One Body, Forged by the Faithful, Fuelled with Youth

As a body of believers we are like a rolling ocean.

Some are in the adolescence of faith, frothing and breaking at the peak of the swell with passion and energy.  Riled by injustice and quick to spring to action.  Sometimes causing a splash and a crash, or creating a crest of rolling beauty.

Others are in the quiet of resting in Life with Christ.  Settled into the harbour of God Grace.  They have seen and discussed all theses things bombarding the church now and have seen it all before.  By faith and experience they know the Lord has provided and His Word had stood true this long.  They need not make much of a ripple now.

Also there are those in the deep dark places, reaching for the light and hope.  Those that are dwelling underneath the surface.  Christians get sad and get low and it is up to the rest of us to look beneath the surface and send undercurrents to prayer and love to move and stir those disconnected from the Joy of life with Christ and his children.

And then there are those far away lost at sea, searching for the secrets of this great and mysterious body that moves as one and as many at the same time.

Romans 12:5      So it is with one body. We are many parts of a body, and we will belong to one another. 

Young don’t look at the old as complacent or disinterested.  They have patience and wisdom on their side.

Proverbs 19:20      Listen to advice and accept discipline, and in the end you will be counted among the wise.

Like wise, you older, don’t disregard the passion and conviction you see in the young at faith, as folly.

I Timothy 4:12     Don’t let anyone look down upon you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

Rather look to each other to glean wisdom and to gather excitement.

Look into the water that rolls and shimmers with the spirit and soul of a great nation and dive deep.  Baptizing your whole being in the living water that is to flow into the bare and desert land.

Only when we accept the church, graciously, as flawed and sinful, as a band of brothers and sisters, can we work as one.

If the family of God is a ocean, then the filling of the body comes from many different sources.  Rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.  We are all running clear to the same destination, splashing and overflowing many banks on the way.

Look upon your brothers and sisters and realize they are not just like you….  Yet we are drawn to the same destiny of life reconciled to Christ.  Though we all have different struggles and interests and stories and ambitions.  All streams lead to the sea but every kind of water fills the basin of Gods great grace.  If we are to be a body, that is pleasing to God, we are to endure patiently, regard respectfully, listen more then we talk and give more then we receive.  Its the Golden rule and it is true for the flourishing of our Christian family.

Luke 6:31   Do onto others what you would have them do to you.

A loving display of acceptance of every person, in the sea of faces that ebb and flow through channels of faith, on our way to the sea. Each is a important key to bringing water to a desert place and quenching the thirst.  Flow with the grace given us with Christ and filter His love to a parched land.

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Look In

I have been seeking and searching, pruning and purging.  Trying to skinny down the “must do’s” so I can fully focused on the one thing that is most important, today and every day.  Serving where the Lore has placed me.

My vision has been some what scattered.  My community, my church, neighbours, family, friends.  I feel like my heart is breaking in every direction and I can’t possibly be in service to all at once.  I feel inspired, overwhelmed, torn and then defeated.  And each time I pray the Lord say “Look In”

“Look in to your home, Jenny.  That is the greatest task I will ever give you, and you are being romanced by the dream of ministry….  Is not your family ministry anouf?” 

We all know it is but the needs of the many seem to outweigh the needs of the few in my mind.  So I commit to this, and volunteer for that.  I will just serve at this function and bring a meal every time there is call to help.  I think if they are all good things then I must be doing well to never say no.  I love to be creative and serve.  But at what cost?

This is not my encouragement to step back and do nothing.  It is my commitment to step up and do the right thing.  

1  pray pray pray and listen listen listen.  Not if I should serve…  I don’t need to ask God if He wants me to teach Sunday school or bring food to those in need.  Its a no brainer, YES!  But that doesn’t mean I must do it all, every time.  I must Pray and ask “will this yes make my number one task you are calling me to (my kids and husband) be neglected or dishonoured?”  My priorities must be prayed over.  There will be time I can serve and still be fully present to my family, so go serve. But there are times I go way over my capabilities and my kids get my leftovers and the trucker is neglected. So those are the time I must say no.

2 be okay with God filling the gap.  Because He can!  He has not called me to success and productivity, He has called me to rest in Him.  He has not asked me to feed the 5,000, He only asked for my 5 loves and 2 fish, and He provides the rest.  I can server faithfully and wholeheartedly when I remember that the success or failure of any ministry is not dependant on me getting it all done or figured out.  The gospel will move forward with or without me.  I am only invited to ride along, with my meagre offering, to join in the adventure when my kids allow and my husband is on board.

3 stop stressing about it.  God has made His will clear.  Go and make disciples of all nations. A wise friend recently told me, as we were talking about programs to get our kids involved in.  Sports, music, sunday school, day camp, VBS, homeschool Co-op, swimming lessons, the list goes on and we as moms antagonize, about what to do, what not to do.  She reminded me that all theses things are good things.  They all get a easy Yes!  But you can’t say yes to them all at once.  Likewise I can’t serve on the Church committee, plan events, volunteer at the ski club, lead a bible study, teach Sunday school, run wilderness play group and still expect to have relationships that foster flourishing and love with my family, let alone have any friends.

4 be nice… What is the easiest way to fulfill the great commission?  Love your neighbour as yourself.  What if we were just all in the zone of caring for our families and being nice to our neighbours, to our friends.  What if my Faith was make by kindness and generosity and not with productivity?

Now Im not picking those of you out there managing the non-profit or running the car-pool.  I don’t aim to live isolated and saying no to every service opportunity that comes my way.  But I do intent for my yes to be my yes and my no my no.

If my family ends up with the leftovers then I am out of my depth and that is the space where Jesus has prevision for my limitations.  If I can include my kids (not just drag them along) if it doen’t suck every hour out of my evening when, I could be culitavating my friendship and love with my husband. Then count me in!  But when it stretching me so thin you can see right through me, its time to step back.

As I have been more consistent about praying over my limitation before I commit. I see I have begun to commit to much less. But my family and I flourish much more.  My kids get my best offering and my husband doen’t watch me struggle to juggle and balance.  We have more energy as a family to just be nice and kind and generous.  The Gospel is still fufilled but Im not pretending Im responsible for the feast.  I just offer my loves and fishes and God dose the rest.

The Lord has called me to look in.  To look into my own home and see my children as worthy converts, to be witness to the love of Christ in mommy.  To look into my friend group and community and see where I really could serve from my heart and from my home.

Each day I walk out to the pasture to feed the calves and I look into our yard and I thank God He has asked me to “Look in” and has given me a congregation of family and friends to minister to, with my Husband and my kids.

Don’t feel Im telling you to quit what the Lord has in your heart just because it takes you away form your kitchen sink and own back your.  We are all called differently and in accordance to our gifting and abilities.  Serve with all your heart where ever you are.  But if your heart is being tugged, just as mine was, to “Look In”. Don’t be afraid to make a change and pray pray pray for His leading.  You will always be in ministry as long as you are nice and marked with the Love of Christ flowing out on those in your path.

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Full Stop

We took a spring camping trip for Easter Week this April.  Up to a hot spring and Provincial Park, just south of the Yukon Border.  There is no cell service, no corner store, no mini golf, nothing you don’t bring with you.  Just the hot springs a little play ground for the kids and Gods vast wilderness.

Lately I have heard of the idea of a “Full Stop”.  Just putting down what is overwhelming you and taking a step back for a moment, a hour, a day, even a season.  I hear of woman having a “Year-of-Nope” and, though I love the idea, I can’t see it working for me. But Full Stop, thats perfect.

Wether its simply ending a school lesson with my kiddos before the waterworks begin or  taking a year off a committee a minister or a commitment.  The Full Stop is what I need to practice.

Ecclesiastes 1:8-9                                                                                                                                                                      All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Now this is not a self care concept exclusively, though it may help avoid burn out or screaming at your kids and husband.

No this can have much deeper gospel implications.  You see when I allow myself to step away from whatever it is I am obsessing over, or anxiously trying to control or even just cope with.  I leave space for the Lord to fill the gap.  I relinquish control and I rest in Gods prevision.  Because the truth is there are tons of great things to say yes to.  But with every Yes there is a resounding NO somewhere in my life.

When I have blindly said yes and not fully come to a stop to reflected on my choices.  I miss the bigger picture and sometimes I have closed doors I haven’t even considered, because I can only walk through one at a time.

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My family and I were lucky anouf to take an extended Full Stop, away from any commitments or connectivity and I came home refreshed and refocused.  I felt the weight of the No I have been saying lift a bit. When I took a step back and rested and took the time to pray over Gods leading and My own longings and struggles. I heard His voice because space had been prepared, for Him to speak and for me to simply be still.  So for now, I am newly resolved to listen to Gods leading, and stay focused on the Yes He is calling me to.

Also I am reassured that what has been, will be again.  What I mean to say is, just because you say no to a opportunity today doesn’t mean you will never have that chance again.  Good things don’t just come around once if they are your calling.  It may take a wile but God is always wooing us into His grand plan, to redeem His children back to Himself.  He will always have a role for you to play and a mission for you to sink into when the time is right.  But until that time is here, I am practicing prudence and choosing  my Yes more wisely.  This is the only chance we get at today and tomorrow will have many opportunities of its own.

So Fully Stop and rest in Gods goodness and generosity.  Wile you take a break He will hold down the fort, and give you room to lean in and hear His calling afresh.

Proverbs 8:12                                                                                                                                                          I wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.

Have Faith, But be Faithful

I first learned about “Girl Power” when I was 3 years old.  My earliest memory was standing on the pier in Vancouver waving by-by to Daddy wile he rode away on a B.C. Ferry to the Island for what would be his last stay at Rehab.  He had a drinking and anger problem, and he loved my mom and us kids furosicousialy, so he was dealing with his issues.  My dad has been clean and sober for coming on 30 years.  He is a great dad and always has been.  But thats not the point of this story.

I still remember the feeling of confusion, “where is daddy going?” I remember wondering if he was coming back, and I will never forget how my mom stood looking out to sea wile her hair was teased by the ocean breeze.  The sun was setting pink and orange and she was beautiful, she looked like she could carry the world.  I didn’t know if we would see daddy again but I knew as long as we still had mom everything was going to be ok.

That was the moment I first saw Girl Power.  And my admiration for strong woman grew. Dads faviriot catch phrase was, “I like my tea weak and my women strong.”  I fell in love with Ma Ingauls from “Little House on the Prairie” and Michaela Quinn from “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman”  I wanted to be like them, strong, lovely, gracious and wise.  I wanted to have a voice and help the marginalized, I was going to make a difference.  My father encouraged me to be who I wanted to be, the concept of blue and pink jobs never entered my mind.  My mom was a leader in church with children ministry and contributed in spiritual conversations.  My value as a woman and my value in Christ was never questioned.  I was a image bearer and equal partner in the Great Commission.

When I graduated and left home, everything changed.

I was introduced to a extremely chauvinistic work environment and what you might call old school church structures.  I learned that I was just a little girl in a mans world and I didn’t have a voice or a opinion or equal opportunities.

Men with authority, in both the church and the work place spoke opinions and partial truth into my theology and by the time I had absorbed the teaching and terrible advice I had lost my holding to the Love of a Heavenly Father and was surrendered to a Dictating Man upstairs who taught Church was for men and if I wanted to participate there were always undesirable jobs for woman to do.

My Faith was solid, but my theology was flawed and far from functional.

But thats not the point of this story either.  It is to say for too many years I have struggled with certain teachings about woman and our place in the church.  I have not questioned the truth of the words.  But rather the Love behind them seemed like limitations on my service oppoturinities.  And I am not going to say more then that because in recent years I have plainly just gotten tired of the same old conversations and refuse to have them anymore.  I believe all scripture is God breathed and for our benefit and I will leave it there.  So here is the point to all this.

Recentally I felt compelled to pray into this area of unrest in my heart and the Lord convicted me deeply,

Our conversation went a little like this…

God: You say you believe woman can’t be elders or pastors but you don’t accept that this is a direction of Love…

Jen: Because I don’t understand how it is Loving?  Im my knowledge of you I know you do all things out of Love but I just fail to recognize the Love in this one….

God: You would see it if you did these jobs.  You just have to trust Me.  You don’t have to justify it, just to accept it graciously.

Jen: You know I don’t want to struggle with this concept.  I don’t go looking for things to dought….

God: But you know the world is always going to encourage your worldly reactions and perspectives…

Jen: But faith is complicated.  How could we ever expect anyone to become a Christian if the answer is “You will never fully understand…”  “Just have faith….”

God: But faith is the whole point Jenny.  If you had nothing to exercise your faith on in the easy times, what would give you any hope in the hard times?  Knowledge doesn’t convict a heart to trust when it is scared.  Having exercised faith is how you will know to remain in my prevision when things get rough.  This is how I teach you to trust My Good will.

Jen: I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way…

You see I have missed the blessing of Christ growing my faith for all these years.  I had all the experiences to resent the teaching of truth and love in regards to those 2 little limitations in Church Structure.  But I also had all the resolve to accept what the Bible tells us is pure truth.  But I have wrestled with this teaching for many years, and defeated, I accepted the Doctrine but not recognized the Love in my impression of what I saw as a Limitation.

It really wasn’t about woman and church and that Law…  It was about my willingness to have Faith and Obey when I didn’t like the taste in my mouth.

And how helpful has that been over the years!  In my marriage, the trucker and I love each other deeply,  but we are both still self centred and flawed.  I have practiced my resolve to honour my heavenly Father so therefore, I had a idea how to honer my husband even when its hard.  When the Lord has asked hard things of me, like no more babies, or embracing hard friendships and letting others go.  Moving north or selling our home to buy land and be homeless with winter coming on….  I can step out with action because God has given me practice is walking around in the dark parts of faith.  The places you know you are meant to dwell but you can’t nessarially see the the whole path ahead.

With time spent exercising obedience and faith, in the face of little understanding you can trust even the scariest situation.  No, I am not overly brave and I still struggle, but I was encouraged at the promise of God leaning in and building my faith all these years.  My head was in the right place but my heart just couldn’t reconcile.  And now to look back and simply see the truth never change but I did and God never withheld His love and guiding hand,  I just needed to wrestle through long enough to see it.

This is a celebration of Gods goodness to the faithful.

Be strong and courageous do not be afraid!  The Lord your God is with you and He is growing you and you will see the fruits if you can just stay in the fight!  

Jars of Clay

Jars of clay are weak, they are fragile and break easily.  They were not designed to withstand long drops or bumpy rides.  Not without some kind of internal force keeping them together, holding them steady and stable.  So we conclude that they were intended to contain things.  Their function is simple, its humble structure would display no beauty alone and empty, but its purpose is held inside, with a great fragrance of destiny meant to be shared, between the vessel and its precious cargo.

Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians and used clay jars as an example of how we are to reflect the function and purpose of this simple age old technology.

2 Corinthians 4:1-2a

Therefor, since though Gods Mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception nor do we distort the Word of God.  On the country   by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every mans conscious in the set to become the best, the brightest, the perfect performer we envision we shall become in the future.  We may not have obtained the required resources within ourselves at this time.  Under qualified and under funded with the merger means of our world view for the task at hand.  Regardless!  It is because of Gods great mercifully plan to use imperfect saints to sow seeds in perfect sinners.  Christ chose us for HIs great work, to accomplish great things for His Name sake.

Just like Satan in the garden “He didn’t really say you couldn’t eat form this tree…” manipulation.  Its the truth we believe the lies of this fallen world, that are pulling us down with it. Into a pit of self drought, self pity, and questioning our purpose and worthiness of a calling to victory.  A victory we have already been given at the cross.

Its simple, so present it as your simple truth.  As we live each day with this goal in mind to live, speak, and demonstrate the Truth, our lives and the lives around us will become more fulfilled, more fruitful, and spilling over the shallow sides of our clay jar.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.

You are a vessel simple and empty, so am I, and its the same old garbage in and garbage out.  But you have a better option; you have the capacity to be filled with power, might, passion, grace, beauty and a wonderful God who is generous in all ways.  All these things will radiate out from your jar as you focus on the giver of life and hope and wisdom.

Remember Gideon, and his megre army, they hid a lamp in their clay jars, and as the 300 approached the enemy camp, outnumbered 450 to 1 they broke the weak bonds of their jars, shouted the name of the Lord and victory was won.  Cause no one can stand against the light of the light maker.  The powerful become powerless when they stand against the One who created the rage of the ocean and the tower strength of the cedar trees.

Cause why shine like a candle stick when you can shine like a electric star?  For the maker of the stars has a light he is ready to see you radiate to the darkest corners of this world.  To the lonely places in our schools and in our care homes.  The integrity we are to infect throughout our work place and with in our business community.  The joy we are to infuse into our Sunday school children and our preschoolers in our homes for those few, short, tender years.  Like a sunflower reaching for the sky we can stand tall and allow the precious life changing cargo we carry within our hearts to shine upon a dark world.

1 Kings 17:16

For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

And you remember the story of the obedient widow with starvation looming for her and her son.  But according to the direction she was given, she complied to the leading of the Lord, through the direction of His prophet.  Her jar stayed full and her life was saved.  It is life or death.  Is your jar empty…  are you starving for purpose and direction…  Are you floundering around in the dark looking for the light that the end of the tunnel…

Take hope, embrace your weakness as a clay jar and become filled with soothing, essential, power to be poured out like a healing balm on a hurting world.  Like a spring that will never run dry, accessible to you is the unending, refreshing and sustaining waters that will quench your driest thirst and sooth your aching soul.

Jeremiah 18:4

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

You must see our role in the death of Christ.  Each burden of our sinful ways we insist on carrying around with us.  From day to day we pack around the burdens we have grown accustom to, but that is not what we are destin for.  We are to be filled, not flattened under the heavy burden that is waiting to be lifted.  Lifted and placed at the foot of a battered cross, so that when we surrender our weakness and temptations at His feet we can open our hearts to be filled.  Filled like the custom vessel we are destine to be and to capture the vision of a future with no more cumbersome load, slowing us down from our given purpose.  No more bitterness or anxiety or rebellion, but peace and comfort in its place.  The place contentment is meant to dwell.  The place made by the master potter who formed us from dirt into clay jars made for His love. Labelled with His calling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, Works and why I had it all Wrong.

James 2:14-26 
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [a]that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [b]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [c]dead, being by itself.

18 But someone [d]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that [e]God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [f]as a result of the works, faith was [g]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Faith:   A strong belief in God or in the doctrine of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather then proof

Spiritual Apprehension:  the act or power of perceiving or comprehending the working of the Holy Spirit

Faith is born in us.  It is a living breathing part of our person when put in the context of salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  There is something super natural and deeply spiritual about committing your Destiny to the Deity of Christ.  Salvation is not of this world.  Salvation saves us from the sin of this world, and when you really think about it, it can’t be explained away as simply rules and religion.  It is so much more, because all Joy and Flourishing is on the line.

But James tells us Faith has a counterpart called Works.  Oh the conversations that have sprouted form this passage.  Maybe you have had one that sounded like this.  “Im not sure if so-and-so is a christian, I know there is a understanding there and even a commitment at some point but I just don’t see the fruit of it coming out in works….”  I know I have

Works: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

You see I don’t think I had ever really looked super close at this portion of James because I didn’t wantt to uncover something that would make me question my or a loved ones faith.   But here I am digging deep with a little fear and a lot of hope.

You see my definition of Works sounded a little like this; missional, serving, giving all your money to the poor, overseas calling, busy busy busy in the church….

But as I was studying I felt the Lord whisper to me, “You have missed the link between faith and works and in that link is where our salvation really lays.”   

You see Gods Work in our Hearts transforms us from the inside.  Biting your tong can be a work of faith that no one will recognize.  If I realize the vastness of Works, I will have more hope and less obligation to do all the things I Should be Working at and leave more time and energy for the growth of work in my walk to cultivate a more genuine Love offering.  The work I was made for.

Why have Faith if it dosen’t change you.  What is the purpose of that?  Faith and Works is not about productivity.  Its not a trick, slid in to insure the Christian is in-slaved to Christ. Rather it is the blessing and the gift of the Holy Spirit Working out the roots of sin and selfcenterness in your soul.

Think about your life, if you can see no change in your heart, if your outlook is never challenged, if you aren’t becoming more compassionate for the children of God.  That is when you need to ask yourself “Is my faith dead?’If it is not evidentially growing, your faith may have never truly taken root.

The marks of the Christian life is Love Compassion, Grace, Thankfulness, Joy, Humility, Servant-heartedness….. These are the products of God Working out the sin, shame, guilt, self-centredness, pride, vanity, materialism, and every foot hold of the devil.  THIS IS WORKS!!

Works is not what I am doing,  It is what Faith is doing in me.  We must have Faith, But be Faithful.  That is the space where works are born from.

As sin is worked out and love is given room to grow, that is when your behaviours will reflect the faith in you.  If the work of compassion is kneaded into your heart, the result will be seen, played out in how you spend your time and your money.  But we can not measure Works from the outside.  So often we serve out of”obligation and the things we should do.”  And though that my get the job done and many may be blessed it is not a reflection of the Heart change.  It is not a testimony of all things made new.  It is a testimony of guilt and fear.

When we take the pressure off for Christians to perform for their place in heaven. We open the doors for the Spirit to flow as we serve from our passions.  When your heart is set on the things of Christ, it will break for His children and in the breaking will come the truest offer of work for a weary world to be ministered by.

The beauty of works is it blesses us first, so we can then pass the blessing on to the rest of Gods Children.

 

 

The Gosple has no room for Shame

Genesis 3:7  At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree the first gut reaction was Shame.  Sin rode into the garden on the back of Shame.  Disobedience lead to Shame, and Saten is still using his old Shame trick today. Trap them in Shame, and they will lose sight of Hope and their identity in Christ.

Notice I said Reaction and not Response.  Reactions come from fear, reactions take us from Christ.  Responses lead us towards the cross, towards healing and towards the richness of life with Christ.

Shame also makes us hid our true selves.  They made coverings for their bodies.  Their bodies that were created in the image of God.  The bodies they had been walking and thriving in, up until this point.  The bodies that drew them together with a shared rib and I’ll bet a shared passion.

When we feel shame we want to look away, we want to hid our failings and our flaws.  Sometimes we react with covering our emotions with shopping indulgently, to replace our feeling of worth.  Or we binge watch TV to hid in someone else’s story line.  Maybe it’s emotional eating to fill a void that is gaping in our souls.  But grass dosen’t grow under Shames feet.  It is busy leaving its mark and leaving us wondering “is this how I was meant to feel?”

Because lets be honest, All our troubles with Shame, can be drawn from 1 of 2 buckets.  One labeled Perfectionism and the other labeled Comparison.  

We reach down into the Perfection bucked and pull out a picture of the body we want or the productivity we try to attain. And we feel it grow in our hearts, the feeling of not being anouf the feeling of failure, the feeling of Shame.

Or we reach into the Comparesion Bucket and covet, for the raise a co-worker received or the friendships that others are enjoying.  The house that Mrs. Jones lives in and the Childern that others are delighting in.  And that is when Shame sets in and speaks. “You don’t receive because you am not worthy, hard working or valuable.”

Because if Satan can keep us bound up with the “if only” and the “must be nice for you” then he can keep us tied down with Shame and a Loss of Identity.

I heard it stated we must separate our “Who” from our “Do”.

Who I am can not be defined by what I am doing, (or not accomplishing). Not by what has been done to me or spoken into my fears. Rather,  I am who Christ created me to become.  I am valued at the price of Jesus Blood and I am free of sin and shame because I am loved by a Good, Good Heavenly Father.

Jesus came to die for my sins, Not for my perceived personality disorder. 

So there for I must embrace who I am and discard all the sin that in-tangls me.  I must look at myself through the filter of the cross and creation and redemption.  My identity, the woman Christ has created me to be, was meant for such a time as this.  Not because of my great ability.  But because as God flexes His great power, He will accomplish His plans through my life and His story. In a unique way that will have our signature and the guiding of the Holy Spirit on it.

God created us to be close to him, not to be worshiping at the alter of Pinterest.  He wants us to be reaching into the word not scrolling our news feed.  Feeding our minds with all the things we arn’t accomplishing, the pounds we aren’t losing and the romance that we are missing out on.

Because when you look at your life through the filter of Perfectionism and Comparison that is where discontentment and Shame is born.  Maybe you haven’t looked at it this way before.  Maybe you think this underlying feeling of Anxiety, Stress or Discontentment is totally normal.  But its not…

Genesis 2:25  Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

This was Gods plan!  To be our true selves and feel no shame!  Its mind blowing in a world fed buy social media, advertising, living life by design,  more, more, more…  The world is  calling us all into discontentment.

Where God has given us everything we need for Flourishing and all Joy.  The road map to all Joy and the the Fullest life is found in the pages of His book the Bible.  The “shalt’s” and the “Shalt’s not” are not limiting us to a boring, hum-drum life.  They are calling us into a more peaceful life.

 Just a parent says “don’t touch the flame the fire is hot.”  It is a direction of love, not of limitation.

The world is begging us to recondicer our happiness by wooing us to life of Shame, cause we will never attain what the world is selling.  But God is giving away Contentment Tickets to those who will listen to His calling to come and rest in His plans.

So I give you the alternative;

Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Stop the scrolling and pinning and hashtags.  They are killing your time and distracting your from your testimony.  For all the good they serve they are dicipeling you to want and long and wish for the gain that will never satisfy.  Seek the Lord and pursue understanding because the shedding of Shame and Satisfying of your Soul is on the line.

 

 

 

 

The light that just keeps on shining even when things seem kinda dark

It’s April in the Peace River and you and you aren’t thinking “Fire Season” but that is just what is raging all around the country side. 70Km a/hour winds and tinder dry ground. The dugouts are full but the ditches are dry. Lighting strike, a spring clean up burn that gets away, power poles sparking in a wind storm… Its all up in smoke and covering ground fast. It hit home for us as we watched friends displaced from home they might never see again. And the smoke and flames I watched from my bedroom window late into the night wile nursing my baby made me think about the sin of worry and the challenge of faith.

And there she was, my Reata girl. Omie had taken her to the dollar store and she picked a pink birthday hat to take home. It had blinking lights and pink pom-poms on it. She just wanted to celebrate and have a party and her lights just kept blinking. As I kissed her good night after we talked to God together she settled in with her special hat on, lights shining in the darkness, and I was reminded…
God light shines all the time and He is always good.

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He is worthy of our praise in the easy moments and in the hard ones even more.
Cause even if all the world is burning around us He is still God and He is still in control. I am not asked to have all my imagined troubles solved before they even come to life. I am asked to worship. I am commanded to make God my first, not to fall in-line behind my anxiety. I can’t sit in my concern, and not be concerned about others, cause we are all Gods children and that is a life worship.
James 2:14 “What dose it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but dose not have works? Can faith save him?
God saves, faith believes and our faith, is to be worked out in our lives, producing good works that breath life in to the darkness. And God blesses the obedient who follow the calling of their faith.
The kids were all tucked in and the power was back on, the wind had shifted and the Lord called me back out into the darkness. Because he was with me, I was to go and shine light into the lives around me. Intimidated I drove down the dark winding road that led me to the neighbours. The coyotes were darting in front of my SUV and the gate squeaked just to make it all the more creepy.

However obedience to the faith of your Father’s calling must be met with action and it is encouraged by blessing. By grace I met my neighbour before heading down the hill, before the first wire gate, before the creek crossing, and we talked about the fires and our horses and making bread.  I gave her a fresh loaf I baked the day before. Standing in the darkness surrounded by dark forest and shivering with the cold wind cutting through our spring jackets. I was blessed…
Gods light blinking like a birthday hat from the dollar store can be you… It can be me… Your fear or your overwelmed schedule or your weaknesses are no excuses to be held back from Gods calling on your heart to be His light in a lonely world, burning its self into blackness.
Let your Faith be confirmed in the good works of obedience and worship and praise even when your energy is low and your heart is heavy. Nothing uplifts like the power of the Holy Spirit working in you. Discernment leads to decision and that takes us to action.
Homes are still at risk and smoke still fills the spring air. But the contrast of leaves bursting and grass greening and birthday hats blinking tell me God is still alive, and in all His glory. His name is worthy to be praised and I will worship Him with gladness and I will obey Him in the good works He has for me, even if I am afraid. Because His love casts our fear so I must spread the love, of the Giver of Lights, and share the hope that is growing in my heart.