Don’t be Distracted – Enjoy the Journey

 

Hey

What a grand journey I’m on, and I know you are having an adventure too. This morning while Paul and I were praying and talking, and yes, drinking coffee (duh) we started talking about all the negativity and judgments that are showing up all over the body of Christ. We are pretty grieved about this, as I’m sure many of you are.

I believe what we need to realize is, this is a spirit that is infiltrating the prevailing atmosphere and many are falling into its deception. Every time we jump in and voice our opinions or even defend our own experiences we are fueling this thing, we are giving it more power to deceive.

The division between us and them mentality and outright attacks really need to stop. When we enter into these things we have chosen to be offended and feel we have to justify our stance when we really don’t!

For me, the easiest thing to do is keep walking (scrolling) and like Bill Johnson has said many times, have the attitude of, “I don’t have a dog in this fight!” That is how you keep walking. You realize that your stand and your belief are your own. No one else has had your adventure with God – no one! Why should we even try to defend something like that?

Maybe we could even pray for that spirit that is so prevalent in this to fall. (Maybe) Or we could pray that the person who is “attacking” could have an encounter with Jesus and quit persecuting His kids. I don’t know, maybe.

Walking and praying – it’s what I will be doing today as I continue on this grand adventure that is mine.

Enjoy your adventure, feed your adventure. 

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Compassion – Do we show it, or just talk about it?

Love lock pink

 

I was thinking about empathy and compassion this morning and brought to mind a post I shared a while back. It said, “Name a movie that made you cry.” There have been many comments on the thread, which is great, but not the point.  Many of the movies named have been pretty predictable while others have not. Many of these movies I hadn’t thought of in years and others I had never even watched, which is also, great.

But what got me thinking was some of the comments from people who said they never watched sad movies. Some even mentioned the reason was because there was already so much sadness in the world. Others didn’t explain their reasons…all fine and good too. There are many times I simply cannot watch a sad movie because I’m already in a sad place myself and what I need is joy and hope.

If we never watch sad movies, those movies that cause us to be in the midst of the suffering, does this speak of our compassion or our lack of compassion and empathy towards those around us? Is this something we avoid because it is uncomfortable and messy?

For instance, if we look at this through a bigger lens, I wonder what this says about the human condition when we avoid situations that we know will make us sad; you know, the widow down the street who not only lost her husband but has now just lost her son to disease or sickness. Or the man who just lost his job because he has addictions and can’t afford rehab and doesn’t know of any other kind of help.

Yes, it breaks our heart, it really does but it would hurt in a different and more tangible way if we were to go and enter into that suffering with them. I think there is a fear of involvement that wants to keep us “safe” behind our doors. It’s easier to talk about compassion than it is to show compassion.

If we were to simply go and let them know they’re not alone or to let them know there is someone who loves them and can maybe help, it might change their world. Yes, that would definitely cost us something in the end.

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I do think we (I) need to count the cost more and pay the price for others. What’s the worst thing that can happen, we make a new friend? Or we get to help a neighbor gain freedom? Who knows? I need to come out of the “safe” cave of me and GO out more and then enter into the lives around me.

What about you – are you showing compassion or simply talking about it? What are your thoughts?

Royalty and Honor

Royalty and Honor - crown

On Royalty and Honor

Several years ago I read a couple of books that caused me to pause and reflect on the connectedness they had with each other.  One of the books, The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton speaks about our identity and who we are as Royal Heirs; the other one is, Honor’s Reward by John Bevere and it speaks of how we treat those Royals all around us.

Both are excellent books.

When we realize that we are Royal Heirs, we discover there are certain requirements and obligations that go along with it. Of course, there are many benefits also. When you are raised as a prince of a kingdom, there are things you can do that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were raised outside the palace.

There are many advantages to being a prince. In the palace, it would never occur to you to question your authority or even your identity – it’s WHO you’ve been your whole life and everyone knows it and would never question it.  It is from this place that you live your life.

When you are a royal heir, you have responsibilities that go with the title. One of those responsibilities is you need to be a leader and you need to learn about honoring those you encounter. You need to represent the King and his kingdom. I read somewhere that Moses had to be raised in Pharaoh’s palace so he would know the ways of royalty when it became time for him to lead the people out of Egypt. To me, this makes perfect sense. When we know who we are, we won’t be easily moved from a position of authority or leadership by intimidation or otherwise. We will stand and do what’s right.

However, if you had been raised outside the palace, you wouldn’t know the identity of being a prince.  You wouldn’t know how to act like one or even what his duties and responsibilities were. Well, guess what? You are royalty. You are a prince. I can only imagine somewhere along the journey of your life, something drastically changed and you became a new creation. And actually, that is what happened. When Jesus died for all of us at Calvary, we became heirs with Him; we became Royal Heirs – and that is quite a new creation! 

Now we need to learn how to be a Prince in the Kingdom.

Royalty and Honor - knight

Reading John’s book on Honor taught me very simplistically that there are 3 levels of honor.

The first level is honoring those who are in authority over us. That could mean our spiritual leaders, our boss, our parents, or even our civil leaders like Police officers, Congressmen, or the President of the United States.

The second level is honor among peers; those who are running the race with us. Those who don’t have authority over us but come alongside and go through the same trials. Our friends are also at this level.

The third level is the honor for those who are below you. NOT in a derogatory sense, but as in children, our own or those of others. (Yes, children absolutely deserve our honor – how else will they learn? We have to honor them and give them the grace to grow just like we did, both physically and spiritually.)

Royalty and Honor - children

The third level is also about honoring those who have not had the experiences or the teachings we’ve had but are on a different part of the journey than us.

Essentially…

Honor those above.

Honor those beside.

Honor those below.

All these things have been going through my mind lately. I’ve been contemplating royalty and honor as parts of a single identity and what I’ve decided is this:

I am a daughter of the King and my husband is the son of the King. Each and every one of us is sons and daughters of this same King. That is a fact.

I want to discover if our interactions demonstrate the honor of royalty among ourselves – do we display honor in our interactions and conversations with other royals, each other?

In our day to day dealings, we need to remember who we’re actually interacting with. We are the inheritance of God. He is our inheritance but also we are His. Because of this, there needs to be honor among us. The way we treat each other, the way we respect and honor each other is so important.

How we treat others is a picture of how we see God. Is that through a filter of self-righteousness? Do we see Him through the lens of religious doctrine? Or do we see God as our King; the Father of us ALL?

If we are able to see royalty in everyone we encounter and treat them with the respect and honor due, we will be well on our way to becoming Christlike. Isn’t that what God planned in the first place; to create us in His image?

Another thought –

There is another book, A Culture of Honor, by Danny Silk which is about living this out. Do yourself a favor; if you haven’t read these books you should. They are life-changing. I highly recommend them all. (I’ve reread them many times and probably will read them again.)

My prayer is that I can begin to see and honor each and every one of you for who you really are; not for where you are on the journey. We’re all on a journey and God has placed us together for a reason. One of those reasons is so we can learn how to honor and respect each other, thus sharpening each other. I pray each and every one of you are blessed, honored and respected in this day and that you will go out and honor all those you encounter.

Applause

 

Romans 12:10 TPT  Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.

Those Other Family Members

Micah

Today I wanted to tell you about our kitties; primarily about Micah and Cyrus. No, it’s not a God story but it is a story of life and a story about some of God’s little creatures – and a conversation perhaps.

We have been experiencing a lot of rain this month and when it rains, it means that I had better have plenty of paper towels on hand! Why you ask? Let me tell you…

Our cats are indoor and outdoor kitties – they have the best of both worlds. They love to be outside, lying in the sun or some out of the way place, for hours on end. Also, they love to watch the birds and squirrels; try to sneak up on them to maybe even catch them. Sunny days are the best days as far as they are concerned.

When it rains though, they try and stay outside and bird watch but usually, it’s not for very long. Eventually, they come into the house to escape the rain but become very bored inside. Inevitably, they will brave the rain and go outside again, getting soaked in the process.

When they do come in, they come into the kitchen and begin meowing so someone (ME) can come and dry them off. They didn’t start out doing this, that is for sure!

On rainy days when they come in tracking up the place with muddy footprints, so wet you can visibly see the water dripping off their coats, you have to do something about it. And so I did…

I grabbed a paper towel and began trying to dry off the cat. I rubbed their back first while trying to hold them still with my other hand, then picked them up to try and dry off their paws but mostly that is hit or miss. For some reason, the paws are practically off limits! But, when I flip them over in my arms and begin drying off their tummy and chin, the purrs begin to erupt – they are in heaven.  All of this with a paper towel or two, depending on how wet they are.

Once I get them dried off as much as I can, they get a treat because it’s a reward for being still. And, they insist.

At first, the cats tried to bolt and run away but I made them stand there and get dried off -whether they liked it or not!

Cyrus, the baby, is the one I dry off the most. He comes in to be dried off up to 6 or 7 times a day when it’s raining; sometimes he’s only been sitting on the porch and isn’t even wet but cries as if he is. Yes I know, I’m pretty well trained too because I ALWAYS fall for it!

Cyrus

They get all dried off, petted and even a snack before running back out the door to get wet all over again. Rinse and repeat!

I guess I’ve created little, spoiled creatures who love comfort, treats, and attention!

“It’s not spoiling unless you keep it up” ~ Ginny

Sigh…

 

Looking for the Victorious Bride

 

Victorious Bride 2

Imagine for a moment what Jesus’ wife looks like. What type of person does He desire?

In my imagination, I think of her as being about as perfect as you can possibly be. I see her doing everything with excellence, no detail missed. I see her as kind and compassionate to those around her. I see her as extremely beautiful, inside and out. Her heart is so full it’s overflowing with love. I see her as the Proverbs 31 woman.

But the one thing I don’t usually see is ME being His bride, His choice. Sure, intellectually I know I am His bride but I don’t see all her qualities in me. I’m also probably right in thinking I’m not alone in this either. Maybe the solution to this is to begin to pull those blinders off because He does see us this way. So…

What does she look like?

The Victorious Bride is beautiful. Her beauty begins on the inside, with her heart. Have you spent much time reading Proverbs? If you have you’ve seen a great picture of the Bride. You’ve probably also noticed that her eyes are not focused on herself too much, but instead are gazing at what she can do for others; her family and those around her in need. She is the epitome of wisdom. Her gaze is fixed on her Beloved and she seeks wisdom for all she sees and all that is hers to steward. The Bride loves the Bride.

She is courageous and bold, loving and compassionate.

She has a ready word for those she meets.

She is not harsh, nor is she judgmental.

She is intelligent and full of grace.

She is longsuffering and will take the time to listen to the needs of those she meets.

She is kind and goes out of her way to bless many.

She has eyes that shine brightly with hope.

She is a bringer of peace and an ambassador of joy.

She is a nurturer and will comfort you with her loving arms.

She is the mother of hospitality and will feed you with wisdom from above.

Where is she?

Actually, she’s right there, staring out of your bathroom mirror at you. Can you see her?

You and I both are the victorious bride. There are many days I don’t feel very victorious. Life is hard sometimes and it doesn’t look like I’m winning. Instead, I struggle with self-doubt and that tends to make me frustrated and angry. If during those times I could set the disappointment and sadness aside I would realize that those feelings, while very real, they are not the truth. I am not a defeated victim any more than I am a disappointment to everyone. They are lies that I’m in the middle of believing and in doing so, I have become a victim through my own choices. Sure it wasn’t a conscious decision I made but it was still a choice either way.The truth is, I am victorious and I am His bride; so are you.

 My desire is to become more and more victorious. My desire is to be someone who will bring joy and literally change the atmosphere when I walk into the grocery store or anywhere else I tread. I’m tired of being tired. I am responsible for the change in the world around me and I want to see that happening. I want to be an encourager and help people find their path. I want people to smile when I show up because they know I carry compassion and bring hope to their lives.

How will I know her when I find her?

By faith, I have to believe I am who He says I am. By trusting Him, I will be free to take a leap into the scary unknown and go serve others. When I do this, He always takes care of me and then my concerns and distractions will fall away leaving me able to help others with their needs, not just my own.

I desire to be a victorious bride not only in words but in deeds and countenance too. I want to be seen as His! I want to be a bringer of hope to the lives of people around me! There are so many people who need what I have. They need my hope, they need my surety that love never fails. They even need my faith! But what they don’t need is my despair. My despair only speaks of my lack of faith and my lack of trust in God. I don’t consciously lack faith or trust but my actions and words may speak this loud and clear.

When I find her, she will look like me – she will look like you. We will be proud to be her and will realize the Bride in Victory is who we were meant to be. Yes, I said BE. We become her in rest. This isn’t a striving to become the issue – it’s a waking up into reality thing! It should be like breathing – we do it without thought.

I need to BE a victorious bride, reaching out to hurting people and being an example of unconditional love. It’s what so many in this world need – Love! I need to actually put legs to my faith in God and take my eyes off of me.

(Picture credit – https://pixabay.com/en/bride-road-dress-bridesmaid-dress-727004/)

 

Falling in Love, Again

Falling in love - again

Falling in love is one of the sweetest things in life. Who are you falling in love with today?

I fall in love with my friends over and over again with each experience or conversation we have. No, that doesn’t make me fickle because I fall in love all the time – it’s not like I fall out of love with my friends. It’s more about my knowing them deeper every time we connect and that gives me more reasons to love them.

Falling in love can be (and is) a conscious decision we GET to make with each encounter we have.

Choosing to love people is really a gift. Love is so much easier than judgment and offense. When we learn to look for the treasure in others, we will begin to see them through the eyes of our Father. He has placed treasure in each and every one of us and it is our good pleasure to find it, brush it off and polish it up. We are made to make each other shine!

So often we don’t see the worth that is in ourselves – it takes someone else to point it out or reveal it to us. We are blinded by our past wounds and difficulties. Have you ever met someone who is simply amazing and they impress you by everything they do? I have and the crazy thing is, they don’t know any of this. They don’t know they are amazing – they feel the exact opposite actually. When I mention some of these things to them, speaking how I see them, they are frankly incredulous. They have never seen themselves in that light.

Because we so often can’t or don’t see the truth of who we are, especially who we are to other people, we walk around with half of our identity missing. This is why it’s so important for us to fall in love with people! They have no idea how lovely they are and if we don’t tell them, who will? All they will hear are the lies running around in their head that is designed to defeat them and keep them from being who they were made to be.

So again I ask – Who are you falling in love with today? Will it be a friend or will it be a total stranger? Could it possibly be a family member who is hurting? It’s up to you to decide.

G

Love Thy Neighbor

neighbors

The other morning while I was just waking up – you know, that sweet place between being fully awake and fully asleep, I was thinking about love. I was thinking about loving my neighbor and how sometimes it’s easier said than done. Yes, I do know the scripture actually says, Love your neighbor as you love yourself. But, we’ll save that “Yourself” part for another time.

I was pondering this and praying that God would give me a love for those who I seem to have a hard time loving on my own. Help me love even those who irritate me and make me twitch at the mere mention of their name. Help me love the (seemingly) unlovable ones.

After praying and pondering this, I had a sudden thought of actually falling in love with these people – my neighbors and others. Seriously, falling in love? But, the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense.

What better way to serve someone and demonstrate the kingdom at the same time. That is, without an agenda whatsoever.  People see agendas coming a mile away and there isn’t any real love in them when it comes to relationships like this. The end “game” is love, not another notch on your evangelistic belt. (I don’t have a belt, btw.)

For me, the Gospel is and should be preached by demonstrations of love and practical things that people need and can understand in their lives, more than by words preached at them. I find that when words are being used to preach the Gospel, it is for the Believing body. Not always, but this is what I see most often. It’s always pointless to point out what we think is wrong with someone, especially if we haven’t even taken the time to love well first. There is no fruit in that.

We throw the word “love” around all the time. Often when we use the word, it’s for things, to people. For instance:
I love coffee

I love bacon

I love these jeans

I love Sunday mornings

I love Christmas

We also use this word love when we think and talk about our friends and relationships – which is what I’m talking about here.

Can we take a moment and think about this thing called love? What is it really about?

When I met my husband on a blind date, oh so many years ago, I fell head over heels in love with him. My thoughts were always on him. What was he doing? Was he thinking about me? When would we get to be together again?

Things have changed only slightly these days. Instead of me being in a state of head over heels, – I am able to take my eyes and thoughts off of him so I can accomplish some things. (That is sometimes necessary for functionality!) But that is what love is all about. Falling in love with Paul is something that I choose to do every morning when I wake up. It’s like the “Groundhog Day” of love. I get to do it all over again but the difference is, I am full of love when I begin the day, not emptied out only to start from scratch.

I used the illustration of me and Paul about falling in love because it’s a perfect picture of what we are capable of as people: We can fall in love with those around us and we can do it every day.

This thing called love is really about choosing a place of humility. If we do that there will be no room for judgment or accusation for those who believe differently than us or act differently than we would in a given situation. We can love them because we give them honor from exactly where they are not someplace we think they should be.

 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never ends. . .(1 Cor. 13:4-8)

Falling in love with our neighbors is where the rubber hits the road. Love is a fruit of the spirit and if you know anything about fruit, it doesn’t suddenly appear. Fruit is grown from seeds planted and tended over time. Like fruit we won’t excel in love always, but we can develop love, deep love over time.

We need to treat people like our most beloved and cherished friend. We need to take the time to listen because they have a story that will rock our world and it needs to be told. If we treat them like beloved friends, that is what they will become. Can we love well enough to listen and actually show that we love?

I believe it’s time to fall in love with those around us. I believe it’s time for us to go out as an army of love and conquer the neighbors around us. Then let’s go take the world!

I’m falling in love, all over again.

G