered chambers of our heart.

Sigh ….

Really, it is a blessing.  It is truly an example of God’s mercy and grace.  We don’t always see our trials and tribulations as such.  However, being a good soldier means being pressed beyond our limit, put in situations where our normal comforts are robbed of us … all for the cause at large .. the will of Christ.  The ultimate goal of Christ is to save all.  To get us all to a place where we can live together in peace and harmony.  To teach us how to truly love.

The other side of love that we don’t like is the time it takes to teach us that.  The anguish of experiencing fall after fall, ugly emotion after ugly emotion .. pick up after each pick up.  If we think we can ‘fake it, till we make it,’ God will prove that theory wrong.  If we think we can accomplish love without pain, God will show how it’s not possible.  If we think we can love others without including them, God will show us that we are really only isolating ourselves, not those that we discount.  God will show us that, nope, that’s not love at all.

I’m really liking this Love Dare thing.  It’s one thing to look at others and feel inadequate because you haven’t quite gotten it yet.  It’s an entirely different perspective when God takes your hand and says, ‘Here … let me lead you.  I know the way.’

Jesus marvelled!

Did you know that Jesus marvelled?  He did!  God in flesh, the Alpha and the Omega, actually marvelled!  You can find this scripture in Mark 6:6.  This scripture struck me when I read it.  Having my own idea of what ‘marvelled’ meant, I decided to do a further study.

According to Strong’s Concordance, a further breakdown of the original word means to wonder or by implication, to admire.  Webster defines marvel as:  to arrest the attention and gaze, or to pause.  Webster defines wonder as: that emotion which is excited by novelty, of something new, unusual, strange, or extraordinary.  And admire is defined as:  to regard with surprise mingled with reverence.

So what was it that Jesus ‘marvelled’ at?  Their unbelief.

Truthfully, I’m still studying this whole thing out, but what I’ve found so far really excites me!  The fact is, God in flesh, had His attention arrested by something that He KNEW was going to happen.  He knew from the beginning that many people would not believe that He was God.  As a matter of fact, we know from reading scripture that this unbelief was the very thing that God would use as a segway to help graft in all.  (see Romans 11:30-32)

As I was studying this out, I could imagine Jesus going about His business, then suddenly, He sees the reaction of unbelief and He just stops .. dead in His tracks with a look of wonder in His eyes .. perhaps there was even a sparkle.  I imagine Him thinking, ‘This is EXACTLY how I planned it would happen!’  It’s like a scientist playing out all his formulas and planning and figuring out ahead of time what is supposed to happen, but when it actually happens, there is an amazement and gratification that spurs the scientist on to the next discovery, and the next, and the next!

What did Jesus do after this?  He taught, called His disciples together, and gave them power to cast out unclean spirits.  I can imagine His thoughts being something along the line of, ‘Everything is right on track.”

Of course, I could be wrong, but I really don’t think I am.  There are too many scriptures that support the plan having been struck up from the beginning.  There are too many scriptures that support a positive viewpoint of the things we tend to deem as negative.  This is cool because it shows how even though God knew the plan, it still had to be played out … He still had to play His role.

This is really awesome because it shows even more just how involved God is with His creation.  It was always His intent to be involved with us.  To experience and be a part of the plan, not to be an irrelevant figure dictating what happens and just standing by and watching.  And how cool is it that He gets a chance to experience the same emotions we do?  Ha!  Ha!  Actually, we were created in HIS image, not He in ours.  Sometimes I think we forget that.

Anyway, I think this is cool.  Jesus marvelled!  Wow!

Everything is right on track!

He’s coming.  SOON!

My ray of sunshine

As a massage therapist, I spend the majority of my day in a dark room with low light.  I relish in those days that I have an opportunity to enjoy a little ray of sunshine.  Here in Wisconsin, after a night of fresh fallen rain, there is a beautiful wind in the air!

As I was standing at the hot dog stand for lunch, I had to laugh as I looked at the parking lot.  Here, man had done such a magnificent job of making room for himself … pretty little perpendicular lines and everything!  But wouldn’t you know it, in the midst of this black top/concrete lot, little sprouts and sprigs of growth were popping up.

When God wants to grow something, no manner of concrete, asphalt, or any other man-made method is going to stop Him from planting where He wants to plant!

Ha! Ha!  Got to love Him!