Tag Archives: God

Where’s Your Passion?

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I had a very exciting conversation with a young lady today. She was telling me that she had once began her studies to become a veterinarian but gave up because she was having too many difficulties with the studies. She obviously does have a learning difficulty but she had determined that her difficulty was simply too hard to carry on with her task so decided to lower her expectations a little to switch and become a veterinary technician.

As she was telling me her new goals, which she has been working on for about a year now, you could visibly see her lighten up and you could hear the excitement in her voice. In fact, she told me that wanted to tell many people of her new goal in life.

The excitement I heard, and that I related back to her, was her passion. She was iterating her passion. And it was contagious.

I have no doubt that Amanda will go on to finish her studies and will become a veterinary technician.

And I am pretty sure that she will specialize beyond that.

Why?

Because she was and is in the zone of her passion.

Passion is that objective that you have to have. You eat it, drink it, dream it … and live it.

And passion will carry you through in times when otherwise you might want to quit or give up.

And I know passion.

And I think we all know passion.

When is the last time you ever dreamed something so hard that you couldn’t let it go?

When’s the last time that you really lit up when you were talking about something … or someone?

When is the last time that you wanted something so badly that you knew you couldn’t live without it?

That’s passion.

A story is often told of a young boy who desperately wanted to learn a martial art. It is said that he sought out the training of a wise, old sensei.

In the boy’s search of the old man, he did find him. And he found him fishing in the middle of a stream.

The boy waited patiently on the side of the stream for what seemed like hours … simply in pursuit of being recognized by the old man.

Finally, the old man looked over at the boy and said to him, “boy, what is it that you desire?”

The boy anxiously responded to him, “Oh great master, I desire to learn your martial arts.”

The old man simply looked away and continued fishing … seemingly ignoring the young boy.

After a while longer, he again looked over at the young boy and said, “boy, what is it that you desire?”

Again, the boy responded, “Oh great master, I desire to learn your martial arts.”

And again, the old man simply looked away and continued fishing.

Finally, after another hour or so, the old man looked over at the boy and said to him, “boy, what is it that you desire?”

And, as the boy had before responded, he said “Oh great master, I desire to learn your martial arts.”

The old man motioned for the boy to come out into the water with him.

The boy, desiring NOT to show his excitement, waded out into the water to the old man.

When the boy reached the sensei, the sensei violently grabbed, pushed, and held the young boy’s head under the water.

The boy struggled violently as well.

..until at last, four bubbles come from his mouth

…then three bubbles

…then two bubbles

… then one bubble

At which the old man, grabbing the boy by the hair, lifted him out of the water … obviously (and literally) dying for air.

And the old man looked at the boy and said to him, “Son, when you want to learn the martial arts from me … as much as you wanted that next breath of air … come back and I will teach you.

This is an illustration of the power of passion.

Passion causes us to come back when all Hell is coming against us.

Passion is that thing that causes us to NOT give up when nothing else seems to be going our way.

Passion is what finds us successful.

Why?

Because passion creates within us an “I’ve got to have it … or die trying” attitude.

So again, I ask each reader today … what are you passionate about? And what’s it going to take to see your passion fulfilled?

And when you have answered those questions … carry on …. and see your passion come to fruition.

The Road

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Again, my guest blogger this week is my hubby, Pastor Jim Garrett. Read his blog and be encouraged and  be challenged.

The Road

It was a hard, cold, snowy winter in the mid-west this year. Historical temperature and snowfall-level records were broken and new ones were set. And schools in my area surpassed their allotted levels of cancellations several times over. Some have even said that the students are going to have to go well into the summer break in order to make up for those cancellations.

And many people continually fussed about the depth of the cold. In fact, it seems that complaints about the winter of 2014 far exceeded the appreciations.

But I chose to take a different tack. This year, I am learning to count my blessings and to appreciate the winter, the cold, the snow, and all other parts of life. In fact, for four weekends in a row, my wife and I had to travel between Chicago and Toledo round-trip. We experienced icy roads, sub-zero temperatures, white-out conditions, cars and trucks driving too fast and dangerously, and a doubling of travel times.

But rather than complain, I learned (and am still learning) to embrace this winter. I learned (and am still learning) to appreciate the cold, the snow, the wind, and the long travel times.

Why?

Because the Bible tells us that we are to focus on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Our attitudes must be transformed from the negative, sorrowful ones that many display into that which is full of hope, purpose, and vision. In fact, one of my favorite Christmas movies expressed a similar attitude as Bing Crosby sang:

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

As I looked at the snow, felt the coldness, experienced the wind, and drove through the extreme slowness of the traffic, I chose to count my blessings, and to enjoy the journey of being blessed by Him.

I embraced this winter season.

Can you embrace the winter season of your life? And THEN move beyond it.

What About That Posture Now?

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The Posture of a Princess

Posture! I don’t know about you but when I think about posture I see little girls dressed up like princesses walking erectly across a room with a book on their heads … Being trained to carry themselves gracefully no matter what goes on around them.

I also hear moms saying, “Sit up straight!”; “Don’t slouch!”; “Hold those shoulders back!”; “Hold your head up!”; “Remember who you are!”; “Remember who you belong to!” Maybe you hear something like that too!

But this past week I was challenged about a different kind of posture and this has been working in my spirit. I’ve been challenged about the posture of my heart. (Thank you, Sandra Camper!) What is the posture of my heart? Have I been practicing my heart-posture so that no matter what comes my way and no matter what goes on around me I can carry myself gracefully? So I’m asking God … What do You want the posture of my heart to look like? And this is what I’m hearing…

What is your posture?

My posture must always be one of humility. I must have a humble heart in every situation and in every circumstance. Jesus showed us humility. He gave up His position. He gave up His title. He gave up what was rightfully His. He humbly hung on a cursed cross when He could have called the angels to come and rescue Him. Instead, He humbly took the insults … being made fun of … being lied about … being spit upon. Yes, He humbled Himself and became a man. He humbled Himself to the point of death. And He has called me to a life of humility: willing to give up whatever it takes in order to have the posture of humility … to be clothed in humility (Colossians 3:12 NLT).

My posture must be one of submission.  I must choose to wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him (Psalm 62:5 AMP).  Submitted not only to God … Submitted to my husband … Submitted to those God has placed in my life as friends and mentors … Submitted to those who are in authority over me … Submitted to those with whom I am in community in faith.

Like a little child…

My posture must be one of absolute trust: choosing to trust my God even when everything around me is screaming that I can’t trust Him.  I must choose to trust God from the bottom of my heart and stop trying to figure out everything on my own. Instead, I must listen closely for God’s voice in everything I do and everywhere I go.  He is the one who will keep me on track (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG). Choosing to trust people even though trusting people in the past has caused pain and loss. Choosing not to build walls of mistrust.

My posture must be one of forgiveness … Forgiving so I can receive forgiveness … Forgiveness so I can live free … Forgiveness because He calls me to live forgiving … Forgiveness because I am not perfect and instead, am in need of forgiveness.

My posture must be one of mercy and grace: mercy because of the mercy I receive … NOT getting what I deserve. Grace because of the amazing grace I receive … Getting what I DON’T deserve … Living a life that emanates grace and mercy to those in my life and to those whom God causes to bump into me in life.

My posture must be one of confidence. Not confidence in myself because I have it all together … ’cause I don’t! But confidence in my God: confidence that He has my back … Confidence that whatever He brings into my life or allows in my life He is working it in me and through me for my best … Confidence that He can and will take the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the joyful, the painful and mix them all together and work them for my best … Confidence that my God who began the good work in me is still working and will keep working to complete me … Confidence that He is keeping me in His completion process.  I LOVE how Paul says it, “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Philippians 1:6 AMP) (Side Note for those who follow my posts or teachings … This is one of my most favorite scriptures!). He is completing me … and the posture of my heart is part of the process.

My posture must be one of purity: being quick to see my sin … being quick to see my impurity … and being quick to truly repent … experiencing Godly sorrow and then turning away from my sin and toward God’s way … bringing every thought captive to the truth of God’s Word in order to maintain a pure heart before God and toward others.

My posture must be one of longing: longing after God … Longing to have His Word etched upon my heart … Longing to honor Him with my life … Longing to be in His Presence … and then knowing that I must have Him to survive.   My heart so connects with this verse, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1 NLT. God I can’t do this without You!  I’ve gotta have You in my life!

My posture must be one of teachability: knowing I always need to be learning and growing … Knowing the most important thing is to get wisdom: His Wisdom … And not just to get that wisdom but to use that wisdom He gives in all of life’s situations.

My posture must be one of honesty: honest before God regarding my decisions and the attitudes of my heart … Honesty before others: taking off the mask … Being real and vulnerable … Honest with others even when it is difficult.

This posture is a matter of my heart. Therefore, above all things I must guard my heart. I must be very discerning of what I allow to penetrate my heart because the issues, the things of life, flow from my heart. (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)

At His Feet…

So, how do I get this posture? And when I get it, how do I keep it? It only comes from spending time with Jesus: spending time in His Presence, at His feet. He will train us and give us everything we need to carry ourselves gracefully in all aspects of life. But this only comes from time spent in His Presence. We must make such time in His Presence THE priority in life. Everything else and everyone else will be affected by the choice we make to spend time with Jesus.  This verse says it so well, “Seek the Lord, and crave Him and His strength; seek and require His face and His presence continually, always.” Psalm 105:4.  Seek The Lord.  Crave Him!  Seek and require His face and His Presence!

And all the while I can hear Him saying, “Sit up straight Cheri!”, “Don’t slouch!”, “Hold those shoulders back!”, “Hold your head up!”, “Remember who you are!”, “Remember who you belong to!”.  Maybe you hear that too!

Practicing my heart-posture so that no matter what comes my way and no matter what goes on around me I can carry myself gracefully!

Seeking After Him

Seeking and Requiring His Presence,

Cheri

If and Then

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For such a little word, “IF” is enormous! “IF you will do something for me THEN I will do this for you.” One such statement that I’m really learning lately is “IF I will eat healthy and exercise THEN I will lose weight and be in better health.” Oh, the power of “IF”!

“If-then” statements are just what the name implies. They tell us that “if” a certain thing happens, “then” this other certain thing will happen in response. God uses these types of statements: “if we do this, then He will do that”. In our walks as Christ-followers, we must understand what God is saying to us in these “if-then” statements. It is one of these “if-then” scriptures that triggered this blog and is very fitting as we celebrate the fourth of July.

As we are celebrating our country’s birth and freedom, we find ourselves in a place of decision. We have sat by silently and apathetically regarding our country and our rights as citizens as well as our freedoms for far too long. Oh, we quote the Scriptures but do we truly hear what they are saying to us? To truly hear means to listen and then to respond by walking out God’s Word in obedience.

Our country is at a very critical crossroads and I believe that what will make the difference starts in God’s Church … which is you AND me … And at this critical juncture, God says IF…THEN…

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14 NLT)

God has something He really wants to do for us, for our country … And it follows our obedience to His “IF”.

IF … We His people … Not those who don’t know Him but those of us who do!

IF … Those of us Who are called by His Name … Not the rest of the world, nor because of your political power … But because we are His!

IF … We will humble ourselves … Strip away all pride … Know that without God we are nothing … that He is our very life. We must humble ourselves before Him … fall down before Him in total abandon.

IF … We will pray … Not just a “God, bless America” prayer but a prayer that bombards Heaven … Praying for His will (to be) on earth as it is in Heaven. We the Church must unite as one in prayer for our nation!

IF … We seek His face … Crave Him … Require Him as a vital necessity. I mean we have to go after God, and make sure that He is our priority and the love of our lives.

IF … We turn from our wicked ways. Repentance must start with us. We’ve gotta clean up our act. We’ve gotta cry out to God to clean our hands and to clean our hearts.

THEN … IF we will do these things, not just today and not just in a pinch but, instead, will make them the very foundation of our lives … 

THEN … He WILL hear our cries from Heaven…

THEN … He WlLL forgive our sin!

THEN … He WILL heal and restore our land.

And THEN we will experience complete freedom … Freedom in our country … Freedom in our hearts, and freedom in our lives!

“If” and “Then” lead us to freedom … True Freedom!

Let’s Do the “ifs” so we can get the “thens”!

Cheri 295221_10150995473799906_1538259451_n