Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Some days it feels like we live in a nearly fatherless world.  Dad's leave, dad's travel, dad's were never there to begin with. 

I have the extreme blessing of being surrounded by a lot of amazing dad's, from my own dad, to my brother, to the man I married.  These men take fatherhood seriously and I could not be more proud or thankful to have them in my life.  

If you don't have men like this in you life, take heart, you still have a Father who loves you. You can read my thoughts on this and a little about my own father's father here.  Blogs by Christian Women is another blog I write at once every other week or so.   I would love for you to check it out!

Happy Father's Day to ALL the amazing dad's out there!  You are making a difference!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Passions or Idols?




My family.

Financial stability.


Passions or idols?

How do you tell the difference?

Sometimes I give the ancient Israelites a tough time.  I mean how hard could it be to let go of the golden calf and just trust God?!?  Seriously???  Why was it that every time they turned around they had a new idol they were worshiping, a new something or other that they were convinced would make their life better, easier, more fulfilled.

It wasn't that they didn't believe in God or didn't worship God, they just really wanted to worship these other gods too.  Maybe it was so they could be like the people around them, maybe it was so they could keep their options open.  I don't know why they kept turning to other gods, I just know they did.

Boy, am I glad I'm not like them! (read really thick sarcasm here).  The thing is, I am JUST like the ancient Israelites.  I believe in God, I love God, I worship God.  I also love a lot of other things.  My question is are they passions or are they idols?

Passions are things that you love to do and find fulfillment in doing.  They are pleasing to God and in alignment with what he desires for you.  You spend time doing them, but they do not take time or attention away from your relationship with God.  

Idols on the other hand, may have started out as a good thing but they quickly took over your life.  You love the idol and think you might find fulfillment in the idol, but ultimately you won't, because the idol will never be enough.  It will constantly leave you craving more, never filling you up.  It will eventually take your time and attention away from God.  It will damage your relationship with God. 

There are things in my life that are simply passions, but if I am being truly honest, I have a couple of idols I need to get rid of too.  

The idols we face today may be different than the ones the Israelites faced thousands of years ago, but don't be deceived.  We still face idols today, every one of us.  And God is pretty clear about what he thinks about idols.  

He hates them.  He won't stand for them.  And those who worship them will ultimately be possessed by them. 

God loves you.  He will let you worship whomever and whatever you choose.  I encourage you to choose wisely.  

Don't let your passions become your idols.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Will You Float or Will You Paddle?

There are days i wake up on fire for God.  I tangibly feel his presence.  I sense his Spirit.  I hang on his word.  I live for him.

And then there are days, recently occurring more than I would like, when I find myself going through the motions.  When, I don't think I have done anything different, yet God feels far away.  And when I try to draw close to him, I can't feel him or sense him.  In my head I know he is there, but my heart misses him.  

Like a loved one I haven't seen in far to long, I feel like I have missed the day to day connection with him.  I say my prayers, I read my bible and then I start to knock out my list of things I have to get done.  And I miss the connection.

Has this ever happened to you?  Am I the only one?

This morning I sent 2 of the 3 kids off to a neighborhood church's vacation bible school and I pulled out every trick I know about connecting with God.  I listened to worship music; I got down on my knees, forehead to the floor; I wrote in my journal; I read his word; I prayed his word.  And guess what?  We connected.

Not in the most profound way we ever had, but I felt him, and I felt loved.  

But I still couldn't help feeling like it shouldn't be this hard.

Am I allowed to say that?

I love Jesus with my whole heart, with everything I have.  But some days it's much harder than others to connect with him.  Someone once told me, if you aren't actively paddling toward God then you are drifting away from him.  As soon as you stop to rest, as soon as you get lazy, you start to drift away.  Maybe that is what has happened to me.  

There is a verse in 2 Corinthians that I simply love.  It has been in my index of go-to verse for a while now, yet this is a verse I have never fully learned to live.  

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

I know there are lots of people who live this.  Who live every moment, every thought, every word and every action of every day for Christ.  But this is not me.  Oh, how I wish it was! How I wish I could say my every thought is obedient to Christ, but alas, I cannot.  

This summer I have stopped paddling.  It's summer and I started to float, hoping I would float closer to Christ, but that is not how it works.  You can't just float down the lazy river and hope all those arguments and pretensions that go against the knowledge of God will simply be demolished on their own!  If you don't take your thoughts captive something else will, and it most likely won't honor God.

Unfortunately, demolishing and taking captive are not verbs that are accomplished easily.  You can't rest and relax your way into demolishing anything!  It's hard work to take something captive!

I made the mistake of thinking since I was taking a semester off of school I could somehow take a semester off of the hard work of drawing closer to God.  But I can't.  As soon as I stop actively drawing closer to him, I start to drift away.  As soon as I stopped paddling, I stopped all those arguments and pretensions stopped being destroyed, and my thoughts were no longer captive and I started to drift away.  

This morning God told me to pick the paddle back up.  He encouraged me to start paddling again, to find my way back to him.  Will it be easy?  Nope.  It's gonna be hard.  But oh, so worth it?

How about you?  Will this summer find you floating or will you paddle?