“You Don’t Mean Me Do You, Lord?” #ComeWithMe

The Come With Me online bible study is in full swing at over Suzanne Eller’s web home and all across Facebook! Click here to join us!

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Suzie’s words are challenging women to “step out into the deep” toward what Jesus is asking them to do! You don’t want to miss being a part of this community! Don’t have the book yet? Get it here!

Today, Suzie lets me share how God has used this study in my life! Check it out over at tsuzanneeller.com!

You Don’t Mean Me Do You?

They won’t come, so why even bother?

Maybe, maybe not. Leave that to Me.

But you can ask.

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Seven weeks ago, God was nudging me down deep to come with Him. It was simple, but hard. I was compelled to invite some young ladies to study the life-giving message of the Bible sprinkled throughout the mind-changing lines of Suzie Eller’s new book, Come With Me.

I ARGUED with God as the idea hatched.

I TOLD God exactly why it would never work…

Find out the rest of the story at:

http://tsuzanneeller.com/2016/07/29/you-are-chosen/

Want to read more about Come With Me?

Suzie shares her heart over at Encouragement for Today hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Click here to check out her post for today!

 

 

Is There a “Grace Card” Left For The 9 Pakistani School Shooters?

Today we are writing about Grace over at Suzanne Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. This is an older post, but fitting… Check out the others here:
http://tsuzanneeller.com/

creation swap, mountain christian, burning questions,Is There a “Grace Card” Left For The 9 Pakistani School Shooters?

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

“At a city hospital, staffers laid out a row of children’s bodies as armed guards stood over a pile of small wooden coffins.”

That shooting in Pakistan yesterday?

It makes my guts ache deep inside.

I have three kids, and this tragedy forces me to see my babies’ faces on the…

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I Wanna Lay Down, Not Fall Down

Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” Mark 14:29, ESV

I didn’t plan on my mouth flying open, but suddenly it did.

The thought bubbles floating around my brain shed their delicate membranes. They mutated into words with sharp talons, and they flew straight out of my very own lips. Shooting harsh words wasn’t what I set out to do. But in the end, it’s what I did.

I fell down.

Have you ever fallen down? If you have, you are in good company. Falling is a reality for each of us. And our dear ancestors of the bible fell down too. A LOT. Even when they were they weren’t planning to—like Peter. Just like zealous, big-mouthed Peter who denied Jesus.

“I will not,” Peter said. But Peter did.

The fatal error of Peter is obvious to us, but Peter didn’t have a clue. Peter glanced around and piously set himself on a pedestal saying, “Even though they fall away, I will not.” Peter thought he was better than falling—better than the others.

Deny Jesus? No way! Peter arrogantly believed “the others” were subject to failure–certainly not him. But arrogance is the staircase we climb with nowhere to stand at the top with a guaranteed fall to greet us. All too often, we are confident in our own skin instead of dependent on the God who owns our skin. And we can be so bent on success that falling isn’t on our radars. But it should be—because if we don’t plan for a fall, we can count on a fail.

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Failing to plan truly is planning to fail.

Man Woman with a Plan

Even though we walk with the Lord, we are still prone to wandering off faster than a three year old at the Dollar Tree. We’ll slip, trip and fall. It’s just in our nature. Knowing ourselves is half the battle, and it’s key to our plan of attack.

So, let’s just say it out loud together-

“I can fall. And sometimes, I will fall.”

But we have hope! Though our flesh is weak. the Spirit is willing! True—Peter had Jesus in all His glory right in his face, I believe we have a leg up on him. If we are new creations in Christ, we have the SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN US. And a mark of God’s presence in us is the move of His Spirit through us.

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We literally have the power of Heaven residing in us. The power to keep us from falling if we would but plan to tap into it.

So, what’s the plan Stan? The plan is to know and decide to do the will of God:

To decide Christ is worthy of our sacrifice.

To decide Christ worthy of our time and resources.

To decide Christ is worthy of our obedience.

Basically, we decide to lay down instead of falling down. We lay down on purpose to live out our purpose.

If we are in Christ, our calling—our purpose is clear. To make disciples. To love others. To follow in the footsteps of Jesus. And Jesus laid down more than any of us could ever lay down. He laid down His very life, taking on human form to atone for the sins of man.

1 John 3:16 says this:

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (ESV)

And John 15:13 says,

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (ESV)

Laying down is leaving behind sin that besets love’s reach from our lives. A preemptive strike is order. It’s time to plan. It’s time to lay that thing down before we trip and fall over it.

What causes you to fall down?

What verses can we plan to obey and prescribe to our hearts so the love of Christ prevails in our lives?

If you need help planning, I’d be happy to help! Do not hesitate to ask!

Linking up with Suzanne Eller, #LiveFreeThursday, Kelly Balraie #RaraLinkup, Arabah Joy Grace and Truth

Photo Credit:

Pixabay
https://pixabay.com/en/slip-up-danger-careless-slippery-709045/

https://pixabay.com/en/dandelion-nature-flora-white-431079/

When You’re Stuffed But Not Full

I was STUFFED.

I had eaten so much; there was no room to even breathe. Our anniversary celebration at a fondue restaurant was a rare treat. From the steaming pot in the center of our table, we drew bite after bite of delectable veggies, succulent meats and mouth-watering desserts.  It was the source of pure joy—or so we thought.

After about 20 bite-size pieces of decadence too many, we were miserable. A moment that should have left us satisfied and completely full rendered us feeling gross and miserable.

Stuffed With Food=Stuffed With Stuff

As we sat down to the sumptuous meal it was no doubt, a beautiful spread. Granted, it was a fondue experience, so the meat was RAW—yet it was so beautifully placed on the plates ready for us to dip into the boiling pot.

Boil…Eat…Repeat. Boil…Eat…Repeat. Until all was consumed. In the end, we had nothing to show for the dining experience other than a fat bill and an equally fat gut.

We began ravenously hungry and ended up totally miserable. And oddly, about 12 hours later, we could have repeated the entire process, AGAIN.

Enter the world of STUFF. Things that should satisfy us often leave us feeling miserable. Or gross. Or overwhelmed. Or… And the truth is, no amount of stuff (or food) will ever fully satisfy.

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World<Soul

Matthew 16:26 says this, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” There are so many things from our own lives we can apply in this verse:

What will it profit if I gain all the food that I want and yet lose my own soul?

What will it profit if I gain all the money that I want and yet lose my own soul?

What will it profit if I gain all the toys, fun and adventure I want and yet lose my own soul?

What will it profit if I gain all the blessings, safety and comforts I want and yet lose my own soul?

ANSWER?

NOTHING. Comforts, adventures, food, money—STUFF—will be of no use. Zero. Because like Grandma always says, “Ya ain’t takin’ it with ya!”

The stuff that matters so much in the now, doesn’t really matter that much in the end. So, where does that leave us?

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It leaves us to view things as God does. Does God bless us with stuff? Absolutely. He gives us good gifts all the time. (Luke 11:13) And we humans require provisions to make it in this life. But I can say with all certainty stuff isn’t what God cares about the most.

In Matthew 16:22, Jesus begins showing the disciples He will suffer, be killed then raised. And Peter, true to form, throws a little hissy-fit. He says, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

Well-meaning Peter wants to preserve Jesus here on earth, but Jesus corrects him saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (emphasis added)

Woah. Peter loved Jesus and didn’t want harm to come to Him. That is a good thing right? Even a “God” kind of thing, right?? Apparently not. Not when it is motivated by a human mindset.

Often, good stuff can even be a hindrance to a Godly mindset. And those things profit us zippo, nada, zilch.

No wonder we feel so bad when we’re stuffed! Stuffed after an extravagant meal, stuffed to the brim with earthly possessions, even stuffed with ideas that God would surely approve of…

Everything always boils down to this: Jesus’ suffering, death and rising from the grave is what matters most. Period.

It is ours to set our minds on the things of God. To set our minds to filter everything through the lens of the Gospel. It starts with a thought that this world isn’t all there is, but all that’s in the world can be used to point us and others to the cross.

Then we can moved from “stuffed” to fulfilled in Christ.

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How do you struggle with the burden of stuff?

What ways can you change your mindset about stuff to think about it with a kingdom focus?

How has this posted encouraged you today?:)

 

Linking up with Suzanne Eller, #LiveFreeThursday, Kelly Balraie #RaraLinkup, Arabah Joy Grace and Truth

Photo Credit:
Pixabay
https://pixabay.com/en/chaos-room-untidy-dirty-messy-627218/

https://pixabay.com/en/fondue-swiss-fondue-cheese-708186/

 

 

The Adventure of the Half-Open (Closed?) Door

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 5:13, ESV

We’ve been there—asking God to “open” doors or to “close” them.

But what happens when the door stares at us with a half-cocked sneer? That moment when the door is clearly not open, but it’s certainly not closed either. If you’re like me, you’re tempted to think half-open (or closed) doors are a non-answer from God…or are they?

May I submit to you that the answer to a half-cocked door is this: Trust the Owner of the door.

Trust God in the Waiting…

Trust God’s timing…

But above all,

Trust God…He knows your unknowns and will work in your life for your good to His glory.

Two Pink Lines

I’ve stood in front of half-cocked doors before. Twelve years ago, I was a newly-wed of seven years. We were enjoying our time as a couple. Translation? While I spent my days climbing the corporate ladder, Hubby was in school and student teaching aaaand working.

We decided “No kids.” While my husband’s thinking was “Not now,” I was thinking more like “Not EVER.”

But God had other plans…

When the time came to investigate the case of “the missing period,” I took a pregnancy test with fingers crossed hoping for a “No.” But when I looked that little stick, the answer was clear as day—two pink lines pointing right at me. Yikes.

So, I showed my hubby. We were prepared to…get prepared. My doctor repeated the test, yet they didn’t get the same result. Blood tests were ordered.

I went directly over to the hospital expecting that nurse to tell me my answer NOW. You know what she said instead? “Come back in one week and we will re-draw.” That was it. I was standing in front of a half-cocked door, and I was irritated. It wasn’t brain surgery—I just wanted to know whether or not I was pregnant. How hard could that be?  A simple “Yes” or “No” would have been perfect. Instead, I was slapped with “Wait and see.”

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Between the Lines

God knew what He was doing in the wait. While we waited for Friday to come, my hubby and I started our preparation. Soon, preparation became dreaming. That week changed me from a “Not EVER” kids point of view to “We will be great parents.”

Except, when the nurse came into the room after the re-draw, she said I wasn’t pregnant. She explained that I probably had a miscarriage during the wait. Initially, the pregnancy hormone was so low they needed to see if it would go up in a week’s time. She confirmed I was pregnant, but not anymore—the hormone level returned to zero. Door closed.

Today, I’m standing in front of another half-cocked door.

I had an MRI to figure out some answers, but instead I am left with more questions. They said they saw an “artifact” which the doctor translated to be “probably nothing.” He said it was a shadow that may have happened if I moved during the exam or a possible error with the machine, yet we are to “watch for symptoms” according to the radiologist. And consider re-testing in three to six months.

Half-cocked door.

Is it something or is it nothing-that’s all I wanted to know. But my answer is “I don’t know.” What do you do with that?

Here’s what I did—I put on trust. I stand trusting the all-knowing God of everything. Because it’s all I can do. And truth be told, it’s all any of us can ever do.

And you know something? I’m learning that trusting God in all I don’t have a handle on is enough, because He is enough to handle it all! The God who grants peace through the hope He offers to needy, sinful people is all you or I ever really need. Jesus’ blood restores us to God—God said so.

So, I am hanging on to the God of hope.

The doors on earth lose their importance knowing God has “prepared a place” for me in glory with Him behind the door of Heaven that stands wide open for those who love Him.

Photo Credit

https://pixabay.com/en/door-open-welcome-door-handle-194217/

https://pixabay.com/en/doors-entrance-opening-partially-217765/

 

Where you might find me:
Live Free Thursday with Suzie Eller

Rara Linkup With Kelly

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin

Bubbling Away From Pain

“Bubble, BUBBLE!”

My twelve year old yells the word “bubble” constantly while playing Super Mario Brothers with her little sister, Grace.

“Bubbling” happens at the press of a button. Grace remains in the world, but she just floats through the game in “observation” mode.

Em wants to keep Grace out of the way so she can take down the bad guys without Miss G messing up the attack plans. Because to be honest, Miss G is not actually a great player.

But ultimately, “bubbling” keeps Grace insulated from all the darts, bad guys and lava Mario land has to throw at her.

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I’m a “Bubble”

I might have invented “bubbling” before they ever added that option to the Mario game (yes, I was alive when it came out, GASP!). Except, I applied the skill to real life.

At the ripe old age of ten, my life was a mess. Maybe that’s why I was a little more mature than your average ten year old.

My family had fallen apart—my parents divorced when I was 6. I was living with my Dad and step-mom; they had their own problems—I didn’t know what they were, but I heard all about them from the next room.

I was still sad that my mom and dad couldn’t be together. I was sad that I couldn’t live with my mom, who lived four states away. I was sad that when I would visit my mom she seemed out of reach, still hurting from losing dad trying to find her footing as a single-mom to my little sister.

I remember sitting in my room on a yucky, gray, Florida day. The air was thick and dirty. I was at the end of my ten year old rope. And then I decided something… I decided “No more.”

No more sadness. I didn’t have time for anymore tears. I had STUFF to do. So, I “BUBBLED.”

At first, I bubbled myself in anger. I turned sad into mad until I learned how to amputate sad.

Then I bubbled away all the pain. I lived through everything learning to cauterize all the grief in me.

Except, the “bubble” stopped being a thing I did, and became who I was.

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A “Bubbled” Heart = A Hard Heart

Over the years, I didn’t know what I was doing to myself, but by God’s grace I started to see it. Most people just thought I was I “strong person.”

Nope.

I was a hard-hearted person. And I had done it to myself. Somehow, when I had no real understanding of God, it made sense to protect myself from feelings I didn’t need or want.

And it wasn’t pretty how I made the discovery that something was off with me. After I came to Christ, I was sitting in the pew behind someone blubbering in a puddle of tears over a message. I was harsh and judgmental in my mind. I had stinging thoughts like, “GET A GRIP, LADY. Pull yourself together!”

Yep. It was bad.

Yet, God is faithful in my rottenness, and it ALWAYS comes down to this phrase in my life…

BUT GOD.

God was gracious to make me look at those thoughts and to see the nature of them. I didn’t figure it all out right then…OH, no. But He’s showing me. And He’s helping me see over the wall I built one baby step at a time.

And how is He doing it?

HIS HOLY WORD, that’s how…

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

That judgmental, insensitive, unfeeling me? It doesn’t exemplify the character of Christ. Little by little, God roots it out and calls me out on my sin. God bursts my bubble—in a God way…and it’s all good!

My prayer:

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

I don’t want to “Bubble” through life missing the beautiful struggles that pull me closer to God’s heart—even if they break mine.

 

You’ll find me linking up with Suzie Eller’s Live Free gang here.

And Kelly and Friends on Tuesday.:)

 

photo credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/super-mario-red-jumping-man-1138462/

https://pixabay.com/en/soap-bubble-colorful-ball-824564/

STOP Trying to Fix Junk On Your Own-Three Tips on Fixing Problems For Good

Here’s the latest…

**DISCLAIMER**
*As you read this, filter it as a conversation I am having with myself. I am sticking my finger in my own face, and you get to listen in. 
Stop it. Stop trying to fix yourself on your own And stop trying to fix others. You can’t fix what’s really broken without Jesus. Puh-leeeze gurl, if you tried to fix your biggest problem by yourself, you would do nothing but slap a one-way ticket to the lake of fire into the palm of your hand. So get a grip.

Let’s look at this logically. You have been doing the same things over and over again, and you’re still a struggling, hot mess. How’s that workin’ out for you?

Maybe it’s time to change. To really change–for good.

Repeat after me:

I can’t do this alone.

I can’t muster up what it takes to fix what is wrong in me or…

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