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Uniquely the Same

Uniquely The Same

IMAG1841

We made these necklaces at the recent women’s retreat I was blessed to be a part of.  I wish I had taken a picture of all of them, because they highlighted a wonderful truth.

Each lady used the same material to make the necklace and we got to choose our colors.  Every single woman chose different colors, thus every single necklace was the same…but different.

While walking around the room looking at the beautiful, simple pieces we created the common thing about them was the cross and the beads in the middle which signified to me that we’re all very different…but we’re all very much the same.  We may prefer different colors, clothes, food, etc., but the part that counts is what’s in the center – our hearts.  Although we’ve had different experiences with different things in and on our heart, the unifying mark (for Christians) is the cross – Jesus. God sees Jesus in us and although He “handles” us differently, we’re all the same to Him which gives me great comfort.

Celebrate your uniqueness and the commonality we share in Christ.

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Uniquely the Same

Uniquely The Same

IMAG1841

We made these necklaces at the recent women’s retreat I was blessed to be a part of.  I wish I had taken a picture of all of them, because they highlighted a wonderful truth.

Each lady used the same material to make the necklace and we got to choose our colors.  Every single woman chose different colors, thus every single necklace was the same…but different.

While walking around the room looking at the beautiful, simple pieces we created the common thing about them was the cross and the beads in the middle which signified to me that we’re all very different…but we’re all very much the same.  We may prefer different colors, clothes, food, etc., but the part that counts is what’s in the center – our hearts.  Although we’ve had different experiences with different things in and on our heart, the unifying mark (for Christians) is the cross – Jesus. God sees Jesus in us and although He “handles” us differently, we’re all the same to Him which gives me great comfort.

Celebrate your uniqueness and the commonality we share in Christ.

He’s Portable!

My favorite time of the day is the beginning when it’s quiet.  That’s prime time with God’s word and prayer.  I’m facilitating a Bible study and read through the day’s scripture (2nd Peter 1:3-11) which is all about already being equipped to be “partakers of the divine nature…*” (v4).  Verse 5: “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence…*” (emphasis mine).  To me this scripture says we already have in us (through Jesus) His nature and best qualities but it’s up to us to APPLY them, which indicates choosing to exhibit the things in verses 5-8. After studying these verses I could feel God prompting me to stay longer taking His word in so I did, even reading them out loud, then praying.  I felt like a mighty warrior woman, ready for the day and went on with my plan.

Then it happened.  A text upset my apple cart and I watched my very well-organized day go right out the window.  I felt my blood pressure going up and my attitude going down.  Then I remembered the scriptures I had read, studied and prayed over just a little while earlier.  I saw a very distinct crossroad recognizing immediately this was a rubber meets the road moment.  I could APPLY what I’d just read or I could allow frustration to dictate the rest of my day.

That sweet time with God doesn’t have to end when we close our Bibles..and it shouldn’t! All that love, provision, grace, mercy, knowledge and wisdom we glean from spending time with him is portable.  HE goes with us.  Here’s the rub: It’s up to US what we do with Him as we live out the rest of the hours of the day.

Just because we spend a little time in the Word doesn’t mean much if we’re not willing to APPLY it to our lives and choose to live it out.  Everything we need to be a blessing and live this day being pleasing to and loving on God has been already endowed to us as Christ followers. Don’t leave Him where you left your Bible.  He and all of His attributes are in us and with us, no matter what the day brings.  Let’s access Him, choose to live and act to be pleasing to Him.  The Bible goes on to say in verse 10 as long as we PRACTICE these things we will NEVER STUMBLE*!  That sealed the deal for me, and I pray it does for you too.

*2nd Peter 1:3-11/Taken from NASB Translation.

The Monster in the Mirror

There she is again.  Every time something goes wrong, even with something goes right, this wicked monster is the first to cast stones.  She’s quick to remind me of everything I’ve ever done wrong.  Every day, I must contend with her.

Every day, she reminds me of how weak and beaten up I am and all I’ve been through.

Minute by minute if I listen to her, I’m reminded of why I shouldn’t try, why I shouldn’t believe for better and should quit while I’m ahead.  With every new day, the old stares me in the face – if I focus on her long enough, her voice overpowers the God in me.

Perhaps the most important choice is at the beginning of the day, deciding who you’re going to listen to.  The monster doesn’t lie, she tells the truth…her version of it, anyway.

She wants to keep my focus on the past and all the pain affiliated with it.  She needs an excuse to make no effort.  Not because she doesn’t believe (she does – she knows God) but because she does and she knows if I choose not to listen to her (myself) and heed His word and His truth instead, efforts must be made, exercises in faith and trust must ensue.  She’s tired.  She’s weary and she’s discouraged.  She finds very little reason to believe a single word she says or trust even a fleeting thought of hope.  It’s all justified.  Just like a victim seeking revenge on her assailant, her actions would be righteously justified.

Here’s the thing, though.  She’s submitted to God so her right to herself has been relinquished to His right to her.  Her own actions to justify herself are null and void…She’s put her trust and heart into the hands of a Mighty Savior who has already won the battle with the monster.  All she has to do is believe it.  She knows she’s no match for fighting the monster but she’s sure her Jesus is more than capable for the battle of the day.  It’s not her strength against who she sees (and remembers) in that mirror that will have victory this day; it’s His.

Every single day, the choice is ours.  Who will lead us?  Who will we listen to?  Who will we believe?  Ourselves or our King?  The battle is won or lost with that one decision.  The truth is, we may have to make that decision on a minute by minute basis. It won’t be easy (the past will attempt to discourage); it won’t be fun (fighting ourselves is ugly and messy) but we will be victorious against our giants if we choose to fight with all of our armor on – trusting Him with everything they throw at us.  Are you in?

“…even if our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”  1st John 3:20 NLT

Go With What You Have

Gideon was in a winepress threshing wheat. I’m sure since it was a winepress and he was trying to thresh wheat it was a hard job because the place was most likely ill-equipped for wheat threshing.  This hard job in a less than favorable place was the result of Israel’s turning from God and being captives of the Midianites.

I can picture him talking to himself not happy with his current circumstances  – because honestly that’s what I would be doing.

In the midst of hardship and hard times, the Angel of the Lord greeted him: “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” (Judges 6:12 NLT). Gideon responds with questions and doubts. The Angel didn’t indulge him; he simply said “Go with this strength you have” and save Israel to which Gideon responded with statements justifying the reasons he couldn’t comply – “We’re the least of the least…and I’m the least of the least of the least!”

I know you’ve been there – things are looking pretty bad, so bad you begin to question God.  Prayers seem unanswered and you find yourself in a place you shouldn’t be, never intended to be and don’t want to be in.

Take to heart the truth captured in Gideon’s story.  You have what you need to do what you need to do.  If you’re saved you have Jesus, His power and the Holy Spirit inside you Who is the power to get through what you’re going through.

Go with what you have.  Trust God for the rest.

Judges 6

He Can Handle It

Their eyes meet from across the room.  She tries to talk herself out of being attracted to him; he thinks she’s beautiful.  It seems like every place she goes, he’s there. Finally he catches her in a moment with no one around and he hones in to speak to her, one on one. He’s totally enchanted with her and she, him.  They arrange a meeting and then another.  After being with her for a while, although he’s sure he loves her, he starts to notice the deep wounds she carries.  The more he’s with her, the more prominent the wounds become.

She doesn’t show them to everyone, but she thought she could trust him.  Why else would there be such chemistry and attraction between them if she wasn’t safe to show him who she really is, what has happened to her? Surely she’s safe with him. She wasn’t. She was wrong. Eventually she finds that he, too, once her man of promise, has abandoned her.

Nothing is more beautiful than being loved by someone not because of all you’ve been through and who you really are…but in spite of it.  They come to know even the ugliest you and to your surprise, love you any way. That’s what real love does.  Too often though for one reason or another – good reasons and bad – we find we’re too heavy a package that people drop too easily. We find people can’t handle our reality – the real us.  They like us, they love us, they hate us.  No matter how hard we try to “be good”, be what the other one wants and needs, it’s never enough.

All of us carry wounds others have no idea about until we let them close enough to see.  When we’re exposed, they may decide they can’t handle it and they sometimes become distant.  Love is an overused and abused word used often with good intentions but few results.  Some have heard that word so many times (chimed in with other well-intended promises of faithfulness and love) we don’t want to take the chance on hearing it again.

We can totally expose ourselves to Jesus.  We may as well, he knows it’s all there anyway.  He can handle it.  He’ll never walk away no matter what has to be done to heal the wounds…ALL of them.  He’s perfect love, and human love can only be successful through Him (I believe).  He’ll never be intimidated and reject us because of anything we’ve been through, done or are going through.  We’ll never be too much, too wounded, too lost or too far gone for Him.  He can handle it.  As a matter of fact, what’s hurt us the most and left the ugliest scar on us, He died for.  He came specifically so we could be one with Him, expose ourselves completely to Him and let Him heal us.  He can even make the scars more beautiful.  He changes them from something we seek to cover to things of beauty we long to expose to glorify Him.

Whatever’s going on with you, He can handle it.  Whatever you’ve done, He can handle it.  He died so He could make you whole.  You, beloved, can trust Him.  Will you?

Matthew 11:28:  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  (NASB)