Philippians 4:14-23- It Might Not Be Worth It

I’m currently reading this book Everybody Always. It’s a book about learning to love difficult people. I wish I could say I’m learning a lot, but to be honest, it’s only reverberating everything the Lord has already revealed to me over the last few weeks just with less scripture and more words.

If I’ve never taught you anything else.. listen to this because this is certifiably true.

When God wants you to learn something- He is absolutely going to make it His business to show you. This is both cool and frustrating because there’s no fooling God- in case you didn’t know.

I bet I’ve told Jesus a million times, maybe two million, okay God I’ve got it.

I understand that whatever I lay down at Your feet, I should leave there.

Gosh God, I know you know better than I do so I’m just going to let you fix this.

Could you please move on, Lord, I get it. I promise that I am going to do my best to just let it all go because you are sovereign.

….. just in case you needed a few examples….

And you know what? No matter how many times I’ve told Him these things… until I truly move on from one “I’ve got it” He is going to pull me back. Because He loves me.

I’ve started asking myself.. is your pride really worth having to learn this over and over? I’m getting better at reminding myself that it is not.

“What we’ve spent our time collecting might not be worth it.” That’s the title of tonight’s chapter.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve collected things. Conversations, behaviors, personalities. Some people would call these memories but I pocketed them differently.

When I heard women talk about someone and then turn to the subject of that conversation with the biggest, most friendly smile… I pocketed that.

When I had an argument with my significant other over something he did wrong, I pocketed that.

And when I did something I shouldn’t have, I pocketed that too.

Here’s the scripture: Philippians 4:14-23

“And my God will supply ever need according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Only a few weeks back a good friend of mine was sharing some of her heart with me, and to illustrate what she was trying to get across she said, “and I used you as an example, all of your every day people will only see you for what they think you did. They will never know who you really are because their minds are already made up.”

She was right- She still is.

People pocket the things they’ve heard; they pocket the past. People form opinions and they pocket those too and that’s it.

And what do I do? I pocket my opinions and then carry theirs too because now I’ve got something to prove.

We see another woman in swim suit and she’s got it together (you know abs- together- because none of mine touch)- y’all, she’s busting her tail- and we pocket that, not to compliment her on her hard work- to tell her how great she looks but to resent her for the time she sets aside because “we don’t have time, we’re too busy” or to have something to compare ourselves to right before we slip into the shower.

You’ve had an awful day at work and you’ve pocketed all those feelings because you can’t spill them out there… and when you get home your kids are fighting over a bag of cheeto puffs and the entire bag splits open onto your fresh swept white tile. Not only do you have to pocket those puffs into a new sack (because who wastes Cheetos) that one mess is what splits the seam and your entire day pours out onto your kids or maybe your husband.

Anybody else as guilty as me?

“What we’ve spent our time collecting might not be worth it.”

Now this guy in the book was talking about hoarding arcade tickets for the purpose of illustration and Paul is talking about the way his ministry was financially supplied and how God will also supply our every need too but guys, I’m talking about life.

We cannot call ourselves Christians by way of forgiveness through Jesus Christ all the while stuffing our pockets with everyone else’s shortcomings to pull out for comparison when you’re feeling bad about your own.

We cannot call ourselves loved and God honoring when we use another woman’s success to discount our own. I promise Jesus didn’t just bless her with abs; with the right work you could have some too.

And you absolutely cannot claim redemption over your life if you’re living in yesterday while God is pushing you to tomorrow.

Growth and comfortability cannot co-exist.

You don’t need your past and you don’t need hers (or mine either for what it’s worth)

God offers you so much more. All that stuff we’re holding on to, because who knows when you might need the ammunition to blast that girl that stole your third grade boyfriend (because I haven’t forgotten), and it’s just weighing us down. Internalizing these things are crowding your heart, leaving no room for what God wants to supply you with.

You think that size two girl is out to get you? She’s not. Compliment her.

You think that other girl is a straight up mess? Okay, maybe. Pray for her.

Your kids throw Cheetos on your clean floor? You just got y’all a picnic without all that extra work. The floor is clean, sit down with them, laugh, and turn your day around.

God grants us forgiveness and gives us the ability to forgive (Colossians 3:13), shares with us an unconditional love with the expectation that we also distribute that (John 13:34), and anything else we could ever ask for so long as it aligns with His will and His way. (Matthew 21:22)

We need nothing else- the things you’ve been saving are a waste of space.

He will supply our every need.

Pocket that. He will not move on until you do because He loves you too.

And so do I,

Philippians 4:11-13: You can’t wash out Regret

I sat in the passenger seat of my husband’s truck and just cried as he and I talked the other day.

I revealed to him that I had let my heart get twisted up and sideways- like he didn’t already know I had let my priorities slip- and just how disappointed I was.. in me.

Work has been busy, summer has had me tired, and I have been absent. Absent like not on vacation.. just skating around the house doing what “needed” to be done with little investment elsewhere.

I read once that if Satan can’t beat you, he will at least try and keep you busy.

And he did… keep me busy…

Do you know what I get asked probably more than anything by my followers?

How do find time to study the Bible?”

Let me tell you something. The Bible is food, y’all. A relationship and bedtime prayer is not good enough for Jesus. Even if you spend everyday, every thought, with the idea of Jesus… if you’re not spending time with Him in His word.. you’re going to be hungry. Hangry even, I know that’s a thing now and probably more appropriate to what I’m trying to illustrate.

This hunger is not that belly burning rumble, it’s subtle… until it’s poked. You don’t realize (I don’t guess you do, I didn’t) until it’s there.. that one thing that caused you to respond in a way you normally wouldn’t.

Hangry. Like devouring an entire deep dish pizza and then having to sit in that.. it’s misery. Tasted good at the time though didn’t it?

What about that argument with your husband about not taking out the trash?.. felt right didn’t it? Justified. He deserved it. Until he told you how awful his day was.. and then misery- you’re sitting in it.

What about fussing at your kids for ruining your new towels. I mean they should not even been messing with the laundry, they don’t do anything else? And then they say, “Mama, I’m sorry I messed this up- but I just knew you’ve been really tired and we just wanted to help you Mama.” Misery.

**Disclaimer: these examples are not based on real life events but provided for illustration as an opportunity to learn**

Subtle.. until poked, eliciting a greater than normal- or totally different than normal- response.

The Bible is food, and y’all were hungry. I mean I don’t know about you but I make time for lunch every day. Sometimes twice.

It takes less than five minutes to have a change in circumstance; less than that to have a change in your feelings.

Anybody else have that one child that can poke you faster than any of the others or is that just me?

…and we have to be ready for that.

When you leave for a four hour trip in the car with 3 under the age of 4- you get ready. You go potty and pack a snack or there will be at least one explosion.

….and you really think that a wet car seat makes for a bad day… until you have a wet face because you weren’t prepared.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound.  in any and every circumstance, I have learned that secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13

learned: having much knowledge acquired by study.

whatever: used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to anything,  no matter what

content: in a state of peace.

We will have good days, the best days… we will also have bad ones, the ones that feel like the worse… and the secret to survival that doesn’t lead to heartache and regret is the same… Jesus.

The way you feel on a day-to-day basis can change in a moment, several times a day if you’re like me… Situations.. circumstances… people… problems… changing.. all the time. Do not let your day dictate your demeanor and don’t let a temporary circumstance compromise your character.

I have.

I let my heart get twisted around because I let the life I have been given supersede what gives me life. I didn’t regularly feed my appetite for our Lord because I was too busy… or too tired… and because of that, what I have learned in all my studying became rusty, I said things I shouldn’t have even though I know that no matter what I am called to a different response, and because of those things… my soul was stirred and my peace robbed.

Satan stole my time, crippled my character, and destroyed my peace. (John 10:10)

Busy is what he does; it’s what he waits on; this is what he plans. (Luke 4:13)

Satan cannot defeat you, but he can disarm you.

You will absolutely be tested (1st Peter 4:12), but Jesus will not test you beyond what you can bear, and for every chance Satan tempts you, Jesus also gives you an opportunity of escape. (1st Corinthians 10:13)

but it’s our choice.

It’s not that difficult to clean up a soiled carseat… but regret? that’s hard to wash out.

Obedience is our job; outcome is His

God rewards those faithful to Him, and He only wants what’s best for us. Not what feels best. Even if it hurts, we have not missed God’s protection over our lives. He has a much greater purpose than helping us avoid pain- it’s to make us better servants for Him. God guides us through circumstances- not helps us escape them.

Make the time before you make the mistake.

Hugs,

Gold or Gold-Plated: Why a Christian’s Sin is Different

I’ve told this story before.

When my husband got down on one knee, he proposed with a pony tail holder.

We were tied up in buying a house, planning ahead for marriage, and he surprised me one night after I got off from work. Opening the door, I found him knelt down in the dark entrance of his rental house on one knee.  He told me he couldn’t wait anymore to protect something that was his. H said he knew that ‘this’ wasn’t much, but he promised to give me so much more for the rest of our lives.

That ponytail holder still sits tight in it’s box, and while it seems like little to most, I’ll treasure it forever.

Not long after that night, He and I ran off to Memphis one Tuesday night, signed our marriage licenses in front of a stranger at Starbucks, and then followed her to the Museum steps in downtown Memphis where he and I would follow up our signatures in words; promises to each other forever.

Our Pentecostal preacher spat 1 Corinthians 13 faster than anything I’d ever heard. She told my now husband to kiss his bride, but don’t stay long because it wasn’t safe, and she grabbed her bible and left. Laughing to tears, we followed after her. got in our car, and back to our small town we went with a new promise to the same old place.

My ponytail wasn’t fit for everyday wear; three loops was not tight enough and if I had worn four, I might be missing my ring finger. Proud of the promise Neal and I had made, I needed something to attest to it. Still tied up in paperwork, a nice size 5.5 gold band from Claires had more diameter than it did price, another circle that I will always treasure.

With every passing day after the first, my makeshift wedding band wore more and more until eventually all of its “gold plated” had turned just plated, and with that turned my finger.

I wore a new ring after that, a green one. I wore it with pride. Some of you may not realize that you too, are wearing a ring much like the one I carried on my finger for some time.

You see, my second circle, the first ring, faded because it was fake and with time… anything else that isn’t real will eventually erode also. Then what?

So many times I have said that the way that we live our everyday lives is our greatest and most powerful ministry.

People watch people.

We truly, truly need to take that to heart; over and over I’ve replayed the scriptures in my head…

“But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 Corinthians 8:9

“therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this — not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in another brothers way.” Romans 14:13

“And it will be said, ‘build up build up, prepare the way, remove any stumbling block out of the way of my people'” Isaiah 57:14

“But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but of man’s'” Matthew 23:13

I’ve had my relationship with Jesus questioned lately, and that’s just not something I want to be responsible for…you know, being someone’s stumbling block.

How we live as Christians can greatly impact the lives of others, those that know God and those who don’t.

Sometimes an image is hard to uphold; certainly one that is only gold-plated- full of some other dull metal on the inside. Like any imitation metal eventually wears to it’s true foundation, so does any imitation Christian.

Satan knows no boundries and self? It only knows sin. Everybody’s self. Yours and mine alike.

So how are we supposed to know what is real and what is not?

Paul said it best in Romans chapter 7.

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, But I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep doing.” v.14-19

read that again… slow.  I’ll translate.

I know what is right is good by God, But I am human, a slave to sin. I don’t understand myself sometimes. I don’t always do the things that I should, even though I want to, and instead, I end up doing the very things I am against.. things I hate because God hates. Now even though I do bad things, things I don’t mean to, I still believe that what God wants is good and right.  So now, its not me doing all these wrong things, but the sin in me. Nothing good comes from self, you know, my flesh; for I, so bad, want to do what is right but can’t seem to always get myself there. I don’t do everything right like I want, but the bad things, I so very hard try to avoid, I sometimes do anyway.

Anybody else relate?

This chapter goes on to say is verse 21 that you can count on it, any time you want to do right, evil will always be close by.

Can I just say Thank God for God?

Even as Christians we try to uphold this standard.. a super one. I swear God laughs at us all the time because for whatever reason we think we’re invincible and are surprised when we don’t ‘get it all right’ when the very religion we devote our lives to, literally lay down our lives for, is built around the one perfect human… you know.. not you.

or me.

Every sin is sin. It’s all offensive. It’s all bad; the Christians sin; the sinner’s sin. all of it. bad. but sin is different. Not ‘good’ sin and not-good sin.. just different sin.

There is sin and conviction and there is sin and condemnation and while it may be the very same sin… it effectuates very different endings.

conviction: “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free, free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” Romans 8: 1,2

condemnation: “there is a way that seems right to man, but it’s end is the way to death.” proverbs 14:12

Romans 3 says ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but 1st John 5:17 says that though “all wrongdoing is sin, there is sin that does not lead to death.” If there is sin that does NOT lead to death, wouldn’t is also be right to know that there is sin that does?

A life lived under the rule of Christ doesn’t give anybody the authority to live as ones flesh would desire, but the freedom to make mistakes with consequence of conviction without the permanence of condemnation. So while all sin is sin, only unrepentant sin leads to death.

And while Jesus knows all well that you and I are not perfect, He expects us to know perfect and feel the weight of those things not perfect in ourselves as they become present in our lives… and then he says “Go, and sin no more.”

So learn. Learn that the most christian Christian you look up to, or even you, yourself, are still and only always human; and know also, that if you’ve committed your life to a image of impersonation instead of to The Life of our ‘I AM’ you are only under cover as long as you are under sky.

There will be people to criticize your faith, others that character play theirs lives but know that even Jesus had people talk about Him. The Jesus that lived a completely perfect life.

“and there was much muttering about Jesus among the people.  While some said, “he is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading people astray.” John 7: 11.12

and at a distances glance, you cannot tell the real from the plated. Some will say good things and some will say bad things. Others will say what everybody else is saying, just to have something to say…

Sometimes, most times, it comes down to you and Jesus. Only the two of you know who you are; what sin you carry..

and while I adore the diamond studded band that now wraps around my left forth finger, I will never forget what the first two taught me: too tight or too loose does not make a good fit, and trying to pretend what looks good on the outside is just as good… isn’t. There’s only one true fit and that fit is imperfection guided by divine intervention because only Christ Jesus himself can decide which golds purify and which ones perish.

Philippians 4: 8-9: “Don’t start it, but Finish it”

When my dad was still living, he told me… Katie never throw the first punch, but if someone comes at you… you finish it. Don’t let anyone ever push you around. You won’t be in trouble, I promise.

I grew up with this mindset.

Katie, no one else is going to take care of you so you take care of you. Sad enough, it was true and when someone pushed me, well… i pushed back. I was respectful as long as I was respected… and when I wasn’t… I wasn’t.

So…

Last week, I watched my kids fight over two legos and a plastic kitten. Two legos and a plastic kitten.

Probably not a big ordeal, right? But in that moment… it was to them.

It began with my daughter scooting, with her kitten, closer and closer to Haisten. With absolutely no interest in legos at all, she waited until he sat down one lego on top of the other and she snatched them. He pushed her; she pushed him back, and he ran to me crying while she paraded around the kitchen with two legos, a plastic kitten, and her own rendition of a victory song and a complimentary smile.

Haisten, you shouldn’t have pushed your sister.

“But mama, she took my legos.”

Gracie you shouldn’t have took your brothers legos and you shouldn’t have hit him either.

“Mama you saw him hit me first. I hit him back; I didn’t hit him; i just hit him back. and mama, he is bigger so he knows better mama and I don’t”

In that moment, my heart sank. Don’t our children teach us so much about life?

God uses the smallest, most ordinary things to send great messages.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put into practice.   And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

I’ve shared with you guys how selfish I was before I came to know, really know, Jesus.

I guess I would have made daddy proud because I certainly didn’t let anyone run over me.

Katie took care of Katie because Katie felt like she always had to.

I knew nothing of a gentle spirit; some days it brings me to tears because I still don’t.

For so long, I’ve had that ‘don’t start it but finish it’ attitude and despite how hard I’ve tried to suppress that old piece of me… at the most inconvenient of times, it will bubble up and out before I’ve reconciled my heart to what it most important.

There has to be a time in your life as a faithful follower of Jesus that you quit standing up for yourself and start standing down for Jesus.

The Bible doesn’t say if they break your leg; break their neck. It says turn the other cheek. See Matthew 5:39

The Bible doesn’t say that if a person fights you, fight back. It says that in this world we do not battle things of the flesh and people but are engaged in spiritual warfare and that war isn’t won with army artillery; it’s won with spiritual armor. See Ephesians 6:12

The Bible doesn’t say if someone hurts your feelings with words, hurt them back. It says that so long as it depends on you, live peaceably with everybody for vengeance is for the Lord. See Romans 12:17-19

The Bible doesn’t even say that once you are saved you are safe from all of these things, but it does say that we should suffer for what is right even at our own expense. See Hebrews 11:25-26

I’m not sure which hurts worse, the punch to our person or the punch to our pride.

My dad promised that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I didn’t start it, but my Father says different.

Two wrongs do not make a right: “Make sure that nobody pay back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and everyone else.” 1st Thessalonian 5:15

We all have “those” days and “those” people that sometimes make it hard to be kingdom focused and character conscious.

In this scripture Paul says if there is ANY thing that is praise worthy, think about that… and do good things, right things.

Isn’t it so easy to be obedient in life when it aligns with something we want to do?

When I felt called to a new career, I was excited for what the Lord was doing, and with nervous obedience I jumped into that calling and gosh it has poured blessings on myself and my family.

Obedience pours blessings. Always.

But starting my day with a slap across my right cheek, and Jesus giving the instruction to just smile humbly and instead of giving someone a piece of my mind, just give them a piece of my other cheek instead..

where’s the blessing in that? Blessed that the Lord said don’t worry about applying my blush that day?

I mean maybe but humility keeps us obedient, and obedience always gives us greater access to the promise.

Paul said think about that one thing and the peace of God be with you. It will be hard sometimes, and while Satan will pour all of those should have said/ could have dones on you, as believers we’ve got to learn to stand down.

“If anyone chooses to follow me, he must deny himself daily, take up his cross, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

In my studying scripture I came across some biblical commentary that quoted it like this:

“obedience is your job; outcome is His.”

Wow, right?

Whatever our circumstance, God is either doing it or He is allowing it to happen.

And the outcome to either is His.

Satan lets us believe that we have a say in how things end for us, like our lives and decisions are not already known and knitted. If we said this or acted like that then difficult people and difficult things will automatically come to their senses and the situation just dissolves allll because you did (insert here).

Hind sight is 20/20 but in that moment we are justifiably sure that what we do matters.

I wonder if God sits up there in the clouds and laughs at us?

You know… When we think we know better than God or can better control and manipulate a situation better than God. God Almighty, the One that sets the sun and moves mountains? yeah. okay.

Sometimes we get so caught up in how a certain place in our lives feels that we completely forget about God’s promises in those places and that is what Paul is urging us to remember here.

God is faithful and God will do whatever it takes to keep His promise to those that are faithful to Him.

“A faithful man will abound in blessings” Proverbs 28:20

“And his master replied Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness” Matthew 25:21

“Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is GOD; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep in His commandments” Deuteronomy 7:9

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10: 35-36

The way you live your life is the greatest ministry you can provide to a public people and may be the only way a lost soul comes to know Jesus. As Christians we must carry this  duty heavily on our shoulders and with a sincere urgency.

Our human-ness fails our faith sometimes. We are and never will be, by no standard, perfect; however, it is indispensably important that we will ourselves to mirror ourselves in the image of Christ as close as humanly possible.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Collosians 3:15-17

Never let a momentary dispute place you in a permanent disposition.

Nasty people and bad times are temporary and so are hurt feelings.

set aside the difference for the destiny.

Biggest Hugs,

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Philippians 4:1-7; Trial: Safety or Sorrow

My pastor asked our small group yesterday what the  verse in James meant in chapter 1:

Count it all joy, when you experience trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

How do you count the joy in trial?

It was here, in this book of the Bible, on these pages, that my faith took off.

I met Jesus. Just recalling that feeling brings me to tears. I had fallen to my knees and right there, in those moments, the floor was the most comfortable place I had ever known.

But I’ll tell you lately, that same “on the floor” feeling hasn’t felt as safe. It’s felt more like sorrow.

but joy?

PHILIPPIANS 4:1-7 focusing on 4:4-7

“Rejoice in the Lord always again, I will say rejoice.  Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in CHRIST JESUS.”

Just wow.

We want to, I have, asked questions like:

What about tomorrow? What happens next? Is this ever going to be okay? Am I?

and Paul says y’all look- rejoice, literally celebrate Jesus. Always; Constantly. No matter what show Christ’s gentleness, because He lives with you in you. Forget about it; quit worrying about all of it. Go to God, lay it down. Be filled with gratitude, and give Him your deepest desires and God will give you a peace so great that you will not even have to ask “what about” or “am I” because Jesus. He is going to protect your heart from breaks and your mind from lies. He is God. Rejoice.

Count it all joy, when you face many trials. but why?

Romans 5 says we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

My experience with the ‘church Jesus’ is being saved meant being safe.

Safe- uninjured; with no harm done.

Uninjured- not harmed or damaged

Harm- injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted

Already, after only a year and a half of salvation, I have been injured many times, injuries that have done some damage, damage that was absolutely meant for me.

From God.

“I am the true vine, and my father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” John 15:1-2

Have you ever pruned a rose bush? You cut off beautiful growth. Flowers that you worked so hard to develop, and they just fall to the ground. Almost just wasted.

Then with time… after those cuts, they grow back- better; more.

God has allowed me to hurt, not to hurt me, but to grow me better; to make me more.

God has allowed you to hurt to grow you better; to make you more.

We act like fools and we’re cut off; we act like not-fools and we’re cut on.

God wants the absolute best for us. He wants to help, and sometimes His help is hard because He is trying to produce things from us that are not innately in us: things like forgiveness in the presence of unforgiveness; like patience in the company of bitterness; like love assembled so close to resentment. Things we aren’t naturally compelled to invoke on ourselves to give. Things, hard things, of God but not of man.

It’s in these times we find ourselves doubting God because we are taught that God is a God of comfort. and He is. God is so comfortable… even in the uncomfortable, especially in the uncomfortable… and the cultured church leaves that part out.

If we only loved God when God was good,  we would not be serving God, we would be using Him.

John chapter 9 tells a story about a blind man. The disciples wanted to know who had done wrong, him or his parents, that he was born blind….. and Jesus tells them they have it all wrong. Neither of them had to do anything wrong, but he is blind so that the works of God can be glorified. After this, He spit on the ground, made mud, and restored the mans vision and the Glory of God and His power was displayed.

For a while, this was hard for me; some days it still is, but we live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior is not always punished.

Bad people will get good things. Good people will get good things.

Fair enough.. but then…

Bad people will suffer and so will good people.

God, lately, has taught me to stop believing in coincidences. When I’ve popped my mouth off to the very people I’ve willed my heart to be good to no matter what, it is no “coincidence” that I conveniently open my bible to Romans 12 for a bible study. That would be Jesus shaking His fingers at me. God is power and God is control- over the big details and over the little ones and it’s in our best interest to pay attention to both. Rejoicing hurts sometimes, but there is a mystery surprise, a blessing that brings even more healing, underneath the spit and the mud. Always. Every bad thing, God intended for good.

Something bad surfaces and we automatically feel like we need to do something, and we’re missing the point. Again: trial… endurance.. endurance… character… character… hope… God wants us to be still. I know its lost on us sometimes, but God doesn’t need our help running the world, all He has asked of us is that we deny ourselves and follow Him. Follow: to come after; move or travel behind. To your best ability, fashion yourself in the way God would have you conduct yourselves, keep your hands still, your mouth shut, and wait it out righteously. Learn to take these muddy opportunities to say, “God thank you for who you are- God thank you for an opportunity to trust you even more. Open my eyes with the mud of this mess, and let me receive your message and it’s blessing- Amen”

Let the suffering do it’s work. Learn to endure through your “whatever” so that it may grow your character because a Godly character is a character that is certain of nothing but comfortable in anything.

Jesus said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4

Not death, but Glory.

My eternal life was saved because of trial. There was a time when I was insufficiently sure of my salvation. I sat on Sunday’s pew, said my prayers, and did my daily devotions. There were days that scripture touched me. I’d be moved, then I’d move on. It took my sin breaking my heart; Jesus taking me down to bones to rebuild my life. I wasn’t emotionally moved; I was eternally changed.

It is hard to really appreciate the light, until it shows up in complete darkness.

I pray that if you’re in the middle of something that feels unfair, you will show gentleness anyway; If you’re in the middle of something painful, you can be thankful anyway; and if you’re in the middle of something dark, you will find enough reason to be the light.

God is there, in whatever, He is present. Remind yourself that God is faithful to those that are faithful to Him. A promise was made over 2000 years ago that He would never leave you, He would never forsake you.”

Rejoice.

I’m anxious about nothing, because God has everything.

“Katie, What do you think it means to count it all joy?”

I count a piece of joy for knowing that my failures are not my fate.

I count a piece of joy for knowing that hurt feelings do not hurt forever.

I count a piece of joy for a Father that loves me enough to correct my conduct, even if it compromises my comfort.

I count a piece of joy for a dying resentment in me, even if there is never a happy-ending resolution for me.

I count a piece of joy for the victory that will be won when every ounce of my troubles, your hurts, and this world’s destruction falls to ashes and Light reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

Missed y’all,

When we feel vindicated in our actions and lost in our prayers

God never fails to provide me an opportunity to learn, even in the mundane.

Today, like any other day, my kids and I got home and the first thing they want is something to drink immediately followed by snack. My youngest will ask for a brownie every single time (literally every time, y’all), and every time I tell her the same thing.

“Not a brownie until after supper, Gracie; what else do you want?”

She knows  that brownie is waiting for her behind those big sliding barn doors in our kitchen; she also knows she is not getting it right then, but she has to try it anyway.

Do you every find yourself repetitively  asking God for the same things over and over? Mayyybbee not the same things, but You know, the ‘something’s gotta give’ type things, the ‘aren’t you God, don’t you know I need this’ kind of things.

I’ve given Jesus a lot of tears, y’all. Tears shed for much the same purpose or principle.

over. and. over.

You see, I know God. I know that He is true to His promises; and I know that His promises are reserved for those who earnestly seek Him.

This means I know that my brownie is back there somewhere. Somewhere, behind this door or that one, awaits my deliverance, my promise from God as one of His children and even though I know I will not have it until it is the right time, until God is ready to give it to me, I’m going to ask anyway. Like that little blonde beauty seeking what appeals her senses, I too, am seeking what I believe will fill my soul.

and here I am rolling my eyes at my daughter; It’s  like an ‘I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I’ type things. I just had to smile to myself today when she said “but mamaaaaa, when” because God whispered me a spiritual nah-nah-na-boo-boo in my ear.

Let me pause to tell you this spiritual stirring occurred Tuesday of this week… I knew then that there was more so I jotted what’s above down and I’ve been just waiting for the rest.

Not exactly where I thought He was taking it but nonetheless here it is:

what I believe will fill me.

Raise your hand if you already know what’s wrong! (Eye roll here)

This morning my husband and I were laying in bed discussing (him listening to me discuss with me) an ongoing situation that has been just building building building problem- you know- those things that won’t go away. He smiles and tells me it’s going to be okay, and I leave the house thinking HA! Dang right it is. Because we’re gonna… And Facebook tells me I’ve got some memories today.

Oooohhh do I.

March 1st of last year, Jesus was revealing to me that I didn’t have to be anybody but His. The rest didn’t matter. The past didn’t matter. What people thought didn’t matter. He had a promise for me and it is good. Just follow me.

In this passage, God has changed Jacobs name from he grabs his heel to Israel, and honorable name and man of God.

Jesus had changed my name too.

Fast forward to March this year, a year later, and He has shown me something entirely different on these very same pages. Look up to the top left corner to the text that is half cut out.

“The safest place is God’s will”

In the story of Rachel and Leah, when Rachel finally got what she had been asking for, she found nothing but sorrow.

She and her sister Leah were in a constant competition- so much that Rachel named her last son Ben-On meaning son of trouble.

Do you ever feel like you are in a constant battle with something? With someone?

Do you pray over and over for something particular and just silence?

You are fighting… against God and with Satan.

No matter the circumstance, the safest place to be is still in the center of Gods will. If it’s not His character, it’s also not His plan.

In this story, these sisters were offering their servants to Jacob in a contest to who could have the most babies. They were trying to beat God to the blessings and Jacob, well he just did what he was told.

Poor Jacob, even though that was a custom for that time does not make it right. Even if some things are socially acceptable in our time… doesn’t mean it’s right.

Then those girls. They just couldn’t wait. Trusting God when nothing seems to be happening is so hard isn’t it? Not as difficult as some of the consequences we create for ourselves trying to rush it all.

God has a plan. And God is God. Our disobedience will never derail His plan for our lives, but it can greatly affect how we end up experiencing it.

When you just feel like you need something right now, you can’t wait- that’s Satan. Would God rush it?

When you know you can tell that person just how you feel because they sure didn’t mind telling you- that’s Satan. Would Jesus be ugly?

When someone else has made you feel less than, made you feel hurt, made you feel well just flat out mad- and you just need to tell them how wrong they are.. you know, pick up and throw some stones of your own- that’s Satan. Would Jesus bring up all of our wrongs to hurt our feelings?

When you feel.

What I felt.

Y’all, your feelings will never give you full and accurate information. There’s always more to the story than how it made you feel.

It’s Satan. Anything not of the character of God is a characteristic of Satan. period.

And anything you feel outside of what scripture says is acceptable.. that’s Satan too.

I’ll say it again- anything that is outside of Gods character is also outside his plan…

What’s that mean? For me it meant girl just Hush and wait.

Patience is the hardest to have when you need it the most.

Always, always resist the temptation to think that God has forgotten about you.

“The lord is on my side; I will not fear for what can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by test you may discern what is the will of God: what is true, honorable, and right” Romans 12:2

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you” Exodus 14:13

“You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.” Psalms 119:57

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23

We are not here to point fingers, we are not here to point fingers back. We weren’t placed here to be wonderful wives or bad ones; good mothers or bad ones, to be successful or not, to have nice homes or not, or perfect jobs or not.

We were created for two things- to ask God for forgiveness and spend the rest of our lives listening to Him.

It’s the little things- the things we think we can do on our own strength- that get us down- not the big things we know only God can do.

He’s in control of the brownie y’all- not us.

Be still in your feelings, be confident in your prayers. Despair will cast you down, keeping you from standing. Fear will tell you to retreat, and impatience will tell you to do something now.

We don’t have to be anything but His, and He grows the rest. In his time you are the good wife. In his time you are the good mother. In his time you have the perfect job. In His time you have your cozy home. I know this because God makes no mistake and if we wait for His time and His plan it’s the absolute perfect plan because he’s given us the perfect Son delivering to us a flawless promise.

Be two things- sorry and saved- then let God be God because well it’s right there.

“Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the divine nature having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” 2 Peter 1:4

He has given us a promise so that we can act right and escape this awful place causing us to feel awful things.

Father,

We know you have planned all things, the best possible things for us, God. Let us know that you are with us, even on the days that it feels like you’re not. We are not forgotten and we are heard. Give us the strength God to wait on your time in a way that represents your nature, Father, and the patience to fight our feelings and that need of a surface response to protect them and instead produce an internal sense of security from the promise you’ve given that says it’s already taken care of. Let us let you be You God.

Amen

Philippians 3:17-21; The Three Tricks of Satan

“But how are we supposed to just change? you know, after God?”

Well, a day at a time, of course, but I try and think of it like this: what if, for that one day, a new christian was following your example? Would you be more conscience, then, of your behavior?

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.  For many of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set of earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious bod, by the power that enable him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:17-21

and what if I’m the example?

what if you are?

no one is perfect here, so we’re not pointing fingers. but Paul is saying here, “be careful- these people- they’re enemies of the cross, even those that are dressed to appear otherwise.”

What he is saying is that these people are destructive, self-serving, and even find a sense of pride in the very same things that one should be ashamed of.

The guy that brags about the number of girls he has slept with; the girl that thinks it’s cool that she can out drink the boys.

Paul is saying be careful and Jesus flat says no.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in life- is not of God but of world.” 1st John 2:15-16

you cannot love both.

There are some Christians that believe that since God is forgiveness, our souls can be saved and it just doesn’t matter what our bodies do; they’re wrong.

There are also Christians that believe that worldliness is limited to external behavior- you know, the people we hang out with, the places we go, the activities we enjoy and partake in, and y’all…. they’re also wrong.

Arguably even more wrong, even though that isn’t a thing, because they’re just dressing up the ugly underneath. Wordliness begins in the heart and is characterized by three attitudes: 1- desires of the flesh, preoccupation of gratifying physical desires 2- desire of the eyes, craving and accumulating things; idolizing materialism, even if on the inside and 3- pride of life- an obsession of status and importance.

The serpent tempted Eve with these things. (see genesis 3:6)

The devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness with these things. (see matthew 4:1-11)

and you better bet Satan is enticing you in these very same ways.

Even unintentionally, we’re so worried with our busy week that our minds wander on Sunday morning when the preacher speaks a sermon our hearts desperately need. We’re so preoccupied with planning our children’s activities, trying to maneuver how we can possibly shuffle all of these things into one elf-sized day, that we make no room for intentional prayer, maybe not even prayer at all. I’ve been guilty. And then all those activities that we’ve spilled over our calendars are leaking down the sides of what’s left of a mother when Thursday rolls around, and let’s be honest- there’s no time, certainly no energy, left for intimate time with Jesus and His word.

Satan is sifting through our lives, our schedules, and uncovering all of our leaks, our frailties and he is not only finding our holes, y’all, he is expanding them in a way that allows flaw to pour when flaw before, was just a trickle here and there.

As people of this world, we prioritize this world.

Again, I’m not blaming because Lord knows I am not perfect either..

Not perfect, but blameless.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:4

but this perfect? your own personalized portion of unperfect blamelessness… only comes from Jesus.

who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” philippians 3:21

Earlier in verse 18 of the text is says “I tell you with tears in my eyes.”

Paul cried.

Paul, the same man that was beaten on many occasions without a tear. Paul, the man that overcome so many obstacles quite literally running for his life so many times, again, without a tear. Paul, the man that sang praises to God while locked in a first century prison…. yet he cries for this people.

Why?

Because Paul knows that while all of this circumstance he has endured is temporary- a life of sin and unrepentance is not.

We cannot be both. Our conduct must match our citizenship and our character turn away from our culture.

what if, for that one day, a new christian was following your example?

Or maybe I should ask it this way: What if you knew Jesus were coming tomorrow? What would you change first? Your shoes or your heart?

It’s never going to be about things, about people, about status- when that day comes it’s only and always going to be about Him, your heart and how it knows Jesus.

Hugs,

Philippians 3:12-16 The Spectators Sport

“Almighty God, in this hour of quiet I seek communion with you. I want to turn away from the worry and fever of today’s work, from the world’s jarring noises, from the praise and blame of other people, from the confused thoughts and fantasies of my own heart, and instead seek the quietness of your presence.”- John Baillie

As I sat in bed this morning, I read these words. They interupted my routine of my normal mundane Sunday morning- praise music, bibles, and an outward time of prayer before church….Just wow. If only we could all take it here every day.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ has made me His own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God, Christ Jesus. Let those who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” Philippians 3:12-16

Paul says look guys, I’m not standing up here speaking to you like this because I’ve got it all figured out. I know I am not perfect, but I am trying. I press on.

I think it is important for us all to realize that even though Christ’s work for us is perfect, The Holy Spirit inside is us is not perfect. It’s progressive. Everyday as we are worked on more and more, His presence over our lives increases and consequentially our decisions are also cultivated more according to His will and purpose.

but Paul pressed.

1st Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Press, Fight, Take Hold.

Verbage, y’all. These are actions. I think people think that Christianity is a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act, to reveal things, make better things, fix things all while we just sit.

Be still and know, right?

And how do you think you may know God? Seek and find, knock and I will answer, listen and obey. What are all of these things? They are all instructions from Jesus, himself, and are all a call for action.

This is not a spectators sport, guys. It’s actually not a sport at all. This isn’t a game. While we are not children anymore, this is also greater than our adult life- it’s life life- the always life, forever life, the life were choosing in our insignificant lives, in these inconsequential details or these tiny years that will feel like days when they’re standing next to our eternity, y’all, what we do, or don’t do RIGHT NOW, is forever.

Forever and it’s like sometimes we are just sitting, waiting, and for what? It’s storming right past us. Our time is so small here. Of all the promises were offered as Christians from our Father, time here is not one of them. There is absolutely absolutely no time for passivity.

Press on, Fight, Take hold of…. and then don’t look back Paul says.

As Chrisitans we’ve all asked for a new life at some point right? and what is a new life when we’re not living renewed? It’s wasted blood, and while the blood is limitless and unending- it’s not any less sacred.

I laughed once to myself when my husband and I moved into our first home as a family of seven. His nana bought us plastic placemats because she just couldn’t stand the thought of my new ones getting dirty…

I laughed because I had never bought anything with the intentions of not using it. I’m also realistic. Five kids and one spaghetti Tuesday and of course the newness is gone… but I still wanted them used.. even stained they would be beautiful.

I’m no different. I want to be used, my life. I want it worn and obviously tattered and worked for a cause- not one like protecting a table from spaghetti, but one that helps protect souls.

I didn’t name this ministry Mess and Mercy for nothing.

Messy means unperfect, frayed, and sometimes even convoluted. It’s a place of stains, of shadow, and of error and then there’s mercy… the place of freedom from all of those things.

Don’t look back.

Luke 9 verse 62 says this: “Jesus replied, ” no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of Christ.”

God says anyone can come, but no one need look back. You cannot live an old life of intentional sin and claim a new one.

To grab hold of a plow for straight rows, only to look back while driving forward, does nothing but set yourself up for failure. It is trying enough to walk a path of purposeful precision while keeping your eye on the destination, let alone walk towards it without any visibility of the terminus.

We can’t get there looking the wrong way, and we can’t get there just looking.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

You see? It’s more than a prayer. It’s a belief so deep, a love and relationship so deep, that is compels us forward, upward, Paul said, into change, into action towards the life to which we were called.

and if you believe otherwise- if you believe it takes less than that- Paul said God would will reveal that also to you.

“Only let us hold on to what we have obtained.” v.16 NLT

Press on, fight, take hold… don’t look back, not at the mistakes of your past, and not at anything behind you, but should you find yourself in error, back engulfed in sin, when your new placemat finds it’s first stain since it’s new purchase, then we have to hold on to what we have been given- Mercy in our Messes– dust off and continue forward into action. I’ve never known a washing machine to clean up anything with the help of detergent without a little spin and work of its own. Jesus’s gift is even more purifying, but the only thing worse than spilled milk is wasted blood.

love yall,

Why Does This Keep Happening? The Answer.

“I do not understand. Why are things still just the way they have been? Why do we have to do this over and over?”

I know I have asked myself these same two questions an infinate amount of times. Even with the answers before me, I will likely ask them again.

I have to believe that I am not the only one that fights these same said battles over and over. Things you’ve dealt with, prayed over, laid at the feet of Jesus, forgiven, and even prayed over again that just keep. coming. back. up.

Psalm chapter 12:

“save, oh lord, for the godly one is gone, for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor, with flattering lips, and a double heart they speak……. because the poor are plundered, because the needy cry, I will now arise, says the Lord.  I will place him in the safety for which he longs.  The words of the lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O lord will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.  On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

If I were to ask you who is the single most ruler of this world you would say?

Growing up in the bible belt, most all of us would presume the answer is Jesus, but that is not so.

The Godly one is gone; Jesus has left this Earth, and the faithful have vanished from the children of man. Man is Adam and Adam equates sin to which we are all born unto. Satan is the ruler of Earth. He even tempts Jesus in Matthew 4- Jesus come on over here, you see all of this on top of this mountain. I will give all of this to you if only you will bow and worship me.

David goes on to describe this people, those that only say what people want to hear. Even in the church, or maybe especially, there are those who always have just the right answer for any occasion but speak with no truth or transparency of heart- a double heart at that. Two hearts; one for Sundays and another for all the other days of the week.

And so what’s wrong with these people? These recurring things in our lives that show up time after time after time?

2 Corinthians 4:4 says it perfectly. “In their case the god of this world (satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.

The scripture in this psalm lays it out, but maybe you just need some help dissecting it to fully understand its principality.

“On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted amongst the children of man.”

On every side– completely surrounding not only every circumstance but also every corner.

vileness– nasty, offensive, awful, and unsavory

exalted-  placed at a high or powerful level.

Yall, even as Godly people, we must never forget we live in an evil world. A world that exalts or gives power to all of these awful, potentially destructive, things. We, even believers, make the mistake of subconsciously giving such things POWER over our lives.

We have, maybe not as Christians but as a people, have a created a world that seeks pleasure in sinful entertainment that we find so enticing… until it directly affects our own personal lives.

sex. gossip. addiction. infidelity. betrayal. fatality. tragedy.

These are all topics that we enjoy sharing with our friends or find even sanctifying to be the first one to “get the news” and why Y’all? for what? I don’t know when we saw fit to enjoy in the failure of someone else, to make of a catastrophe some type of commodity in the midst of some of the most vulnerable and unavoidably transparent aspects of peoples lives.

but we have.

it is absolutely imperative that we realized that even though our spirits are safe in heaven, our very alive bodies are here. in this place. that has made these things acceptable.

wicked reigns, guys. Here evil, reigns.

All of these little tests. The walls that you run into over and over, that’s not God y’all. That’s Satan. God desires nothing but the best for His people.

Colossians 1 verse 13 says that God has rescued us from the darkness of this world and has assigned us a seat in heaven.

Praise Jesus, We have saved seats, but y’all not until we get there.

It says that His word is pure- refined, grounded. that means that it has been tested, studied, criticized. it is without impurity or flaw even after it has been sifted through and it remains standing.

yet we give evil the authority over our lives?

sounds crazy doesnt it?

Even to choose exalt Christ in our lives, does not mean the elimination of evil.

Even with a word precious and pure, people will still prefer those same things that will bury them.

but God says that because, indicating when, those are plundered, when the needy cry Then I will rise.

plundered. laid flat and bare. needy. crying. and I’m coming.

It wasn’t until I suffered without Christ, that I realized just how much joy there was to suffering with Him.

The next time you want to question the reappearing wall in front of you, ask yourself which god would set it before you- the one of this world, or The One.

You see, Satan may in fact rule this world, as the scripture says, but Jesus… He won it.

God, as much as I would like my actions to matter, on the days that I am full of doubt, I’m so glad they don’t. Thank you for an unfailing victory over all evil, even my own. Thank you, God, for you.

Amen.

Philippians 3:9-12 Our Portion, Our Place

“and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ. the righteousness from God depends on faith. that i may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings becoming like him in his death. that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect but i press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus had made me his own. ” Philippians 3:9-12

I’ve read this scripture. Re-read this scripture. Then read it again.

I’ve studied it to try and find something applicable because it’s been my experience that it’s what helps my readers the most.

I’m sorry, tonight I do not have a fancy story, but the context of this passage is greater than anything I could possibly say.

What do you think about when you hear the word righteousness? royalty? a man in a red velvet cloak and an unattractive beard, maybe? I don’t know but righteousness is simply put as a way of life that is all about doing the right thing.

Paul is saying I can’t do  everything right myself, not even if I follow all of the rules. In fact the only way I can be perfect is through faith (complete trust and confidence in something) in Jesus.

And faith is a contingent thing- that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share his sufferings becoming like Him in His death.

to know: to not just recognize God. to know is defined as a developed relationship through meeting and spending time with someone.

power: gosh power is so much y’all. Power is the ability to do; it’s the capacity to direct or influence behavior; it is a right to authority; its literal physical strength.

that we may share in suffering: share is a part or portion of a larger amount.

God is big. He is strong. He is perfect, compassionate, Almighty authority, ultimate perfection and to know Him is to share in all of those good things, really know Him- not recognized by a parable you heard in Sunday service or a the familiar picture of a textiled mosaic of the glass church window, but to know know Him because you have, in very physcial form, met and spent time with him. He shares all of His glory, all of these wonderful things, and in return we too must share- just a piece of the greater, actually the greatest, suffering that has already been endured.

But we’re selfish- with our time, with our hearts. Our expectations are big and our efforts minimal.

We’re too busy or too tired. We make excuse after excuse about the lack of investment in our relationship with Jesus.

but gosh do I love paul.

He goes on to say I’m going to do whatever it takes to be saved from my self. I know I’m not perfect, I know I never will be… but I’m going to keep moving forward, everyday, making it the best I can, making perfection my own because God? He has made me His own.

I just have to believe Paul was one of Jesus’s favorites, my husband swears it was Peter. >insert eye roll< but Paul never had a good life guys. He literally struggled his entire time as a Christian. In acts 20 Paul is talking to people and says y’all know how I’ve lived- serving the lord with humility, and tears, and trials. I didn’t shrink down to telling you anything because it was uncomfortable, I taught you publicly- fully. I’m fixing to go to Jerusalem because that is what God asked. All I know about this journey is what God has told me and that is that it will be full of hard times and imprisonment, but I don’t care. My life means nothing to me. All I want is that I may finish my course, my ministry and purpose, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. That’s it. That’s all I want.

Sometimes, often, we obscure what the gospel is. Jesus is eternal safety in temporary trial. Jesus is love and He is correction, He is captivating and captive all at the same time, and we just want to pick Him apart, keep the convenient pieces. We want His protection but not the things that place us in positions requiring us to be protected. We want Him to love us without consequence, and we’re even in awe of Him, of all that He is, and yet we still don’t want the responsibility that comes with that kind of adoration. We don’t want to be held down to a life of restrictions- we’re so worried about what we will have to give up to follow Jesus.. and so we set Him aside. We make him just a resource when we “need” it. God isn’t the generator for when the power goes out, He is the literal power. He’s all of those things in that definition and we take it for-granted.

It breaks my heart.

The Lord had prepared Paul for what I would call some of the worst vacations ever. Visit here, but you’re going to jail. Visit over here too, but you will be beat to blood. When you recover let’s walk over there, but be quiet because they are already looking to kill you. And Paul said yes every time.

And He doesn’t even ask that of you and I. All he asks is Believe in me, believe that you can trust me, believe that I will take care of you. Know me. Develop a relationship with me. I know sometimes it will be hard but the best news is you will only have a small portion of the pain because for every thing you do wrong, big or small, I have already suffered for.

That promise. I am love. Captivating. Compassionate. Perfection. Perfector. Safety. Forever. I was, I am, and I will be- always.

Let us press on every day to pour just a little more of ourselves out- Give just a little. Then a little more. Sit your phone down. Turn your TV off. Set aside an extra circular and let’s show up for Him because He saved us. Saves us every day.

I want nothing more in this life than to be unraveled. Spun out of myself and into my purpose, trusting will full confidence that even if it’s through my own tears- God will make something beautiful out of my life…. and something pretty out of yours too. Let us receive our portion and fall into our place.

Hugs,