Thursday, April 14, 2016

Troublemakers

Remember being in your second grade classroom and the one kid in there who caused all the trouble made the teacher punish everyone? I would get so frustrated when my teacher didn't listen to me - only to the loudmouth. I was nothing like that troublemaker, but because he or she was in my group, I was punished and misunderstood. Their hateful, loud words did not represent my heart. But that was all my teacher could hear.

I think that troublemaker follows us in some form or fashion throughout our lives. They are the ones who make entire groups of people seem awful. They are the ones we hone in on when we "type-cast". They are the ones who stir up anger, start fights and misrepresent the entirety of the people. 

Unfortunately, they are the ones who get all the attention.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (MSG)

Here are six things God hates, and one more that He loathes with a passion: 
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies, 
hands that murder the innocent, 
a heart that hatches evil plots, 
feet that race down a wicked track, 
a mouth that lies under oath, 
a troublemaker in the family.

See. Even God "loathes them with a passion." Make no mistake, these people are no good. 

Perhaps it's time we stop focusing in on that troublemaker, sit down and really listen to the others - the ones who are genuinely trying to be and do better in life. The ones who are trying to be understood but continually get misunderstood. Otherwise, perhaps we will end up being the troublemaker.

Proverbs 22:10-12  (MSG)
Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
    you need a break from bickering and griping!
God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken;
    good leaders also delight in their friendship.
God guards knowledge with a passion,
    but he’ll have nothing to do with deception.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Light and Darkness



"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."  
John 3:19-21


Light is a beautiful thing. It's warm, inviting, revealing, life-giving and we are naturally drawn to it in a dark room. If we even see a small speck of light, that is exactly where our eyes naturally go. Light makes the trees grow upward and outward, the flowers bloom and the birds sing! It's beautiful. God describes Himself as Light and He even says there is no darkness in Him at all. Jesus said, "I am the Light of the World". It makes sense we are drawn to the light.

 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12

Darkness, on the other hand is cold, secretive, frightening at times, and the only things that grow in the darkness are deadly things like mold, moss and fungus. Sin can also grow in the darkness. Just as life grows in light, 
death grows in darkness. 

The more we keep things hidden without sharing what our struggle is with a trusted friend or confidant, the more likely it is to grow. The moment you share something that you know is keeping you from God's best for your life with a trusted friend (who will pray with and for you and not gossip) is the moment it loses it's grip on your life. Yet, we keep things hidden anyway, usually out of fear of judgment or a desire to keep it hidden because we have convinced ourself that it is not destructive and we want to continue the behavior.

Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” John 11:9-10

May I suggest that if we want to keep something hidden, that is a clear indicator that the secret is destructive. Life grows in light. 
Death grows in darkness.

Darkness becomes very comfortable after awhile, though. It lulls us to sleep and gives us a false sense of "comfort". Think about how it feels after you've been asleep in a dark room and someone comes in and flips on a bright light. You immediately wince, cover your eyes and perhaps even get a bit angry at whomever it was that flipped on the light. Light is revealing. But after awhile, you begin to adjust and realize that if you want to live, you must be awake. You must walk in the Light.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

My prayer today is that if God is bringing something to "light" in your heart, you will embrace it and not run from it. Share your heart with a trusted friend who loves the Lord and seek God's best for your life. We think we know the right thing, but our hearts are desperately deceived. Painful as it may be, walking in the Light is truly the way to Life.

One last thing to remember in our journey: Mold can be deadly, but when it is processed it can also be medicinal. God can use the brokenness and difficulties in your life that came from a dark place to heal someone's heart once you go through His merciful process of healing. 
He is the Redeemer!  
He wastes nothing. 

What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! -Matthew 10:27

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Letting Go

Letting go is hard business. I would know, as I've had to let go of a lot of things, people and dreams in my life. Sometimes I hold on to things with white knuckles because I'm so afraid to let go. Recently, this was the case in my life.

I have worked in Christian radio for about 12 years now and honestly, I'm not sure I've ever loved a job as much as I love encouraging people over the airwaves. But almost a year ago, my husband and I purchased a fitness center in downtown Travelers Rest, feeling that God was leading us to this sweet community. I knew when I signed the papers last June that I needed to go "all in" with it. And I have - for the most part. 

One thing I have had a hard time letting go of was my very part-time job at 106.9 The Light. I was a weekend radio host and though it wasn't a lot of hours, I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to show prep and I really believe that if you're going to do something, you should do it with excellence. I did cut back my hours and let a couple of things go a few months back, but I couldn't bring myself to let go completely. Even still, I wasn't giving it my best and I knew it. I had a hard time focusing and I could feel God telling me it was time to let go.

I guess my difficulty in letting go can be summed up in one word: fear. Yes, the dreaded word that can get us stuck and give us anxiety had invaded my heart and I was allowing it to make it's home there. But what was causing the fear? 

When we bought this fitness center, we knew it was God directing our steps. He wanted us all in and He made that very clear. If you've ever done business before, though, you know that it takes awhile to make a profit (or even break even) and a huge majority of small businesses do not succeed. I think I was afraid to go all in, just in case it didn't work. I wanted to have a safety net. I guess there was fear that if I left completely, I wouldn't have that job to go back to if it didn't work out. Sounds logical, but if you have ever walked with God, you know logical is not always His way! In my prayer time last week, as I prayed for wisdom in making this decision, I had the thought, "Where's the faith in that?" Honestly, I knew I wasn't trusting God to make this work enough to let go. 

Another thing that filled my heart with fear was that I love to encourage people on the radio. I think radio ministry is such a beautiful tool that God uses to reach into hearts and share His love. I love being a part of that! I didn't want to let that go. As I prayed, I realized that He has given me a place to do that, though it's not on the airwaves. It's in a little town in SC called Travelers Rest at HUB Fitness. And honestly, I needed to go all in.

So I told my supervisor (who, by the way, had been praying for me for months since she knew I had been struggling) that it was time to let go. She completely understood. I couldn't stop sobbing, though. It was sobs of grief and relief all at the same time. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would and I wanted to retract it as soon as I said it but I didn't allow myself to do that.

Letting go is one of the most difficult things God asks us to do. I am beginning to realize more and more, though, that God is just waiting for us to let go and go all in so He can go all in, too. I have to wonder if I was inadvertently holding Him back from blessing our business fully because I was unwilling to go all in and trust Him? Time will tell. 

But one thing I know, I'm sure I did the right thing. And I know that even if things don't go as I hope and pray they will with our fitness center, God has a plan for my life. He didn't give me the gift of encouragement so I'd sit on a shelf somewhere. I can actively seek ways to do this, on or off the radio, whatever role He brings to me and whomever He brings into my life!

If you are holding on with white knuckles to something God is clearly asking you to let go of, please pray hard and ask Him to give you the strength to let go. Before we can truly live, it seems a part of us must die. Letting go of something we hold dear to us can feel like a death, but we all know what Jesus did to death! Resurrection is coming, friend. Let Go(d).


Thursday, March 3, 2016

How Then, Shall We Act?

It's a rough world out there. And right now, in America, it's even more rough as we are in an election year. Nothing stirs up our passions, anger, frustration and opinions like politics! Whew, it can get down right ugly. So, how are we supposed to act as believers in a world like this? Let's take a look at what the Ultimate Authority has to say on the subject...

If you look at the stories of the great leaders of the Bible - Joseph, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, etc...you will find that every single one of them respected and submitted to the authority that was above them. Because of their submission and humble attitude, they found favor in the sight of not only the kings and leaders, but in the sight of God and all without compromising their values and morals. 

All this does not mean that we are to disobey God in situations where the law of man may conflict with the law of God (Acts 4:18-20; 5:40) but we are told to continue to respect authority—even when those in positions of authority have abused their offices (or we think they likely will).  If we want to be heard, if we want to make our points clear, we must be humble and submissive. The fact is, God can use us in the midst of even the most corrupt leadership! He did it time and time again in the Bible. So, what do we do?
 
Micah 6:8 says "The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 
 
Are we showing mercy to those we oppose? Are we being loving in our approach? Gentle? Humble? Patient? Maybe instead of putting people down and being angry and slanderous, we can show mercy and faith in our God and pray for them? We cannot forget who our battle is really against (Ephesians 6) here. It's not other people, it's not leadership - it's the enemy of our souls. And he's awfully bitter, incredibly angry and is the king of slander.

It all boils down to this: God wants us to be respectful and submissive for His sake, not for ours or even theirs (1 Peter 2:13). Perhaps this is one of those times when we can come together, in agreement, and begin to do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with our God - the Ultimate Authority. We can't do that when we are walking in anger, fear or bitterness. 
 
Here's how we can do it:

SUBMIT:  Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and will be punished. 

DO NOT SLANDER OR QUARREL:  Titus 3:1-2 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

RESPECT: 1 Peter 2:13-14 For the Lord's sake, respect all human authority - whether the king as head of state, or the officers he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

PRAY & LIVE PEACEFULLY:  1 Timothy 2:1-3 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
 
Oh, and please - VOTE!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wonder Woman?

I found a book in my husband's office the other day called I Married Wonder Woman - Now What?  I suppose at first I was a little flattered.  My husband thinks I'm Wonder Woman?  How sweet!  Then I realized it was a book about the Proverbs 31-type woman of this century (a P31 woman is a woman that the bible talks about who has is a sort of wonder woman). Someone who's got it all together, who is organized, efficient, and has a great balance in her life as she seeks and conquerors the next big adventure!

Nope.  Doesn't sound like me at all! 

Ok, I admit it - I do seek adventure.  But organized?  Having it all together? Efficient?  Balance? Not so much.  I mean, I try.  I try a little too hard at times.  I must admit it's tough being a woman today.  And if I am being compared to Wonder Woman, the stakes are raised even more!  I mean, have you seen how tiny her waist is? 

Have you ever looked at another woman and thought that she had it all together?  I hope you never looked at me that way.  It couldn't be further from the truth!  But if that's the case - if people think that - then I'm doing something wrong.  I must be wearing some sort of mask (does Wonder Woman wear a mask?).  Today I'm feeling the need to rip that mask off though, and let you know how it really goes down for me in my house:

Proverbs 31:11 Her husband can trust her; and she will greatly enrich his life.
Reality:  My husband must remind me to do just about everything and I often feel as though I probably make his life more difficult sometimes.  He says it's a good balance and that without me he'd be too straight-laced.  I say I'm blessed to have a husband who looks at it that way.

Proverbs 31:12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Reality:  I wish.  It seems he spends a great deal of his time fixing things that I mess up because I tend to act before I think.  God bless him for loving me in spite of this!

Proverbs 31:13  She find wool and flax and busily spins it.
Reality:  I don't know what flax is and the only time I spin is in my cycle class.

Proverbs 31:14  She is like a merchant's ship, bringing her food from afar.
Reality:  The grocery store is like a mile up the road.  I bring our food from aclose, not afar.  And sometimes, I bring it from Taco Bell.

Proverbs 31:15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the days work for her servant girls.
Reality:  I do get up before dawn but I don't do it to prepare breakfast - I do it to have some quiet time before the household wakes up.  Once they do, they pretty much fend for themselves with breakfast because I usually enjoy my quiet time a little too much and then wake them up late.  And about preparing a plan for my servant girls....um...I wish I had some servant girls to prepare a plan for!  This verse makes me realize that the P31 woman gets a lot of help and maybe THAT's why she's so amazing?!

Proverbs 31:17  She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
Reality:  I hit a wall by about 3pm and slide down from there.  Coffee helps.

Proverbs 31:18  She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
Reality:  I am lucky to make it to 10pm. 

Proverbs 31:22 She makes her own bedspreads.  She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
Reality:  Seriously?  I don't sew.  And I don't wear linen because it requires dry cleaning and pressing - no thank you.  I rarely wear purple - mostly black because I hear it's slimming.

Proverbs 31:26  When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.  
Reality:  When I speak, I usually try to take back what I said because it didn't come out the way I intended.  I try to give instructions with kindness but if I were honest, I'd admit that it doesn't always happen that way.  I can be kind of cranky at times.

Proverbs 31:28 Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her.
Reality:  My children often tell me how I am the only mom in the whole entire school that doesn't volunteer all the time and how they wish I would be more like so-n-so's mom.  My husband does praise me but I think it may be because he knows my love language is words of affirmation.

I think you get the picture.  I'm usually falling woefully short of the P31 woman standards.  But you know what?  This wonder woman isn't reality.  But reading about her can help me to evaluate and set some goals for my life.  Look over this passage every now and then for a reality check and to take inventory of your own life, but don't hold yourself up to that standard.  God loves you and is changing you one day at a time.  This can take a lifetime to do!  In the meantime, thank God for the small victories you have as you become more and more like Christ with each day.  He does love you - no matter how much like wonder woman you are (or aren't)!

On a side note, I just told my husband that I can't believe how UNlike the Proverbs 31 woman I feel I am.  He said "Maybe you're more like the Proverbs 3.1 woman?" 

Gee.  Thanks, honey. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fear of the Unknown

There's a lot of scary stuff going on in the world today and I can honestly say it is just more than I can process in my mind at times. What is going on in our world?  It can be tempting to begin to fear. Fear the "what if's" and the "how come's" that we naturally feel when things don't make sense. And on more than one occasion lately, I believe those very words have come out of my mouth: This makes no sense.

In Matthew 14:22-33, we read about a storm the disciples were facing on the boat in the middle of the sea where they were being tossed by the waves.  As frightening as that may seem to us, there is no mention of the disciples being afraid until verse 25..."Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying 'It's a ghost!' And they cried out in fear." 

I think that is interesting.  They were just fine with the storm, but it was something they could not explain or comprehend in their mind that tipped them over the edge into fear.  When our brains see something unexplainable, we panic. 
Immediately, Jesus said, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."  Another version of the Bible says "Take courage! It is I; do not be afraid."  And yet another says "Take heart! It is I; do not be afraid."  So, Jesus knows they are afraid of what they do not understand and he knows that in order for them to overcome that fear, they must take courage.

Did you get that?  It wasn't something that came naturally.  It was something they had to take, a choice they had to make, an action they had to take.  And in His presence, they were able to settle their hearts.  Peter even had the opportunity to walk on water!  But once Peter began to walk on water, his mind, again, didn't comprehend how he could be doing it so once again he became afraid and started to sink.  Again, Peter was faced with another opportunity to "take" when he reached out to take the extended hand of Jesus and He pulled him out of the water. Jesus understood the fear Peter felt and had compassion on him, but again, it had to be a choice Peter made to take what Jesus was offering freely.

Today, if you are beginning to feel paralyzed by your fear or if you are sinking because you feel like it's more than you can comprehend, I want you to remember this verse and repeat it over and over in your mind:

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJ)

We cannot trust in our own understanding when things don't make sense, but that doesn't mean we have to panic or fear.  God is still in control.  He is still sovereign, or He wouldn't be God.  When we cannot trace His hand in a situation, we can always know His heart. He knows what is happening and He has a plan, even if we don't understand it. 

"Lean not on your own understanding" would also include when we don't have any understanding at all. Instead of focusing on the things we don't understand, as Peter did when he began to sink or as the disciples did when they saw what they thought was a ghost, let's reach out for the One who understands everything completely.  His arms are always reaching for us and He will give us peace in the midst of chaos, joy in the midst of uncertainty and rest in the midst of a world that is most definitely in a state of unrest.  Fear can be paralyzing or mobilizing.  We have a choice.

So, what's going on in the world today?  I'm going to trust in the Lord with all of my heart and lean not on what I do or don't understand, acknowledging Him as Lord along the way.  Then, and only then, can I "take heart".  It's a choice I must make.  It's a choice we all must make. There are always going to be things we may not understand, but one thing we can always know for sure...God is still God.  That will never change.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lifting the Cynical Fog

My friend let me borrow the book A Praying Life by David Powlinson a couple of months ago and it has taken me awhile to pick it up due to my busy schedule. I finally picked it up last week and for some reason, I began reading it in Chapter 9. The title of the chapter? Understanding Cynicism. 

I was instantly drawn to it, as if it had all the answers to all the questions I'd been struggling with for the past year and a half. I've read Chapters 9, 10 and 11 so much I've practically memorized them at this point! They all deal with the sin of cynicism.

I have always been an optimist, a very happy, half-full kind of spirit. I went through some rough spots in some different areas of my life, where I began to see that not everyone was genuine. It seems as though every couple of years, I'm faced with the reality that people are not always what they appear to be and I somehow would be able to push through with God's help. But this time I just didn't seem to have the strength to fight the lies. I kept telling myself that it didn't matter, I needed to focus on Christ, people are not perfect...I kept telling myself those things, but clearly I was not listening.

Fast forward a year and a half later and I've got a real struggle with cynicism. The very thing I hate the most.  And I am learning a lot as I work through this. I process things so much better when I write them out, so here are some of the things I'm journaling about in this journey - I want to share them because as I talk to others about it, I'm realizing this is a big, big problem in the church. We all know it's a big problem outside of the church, but that's for someone else's blog. I'm just going to address what I've seen inside because that's what Paul reminded us to do in 1 Corinthians 5.

Here are a few "gems" from the book:

Cynicism is the opposite of a childlike spirit. It dulls your soul. It questions God instead of believing Him. 

Cynicism begins, oddly enough, with too much of the wrong kind of faith, with naive optimism or foolish confidence. At first glance, genuine faith and naive optimism appear identical since both foster confidence and hope. But the similarity is only surface deep. Often, with naive optimism, faith is put into the goodness of humanity instead of the goodness of God. But optimism rooted in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the dark side of life.  

A cynical spirit will give you the illusion of righteousness. It assumes you know better than others, it assumes motives of others' hearts and basically, it's rooted in pride.

To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of "being in the know" cynicism actually destroys intimacy. 

The first sin was initiated with cynicism - questioning God. The serpent used cynicism to get Eve to question God. We've been doing this ever since. You see the results!

Cynicism makes us go from seeing the bright side of everything to seeing the dark side of everything. It shifts our focus from Christ to our circumstances.

A cynical spirit clouds your judgment. With every lie you believe, imagine the fog settling into your vision. I've noticed that when I'm cynical, I get depressed easily and I cannot see the good in much of anything. It reminded me of the photo of my front yard view on a sunny, clear day contrasted with the same view on a cloudy, foggy day. Nothing has changed except the circumstances around me. The view is the same, but I cannot see it. I must have faith that it is still there, even though I cannot see it. Cynicism tells me it's not there anymore.

So could you be cynical? Ask yourself a few questions:

Do you question other people's motives? Do you trust less than you used to trust? Do you find intimacy with others difficult? Do you isolate yourself? Has anyone in a ministry or church leadership hurt you and as a result, has it effected your faith? Are you focused more on the circumstances of your life than you are the truth that God is good?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, please pray and ask God to show you the root of your cynical spirit. I've been struggling through this and though it has not been easy, it is really helping me to understand that a lot of my cynicism comes from my naive optimism - my faith was in people, not God.

Here's a Psalm that has been helping me, too. I almost gasped when I got to verse 11. It nailed me down to a tee! God's Word cannot fail, my friend.

Psalm 116

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
    So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
    I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again,
    for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
    as I live here on earth!
10 I believed in you, so I said,
    “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
11 In my anxiety I cried out to you,
    “These people are all liars!”
12 What can I offer the Lord
    for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.
15 The Lord cares deeply
    when his loved ones die.
16 Lord, I am your servant;
    yes, I am your servant, born into your household;
    you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people—
19 in the house of the Lord
    in the heart of Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Not About the Cups

I have a confession.

It's not going to be pretty. Fair warning.

I got angry today.

I was angry because I heard that some Christians were said to be angry about red cups at Starbucks not representing Jesus well during the Christmas Season. How ridiculous. Seriously? Personally, I don't know anyone who is angry about this but I digress.

Then I became angry that the media, yet again, seemed to be putting down all Christians because of the reactions of some. My eyes rolled. Why must I always defend myself? I vented. It felt great for a few minutes. After all, I wasn't that kind of Christian. And people needed to know!

Then I noticed everyone on social media was venting, too. I began to get a little irritated by that. Now I was angry that everyone was angry. I was even angry with myself. Why did I fall for the hype?

I opened my Bible because I wanted to know what Jesus thought about cups. (smile)

Here's what I found:

Jesus tells us not to be concerned about the outside of the "cup", but more so with the inside (Matthew 23:25-26).  Once the inside is clean, the outside will eventually become clean, too. He was actually speaking to the religious folks, the ones who thought they had it all together. I came to the conclusion, based on Scripture, that He's probably not concerned about the outside of Starbucks' cups. Jesus had bigger fish to fry. That's all I needed to know.

I paused. I prayed. I realized....

The inside of my cup was not clean. I was nursing anger. Anger doesn't produce the things of God. God was using this cup hilarity to show me my heart. It had nothing to do with Starbucks. It had everything to do with my heart.

So, I asked God to forgive me. I was angry, I was frustrated and I was self-righteous. Again.
(I told you this wouldn't be pretty)

All of this to say:

Thank you, Starbucks. Thank you for the brilliant marketing strategy that has everyone talking. I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. God used it to reveal my heart to me and even though it wasn't pretty, it was important for me to see.

Oh, and thank you for bringing back Carmel Brulee Lattes. They are amazing.

#mycupiscleannow


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rise and Shine

I have to figure out how to make this my alarm. I need to hear this every single day - first thing!

I feel like I can do everything God has asked me to do when I hear this.

Now, if I could just believe it every day....

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How Important is Rest?

When people come into HUB Fitness, they sign in through our computer with a key-fab that alerts us that they are there. However, if we walk away from the computer, it shuts down into sleep mode after about 3 minutes.  Someone programmed it to do that, so it did.  But when people try to sign in, it won't allow it because my computer is asleep! I decided to change the programming to "never" sleep hoping it wouldn't do that and we would just remember to shut it down. This is the message I received:


Interesting.

This is a lesson I learned last year! I was so sleep deprived, that it had begun to really take a toll on my health. I've learned so much about the importance of rest. I'm thankful I learned it before things out of hand with me. 

In the movie Inside Out, they show (very adorably) that when your body rests and goes to sleep, that is when your brain sort of goes into "organizational" mode. Your brain stores memories, cleans up and gets things in order and ready for the next day. Your blood pressure goes down. Your heart rests. Our body goes to work the moment we stop working, basically. But if we aren't resting enough, our bodies will shut down.  

Just like our computers. 

Seems we may need some re-programming.

When is the last time you rested, I mean really rested? Jesus is super clear with us that rest is important. He even encourages us to, "Come to Me all who are weary and carry heaven burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) 

God commanded the Israelites to rest on the seventh day. He also told them to work for 6 years, and take time to rest on the 7th year. They pushed through for many years, not observing that rest, and ended up in captivity as a result. You see, God wasn't commanding rest to be controlling or to be demanding.  He was commanding it because He programmed us. He programmed us to need rest. Even God, who is perfect, took time to rest! And like our computer at work, if we never sleep our lives will be shortened and/or we will end up in captivity. God gives us commands because He knows how we are built to thrive! And I think we would be wise to listen to our Supreme Programmer.

I want to encourage you today to re-evaluate your schedule and make sure you are taking time to rest. Sometimes, like me, people learn the hard way. We crash and burn and then walk away having learned. But if you can learn before that happens, and take the steps you need to rest, you will never have to experience that crash! That is my hope for you, my friend.

Feel like you don't have time? God will take care of redeeming the time. He never asks us to do something without giving us provision to do it. In all honesty, you cannot afford not to rest. The time it puts back into your life will be well worth it.

Rest, my friend.

Exodus 34:14 The LORD replied, "I will personally go with you...I will give you rest. Everything will be fine for you." 




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