Meant For More

My oldest son is a bull rider. From the time he was three years old watching it on TV something about it captivated his heart. He would sit and watch for hours as a 130 lb man attempted to vest a 2000 lb tornado. He would beg us to let him try to ride one so, we broke down and agreed that when he was 8 he could try. Honestly, I thought he would out grow it, that it was just a phase, that by the time he was 8 he would have moved on….that wasn’t the case. His eighth birthday rolled around all too quickly, as they tend to do. He only wanted one thing, bull riding equipment. A few weeks before we had taken him to Montgomery to let “try” it out. I reasoned in my mind, we better let him try it before we purchase equipment and” waste that money”. So there we were…there he was 2 weeks shy of his eighth birthday, climbing on the back of a bull. He lasted longer than I had anticipated but landed flat on his back. All the wind immediately was knocked out of those tiny lungs. I ran to the chutes to check on him… I asked all the typical mom questions and he just shook his head. He couldn’t speak a word. But then I asked him “how’ed you like that?” he looked up at me with a grin a mile wide, shaking his head up and down and gathered enough breath to say “when can I do it again?”. I knew from that moment on that this wasn’t a phase but little did I know exactly the weight of this sport would have on our family.

A few weeks latter I found a rodeo association in North Alabama. As I look back, I know without a doubt that God set it up for us. That me running across it wasn’t a coincidence but providence. We knew nothing about bull riding. We watched it on TV but that was it. All the form and the training it takes to excel didn’t even register with us that first year. We knew one thing…to be a bull rider you have to be tough. That’s all Collin knew at that point as well. Hang on and be tough. We had no idea how tough he really was. Its amazing how tough one can be when their living out their God given dreams. Anyway.. The third bull he ever got on he turned out. (meaning he choose not to ride him). On the way home from the rodeo that night, I sat in the back of the van with him. He kept shaking his head and putting his head into those tiny little hands and saying “ I’m so mad at myself…” I told him that there was nothing wrong with being a fan of bull riding  without actually riding bulls. I went on to say “bull riding isn’t for everybody.” I will never forget what he said to me…those blue eyes looked up at me, glazed over as he held back the tears and said “ I was meant to be more than a fan….it’s for me.” I knew in that moment what had happened to him behind that chute: fear. Fear had stolen his opportunity and had the chance to still his dream and passion. Realizing this was  a strategic moment for him I then said “then you can’t let fear steal that from you. If you want to be a bull rider and God has put this in your heart – you have to make up your mind right now not to let fear steal that away from you.”. And he hasn’t since. There has been times when I thought “he’ll never want to ride again after being beat up like that.”. But he does. Times when I think to myself as he is being beat to death in the chute “he’s got to be scared out of his mind.”. If he is it doesn’t show. One time stands out in my mind… he got his hand hung in the bull rope, he was being dragged and tossed about. The bull fighter couldn’t get his hand free, 10 men finally got the steer stopped long enough to get his hand out. His pants were ripped off, his vest had been as well. Any normal 9 year old boy would have been shaken up but his first words to his daddy were “please don’t let mama make me quit.”. Im proud of his resolve of his resistance against fear. But more than that I’ ve learned a valuable lesson from my child, in him I have seen what it is like to truly be courageous. To fight and not coware. To get back up when you’ve been knocked down. Most importantly that faith > fear.

I look at him so young yet so firm in purpose and I stand amazed. I cant help but glance back at my past and realize all the times that fear has stolen something precious from me. Fear is a nasty opponent. It rationalizes itself and camouflages as concern or reality. Fear shackles so many of us, keeping us locked in the cell of anxiety and dread. Dreams are unfulfilled, ministries have yet to be started, relationships are never made…we miss our chance. All because of fear. As I go through the files of my mind, I see just how much fear has stolen. I was too afraid to make that call…, to scared to enroll in that class…, to afraid I would be rejected…to scared I wouldn’t measure up…fear has stolen much. It dwells on the “what if’s” and makes the risk seem greater than the reward. It screams so loudly in our minds that our resolve is deafened.

Fear is a thief.What has it stolen from you?

There is one simple combat for fear. We find it in Philippians 4:5b “The Lord is at hand..” this simple 5 word statement is a cure all for fear and anxiety. When the reality of Gods presence truly hits us than fear loses its threat over us. Fear threatens us with lies that question Gods love, that some how we’ll end up abandoned and forsake. Even though we know He has NEVER let one of his own fall, fear tells us we’re the exception. When we buy the lie that fear is selling us than our vision is distorted. We cant see the circumstance for what it is, we only see what it “could be”. The thick cloud of “could be” settles down on our minds and causes us to question, to retreat, to backup or to just freeze. It seems innocent enough at the time, but behind the thick disguise of that cloud, fear is stealing from us.

I have so many examples I could go on and on. But the latest one is my newborn. He came into this world 3.5 weeks early but not a moment too soon. His birth was 9 days after my mothers death. We needed him, needed to know there was still beauty in this world, that God’s grace is till prevalent over this fallen culture. He was tiny, weighing 6 lbs 7 ozs but was perfect. We had a small army praying over that babies development and prayers were answered- he needed no oxygen, no lights..he was 6 lbs of perfection.

We were in the hospital room, all the visitors had come and gone for the day. We sat on the bed gleaming in the joy of his precious face when suddenly he gagged, all the flem from birth had not be extracted and he was choked. He went stiff and couldn’t catch his breath. My husband ran for a nurse as I did all I knew to do. After a quick suction of the nose he caught his breath and all was fine. But I wasn’t. As the night ticked on, I sat there…terrified. I felt it. That cloud of fear descend upon my mind and it stayed there for the next few weeks. I was afraid he would choke again, afraid he would spit up and aspirate, afraid something was wrong that they missed, afraid of SIDS, too afraid to close my eyes and fall asleep. Fear had stolen my joy of this grace filled gift. This child was no doubt given strategically at this time in our lives, placed here to be a rainbow of hope. But yet I was letting fear steal that joy.

Its time to expose whats going on behind that cloud. How different would our lives be if every time we feel the threat of fear blowing in that we refuse to let that cloud hover over us. When the lies pour into our minds we fight them off with one simple phrase “the Lord is at hand..”. Fear limits and throws us off the coarse God has laid out for us. We coware back instead of surging forward. Fear is more dangerous than we tend to reason; it steals Gods gifts to us. It ransoms what was meant for the redeemed. It not only steals opportunities, but our God given rights as daughters/sons of the King: our peace, joy, victory, purpose…etc. Christ paid the price to grace us with these things, but fear snatches them away.

You were meant for more. Your life wasn’t intended to be dictated by fear. You were meant to be radiant and full of confidence, taking the “bull” by the horns and saying “you are no match for my God.”

That incident with my son was over three years ago now, so I have wondered why God is bringing it back up again. Maybe because it breaks His heart to see His people lose their peace and joy. Perhaps it’s because He is tired of us not fulfilling  our purpose. Or maybe it’s because He realizes the agony we are in and He wants to expose what fear is doing to us.

Hold on to whats been given you, don’t pull back in fear, walk out of that prison cell and take your place in the Kingdom. The enemy has and will always use fear against us because he realizes what a danger we would be to the kingdom of darkness if we used whats been given to us.

So, the next time fear blows into your mind make this declaration ” I was meant for more…”

“When I am afraid I put my trust in you” Psalm 56:3

Put here to serve

image.jpegMy husband and I were eating at Chili’s the other day when something caught my eye. The silverware was neatly tucked within a small envelope with the words “Put here to serve” written across the front. I immediately got a lump in my throat as I pondered over the service of Christians. So many loyal and faithful saints pour out their lives for the cause of Christ. So many selflessly sacrifice on the alter of obedience everyday. However, let’s be honest, some do not.

Most of us would probably have a list of places where we serve, how we serve and why we serve. But the how and the where of service is totally irrelevent if the why is not firmly rooted. We say we “Serve”, but honestly, we are just there in physical form. It costs us nothing; we give little of ourselves and we go about our merry way thinking some how that the God of heaven is pleased with service that is void of devotion. Without devotion our service is nothing more than glorified works and has no effect for the Kingdom of God. So let’s begin by answering this question: Why do you serve?

We were created to serve.Yet in the choas of the world around us we are infiltrated with the idea to “look out for number one”, to push aside everyone else’s needs until ours is met. The degree to which we serve can often be an indicator of who/what exactly is number one in our lives. We can air with confident words of dedication about our love for the Lord but the reality of that dedication will be found out by our willingness to serve. True dedication cannot be forged. It has a way of making itself known. The love for Christ that fills our hearts will spill out into the tangiable realm; that’s where service starts.

Service is far more than merely “helping” someone or filling a position at church. Service is the demonstration of an inward reality. True service streams from a heart that is dedicated to Christ not only in word but in reality. Service is thus the expression of our dedication. If our service is lax, then chances are our dedication is as well.

What makes our service shaky and unpredictable is when we let our emotions dictate that devotion. For example: “I just do not feel like going…”, “ So and so hurt my feelings so I’m just not going to play my role anymore…”, “ I wanted to lead that class but since I wasn’t asked, then I wont be a part…”, or “I get too nervous…”. Look at the subject of those declarations: I. Our lack of service can be traced back to our intense devotion, not to God, but to ourselves. Our own comforts, our own plans, our own fragile emotions..etc.

Devotion to self is the leading cause of death to our service. It’s why we scurry about in a mad hustle and end up with no fruit and no fulfillment. It’s why we often run in the other direction when we see seomthing needs done. Self devotion makes excuses, God driven devotion makes servants.

Biblical service has a focal point, and it is not ourselves but Christ. When we have the opportunity to go out and eat at a resturant, the server is there for one reason- to serve. They are attentive to the customer’s needs, wants, and desires. Even though many have worked double shifts, with aching feet and a sore back, they lift the one they serve above themselves.

A server: one who spends themselves for the benefit of others.

As the sun hid away on that dark resurrection day, the account of heaven was emptied out. Spent on behalf of humanity. Every resource was used as God himself, wrapped up in humanity, served earth what was needed; Salvation.

We are given the ultimate picture in the cross, yet in John chapter 13 Christ brings servitude to a practical level for us. As the hands that formed the cosmos washed the filth from his disciples’ feet, we see it…what real servanthood looks like. Bowing down to wash his inferriors earth trodden feet he expels the idea of self devotion. It’s important to realize that foot washing was set aside strcitly for servants, gentile servants at that. To wash the feet of another was degrading and lacked honor, that is until the Prince of Heaven strapped on the servant’s garment. This act is the picture of the devotion that drives servanthood. A devotion that is full of love and honor for another, that spends itself for each other.

“If then your Lord and Teacher has washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

We serve because we’ve been served. The fact that Christ has washed our mangled feet with his love and grace motivates us to do the same for each other.

Humility-that’s our “how “of service. Devotion is the engine that drives it; humility is what keeps us on track.

“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12

I looked up the Greek defintion for humble and one of them was “to make a mountain level.” You see too often we are mountains in our own estimation. Humility ,on the other hand, is when we are “leveled out”. Brought to where we  can actually be of some use. If not then we will be as a mountain in the path of the cross, blocking others from experiencing Christ. We use the word stumbling block a lot in Christian circles, knowing that our actions can make others stumble…it’s more serious than what we may think. In Romans 14:13 when mentioning this exact phrase, Paul uses the Greek word “skandalon” which is where our English word “scandal” is derived from. Pride has mountain size consequences….it’s even scandalous to those around us.

After Christ had meticulously went through the line of disciples, wiping each one down with his mercy he asked a heart stopping question “Do you understand what I have done to you?”

Imagine those piercing eyes penetrating deep into the ressess of your soul as he asks YOU this question…what would your answer be?

My conviction is for the majortiy of us….we don’t. Not truly. We know he has in our minds but the gravity of what he has done escapes us somehow. It has yet to make it to our hearts.  Why would I say that? Our service tells on us, that’s why. If we understood what he has done, service would be a natural outflow from our hearts.

The transforming experience of Christ’s service to us fuels our devotion, or it should, because…we were put here to serve.

Purposefully Graced

Why am I here? What is the meaning of my life? Countless people through the ages have asked this question. Everyone desires to be relevant, for their time on earth to have some significance.

2 Timothy 1:9 “…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began..”

Before the first tick of the clock, before the first bird soared in the heavens, before the first lion roared across the savannah, before the first buttercup sprang up at the onset of spring, before the first horse thundered across the plains or the stars light up the night sky….God had a purpose. This purpose was set squarely on the shoulders of His son;the foundation of His eternal plan rested upon the Suffering Servant. This plan was bigger than mankind could ever perceive, more in depth than any theologian dares to dig, more significant than the church realizes.

What was his purpose you may ask? “To bring many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10) Ephesians 1:11 adds to that by saying “ IN Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works out all things according to the counsel of his will. So that, we who were the first to hope in Christ may be the praise of his glory.”

His purpose is straight forward…. to bring about salvation to humanity and for those who are, to glorify his name.

For the second part of that purpose to be brought to fruition, He called us to a holy calling. For the sake of His magnificent glory, He left you here, on purpose for a purpose. His purpose is not complete at the onset of our salvation. That is just the starting point… For before the world was set into orbit, He set you apart to do something specific. A holy calling. H.C.G. Moule stated that God’s call is “the voice of the divine grace prevailing upon the will.” In other words, when God summoned you out of the darkness and into his marvelous light, He also set you apart for a holy work. A work that would be so significant that it would take over your will, aligning it to that of the Father. It’s when God’s purpose invades your own.

A calling that lacks holiness, is void of meaning; Fruitless and useless.

Holy in its simplest form means “set apart for God”. If at anytime we are operating out of the umbrella of our holy calling, than we have lost our significance. I know that seems a little harsh but let me explain: it’s the holy that sets us apart, that gives our lives meaning.

God’s purpose is the only plan that has a solid footing , its all that matters. All the weariness of earthly purpose will fade away but the Lord’s purpose remains, set firm in eternity (Proverbs 19:20)

But that’s not all. For what good would purpose be without grace? With such a high calling on our lives, how could we ever fulfill it without grace?

Purpose thrives on grace, or at least it does for mortal man, because there is no way we would be able to fulfill that purpose without divine intervention.

It blows my simple mind that He would lavish me with purpose and include me in His eternal plan. After all, I have tendencies to fail, to become self consumed, to wonder off track….You too? He knew that we would. So in his sovereignty He allotted to us an unmeasurable supply of His grace along with that purpose.

John 1:16 “ from his fulness we have all received grace upon grace.”

As Christ hung willingly on the cross, torn to shreds by the punishment of sin, agonized by the shame it carries- He emptied Himself. (Philip 2:7) All the fullness that the Son of Man had within His divine arsenal flowed from that old rugged cross. So what exactly was poured out on that dark day? Among many things: GRACE .As He literally poured out His life in the ultimate act of servant hood and as blood dripped from His majestic brow, the store house of grace was poured out of the heavenlies. Like a dam that had been broken, grace would surge forth and overwhelm anyone who found themselves at the foot of the cross.

Ephesians 4:7 “But grace was given to each one of us, according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

A personal purpose, a holy calling, insinuates  a particular grace. A grace that has been designed to equip you to operate with maximum impact. A grace tailor fit for you. Your works. Your ministry. Your gifts. Your walk. Can you imagine being able to fulfill Paul’s exhortation, in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 1- “ to walk in a manner worthy of your calling” without grace? It cant be done. I cant help but think if it was left up to me, I wouldn’t even be able to walk, much less in a manner worthy of my Lord. I would be belly crawling all the way to eternity because my works, my scripture knowledge, my limited understanding is not firm enough ground for my feet to get any traction. My purpose would remain unfulfilled. Grace, on the other hand, allows the souls of my spiritual feet to be able to stand on the path laid out before me and not only walk in it, but do it in a way that manifests glory all around me. We were meant to do more than crawl through life; we have been enabled to walk victoriously. That makes joy and hope spring up out of my heart and causes a lump to swell in my throat. I don’t know, maybe you have it together-but me, I sure don’t. And to know that this feeble creature has the ability through Christ, not to just make it, but to be victorious in this life makes my heart expand with praise.

You see my friend, we are on a glory walk. As we stroll through this world momentarily, the imprints of our feet are to leave a display of splendor that the world could not manufacture, nor could we on our own. We were called to something bigger than ourselves,we were called to GLORY.

Hear this loud and clear- you were designed by God on purpose; you are part of his eternal plan and in that purpose your purpose is found: one that brings satisfaction and fulfillment and most of all glorification to Christ. We were created to bring him glory; it is our purpose. No matter what your occupation is, weather you are a teacher, a stay at home mom, a CEO, a cashier….your purpose is not found in your earthly title alone but is founded in your heavenly one. The one that states that you are called, predestined, chosen, loved, forgiven, set apart, a workmanship, a over comer….that’s who you are and your purpose is found there- In Christ. And because our identity is wrapped up in Christ then His glory should be the natural outpouring of our lives. And that takes grace.

If we find our lives void of glory we will find our lives void of fulfillment, all because our purpose is off course.

You and I were purposefully graced for right now. The current situation that stands with Goliath like stature in front of you, breathing threats and inspiring fear…you’ve already been given the grace needed to knock that Goliath to the ground. It’s what you were meant for.

There is no amount of deeds that can accomplish your purpose without grace.

Grace to speak, or grace not to. Grace to serve. Grace to minister. Grace to listen. Grace to wait. Grace to be bold. Grace to walk. You have been given a specific grace for a specific reason!

So many people long for this; a glorified grace filled purpose. If you are Christs, you have one…and so do I.

 

What if?

imageWhat if? It has plagued all of our minds at one point in time or another. What if I don’t get that job? What if my spouse cheats on me? What if the doctors tell me something is wrong? What if I do not get accepted to that college? What if my child is taken? What if I loose my own life?….The list is wide and vast. This simple little question can roll so fiercely through our minds that it levels our determination and focus. The torrent it brings with it pulls us into the current of fear, anxiety, and disbelief. “what if’s” threaten our sanity but more than that, they threaten our faith.

A gentle country creek rolls peaceably through my grandparents homestead, it brings so much laughter and joy to our family. Yet when the rains pour down, this otherwise gentle body of water turns into a dangerous torrent of whitecaps, spilling over from the banks that so easily retained it just the day before. Threatening to wash away anything that gets in its path.

These “what if’s” that circulate through our minds bring that same kind of destruction. The mainstream of our minds cannot hold in the dangerous flow. They get out of hand quickly. Bringing down with them our peace.

I read something this past week that brought up this very point out of Daniel 3. It’s a familiar seen for most. Three faithful men standing up in the midst of the masses who choose to bow. These men stand in the shadow of an idol that casts a fearful image. All who refused to bow would be thrown into the furnace of fire. But strangely enough as the men were confronted and given another chance to bow, they refused. The daunting fear of the blazing flames where no match to their love and devotion for God. Something greater than fear helped the men to stand; trust. Their response tells it all:

“ if this is so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand O king, but even if He does not, we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.” verses 17-18

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedinego believed their God was able. They knew that all the power for deliverance was in the hands of their God, they were certain of it.

I find myself here, knowing He is able. Understanding that his power has no limit. Believing that nothing is impossible for Him. I get that. But…what if he isn’t willing?

I think many of us feel torn between knowing he is able and being afraid he won’t. That is where the “what if’s” start rolling and a tidal wave of doubt ebbs away at our faith, like the roaring creek ebbs away at the banks.

For many of us we don’t doubt God’s goodness; we doubt how and when he will show it. Believing he is able but shaking in fear as we wait on the manifestation of it is UNBELIEF.

When Abraham was tested by God by being asked to offer up his son as a sacrifice, Abraham believed in God’s ability to provide (GEN 21). He didn’t know, nor was he sure, if God was willing in that moment. His mind didn’t rest on the “what if’s” but instead on the faithfulness of God. Hebrews 11 states that “He (Abraham) considered that God was able to raise him back from the dead.” You see if Issac died, the promise died with him and if that happened then God would be unfaithful. Abraham knew God was able and he left the outcome in His hands; for He knew that His faithfulness would cause Him to act. He just believed two things: 1. God was able 2. God is faithful. And with that he left the HOW of his provision up to God.

The three amigos we see in Daniel 3 did the same thing. They knew God was able to deliver but they also knew that even if He didn’t, He is still good and He is still faithful.

What if we exchanged our “what if’s” for “even if’s”? for example:
what if something happens…..
even if something happens…..

One is filled with doubt. The other filled with faith. One thrusts the problem into the hands of the Almighty, the other grasps onto it with dear life trying to figure it all out. One is filled with confidence, while the other shakes in angst. One rests in the love of God,the other questions it.

True trust lets God be God. Telling Him what to do and hoping he’ll do it, isn’t trust. Trust rests in the fact that He is God and I am not.

“What if” we trusted our God so much that when something threatens us we respond with “even if…”

“Even though the fig tree have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

The gloves are off

** This is extremely personal. It was not written with an intent to be theological but is a declaration for my desire of victory for my family after a tragic experience threatens us.

Philippians 1:29- “…for it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ that you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake..”

Suffering is universal. Its something we all have in common. The sharp pain of living in a fallen world hits us all in a variety of ways. As we walk out our tenure on  this planet, suffering will find us. It often hits unexpectedly, sometimes it stalks us for years. The piercing agony unifies humanity. The only difference is how we handle it.

Our suffering isn’t in a vacuum, the way we respond to our plight of suffering will leave a wake of influence on those around us.

As I get ready this afternoon for my mothers visitation many things flow through the channels of my mind but one thing rings out louder than the rest.

“Satan will be sorry he ever messed with my family.”

We, through the book of Job know that God allows Satan every inch he has. He doesn’t have free reign but is on a tighter leash than we may perceive. Job 1:7 is makes that clear in the simple phrase “Satan answered the Lord…” The scene that is before us in this chapter is captivating, I find myself hanging on every word as God interrogates the fallen angel, making him accountable to the Throne…and then a twist we may not expect, God has a suggestion; Job. Why would God suggest that Satan wage war with one of his elect? Because he knew something Satan did not- Job would win. Satan thought Job was fake, “of coarse he serves you, you give him everything. But take away from him and you’ll see, he’ll turn on you just like that.” Satan was out to prove Job was a phoney. God knew otherwise. Our enemy wants to use our pain, weakness, our vulnerability for our demise. God on the other hand will only allow him to touch our lives if he knows we have the ability to come out of the other side as silver refined. God uses suffering to refine us, Satan uses it to destroy us. So, we have confidence that anytime temptation or suffering enters our midst God has set us up for victory…just like he did Job. The process is painful but temporal; the outcome is glorious and eternal ( 1 peter 1). I can’t help but imagine that as Satan turned to leave the presence of God, the Almighty smirked…for He knew Satan would be sorry he ever messed with Job. He knew Satan would retreat with his tail between his legs and Job would emerge from that heap of ruins as one tested and tried and proven true.

The Lords purpose for suffering is often mysterious. But one of the purposes  we see is displayed in the way we respond to opposition, that by our faith we would shut the mouth of Satan, who constantly goes before the Lord accusing us of having “fake faith”….one purpose is to rise from the ashes that surround us and shame Satan with our true faith. Peter referred to Satan as a lion. A lion who roars so loudly at times that it sends chills down your spine. Hebrews 11 is a testament of those who have fought the good fight of faith. As the writer describes them, he states that they “closed the mouth of lions”. That wasn’t just for Daniel…our faith was meant to shut the enemy’s mouth!

The Lord promises in Philippians 1, that everything that happens can be used to advance the gospel. That we are strengthened and given courage not only for ourselves but so that the message of Christ may be fully proclaimed. (2 tim 4:17). That’s what we are going to do…this is a pedestal for the gospel. Even this can be used for the furthering of the kingdom and I KNOW it will be. I don’t just hope, I believe it to the marrow of my bones.

There’s so much that I cannot understand about my mothers death… but one thing I know…he’ll be sorry. He will loathe the day he choose to harass my family. I stand with a solid resolve that his time is done and what he has taken Christ will redeem and use for our good and his glory.

I pulled up into McDonald’s yesterday after seeing her body for the first time…and I was mad. Mad that I had to tell my children something such young and pure minds should never have to know, mad that something so precious seemed stolen from me, mad at all the opportunities lost and memories yet to be made. But I wasn’t mad at her. I was mad at the enemy of our souls. And I made a declaration of war there and then, out loud and told him “you have messed with the wrong family…”

I know he thinks he won and probably scoffs at my threats. I’m not so naive to think that he’s done, that his tactics won’t grow in cruelty…but I know Whose on my side and I know with full assurance of faith that He will use this beyond what I can imagine. I know He will, its His way.

I’ll fight for her memory and I will fight for my children, for my niece and nephew, my grandparents, my dear aunt, my step-dad,and my sister…we’ve had enough. The gloves are off. We are taking our stand and out of this rubble something glorious will transform.

In reality she won because shes in the arms of her Savior. As far as us….The Lord will continue to fight for us because the battles not over. He WILL redeem this mess and will use us to embarrass the enemy. Here’s the best part, I know how it’ll end…we win and hes destroyed. The war has been won, the battle rages on…and I have a feeling the enemy will be sorry. This isn’t the end, he hasn’t won, not by a long shot.

I’m not much like my mother. I look like my dad and have the same interests as he does, we tend to reason the same way but one thing I know that I got from her; a strong will. That’s why so often we didn’t see eye to eye…we both were set and determined once we got an idea in our head. So, today isn’t the first day I have felt that strong resolve deep within- but this time it is different. This time that will goes beyond myself and aligns itself with the will of God the Father. And there is no power of hell that can thwart that.

“My desire”

Desires. We all have them. Some healthy, some rational, some well…aren’t. Desire drives us; they move us forward or in some cases backwards. They push us to our goals or they can push us to our destruction. Desires are complicated, in the makeup of our person our desires have the capacity to overtake our wills and our resolve in a matter of seconds.

Desire is inherently for our good. We, being fashioned in the image of God, have a Divinely established portion of our souls where desires are produced. God desires. He desires for all to come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus desired to gather Jerusalem under His wings, but they refused. So, from the standpoint of scripture, desires are not bad in themselves. Now understandably, God desires out of sheer delight. While we as fallen humans, desire out of a need we feel. That “need” is the source of the fountain of desires. We all need something. Being the sovereign Creator He is, God knew exactly what would fill that cavernous need deep within, and it is found solely on the person of Christ Jesus. Desire is what God placed in the soul of man to drive us to the foot of the cross.

What’s your desire?

Paul was a man eaten up with desire. A desire so strong and secure that it would even drive him to martyrdom. What was it? He tells us plainly in Philipians 1:23.”…my desire is to depart and be with Christ…”. To be with Christ, to know Him intimately (Philip 3:10), to share fellowship with Him…even if it meant losing his head. Paul wanted to be where Christ was.  Every other desire he had was founded upon this one; to know Christ. The extremities of Paul’s desire aren’t easily duplicated or forged. Simply put: you can’t fake this kind of desire. It’s the kind that overtakes you like a wildfire, it consumes everything it touches. Why would someone seek so hard after Someone they had never seen? Why would they risk comfort and worldy pleasure? It was simple for Paul. God had desired him, by seeking him out and saving him on that dusty road to Damascus. Paul started that journey with one desire in mind, to kill or imprision all who belonged to The Way. (Acts 9) Yet masterfully done Christ showed him what he needed, what he was after. He showed Paul Himself. The unfolding of revelation blinded the Apostle from anything other than Christ.  From that point on Paul was ate up with a new desire-Christ Himself. You see Paul had been desired, sought out and now his heart throb was to seek the One who sought him.

Im not a writer. I’m not eloquent in speech. I’m a terrible speller. I have more insecurities than you can shake a stick at. But deep within is something that pushed me beyond those insecurities to start this blog: a desire. A desire that wouldn’t quit. A desire that would deflate the giant in front of me. A desire that engrafted courage into my weakness. A desire that has taken over my heart. What is it? Christ. I don’t desire to have a lot of followers, or for people to be in awe of my posts. My desire is to finish my race, fulfill my ministry, bring forth a harvest for the Kingdom, and fundamentally “for Christ to be honored through my body.” (Phillipians 1:20). I want my life to be a fragrant offering before my Lord. Im just an average woman, seeking out an extroidanary Savior. Am I there yet? Not hardly. I make myself sick by the lack of  fervor I sometimes display. But “I press on to make it my own because Christ has made me His own.” (Philip 3:12). Christs own relentless desire for me catapults me into a wildfire like desire for Him. He has placed an upward call on each of lives. ( to know Him more intimately, to glorify His name and to advance the gospel) Desire pushes us there. Some will make it, some will not. It’ll depend upon who/what sits on the throne of your desires. Don’t settle for spiraling downward when you were made to soar upward! Take what’s been given to you- Christ Himself, the fulfillment of every desire. His desire is for you beloved.

“I am my beloveds and his desire is for me” SOS 7:10