Monday, October 13, 2014

Desperate for a Cure

Today's news headlines remind me of a movie I watched a few years back called Contagion. I would not recommend this movie to a hypochondriac. With all the talk about Ebola and other viruses running rampant in the world, it seems like the plot of this movie is pretty relevant. The virus in the movie spread quickly around the world and you get a glimpse at how easily it spread.  People were panicked.  It didn't take long for complete chaos to break out and for the people all over the world to get very desperate to get their hands on a cure.  There was even a guy who said he had a cure but he was just out to make money - he was bamboozling millions of naive people and they died as a result of his selfishness.  That always makes me sick when people capitalize on something so terrible just to make a quick buck.

The tag line for the movie is, "Nothing Spreads Like Fear."  So true!  These people were terrified.  At the first sneeze, it was a wave of panic as they began to quickly get sicker and sicker and within days the virus would unmercifully take their lives.  Of course they were scared, I would be too!  There was no hope, it seemed.  Finally, after a few months, there was a cure but only so many people could get the cure at a time, as the demand was far greater than the supply.

As I watched these frightened people, so desperate for a cure, I couldn't help but think I wish we would all truly understand the fact that there really is a virus that is worse than the one in the movie because it isn't spread - we are born with it.  But nobody seems desperate for this cure.  Nobody seems fearful of this very real virus.  Many pretend they are not infected or think they aren't sick enough for it to be a problem.  That virus is called sin and its mortality rate is 100% if not cured.  There is only one cure and that cure is Jesus Christ.

Why aren't we desperately seeking this Cure?  In Contagion, I was struck by how people would go to great lengths to get their hands on a cure that would save them physically - but spiritually, where did they stand?  Because when it all comes down to it, we know we will all eventually pass away someday (the mortality rate for humans is 100%, as it turns out).  Why is this not something about which we concern ourselves?  Our eternity is at stake and we are basing all of our efforts and striving on this short life on earth! Are we blind?

In a way, I suppose we are. I'm pretty sure it's because we are being bamboozled by someone sinister and evil who wants not to make a quick buck off of us, but to make us his victims, his trophies of deception.  Satan is the master deceiver and his desire is that we all feel comfortable in our sinful state.  He wants us to think that when people talk about him being a real threat to us and that we are all sinful, they are crazy.  He wants us to believe that everyone will be fine after this life.  His desire is that no one would survive and that we will all join him in his eternal home - separated from the God who so desperately loves us and longs to have a relationship with us.  Satan is not dressed in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork as he would want you to believe.  No, he usually shows up in a much more welcoming package.  After all, before he decided he was equal to God (delusion, by the way), he was the most beautiful angel in heaven!  Doesn't sound like a creepy looking, pitch-fork holding, cackling character to me. Don't be deceived, my friend. He comes as an angel of light and he's very convincing. 

If, as the movie states, nothing spreads like fear, then why are we not fearing God, the only One worth fearing?  The kind of fear I'm talking about is different - it's a reverence, a respect, a submissive fear.  If we fear God, we have nothing left to fear.  But here's what Psalm 36 says...

1 Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.
      They have no fear of God at all.
 2 In their blind conceit,
      they cannot see how wicked they really are.

I'm here to tell you that Satan is a liar.  All of us are born with this "virus" called sin.  All of us.  It's hard to fathom, I know.  It's easy for us to say, "But I haven't killed anyone, or I'm not as bad as so-n-so.." But even one bad thought is more sin than a Holy God will tolerate.  Sin must be judged and according to the Bible, the payment for sin is death and separation from God for eternity.  But Jesus paid our sin debt!  

Maybe you think this is my opinion, not the truth.  Why not research for yourself, in the pages of the Bible, what God says about our sinful condition?  Here are some scriptures for you to read.  I pray He will grant you wisdom and truth as you seek the pages of Scriptures for answers.  There is a cure for our sinful condition and God has provided it because He cannot stand one more moment of being separated from us.  He loves you desperately and He proved it by giving His life for you.  His desire is that no one should die and live their eternity out away from Him.  He loves you.  Read for yourself...


Yes, the news is grim. Ebola and other horrifying diseases are a reality. But what about after this life? Why aren't we thinking eternally?  If we truly understood the importance of this, we wouldn't waste another moment worrying about things that won't even matter on the other side of this short life. We would be desperate for a cure.

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Blog Post

I am a contributor for Faithlife Women, a blog site that is an incredible encouragement to women! They are through Logos Bible Software (by the way - if you haven't tried their Bible software, you are in for a treat when you do!). This is my latest post from Faithlife women, where I talk about our greatest gift to God: http://faithlifewomen.com/2014/09/our-greatest-gift-to-god/

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grace Over Grudge

I know it hurts. I know you are finding it hard to forgive that person who hurt you, who offended you. Can I encourage you to make today the day you let that offense go? It's just not worth it. Do you really want to carry the weight of that grudge? I promise, it's not hurting them as much as it's hurting you.

What you may not realize is that the offense you are walking in is destroying you. It's destroying your relationship with God. It started as a seed of bitterness and it's grown into a full-blown kudzu-vine, choking the life out of your peace. And it has to go.

How? Not by your own works, that's for sure. Only by God's grace. God is the only one who has a right to be offended because He is the only one who is perfect and holy. And yet, in spite of how we offend Him each and every day, He has chosen to forgive us. He has chosen to see the best in us. And He is only asking the same of us with each other. Nothing ruins unity like an offended spirit.

Here are some Proverbs to help us along the road to forgiveness and letting go:

Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Hatred stirs of up strife, but love covers all offenses. Proverbs 10:12

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

There are more, but you get the picture. God is asking us to let it go. Division and distention are the only thing that can come from an offended spirit. The root of walking in offense? Pride. Someone hurt our pride and we don't like it. Does it really matter who's right and who's wrong? If we really boil it down, doesn't it make sense to swallow that pride and let it go? What does it matter what men think, anyway? Isn't God the one we should be trying to please? (Galatians 1:10) Our pride does not come from God. If the root is pride, shouldn't we pull that root up and toss it in the garbage?

If you are still with me, I'm going to assume you are ready to let this offense go. It doesn't let your offender off the hook - it actually takes your hands off the situation and allows God to do deal with the situation. He's got a much better perspective. We cannot see their heart. We don't know the real reason they offended us. Perhaps it wasn't even intentional? But as long as we try to hold something over someone and walk in offense, God cannot and will not work in that situation. He's waiting for us to trust Him and walk in peace and unity. He will handle the situation. Our focus must be on Him, not the offense. Oh, and chances are, you've offended someone at some point, too. Wouldn't you prefer grace over grudge?

Out of my distress, I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 
Psalm 119:5-8



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Waiting on the Dream

Dreams. We all have them. Many of us have what we believe to be God-given dreams and perhaps you are one of those people. Maybe it's been a very long time but you are beginning to get discouraged because nothing seems to be happening, though the dream gets bigger and seems to be growing in your heart. Perhaps you are ready to give up and you're questioning whether it was even God in the first place?

I totally understand where you are right now. I have been there and will probably be there again some day, as I've been through this many times! Our timing isn't always God's timing. But the dream is real and your and my focus must remain on God - allowing Him to work out the details and the timing and trusting Him along the way. That is so hard when the dream is big, the stakes are high and our faith runs low.

I recently came across a portion of my journal from 2007 when I finally received a call from Survivor Casting after many years of auditioning. I truly believed being on Survivor was a dream God put in my heart, though I couldn't explain why He would do it or how it would happen. I just knew in my heart it was Him and I was faithfully applying, twice a year for over five years.  I really hope this will encourage you to persevere and not give up on that God-given dream! He has used this experience more in my life than any other experience I've had and I can tell you, it was worth the wait. :)



What about you? What is God preparing you for right now? Maybe you aren't even sure at this moment. Trust Him! He's up to something in your life, no doubt about it. Are you ready to focus completely on your relationship with Him so He can use you "for such a time as this"? Can you remember a time when a dream in your life began to come to fruition? How did you respond?

Esther 4:14 "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made Queen for such a time as this? 

Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Living to Please


I recently felt like I was wading in a mud pit - like quick sand. Everything seemed hard.  I'd been tired and cranky.  My husband tells me it's because I live life at a chaotic pace.  That was tough to hear, but he was right.  I don't know why I tend to live my life like this.  It's like I enjoy chaos or something, yet down deep, I long for peace and order.  The Bible tells me I'm to live peacefully and that I should let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.  Sure doesn't sound like me lately, though! 

Super Mom!

I suppose my mud puddle, which turned quickly to a mud pit, began when I decided I was going to be the "perfect mom" now that I've left my morning show position and have decided to spend more time focusing on my family and home responsibilities. Specifically, trying to be a better wife to my husband who works so hard every day. I had the image of June Cleaver in my head - I should've known I was headed for trouble! (smile)

There is a verse that is in Proverbs 31 that talks about the ideal woman - the woman I strive to be but never quite live up to.  But in verse 12 it says, "She brings him (her husband) good, not harm, all the days of her life." Lately, I've been measuring everything I do on whether or not I'm bringing good or harm to my husband with each decision I make.  Every chore I do.  Every choice I make.  Am I bringing him harm or good?  

Too many times, it seems I'm making decisions that bring him harm.  Like when I don't remember to do things because I didn't make a list that he asked me to make.  Or when I don't have dinner ready when he comes home because we've been so busy throughout the day (doing things at a chaotic pace).  Or when I do the chores instead of having our children do them (which makes my life much easier, but doesn't teach them anything). Or when the house is a disaster, even though I know my husband loves order.

The problem is, when I live this way, I go into panic-mode when I don't measure up.  I feel like when I mess up or do something wrong, it's sending him a message of "I don't care what you want" or "I have better things to do and you don't matter."  And then I begin to panic and make decisions that seem to only make things worse!  It's a vicious cycle.

So I talked to him about it.  He said something very true...very wise (he's like that).  He said, "You have to stop doing things that are motivated by your desire to please me.  You should be measuring things based on what pleases God and what you know is right.  My desires and expectations shouldn't be your motivation."  This was an ah-ha moment for me.  And hearing it from him was very freeing!  I felt like he understood that often his expectations are probably more than they should be.  But he knew that if I put God first, everything else would fall into place. 

Anytime I do something out of a desire to please someone besides God, I will get myself into trouble.  Yes, I should want to please my husband...but that comes from living to please God first.  He's the one who will guide and direct me the way I should go.  But I cannot consistently live up to the expectations a person puts onto me.  I just can't.  People don't know our hearts, don't know what we've done all day, don't know what we've accomplished or what we've been struggling with.  But God does.  He measures our actions not on unrealistic expectations, but on truth. 

I told my husband, "You know when I don't do everything the way you expect or desire, I want you to know that it doesn't mean I don't love or respect you.  I never do that intentionally.  I never want to hurt you or make life harder for you. I have good intentions, but sometimes things just are not going to be the way you would expect."  His reply to me was "I want you to know that when my expectations are not met, that doesn't mean I don't love you either - it just means I'm disappointed.  But I will always love you - nothing will change that."  Wow...I think I forget that sometimes.  Just because I don't always measure up as the "perfect wife" doesn't mean he doesn't love me.  And just because I don't always meet his expectations that doesn't mean I don't love him. 

Galatians 1:10 says "Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant."  And Matthew 6:33 says "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  When I seek to please others above pleasing God, I'm just looking for trouble. 

Lord, thank you for showing me the truth. Now....teach me to walk in this truth! And help me to love and serve my family well.

Monday, July 21, 2014

We Are What We Post...


Do you realize that what you post on the Internet is a direct reflection to the world around you of who you are and what you stand for in life?

Whether it is pictures, articles, tweets or status updates, people are forming an impression about you by what you post. It’s easy to mess up – we all have at some point! But how do we evaluate what we are posting BEFORE it becomes a mess?

I think what we need is a simple checklist of questions we need to ask ourselves before posting anything on the Internet, whether it be a “selfie”, a status update or anything else for that matter.

Here are some questions we could ask ourselves:
  • Will posting this picture/status/article encourage, inspire or bring hope to others?
  •  If my current or future potential employers see this, will it leave an impression I want to leave with them? (Believe me, they look!)
  • If my future (or current) in-laws see this, will it leave an impression I want to leave with them? 
  • Is this something I would post with my mother, father, child or spouse sitting beside me, watching over my shoulder? What about my pastor?
  • Will what I’m posting be something that my children or future children would be comfortable with? (Keep in mind – once it’s out there, there is no taking it back)
  • Will this photo/article/status hurt someone else or make him or her look bad? 
  • Will this photo/article/status cause someone else to stumble in his or her walk with the Lord?
  • Will I have to apologize to anyone for posting this? Am I angry, bitter or unforgiving as I type it?
  • Is this post going to cause drama or create an argument?

Bottom line, if you are a believer in Christ: You represent Him. Will what you are posting represent Him well?

The Internet is like a new animal that we are all trying to learn how to tame.  We all have ideas of how that should be done. There is so much to learn about the psychological and even spiritual implications of what we put out there for all to see. In the meantime, a little discernment, education and common sense can go a long way.

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

Friday, July 4, 2014

Let Him Carry That For You

One night a few years back, my youngest daughter was having a hard time with fear. She was watching a TV show that was very family friendly, but the commercials in between were horrific! Lots of horror films were being advertised because it was close to Halloween. I have no idea why the people who sell ads for family friendly shows think it's appropriate to show these commercials, but I digress.

Anyway, once Peyton got a picture in her head, she just couldn't shake it and even though she knew
all the scriptures, knew all the ways to try to not think about it, I think the enemy just used it against her. She's super sensitive to those things for some reason. So that night, she was crying and shaking and asking to sleep with me.

I took her out on the couch, snuggled with her and chatted with her calmly after I prayed for wisdom. I said, "Peyton, if you were carrying some suitcases and they were really, really heavy - to the point of your arms burning and you feeling you couldn't take another step, but then Jesus comes along with His big, strong arms and His loving heart to help you and says 'Peyton, may I carry those for you?' then what would you do?

She thought for a moment and said, "I'd give Him one of the suitcases and keep the other I guess so He wouldn't have to struggle so much." I paused and realized my point had been sort of detoured, but then answered, "OK, but what if He really wanted to carry all of them and let you rest awhile? What if He insisted that He take them all for you?" She said, "Oh, then I'd give them to Him, but I'd walk beside Him so we could talk and He wouldn't be alone."

Oh my gosh her heart was so sweet.

I told her, "Well, Jesus tells us He wants to carry our fears and our problems because it's more than we can handle. He has big, strong arms to do that for us but for some reason we try to hold on to our problems. Do you think you could picture yourself giving your problems to Him?" She said she could and as her tears saturated my shirt, I saw a little smile for the first time. It was precious.

As I tried to drift off to sleep that night, I couldn't help but see my daughter takes after me in a lot of ways. I often try to "help Jesus out" by carrying just some of my problems and burdens. Yet, He says He wants them all. Why don't I just give them all to Him?

How precious that Peyton realized that once she gave the load to Jesus, she wanted to walk with Him and talk to Him. That's just so rich in meaning, though I'm sure she probably didn't realize that at the moment. In her childhood innocence, she realized that her relationship with Jesus is important and she wants to walk with Him as He carries her burdens. How often do I give Him my problems and then run ahead of Him, forgetting to nurture that relationship? How often do I take for granted that He is carrying my load?

The more I talk with my children, the more I realize I have so much to learn. What a blessing to hear the heart of a child. What has a child taught you lately?


Jesus said, "Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light. 

Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Change of Season for Me

At the beginning of the year, I knew something had to change in my life. I was exhausted. My days were sort of a fog and my heart was heavy. I was doing too much and I knew it. I had a woman approach me at an event in late fall of last year and she was overwhelmed with all she was doing. Through tears, she looked me in the eye and said, “How do you do it all? You do so much! I can’t even handle what little I’m doing compared to you. I feel overwhelmed! What’s your secret?”

I told her my secret: I wasn’t doing it all. Well, I was doing it all – but I wasn’t doing it all well. I was barely surviving. I was good at pretending, but at home I was a zombie – walking around, showing up for my family but not really present. I was reaching burnout and I knew something had to give. Her face looked almost relieved as she realized I didn’t have it all together, either.

I felt like I was living a lie. So I decided to pull away from speaking and writing this year to focus on my radio show. The hours I keep at the station are taxing to say the least. I am up by 3:15am and though I am home by 10:30am usually, I am spent. The rest of my day is literally a fog and my family has noticed I’m not myself. So I figured if I gave up speaking and just focused on resting on the weekends it would get better.

But it didn’t get better.

Even though my wake up time is 3:15am, I have not been getting in bed until well after 9pm, sometimes more like 10pm. I wanted to spend time with my husband at night and a 7pm bedtime just didn’t seem feasible when he gets home around 6pm. Sometimes he travels and when that happens, it’s even worse because I’m the only parent home to be with the girls at night.

My teen girls are talkative at night. They like to talk about their day. They are involved in school activities. They have friends over. And I don’t want to miss a thing! God forbid I tell my teen girl, who is willing to share her heart with me that I had to go to bed! I seized every opportunity to spend time with my family.  And my body is paying the price!

I’ve put on twenty pounds. I’m forgetful and tired all the time. My blood pressure is up and my energy is zapped. I’m “on” when I have to be on, but the moment there is nobody around, all I can think about is “When is the next time I can sleep?!”  I can’t go on like this anymore.

So, as of this coming Wednesday, June 11, I will no longer be co-hosting the Morning Show with Rob. And I have to be honest; it’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I love radio. I love spending my mornings with you! I love our morning team! Jim and Rob are like brothers to me – friends that will last for the rest of my life. I’m so thankful they both understand my decision. They are not only understanding of my decision; they are supportive of it. They completely get the whole “tired” thing because they do it, too. They make sacrifices of time, family and sleep and they do it because it’s what they are called to do. I’m so thankful God has given them grace to handle these hours and supportive and helpful wives who make sure they get their rest on their down time.

Right now, God is calling me to be a wife and a mother full time. I will be teaching a couple of fitness classes per week and I will also be picking up my speaking ministry again and I have to say, God is already honoring that decision! In the past three weeks, I’ve had four offers to speak at ladies retreats – all without even trying at all. Just prayer and obedience. God just opened the doors. Blessing follows obedience.

That’s what’s so exciting about this: God is the one who is orchestrating it and as a result of my obedience, I will find blessing doing what He’s calling me to do at this season of my life. But it goes further than that – He will also bless His Radio by bringing someone on board who will help take this awesome Morning Show to the next level. And I get a front row seat at watching Him do it! I will still be at His Radio on a very part time basis helping out with weekends. They are my family and I love everyone here so very much.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your mornings for the past couple of years. I have loved every moment! I look forward to staying in touch with you via Facebook, Twitter and my blog at www.leslienease.com

And if you need a speaker for your event, contact me at lnease@leslienease.com and we can chat about what your needs are! My favorite thing to do is ladies retreats (they allow you to really get to know the ladies – pray face to face with them and build relationships) but I also speak at one-time events, as well. I look forward to what God has in store!

Here's to a new season!







Friday, May 30, 2014

"Over Commitment Syndrome"


Are you exhausted?  

Are you falling into bed each night, wondering where the day went?  

Are you frustrated because you feel like you need to either get some help or clone yourself in order to be able to do the day-to-day tasks in your life?  

When is the last time you spent quality time with your family (not watching the kids play sports or taking the family on a business trip - I'm talking face-to-face family time with no distractions)?

I get it.  I really, really get it.  I'm the "Queen" of Over-Commitment Syndrome.  My Mentor once told me, "Leslie, if you are exhausted or overwhelmed, you are probably doing something God has not asked you to do."  I believe she is absolutely right. God gives me grace to do what He has asked me to do, so if the grace is not there, I have to ask myself some tough questions.

How do I know I've made the right decision about whether or not I should commit to something?  

How can I be sure that I am motivated by right motives and not my desire to keep up with others, to prove myself, to make more money or to make a name for myself? 

The world tells me to "listen to my heart" but my heart can really fool me if I let it. Setting boundaries can be so helpful in this.

After hitting the wall about a million times in my life, I'm learning to simplify my life by taking a look at what matters most.  I listed out my priorities.  Here is what I came up with:



 Once I did this, I began to ask myself some important questions:

1.     What does God think about this? (I pray first...so important!)
2.    What does my husband think about this? (He is the voice God uses very often in my life to help me balance my life - he sees things clearly when I can get emotionally blinded or selfish)
3.    Will this activity cut into my priorities?
4.    Will this activity enhance time spent with my priorities?
5.    Can I honestly say I'm doing this because it's the right thing to do or is there another motive in there somewhere?
6.    If I do this, what are the possible domino effects down the line in the future?
7.    Are there any other options or creative compromises I can do to make this more feasible in my life?

You see, I'm finally realizing that if my top three priorities get pushed aside in order to fulfill commitments made outside of them, I suffer and so does my family and especially my relationship with God.  I envision my priorities being protected by a big boundary, like this:



When my priorities are protected, I can make a much wiser decision.  It's been a difficult transition and I can honestly say I'm really not there yet!  It's so hard to tell people "No" sometimes. But when I consider the consequences of over-commitment and resulting neglect in my top three priorities, I begin to understand the importance of protecting them. 

Bottom line: before committing, I need to ask myself: Is this a good thing or a God thing? It makes all the difference in the world. Just because it's a good thing doesn't mean it's a God thing. Just because I’m good at it, doesn't mean I should do it. Just because there is a need, doesn't mean I am the only one who can fill it. My life should reflect my priorities and if it doesn’t, tough choices must be made. I don't want to live a life of regret!

Galatians 5:16 "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Make a Sick Child Smile Again - Together!

Please GIVE NOW by clicking HERE!
One of the perks of having been on a reality show is that I get the opportunity to help support different charities through fundraisers where they invite former contestants to help out.
I wish I could support all of these incredible charities but my busy schedule prevents me from attending all of them. I do like to take the time each year to support Give Kids the World in Orlando, FL, though. This incredible organization blessed my heart when I attended this fundraiser for the first time and has continued to touch my heart for the past four years of my involvement with them.

GKTW helps children with life-threatening illnesses and their entire families smile and forget that there is a devastating illness hovering over them. For an entire week, they are treated to a Disney vacation and all sorts of other incredible opportunities to be "normal". I cannot imagine how hard their lives must be - as their new normal is hospital visits, tiring treatments and medications and the constant wonder of what the next day might bring. How heartbreaking!

What I also really liked is that they pay special attention, not only to the sick child, but also to the siblings of the sick child, who so often get overlooked with all of the dire needs of their brother or sister who is suffering.

In this summer event, many previous reality contestants come together, dress up like princesses and pirates and get to spend an evening with the children who are there. The following day, we spend the day autographing and raising money to support them. All money that is made is sent directly to the charity to support it so more and more families can be treated to this incredible opportunity!

We also get the chance to raise money prior to the event through friends and family, like YOU!  It doesn't have to be much - if everyone reading this would donate at least $5-$10, we could really make a difference together. Of course, if you want to give more, I would appreciate that, too!!

If you would like to help me out and send some precious children and their families to Disney World with me, please support me by CLICKING HERE!

Thank you and God bless you for helping out the children and their families!

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