Tag Archives: Jesus

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.

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Following…

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I give myself awayFollowing Jesus.  Seems simple.  But I find so many things pull me in so many different directions.  And most of them are good things.  Yet, they are distractions from following Him.

I find myself getting stressed because I put too much pressure on myself.  I put too many things on my to do list for the day.  I try to do all the things I think I should be doing.  And then at the end of  the day it can seem fruitless.

I need to start my day with Him.  Let Him guide my to do list.  Listen closely for His leading throughout the day.  I’m finding that so many things that are expected of me from this “christian” world is  not necessarily what He is expecting.  If I am following Him then He expects me to let Him lead.  Look at the simplicity of what Jesus says about being a follower of Him…

‘Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, myway, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” Luke 9:23-25 MSG

To be a true follower of Jesus I must…

  • Let Him lead me.
  • Get out of the driver’s seat.
  • Embrace suffering … stop running from it.  It is part of the journey.
  • Follow Him … He will even show me how to do that!

To find my true self, which is the person He created me to be I must sacrifice myself and my agenda … my to do list, deny myself and follow Him.  I don’t want to come to the end and have gotten all the world has to offer, the “blessings”, and find that I have lost what is most important.

Choosing each day to turn alway from my selfish, busy ways to follow Him.  I have decided to follow Jesus.

In Need of a Stable Influence

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ImageIt is 5 days until Christmas and I find myself in need of a stable influence in my life.  It is just too easy to get overwhelmed with all the stuff of Christmas and miss the reality of Jesus…to get to the end of the season with nothing but gifts to return and decorations to put away…never encountering the Savior that came by way of the stable.

You may be thinking…just WHAT is a stable influence?  A stable influence is the influence Jesus had on people when He arrived in that stable over 2000 years ago as a tiny, newborn baby.  The powerful influence that got the attention of shepherds and kings and wise men… and He changed lives then and is still changing lives today.  And I need Him to arrive in my heart this Christmas and do some changing and rearranging.

See an encounter with the stable changes everything.  When I truly encounter the stable I encounter Jesus and everything centers around Him instead of me and the perfect Christmas…the perfect gift…the perfect party…the perfect dinner.  It is really about the perfect Savior that loves the imperfect me and His love and presence changes me.

Because of an encounter with Him I become less selfish and more selfless.

Because of an encounter with Him I can sacrifice my dreams for His dream.

Because of an encounter with Him I can submit to His favor in order to be used by Him for His purpose and plan.

Because of an encounter with Him…being overshadowed by Him, He can conceive and birth in and through me His influence in my world.

Because of an encounter with Him I learn to live a life of humility and sacrifice.

Because of an encounter with Him I learn to actually live a life of faith and complete trust… not just talk about it.

Because of an encounter with Him I learn to truly hear…to listen to what God says and to walk out obedience even when I don’t see or understand.

Because of an encounter with Him my priorities change to focus on what is most important and that is Him and the people He has entrusted to me.

Maybe like me you find yourself in need of an encounter with the stable today.  An encounter with the baby who came and changed everything.  He is still here today to encounter our lives and change everything.

We need Him as the stable influence in us every day because we ARE the stable influence in our family, to our children,  to those that bump into us in life, in our piece of the world.  He positions us as THE salt and THE light.  God doesn’t have a backup plan.  His plan is for you and me to be the ones to lead others to encounter the stable and be forever changed.

“She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:7

Bethlehem's Manger

Lord…today we need to encounter You so we can be your stable influence in our family…to our children…to our friends…to those you cause to bump into to us…to our piece of the world.

Ladies…today I’m believing we all will encounter Jesus in a new and fresh way that will bring a fresh breath of change in our hearts and lives that will be infectious!

My heartbeat this Christmas season… to encounter the Jesus of the Stable!

 

A Season of Dirt

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A Season of Dirt

I don’t like dirt. It’s dirty. It requires work … hard work. It doesn’t go away on its own. And we have to face dirt … and be willing to get dirty in order to bring about the desired change: to be cleaned…to be changed…to be transformed.

I’m guessing that you, like me, have been in seasons of facing the dirt. I recently asked God to do something that has and is requiring me to get dirty so He can bring about the change that my heart is crying out for. I asked for this season and I continue to choose to submit to this season … even when it would be much easier to quit. My heart cries out for Him to search me and to know me and to help me to face the wicked and hurtful things in me … and lead me through the dirt to the transformation and to freedom.

“Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 AMP).

You see, I really want to know Him more. I really want more of Him and less of me. I want to be a part of what He is doing in the world today. I want to be free and whole in Him. I want His light to shine so brightly in and from me that it lights up the darkness: that it attracts others to Him.

John the Baptist said, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so]” (John 3:30 AMP).  So I submit to the season of dirt…so that I might decrease and that He increases in me.

I am really tired of the same stuff popping up; I want real transformation. And transformation can be long and startling and shocking and difficult. But I submit to His work of transformation in my life because I want to really please Him … I want to be the person He sees in me: the one He created.

When the pressure is on I want people to see and hear Jesus in me;  I want Him to come oozing out. So I submit to the potter … to the transformer … to the completer … to the lover of my soul … submitted to this season He has me in at this moment: a season of DIRT.   Are you willing to submit to a season of dirt?

In this season I must be willing to DIG … and to allow Him to DIG … DIG up the dirt. Some of the dirt I’ve just gotten used to, so much so I just didn’t notice it anymore. Some of the dirt I’ve rationalized; some of the dirt I’ve blamed on others. The digging hasn’t been fun and, at times, I have been tempted to go back to the blame-game, the rationalizations, and the complacency. But I am committed to experience real change and real transformation.

King David once said:”Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.”. (Psalm 51:4a NLT).

Seeing the dirt for what it really is, allowing it to be exposed, and confessing to God the dirt He already knows about has been a necessary part of the digging in my life … just as it was in King David’s.  Crying out for mercy, thankful for His unfailing love…His great compassion…

Allowing the Dirt to be Exposed

“Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2 NLT).

Then there has been the ERADICATION  of the dirt: allowing Him to do the cleansing work in my heart…purifying me. Only He can eradicate the dirt in my life and in my heart. As I allow Him to do this work I find a new heart, a heart of flesh … and the heart of stone has been taken. He gives me a heart that is sensitive and responsive to Him.

“And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God]” (Ezekiel 11:19 AMP).

In this season of dirt, often I have found myself RESURRECTING the dirt. This happens to all of us when we live under guilt and condemnation. But this is NOT God’s doing:  in Him there is no condemnation and no guilt! The Word tells us there is NO condemnation, he frees us, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV ).

Instead, there is cleansing and newness and freedom.  He does a complete work in us, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). We must choose to stand in the freedom He gives and we must refuse to pick up the things that bind again.

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” (Galatians 5:1 NLT).  He REALLY, REALLY sets us free…and it is our job to stay free!

It is so amazing! He actually TRANSFORMS the dirt. He takes what the enemy means to use to utterly destroy us and He transforms that into the very thing that brings us victory and power in order to bring us and others through the seasons of dirt into the life of freedom.

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]” (Romans 12:2 AMP).

And when He transforms our dirt we can then help others with their dirt…with love and compassion and mercy…knowing that they too can have the dirt transformed and find freedom!  “Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you” (Psalm 51:13).

He Transforms Our Dirt

So let us submit to the seasons of DIRT…

     Digging up the dirt.

               Irradicating the dirt.

                         Resurrecting the dirt.

                                   Transforming the dirt.

…as He does a complete work in us…knowing that on the other side of the dirt, the brokenness turns to joy!

The Brokenness Turns to Joy!

“Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me aclean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you” (Psalm 51:8-12 NLT).

Submitting to a Season of Dirt!

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