Quick Read, The Cross

Its Not About You

Your calling is not for you. Your testimony is not for you. Your deliverance is not for you. All these are for the King.

Theres someone that needs you to do what God called you to do. Theres someone waiting for you to show up where God told you to go. Theres someone that needs to hear your story.  Someone needs to know freedom is possible. 

After awhile you should’ve realized this whole thing is not about you. This is God’s story. How He created the heavens and Earth. Its the story of how He loved us and wanted us to purposefully choose Him, how He never stopped coming for us. Its His story inside and out. He is the producer, director,  script writer, set design, musical score, sound guy and leading man. We are just the extras in the background, but He knows us by name, individually, intimately and uniquely. 

Accepting this truth is the greatest self- actualization. The achievement of one’s own potential through God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. 

When you take yourself out of the equation theres freedom to live as God intended. It takes the pressure off. If we fail, God is Good. If we succeed, God is Good. It was never about us anyway. We’ve gotten it all wrong reading Genesis first. We interpret God creating the heavens and Earth before us as Him creating it for us. This is not the case. Defining moments happened before us, before Genesis 2:7. This is God’s story and we should feel honored we get to be a part of it. 

Isaiah 14:12-17 details satan forced out of Heaven. Luke 10:18 Jesus says He remembers seeing satan falling out of Heaven like lightening in the sky. This event predates our arrival in Eden.

There were acts taking place before and more to come after us. We are just players in Act II.  The backdrop of Genesis is to display God’s power, creativity, authority and love. 

So if this story is not about us, what about Jeremiah 29:11? It is often quoted on anything from decor to coffee mugs, 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Isnt God saying we will be prosperous? That we will have great things happen to us? Isnt it saying God doesn’t want us to hurt or be uncomfortable? Typically this is the verse that makes us feel good about our future. No matter where we find ourselves in life, this truth stands the test of time to give us assurance that God is for us not against us. However, we mistakenly interpret this verse to mean God will cosign on our plans or that our plans and God’s plans are a match. Even further, that we will recognize and agree with His plans. Some can take this to mean that if I feel harmed or feel that I am not prosperous  (by human definition or an American definition) then it must not be of God. If I’m suffering (even by my own hand, facing the consequences of my sins, facing the after-math of my own poor decision making, or by the sins of others, the poor decision making of others) then this must not be God’s plan. 

Because this is God’s story He is gracious enough to give us all almost 100 years to get in line. The average lifespan for humans is 79. Of course many people live longer and we celebrate those that reach over 100 years old. So what do we have to show for those 80 years? 

The most miserable people I know are those that are solely focused on themselves. They cannot fully empathize with others, are rarely interested in others (unless they are comparing themselves with another person), they rarely inconvenience themselves for others, they are extremely deflated in the presence of others, they dont function efficiently amongst others. When we are so self-focused we will become anxious, depressed and hopeless. We are imperfect subjects, if you refuse to admit that and take it to the Cross- you will be miserable. Because what hope can you have knowing how imperfect you are? That it is a huge bummer. You are actually heirs to the Messiah, the only divine human that transcended the human limitations of death. If you really knew deep inside the cells of your body that you were Loved beyond human understanding by a cosmic intergalactic Source wouldn’t you be emboldened to give this life your best shot? Knowing whether you win or lose, You still Win! We win because its not about us! We win because God is Good!

God gives us victory.                                     He opens doors.                                             He provides.                                                    He protects.                                                    He gives.                                                         He loves supernaturally. 

When things don’t go your way, they’re most likely going God’s way. Submit to it and keep it push’n. Get out of God’s way and there is where you’ll find peace.

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Quick Read, Transformation

Still Me

           (circa ’08?’09? I  was Snookie before Snookie was Snookie…)

You’re right, I’m not who I used to be. I believe in different things now. The things we used to believe together. I no longer do the things I used to do. The things that made you feel comfortable. The things we did together.

I don’t drink.

I don’t go to bars or clubs.

I don’t sleep with guys.

I don’t flirt or seduce.

I don’t use foul language.

I rarely listen to secular music.

I’m not a feminist anymore.

I believe in traditional marriage.

I don’t try to be seen.

I don’t try to intimidate.

I don’t put my ego first.

I’m a patriot but I pledge allegiance to Jesus.

I don’t believe the color of my skin entitles me or makes me a victim.

I’m Pro-Life.

And I was never a democrat anyway.

There’s plenty more I can’t articulate at this moment.
I cashed in all my chips and ended up with zero. These things bankrupted my spirit. As I moved closer to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit I could no longer hold on to those things. They no longer served any purpose because they are not based on anything long withstanding. 

I admit, perhaps I never made it clear in years past of what I did stand for. Though in my defense, I never claimed to be For some of those things; my only fault-remaining silent in my disagreement. 

I gave up those things willingly and freely. I’ve never felt and thought more clearly. I’m doing great. 

I am still Me. Unapologetic and Resolute.

When you probably roll your eyes at the sight of my name and the things I stand for now, know that I’m fine with whatever reaction you have. The disagreements that permeate in your bones, you’re allowed to have.  But know this –

It was you that shut me out. 

So I continue on, always available for non-spontaneous coffee dates, froyo meet-ups and other such treats.

With Love,

Still Me 

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Journaling, Quick Read, Transformation

Creatures

“God take these chains off of me, take the chains off of my heart off my body off my brain. Take these chains Take these chains off of me. God take these chains. These chains of consequences.

he raped my heart now I’m dealing with the consequences of low self-esteem no confidence. I gave him full reign on my body & mind. It’s all over now, it’s gotta be over. Cuz there’s no other way.”                                                                                               July 7, 2010

 

I wrote that in a journal I found in a box in my closet, literally and figuratively. A box inside my closeted soul. I wrote in the Purge how there was a time in my life where I teetered the line of crazy. That post was centered on a particular individual and the merry-go-round I rode with him.

This post however, I want to focus on myself.

I sat on the floor in my room reading these excruciating types of entries, recalling the events or being shocked at events I never remembered. Texting him in the middle of the night “delete my number and forget about me” and “tell me to stop talking to you.” Most going unanswered, unacknowledged driving me even madder. Never in a million years would I have ever admitted to being that crazy girl. In fact, I had like most people remembered the past as I chose to. Glossing over my own poor behavior and over emphasizing the poor behavior in the other person. After a text was ignored I wrote how I cried “all night” or “until I feel asleep.” This scenario saturated my journal.

I began to cry myself. Six years later, I am 31 years old and so far removed from the person I once was. My heart broke for the young me. Someone so lost. Lost in someone else. Lost in reality. I cried and apologized to God for not knowing Him then. I know YOU now though. You came for me, you never stopped coming for me. I felt shaken to my core.

I never truly saw the cage I was in until the other night reading page of page of utter nonsense. Pages of illogical and immature behavior. I was caged up in insecurity and rejection. An embalmed cycle.

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I told God later, I forgive him [the guy] even though I already have. Just in case there is something still there and I don’t know it. I release him. I forgive myself.

As I continued to process my thoughts and raw emotions, I believe God told me that it was not him [the guy] – it was not flesh and blood but principalities at work.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”    Ephesians 6:12

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only LIGHT drives out darkness. I was in some of the darkest rooms stumbling around, trying to find my way, getting bumped and bruised. The enemy liked me in the dark. Falling down and grasping, hurting myself. My sense of self hanging on the whims of another person [the idea of the other person]. Clouds and storms of dysfunction in between us. Looking back, I now believe there was only a small fraction of our real selves that were present with one another. We came to the surface sporadically only to retreat in fear moments later. What a sad way to live your life.

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The old me died a while ago, specifically on May 31, 2015 when I was baptized. I am a NEW creature and NEW thing in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   2 Corinthians 5:17

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”     Isaiah 43:19

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”      Romans 6:4

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—“     Romans 6:6

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”     Romans 6:12-14

new_creature_in_christ_by_marlacalandradesigns-d3hnpdz.jpgRelated Music: 

Once and For All- Lauren Daigle


 

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Quick Read, satire

10 #ChristianLife Hacks

The last few years have been my Christ following years and I have learned a few things here and there. Some lessons came easier than others but God has taught me so much and I would like to share some pointers.

This is also my first attempt at *satire*…

1. First of all, you don’t have to change. God loves you, just as you are and wants to leave you like that. He made you and He doesn’t make mistakes. So things like sin, generational curses and inequities – He loves them! God’s grace covers all things especially unrepentant, cold hearts. By all means, go to the club and at a drunken IHOP pit stop is the optimal time to invite your unsaved friends to church in just a few hours! They will definitely take you up on the offer. Another sure fire way to advance the Kingdom is to continue to see every rated R movie there is as well as spend time worshipping worldly musicians and bands. 

2. Don’t devote your time to “duties” like studying the Word, prayer, worship, serving others. Be a Mary not a Martha!

3. There’s nothing better than showing off God’s handiwork by posting provocative selfies. Pouty lips? Cleavage? Abdominal V? How might others ever know there is a God if they never see your lust provoking hot bod? 

4. Live in your feelings. Make large decisions based on your feelings. God wants us to follow our hearts even if we follow them into sin, strife, judgment, uncontrolled anger or bitterness. 

5. Pursue relationships with unsaved people that don’t encourage you spiritually. Its even better if you can develop a deep connectedness (often called a soul tie) to someone that is hostile to the Word of God. How else can we welcome suffering like the those persecuted in Hebrews 11?

6. Overzealously champion politicians and gluttonous corporations that are contrary to the Word of God. We must love our enemies so much that we become them.

7. When refering to God use key phrases like: The Universe, good vibes, mindfulness, patriarchy, outdated traditions and barbaric gender roles. This bridges the gap between Christ followers and everyone else. God wants us to go into all the nations and assimilate.

8. It is also important to divide people racially. After all, Egyptians are slave owners and Romans are elitists. Neither of which ever made it to Heaven. God only loves the oppressed not the oppressors.

9. Date many many many Christians. Always remember to #blessed all of you & Bae’s kissing pics.

10. If I could sum up all of these into one main point it would be, as a Christian you have all of the rights and none of the responsibility to feed yourself. Why eat filet mignon when you can have all of the milk and honey you want?

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Men, Quick Read

a Desolate Man

 

namib-desert-southern-africa

The desert is a desert because it gets no rain. It gets no rain because it gets no clouds. The conditions are hostile to plant or animal life.

Your heart is a desert. Uninhabited. Barren. It gets no replenishing rain because you never embrace the clouds. You’re stingy with what little water you receive and produce creations like shrubs and cacti. Your shrubs produce limited sustenance and the cacti, no soft place to rest.

I often used to settled in your desert like Terah dying in Harran (Gen. 11:31-32) and made idols of you like the golden calf (Ex. 32) only to be sunburned and left to endure the desert’s below freezing temperatures all alone. My heart became too sensitive to your elements and ravaged by your weather. 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”  -Ezekiel 11:19

You parked at the point of your pain. Its time to put the keys in the ignition and rev up the engine. The road belongs to you.

This is your invitation to Eden. Please join me…

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Quick Read

31 Things I Ain’t Got Time For

 

As of today, I’m officially in my “30s.” Now that I’m 31, I would like to take some time to list (because I’m a nerd and like lists) all the things I don’t have time for anymore. After a few serious blog topics I thought I would lighten the mood up a bit. This is for fun but do not underestimate the severity of this list.

1. Pants

2. Not getting enough sleep

3. Paying the extra $ for late Redbox movies

I once paid about $7!

4. Bad coffee

5. A messy apartment

6. Shame

7. People inciting arguments in my Facebook comments

Do you really think you will change my mind?

8. Putting off fun

9. Letting my gas light come on

10. Not washing my car

11. Feeling sad about loving carbs

I day dream about pasta.

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12. Old fashioned non-reclining movie theater seats

Seriously, my short legs need to be elevated.

13. Feeling awkward about leaving a social gathering early

14. Wifi passwords

I’m too scared to ask you.

15. Creating “accounts” for almost every website

I have no idea what my login name is, or the password…or the security question answer.

16. Spam mail

I don’t want to meet in SEXXXY GiRLs in my area.

17. Regular mail

I don’t want to rent-to-own a 75” flat screen tv.

18. Commercials on Hulu

Watching the same 3 commercials makes me feel crazy.

19. Charging my phone

20. Coffee not being free in America

At this point in time it should be coming from drinking fountains.

21. Not going on walks like I like to

22. Eating junk-food

23. Buffering

24. Running out of data

25. Being late everywhere

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26. Rewards cards at every store

Its great that I have 650,972,504 points, but in some weird conversion it equates to .47 cents?

27. Matching socks

28. Milk that expires

29. Movie theater snack prices

I can a get a 32oz pop at a gas station for .70 cents.

30. Any type of fee

31. People that are self-checkout incompetent

You should have to pass a test first.

 

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Men, Quick Read, Women

3 Ways Sex is The Great Distraction

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I find it amusing just how God can teach you something through the conversations you have, the people you meet, the books you read and everything in between. I often see patterns where others don’t and can quickly correlate streaming information into one theme. Something that God has taught me and clearly highlighted for me recently, is that sex is a distraction. The Great Distraction. It runs interference through all areas of your life. Many don’t realize how focused they are on sex and how many of their decisions reflect its importance. Sex is often an imitator and distorter as well. I read The Wait

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