Tag Archives: Body of Christ

Fire & Water Never Got Along So Well

 

Psalm 51:10 The Message (MSG)

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.

starting fires

Ever felt like you finally arrived at the top of the mountain you were facing?  Finally achieved a goal you had been striving towards?  Won a race?  Received an award?  I am feeling all of those things right now in this moment.  God says in Psalm 23 that He will fill our cups to overflow status!  He says He will turn all of our sorrow to joy!  He says He will turn ALL things to good!!!  I can tell you this is truth!!

God has done a number of things in my recent past.  Pulled me from a destructive marriage.  Kept me safe in several circumstances.  Restored my faith.  Given me new hope.  Promoted me higher than I could ever imagine.  What does this feel like?  Uncontainable, indescribable, incredible JOY!!!!!!

How did I get to the mountain top?  Surrender.  Surrender.  Surrender. and MORE Surrender.  Today alone this is what happened in my tiny little speck of a life:  I submitted book two to be published, figured out how to start my first book on Kindle, received TWO checks at work, and I obeyed God and started a dance group at church and people actually showed up.  Eight other people to be exact.

Yup!  All that in one day.  I feel the most significant event was the dance group.  When I saw the vision to start this dance team, I of course argued with God.  Why are you picking me? I am the least coordinated person on earth?  Lord, you know I cannot rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time!  Want to know what His answer was:  I always choose the least to accomplish the most in my Kingdom.

This group of women to me are the firestarters who will enable the body of Christ to walk on water.  He chose a leader, a worshiper, got someone out of their box, a Zumba instructor, a cheerleader, a gymnast and a past color guard person to become The Revival Warriors.  Our first practice was awesome and I really look forward to praising God in the most intimate way with this group of women!

So what is the moral of the story?  Mountain top stories are based on surrender and obedience.  Would I have found such joy today if I hadn’t stepped out in faith and called these women to bind together in unity to lead the church to victory?  Probably not.  I encourage anyone reading this to choose surrender and obedience in whatever situation you are currently in.  God cannot take you to the top of the mountain if you do not choose to surrender….He would never drag anyone up the mountain.

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Where’s Your Water Supply?

John 4:10-13

New Living Translation (NLT)

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.

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So I must apologize, I have been slacking!!  Some changes are happening in my life and we are in pursue of a house to rent and work has been busy.  In the mean time I seem to have put my writing aside a bit and I know that I need to prioritize things better so as not to begin back-sliding in the things of God.  So, I am back and I will continue to push for at least 5 blogs a week. On that note, here is today’s blog:

Rivers of living water are suppose to flow from our bellies when we are walking with God.  People should know right away that we are different in some way.  They should also be able to detect that we bring life with us where ever we go.  How is it that so many Christians are not portraying this?  Is the water we carry with us fresh and untainted?  Is it worthy to be shared so others may come to know this Jesus we carry in our hearts?

Let me just begin by saying simply, we once drew from the river of life, but now it seems as if we all draw from our own water supplies instead of seeking God for fresh water.  Let me explain how I feel about water supplies.  Once upon a time, long ago, there was one religion.  One way of seeking God.  One river which brought life to anyone who touched it.  Is Christianity today having the same affect or does it seem stagnant and not worthy of even possessing?    In my opinion, somehow we have gotten too far away from the main water supply and we are drawing from whatever suits our needs the best.

Not trying to step on any toes here are far as to religions, however, if we look at Christianity as a relationship then we all have to drink from the same well.  God loves each person on this planet, equally.  He desires for all mankind to come to know His Son and to be saved so that they may spend eternity in heaven.  How is this going to happen if we are all on different pages and in different books?  Christianity is a call for unity.  A call to be free in the things of God.  If this is to be proven true, then why are so many Christians in disagreement?  If we all love Jesus then why is there so much separation?

There is only one answer that makes any sense…Satan has used the conquer and divide method very well.  The more he can bind our thinking, the more confusion he brings to the body of Christ.  So we think we have all the answers and we take our “portion” of living water and set ourselves apart from the unity of the body because we think we are more right than the next person.  I feel that no matter what church we belong to, we should all be seeking the same water supply.

In conclusion, I just want to make it clear that it really does not matter how we get to God in the end, but it matters that we are all in the river of life when Jesus comes, not in our own little pool.  The purpose of our lives is to love one another and spread the gospel, so how did things get so out of focus?  We should not be focused on the number of people attending our churches but rather on the number of lives we can save from hell.

I Like Cucumbers

John 13:34-35

        So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

???????????????????????????????I like cucumbers, he likes pickles and won’t eat cucumbers.  He hates tomatoes but likes ketchup, I like both.  At first I disliked intimate worship but because of his love for it I also began to enjoy it.  Do you see the picture I am painting? We has humans have many dislikes and likes and when we marry someone or merge into someones life we have to learn how to work out our differences.  Even if someone does not understand the concepts behind the likes or dislike (take the tomato/ketchup issue) we have to learn that each person is different.

 

This also applies to Christian life.  We all have grown up in different church settings.  We have learned may different ways of worship.  We learned ways of praying.  We read different versions of the Bible.  Each of us interpret how to love God in the way we were raised and no one has the right to force anything on anyone else as far as how to believe in God or have faith.  We as a body of Christ need to learn how to weave our differences together to make a whole church.  No matter if one is Catholic or Methodist, we should be able to come together in unity to serve as Christ did.

 

Even in the midst of disagreement, we are children of God.  No matter what we put down as our church affiliate at the hospital before surgery, we are still going to pray to the same God in heaven.  We are still seek the same God to heal our wounds.  We all search for acceptance from God in our own way and we do not have the right to stand in judgement of another’s belief system.  We need to come to the understanding that we can not change people, only Jesus can and the only way we are going to influence others into seeing Jesus for who He is, is by our own actions and lifestyles.

 

So, to bring this to a point, I like revival.  I like the feeling of God working on my heart every time I set foot in the church.  I like the conviction He brings to my heart when I begin to step out of His plan for me.  I love the free worship.  I love the freedom I have to worship God right where I am in that very moment of time and no one will judge me for it.  I love Jesus and to me this is where I feel the closest to Him.  Revival may not be for everyone, but Jesus is.

 

Are you standing in judgement of someone else’s belief system?  Is it hard for you to stand side by side with someone from a different religious background than you?  If so, I urge you to let it go and seek God for the grace to love like Jesus does.  We are called to love one another as Jesus did and this means religion does not matter, it is the heart that does.  Any heart that Jesus resides in is looking for the same unity in the body.  I know I struggled at times with the same things and I finally learned to come to the understanding that only God can change hearts and minds, my only task is to love them right where they are.

Empty Glasses

Joel 1:17

The seeds die in the parched ground, and the grain crops fail. The barns stand empty, and granaries are abandoned.
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Sometimes we fail.  Often we say the wrong things before we can close our mouths.  Maybe we pushed someone away because they did not see things the way we do.  Perhaps we just closed our eyes and prayed for the best.  It’s like taking an empty glass to a desert, planting a seed and expecting it to grow and be fruitful.  When we come at something empty, we produce an empty and broken atmosphere.  Yes I am speaking my heart right now as I look across certain circles in my life and find that I am missing several friends who once were close.  What happened?  Was I the empty glass?  Did I not have a desire within me to nurture life?
I probably could spend all night listing all of the things I could have possibly done in the past to hurt others or to make them want to leave my life.  I  admit I am not the best at making friendships work.  It’s not selfishness or pride, it’s just I get tired of trying to be the good guy.  I want to love like Jesus does with all that compassion and grace and I have a desire to love people right where they are at…..yet…..I fail.  Why? Maybe I still have some brokenness.  Maybe I am just too busy.  Maybe I just don’t know what to say or do in certain situations and people think I have just let them go.
This is me.  I am a product of revival.  A creation only God could make.  I am who I am, faults and all.  I am a kind of love me or let me person be I guess.  I have so many things consuming my life right now…work, family, church….how do I make it all balance and still work on relationships?  Let’s get Biblical for a moment.  What did Jesus command us to do right before He left us?  To love one another and spread the Good News.  Are we really filling those shoes if we walk around with empty glasses?
What exactly is an empty glass?  Well, judgments, bitterness, unforgiveness, grudges, feeling unloved or unaccepted, mistrust, not letting the past go, misunderstandings, hatred, religion…..I could go on but it’s not pretty.  What fills those glasses? Grace.  How many of us have empty glasses?  I have lost several friendships in the recent past due to my new marriage.  What?  Am I not happy and content and still following after God with all I am? Am I perfect at it?  Nope.  Do I do my best? Perhaps not always.  Am I allowing God to change me as I go?  You betcha!  Maybe that’s wrong with me….I am too surrender.
How silly does that sound?  Too surrendered.  I guess what I am trying to get to is quite simple, I don’t want to be an empty glass and if I have been that to anyone reading this, I stand asking for forgiveness.  I miss my friends.  I miss the passion we once shared for God.  I long for my glass  to be overflowing so that wherever I go I will water the ground.  I want to be a source of strength for someone else.  I want my life to matter for God.
We as a body of Christ need to learn how to step in and stand beside our sister or brother even if we don’t always understand what God is doing in their lives.  We need to love them right where they are and not judge them.  We need to love one another not because we are perfect at being Christians, but because we recognize we all have pain.  We all have past hurts.  We all made wrong choices sometimes.  We need to learn to seek God in the matters before us and not with our own wisdom.  Yes, as Christians following after God we need to learn how to tell people that Jesus loves them no matter what and we should be able to do the same.
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Lord, fill my glass to overflowing.  Change what you need to change in me.  Give me the compassion to love.  Show me how to be a friend.  Let me not grow weary in sharing who You are to others.  Allow me to leave a river of You wherever I go.  Teach me Your ways Lord and give me wisdom to speak the right words.  Thank you for the grace which fills my glass to overflowing each time I come to you.

Closer Bonds

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

photo by Victoria Welc

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, makes and models and seasons.  Ever notice we have friends for every season of our lives?  Childhood ones who help us dream and play pretend.  Teenage friends who influence our thinking and challenge what choices we make.  And then there are grown-up friends, the ones who understand what you are going through and love you no matter what is going on in your life.  I am blessed to have several of these persons in my life and I still have childhood friends though we are separated by miles, we remember the times we shared.  I feel God sends us just the right persons into our lives at just the right times so that we may experience whatever He has planned for us in that span of time.

We may lose friends here and there, but I think it is certainly for reasons we may never see until we go to heaven.  I remember losing my best friend across the street at age 5.  Her name was Wendy and I cried for days after she moved away.  Then there was my best friend Kim who moved to Texas when I was 8.  Christian who moved when we were 12.  It seemed every few years I would lose another close friend as they moved with their families.  There would be sadness for awhile and then a new friend would arrive and all would be well again.  The pain of losing close friends whom you have shared what seems like a lifetime together sure is hard.

Then there are the friends who leave you because they do not match where you are going in life.  I remember my best friend ditched me right as we were starting junior high.  She decided she no longer liked anything about me my hair, my clothes, my make-up and apparently who I was as a person.  I had no warning to this as we had been close for awhile.  Certainly here again, God had a plan in mind.  I met some new friends and those ones I have had since school.  We may not see each other as often as we would like, but we are still connected.  We often cannot see what God may be protecting us from when He takes friends into other directions, but surely it must have been for our own good.

Of course, there are the friends who leave us for other adventures as God calls them home to be with Him.  I had a friend who lived across the street.  She was a down-syndrome child and was older than me.  I was too young to understand everything about Eleanor at the time, but I knew I loved to spend time with her.  I waited patiently everyday for her bus to drop her off so that we could play.  We spent hours just laying on our backs watching the clouds go by trying to tell each other what we saw.  One day we just grew apart and soon after she ended up passing on.  I never will forget those moments I had with her, I thank God for those few short years we had as friends.

Now as I am older, I still need friends, however it seems I need accountability more than anything.  I have since stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks of me and the junior high days are gone.  I have learned to trust God to send me the right people for my life even if at first they don’t seem to like me much first at.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must learn the value of the people in our lives.  Now some may be closer than others but as the Body of Christ we must learn to play well with others.  I totally trust God to protect me if I make wrong choices for friends and He has separated me from some who may have led me astray.

Friends are something everyone needs and my heart breaks for those who do not have any.  I  also feel much compassion for those who still feel alone even when they have lots of friends so it seems, but in reality, they are just being used for some reason or another.  I witness terrible friendships everywhere and it just stings when a person is a friend to someone until they walk away or step out of the room.  As I have grown in my relationship with Christ, I try so very hard to not participate when others are talking about someone.  I would not want that to happen to me and so I try not to get sucked into back talk and gossip.  Now as I have always been honest here, I fail sometimes, after all I am human and have many faults, however the more I desire not to be someone like that, the easier it is to walk away or stop the conversation.

Everyone of us have feelings and they get hurt or even destroyed sometimes which is why I think God brings so many people in and out of our lives.  He gives us endless opportunities to make new friends and keep the old.  Sometimes I think it is just for testing and perhaps a friend who quickly passes through may have just been an angel.  I cannot pretend to know what God is up to, yet I feel in my spirit this thread of truth:  God exposes us to different people and personalities so that may grow closer as the Body of Christ begins to form.  If we only had one group of friends for our entire life, we would never be able to fit in anywhere else.  Cherish the friendships you have had and the ones currently active in your life.  When God calls His bride, I assure you more friends will be present than ever before and we will need to know how to interact so we can be effective as a living example for Christ.