What If We Lived…

What if we lived like we believe God is who He says He is?

What if we lived like the promises he made are indelibly etched on the pages of eternity and our names carved into the deepest recesses of his heart and nothing we can separate us from either?

What if we lived like the divine revelation of his holy, perfect and redeeming love is the only thing that changes a heart, transforms a life or forges a healthy relationship and it is written into our stories by the creator himself?

What if we lived like his power moving in our lives is for far more than making us comfortable and happy and wealthy and successful in the eyes of others?

What if we lived like he sees the inner man and pays no attention to appearances and reputation and performance no matter how “spiritual” a display we exhibit?

What if we lived like we were loved and forgiven and accepted nurtured our own spirit union with Christ in order to love and forgive and accept others?

What if we lived like we understand that our “poverty” in this life produces a wealth in the kingdom money and possessions cannot buy?

What if we lived like the race we are running is not to be the prettiest, smartest, most successful, wealthiest or sexiest?

What if we lived like there is more to Christianity that endless busy work, self-serving sacrifice, diligent church attendance, giving as a token or espousing scripture that we don’t attempt to live behind closed doors?

What if we lived like our greatest desire is to please him beyond the acceptance of others or their approval, validation or recognition?

What if we lived like we never step outside his presence and respond to his constant nudge toward communion and draw toward intimacy?

What if we lived like reconciliation, communion, fellowship and community matter and pride and ego don’t?

What if we lived like our unique calling was ours and not what everyone else is supposed to do with their lives?

What if we lived like every moment we invest in incessant busyness that is merely self-serving (no matter how fulfilling it seems at the time) will vanish like a vapor when time ceases and fade like a dream when we awaken on the shores of eternity?

What if we lived like we know the role each one of us is called to fulfill is as unique, relevant, vital and valuable as ours?

What if we lived like time only matters as it serves the purposes of eternity?

What if we lived like we believe we are seen, known and understood and have nothing to prove to anyone but him?

What if we lived like our lives are the ransomed treasure that they are; an invaluable gift that cost the Heavenly Father his son and the son of God his life?

What if we lived like we understand he catches every teardrop feeling the ache of our longing, the pangs of our mourning and never leaves us to suffer alone in our grief?

What if we lived like every harsh, critical, judgmental thought we think and word we speak about others robs us of our ability to see him and view them as he does until we become altogether spiritually blind?

What if we lived like we understand to give is to receive to lose is to gain and to live we must die?

What if we lived like we know the trails and burdens and pain of this life have purpose and are not a reflection of his displeasure but his active presence in refining and perfecting our spirits?

What if we lived like we love him as he has loved us?

What if we lived like we know someday we will meet him face to face and the sum total of our life will bring him joy or us shame?

It Is Better

It is one thing to desire a man who is financially secure; it is better to find a man who i’s debt free, generous and sees his finances not merely as a means to satisfy his wants but as a means to bless others.

It is one thing to desire a man who is attractive and sexy. It is better to find a man who becomes exponentially more handsome as his character and personality are revealed through time and experience.

It is one thing to desire a man who is successful; it is better to find a man of unquestionable integrity who is hard-working, trustworthy and dependable, whose moral compass is never in question.

IMG_2471It is one thing to desire a man who is confident and self-assured; it is better to find a man who isn’t driven by an inflated ego and uses his confidence to demonstrate humble leadership and create opportunities for others to thrive and succeed.

It is one thing to desire a man who is passionate and able to express his desire for you; it is better to find a man, whose passions can be controlled, demonstrating love and respect to a woman until he has committed himself to her or puts her needs above his own.

It is one thing to desire a man who is committed to his faith and regularly attends church; it is better to find a man who loves God unashamed and whose character behind closed doors and with those who cannot return kindness, is equal to the external reputation he perfects and portrays.

It is one thing to desire a man who finds you attractive and can’t keep his eyes or hands off you when you’re all dressed up; it is better to find a man who “sees” the whole woman you are behind your youthful appearance and physical attributes and thinks you are beautiful even in yoga pants and a t-shirt.

It is one thing to desire a man who had lofty dreams, goals and ambitions; it is better to find a man able to balance the present and the future, being fully alive in the moment, ceasing the best of each season of life you are in.

IMG_2472It is one thing to desire a man who listens to you and offers wisdom to help in times of stress; it is better to find a man who knows you don’t always need to be fixed; sometimes you just need to be held close and felt understood and accepted.

It is one thing to desire a man who is talented and skillful; it is better to find a man willing to help, ready to serve and who doesn’t mind blending his gifts and ideas with someone else’s.

It is one thing to desire a man whose appetite includes luxury and a high quality of life; it is better to find a man able to balance quality things and quality relationships and never substitutes love and affection for expensive toys and hype to create distractions.

It is one thing to desire a man to love and be committed to; it is better to find a man whose devotion is unquestionably mutual, honoring the same commitment with reciprocal affection and effort.

IMG_2469It is one thing to desire a man who “shows you off” to his friends hoping they’ll be envious; it is better to find a man who is less concerned by what those on the outside think and more concerned about honoring what God thinks.

It is one thing to desire a man who respects and admires what you bring to the table; it is better to find a man who grasps the inherent value you have in the sight of God and treats you as the cherished, redeemed woman of God that you are.

The Sweetest Promise of All

At some point in our spiritual journey we will be required to hold fast and take God at his word when circumstances give cause for doubt and room for disappointment and angst. People hold this silly notion that a life of faith means it becomes easy, plans fall into place, doors fly open, everything we touch turns to gold, people will accept and understand us and that love will come waltzing in to save the day – every single time.

We cannot fall prey to the idea that tangible, material blessing is the primary evidence of God’s blessing. Yes, on occasion he shows up in a grand way and it takes our breath away. But like it or not, we cannot say there is substance to our faith and proven commitment to the Lord until we’ve walked through the silence, the darkness, the desert, wilderness or any extended season of what seems like unanswered prayer wherein our dependence upon the Lord alone grew and our fleshly aspirations and desires took a back seat to our desire to draw near and remain faithful, come-what-may. Continue reading

And, the Enemy Snickers With Delight

There is no special skill required to criticize people. You don’t need education to be a fault finder. There are no spiritual gifts that qualify people to condemn others nor wisdom in expecting them to fail.

While some of us are worse than others – we all do it to some degree or another. Pretty much every single one of us does. We may hold it in except for rare occasions or keep it between us and the people (person) we are closest with or it could be our natural bent and every conversations manages to turn into people bashing.

It’s part of our unredeemed nature. In some cases it may be part of what we need to do in order to process through hurt.

Although we obviously get some degree of satisfaction when we’ve exposed someone or release from pain because a hurt has been poisoning our ability to love people – I’m certain the Lord chooses not to participate in such conversations. Continue reading

Face it Full On!

An easy life is not an indication of God’s blessing. In fact, it may be an indicator that we’re keeping God at a comfortable distance behind a protective bubble of “this far but no further”.

The Holy Spirit, who expresses the life of God in and through us, is a gentleman and never forces his will or his presence. We must desire and seek his influence in our days. If we long to know the heart of the Father there will be times the reflection in the spiritual mirror will be ugly and unbecoming – even as we are swallowed by mercy and reminded of the true beauty that comes only through redemption.

We are naturally bent toward self-satisfaction, pride, lust, greed, judgment, indulging physical appetites, fear, criticism, dishonest and life provides ample situations and moments to exposes these hidden thorns rooted in a heart that belongs to him. Recognizing this is one of the keys to growth and transformation. If we are satisfied with who we are (or at least the image we project) we will never look close enough to see. Continue reading

Inspiration vs. Revival

There are so many things that inspire us. Inspiration can revive us from all sorts of apathy – the kind that leads to chaos in the home, debt, weight gain, faded romance, isolation, frustration, discontent, excuse making and settling. The kind that stirs us to pick up what we’ve let go of, stop what’s out of control, alter or focus and direction, reach for our longings we’ve kept at bay and find the strength to make the changes that lead to a better life.

I trip over this regularly. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Or is it?

External inspiration pales in comparison to the internal revival that comes from heaven and rises from within. Inspiration is not the same and renewed passion ignited by a spark that flying off of a heart inflamed with eternity. I am desperate for people like that in my life and to be that person for others.

This is the life we are called to. The life in conflict with the ambitions of pride and flesh; the life that stands in contrast to what is pleasing to man; the life we continually allow to be doused by the cares and distractions of the world. Continue reading

My Wish and My Prayer

I wish that I could wrap you in my arms, hold you close and protect you from injustice and deception in the world. I wish that I could kiss your sweet face and prevent every tear from spilling over. I wish that I could always keep you safe from hurt and storms and scars. I wish that I could carry you in the sun and expose you only to the beauty of love, sunsets, friendship and laughter, never allowing your eyes to look upon evil, devastation or death. I wish that I could promise you will only know friends who never betray, lover who never leave, hope that never diminishes, faith that never questions and certainty that never wavers. I wish that I could shield you from frightening news, disappointment, loneliness, fear, the struggle to find purpose and pain that occasionally rips through our stories.

We are powerless to stand against every wave that collides with the shores of humanity. They will come crashing over us when we least expect.

No matter what circumstances arise that challenge you during your journey (yesterday, today or tomorrow) – the prayer always echoing through my soul for you with those moments, times and seasons is:

For a heart overflowing with compassion, eyes that see yourself through his, grace to forgive and live forgiven, lips that delight to praise, a soul confident in the knowledge of God, a spirit strong in the faith, strength that endures in service, a mind set on eternity, a will content to obey, passion to live unashamed of the gospel, integrity that refuses to compromise, joy that sustains through every season, a voice that speaks life, a face set like flint toward higher purposes, ears that recognize the call, a determination to act justly, light that envelopes the darkness night, hope that overcomes every fear, dreams to carry you through, wisdom to guide you, peace to restore you, comfort that guards your heart, love that makes you whole, assurance when doubt interferes and devotion that pours itself out as a fragrant and pleasing offering.

This is my greater wish – for you.