Wednesday, January 25, 2017


My heart has been so burdened lately by the thought of being a lukewarm Christ follower.  Just for fun, let's take a look at Google's definition of lukewarm:

adjective: lukewarm
1. (of liquid or food that should be hot) only moderately warm; tepid.
2. (of a person, attitude, or action) unenthusiastic.

I don't know about you, but when I read that, I can conclude that lukewarm is not a very pleasant thing.  No one likes their coffee lukewarm.  Starbucks sells it hot or cold.  No one likes a lukewarm bath - Unless you have a fever....and then that's just a miserable experience all around.  Trust me, we experienced that last week with Emmy during a nasty sickness.

But the words that really grip me in the definition above are "unenthusiastic, tepid".  Yikes.  Do I want those words to describe me in any aspect of my life?  Absolutely not.

Jesus has a strong word for people who are lukewarm for Him.  In Revelation 3:16 He says, "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."

I recently saw another quote that read, "The single greatest cause of Atheism today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and deny Him by their lifestyle."

The single greatest cause.  Let that soak in awhile.

With the explosion on social media of everyone's thoughts and opinions on every topic under the sun, my spirit can easily get sucked in.  And not just that.  Friends and family can have influence over my life too and it's not always positive.  Gossip and rumors seep in to conversations, discontention arises, so on and so forth.  And while I always try to rise above, I confess that sometimes I really struggle. If we're honest, all of us do.  If you don't think so, you may want to ask God to examine your heart.

I write all of this to say that I've been heavily burdened by this lately and I recently had a breakthrough.  In reading 2 Corinthians 6:17a, the apostle Paul writes, ""Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord."  What a healing word this was to my soul.  I do not have to conform to what anyone thinks I should conform to.  God says I am to be separate and He will welcome me (v.17b).  He calls me His daughter and He tells me that He will cleanse me from every burden I carry if I will only come to Him and talk to Him about it (2 Cor 7:1, 1 John 1:9).  What a loving Father.  He always knows just how to light my fire.

 Image result for he restores my soul'

My soul feels refreshed.  He always provides light and a way.  He reminds me that it's good to be different because that's who He called me to be.  I don't need to worry about acceptance because I am acceptable to Him.  Maybe you needed this word too.  Maybe you feel rejected or burdened because you sometimes don't know where you fit in or are welcome.  And maybe it's all made you feel a little lukewarm.  Good news!  God always has His arms open to us, ready to welcome and receive us no matter how far we've strayed or what we've done.  And it's a warm, rich embrace.  Amen and amen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sweet Sufferings

I have so many posts that have been in my head (and I've been HORRIBLE about posting), but this is one that keeps pressing me with urgency.  Maybe it's because of all the heartache all around me.  Whether it be breakups, loneliness, divorce, miscarriage, infertility, death, any kind of heartache - I want to encourage you that you are not alone and you are loved.  You are loved more than you can imagine.  I was gifted with a glimpse of this love and my mind can't comprehend it.

After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen & establish you. 1 Peter 5:10:

If you belong to Jesus, your suffering is never in vain.  He showed me that through my years of infertility struggles.  Our suffering will never be greater than God's comfort.  He is the Father of compassion. 

Rest assured, your pain is for a purpose.  According to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "...the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  This means suffering connects us to other people in a way no other experience can.  No one gets it quite like someone who has been there.  The purpose for your pain may be that you are supposed to walk through it in order to help someone else who will be going through it later. 

Suffering also creates in us a patient endurance that might not have been there prior.  In fact, I'm 99.9% sure that it wasn't.  Patience is born out of waiting.  And sometimes that waiting is painful.  I love Romans 5:3-5 where Paul says, "And not only this, but we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Tribulations -> Perseverance -> Proven Character -> Hope -> God's Love
You like my little illustration there?  The end result in God's love.  He loves you through it all, but I don't think you can clearly see it when you're in the depths of it.  Hold tight,  When you make it to the other side...ahh, what a glorious view!  He loves us SO MUCH.  He loves us so much, in fact, that He often times saves us from what we think we want because He has something better.  

Nothing teaches you obedience quite like waiting.  Isn't that how we train our puppies?  Sit. Stay. Good boy!  Not that God speaks to us like that, by any means.  It's just an illustration of how obeying yields rewards.  I feel like God's talking to us is more like, "Be still.  Calm down.  Don't fight me.  I've got this.  If you would just be quiet, I will fight this for you.  I love you and I'm going to do what's best for you." in the calmest, most assuring, loving voice you've ever heard.  I know I've spoken those words to my precious Emmeline as she's battled me during nap time.  She's flailed and screamed and I knew what was best for her as I tried to gently soothe her and rock her to sleep.  But she could be relentless!  Isn't that just how we are?  Exodus 14:14 and Psalm 46:10 truly came alive to me in the person of my little bity baby.  And I could see clearly how I learned to stop, be still, wait, and listen as I waiting during my trial.

Sufferings can bring us to the end of ourselves.  But it's not THE end...because there's Jesus, arms open wide.  He's waiting this whole time.  Suffering can shift our reliance from being on ourselves to relying on God.  What a sweet release that is when you finally surrender.  Again, I love Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 where he says, ""My grace (Jesus' grace) is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."  Powerful.  Weakness is actually a gift from God.  It's His way of reminding us that we don't have to do this alone.  He's got this.  He loves us, listens to us, and will work everything together for the good of those who believe in Him. (Romans 8:28)

 2 Corinthians 12:9. Literally just wrote tho sin my journal this morning.:

Let your heart be encouraged.  You are never alone.  You are loved more than you can imagine and every little thing is going to be okay.