Tag Archives: love

Your Second Thought

I’ll gladly be second…but to only One.  Him.

Let Him invade your thoughts first. Let Him make your heart beat faster.  Let Him be the reason for the smile on your face and the joy that makes you soar.  Then me.

I don’t want to be your first thought; I want Him to be.  I don’t want your first minute; I want your minutes and attention after you’ve spent time with Number One.

I don’t want first place.  That spot is reserved for the One who loves you more…and more perfectly…than I ever could. I’ll gladly be second.  In everything, especially your heart.

Making Him Number One will allow you to be what we need you to be; He can make you a better man, I can’t.  He can heal your broken places, calm your doubts, fears and misconceptions.  I can’t.

Please.  Let me be your second thought.

“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strike after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right – the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” Matthew 6:33 AMP

Keep Doing You

There have been times in my life that I wanted to be who someone needed and wanted me to be.  I tried very hard not to disappoint but ultimately, my “real self” surfaced and I felt I had failed miserably as a human being.  When I love someone I want to be everything they want me to be and want to be the perfect image they have created in their mind and heart of who they would like for me to be.

Truth is, I can’t be.  I can only be myself.

Why did I say “only” in that last sentence?  Why are we never satisfied with ourselves and accepting of our own limitations just as much as we accept the shortcomings of those whom we love?  Why are we endless critics, always expecting ourselves to meet perfection standards we would never place on anyone else?

There’s a deep human need to be loved and accepted.  Some of us will literally do anything to have people love us.  While the need is normal, the lengths to which we sometimes go are not.

I drive a car, but I’m not a mechanic.  Does that make me someone who shouldn’t drive?  I love to cook, garden, work out in the yard…but I’m not a master chef nor a seasoned landscaper.  Should I stop doing those things?

Remember who created you…just like you are.  You’re a unique individual, designed and crafted by God Himself.  He knows what we’re good at, what we enjoy and even what we have to do.  I tend to believe He instilled those things in us.  Why can’t we be okay with who we are and our own limitations?  Why can’t we express our true selves, who after all is who we were intended to be!?

The other side of that coin is to not place expectations on those around us.  We may have a picture in our minds of what we think someone should do and how they should act and perform (for lack of a better word). Is that love?  We sometimes justify our demands on others by saying we want the best for them, we want to help them be better people.  Do we really, or do we want them to be what we think they should be?

Learn to be comfortable in your own skin.  Be thankful you can do what you do.  You have your own custom-designed, unique ability to touch your world and those around you in a way that only you can.  God designed you to love Him and show His love to others, and I think a big part of that is having the faith and confidence in Him to do just that.  You keep doing you.  Love Him back and display His love to others being the wonderful masterpiece you are.  That’s your purpose!

Just Go!

sampsons-new-friendNestled in one of my favorite places I rediscovered the old riding stables at our state park. I hadn’t driven up that road in years and had forgotten how beautiful that spot was.  On that day, no one was there but me and my dog so I parked and let him out to run and play next to the water.  The stables up the hill brought back a flood of memories.

I kept looking up the hill at the stables thinking about how sad they were no longer being used.  I saw no point to walk up there but Sampson had different ideas.  Up the hill he went and I followed him.

We got up to the stables and the smells of the area ignited his hunter instinct.  He was going to each closed stall, sticking his nose in where he found the opportunity.  He was onto something but I thought it was the smell of what used to be there that enticed him.  He went to one particular stall and started whimpering, scratching the ground to get in.  When I got close I heard why.  The stables weren’t abandoned at all, there were horses there!

I have always loved horses.  Imagine my delight (and Sampson’s) when we saw them.  I opened the top gate of the stalls, petted all of them.  It may sound silly to you, but I was so happy!  Few and far between are my opportunities to be close to these beautiful animals I love so much. I consider that a very personal blessing from my Father, who knows His girl so well.  By just walking up that hill I received a tremendous, custom-made blessing, just for me. #perspective

That’s my point.  Based on what I SAW, there was no reason to even trudge up that hill. I had convinced myself there was no reason to go.  I could have called Sampson back to me, gotten him in the car and missed a great blessing.  Instead I went and oh, the pleasure in the time we were there was wonderful.

That’s your word, friend.  Just go! Don’t sum things up based on what you see.   Don’t look for reasons not to do something (we always find plenty of them); look for reasons TO go.  Do it just for you.  You’ll be glad you did.

1st Corinthians 2:9:  “but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.””

Do You Stink?

The Dead Sea lives its name.  Water goes in, nothing goes out.  The water becomes stagnant.  You’ve seen water pool – it turns all shades of ugly, breeds dastardly varmints like mosquitos seemingly to serve no good purpose at all.
It’s the same way with stale, stagnant Christians.  We go to church for years, always taking in but never pouring out.  Before long we become hardened and seemingly useless because we’ve never poured out what we’ve taken in.  We rarely smile, find something wrong with pretty much everything and everyone.  We “stink” of unuse.

God gives us knowledge and blessings so that we can pay it forward.  If we’re not using what we’re given to bless someone else what good are we, really?

Someone needs to be encouraged by what you’ve been through and how God got you through.  Tell them!

Someone needs to know you’ve been where they are and you survived.  You need to reassure them they will too.  Bless them!

Someone needs the love living in your heart to be spread to them…even the tiniest gesture on your behalf can be the one thing they need to keep going.  Love them!

Even if we stink right now, we can choose to stir the staleness in our souls.  Let’s decide to “smell” good today.

BE The Church.

 

Dear Church,

WE are the church.  YOU and ME.  The building we congregate in is a provision to assemble together united with one goal in mind:  WORSHIP GOD.

Look around you while you’re there – really look at people.  They’re our brothers and sisters.  All of them have wounds and are fighting battles we couldn’t possibly know unless they’ve shared them.  We’re a part of each other and our common thread is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nothing else matters.

Take care of each other.  We’re part of a body and we need each other.  Some in that congregation have no one but us – we are their family.  They simply have no one else.  There are orphans among us who, by God’s great design, have become one with the body because He knew He could trust us with them.  Some have lost not only those closest to them, but everything else as well.  Some are struggling to put food on their tables and keep roofs over their heads.  Some are broken and wounded and they’ve come to heal so they can help others who will face – or are facing – similar circumstances.  There are those among us who have no one else to love and support them.  They need us desperately and we need them.

There’s a grander plan going on here.  We’re not just there to get what we need, check the church box off and go on with our lives not thinking about those we encountered Sunday until next Sunday.  We’re to be a family.  We’re to love, support and take care of each other.  What if we all believed we were strategically planted in the churches where we are and acted upon it? If we can’t show our love in a single building then how in the world can we impact the outside world for God?!

Church, be the church.  In other words, love.  Pray.  Bless if you have the means to.  Be the church God intended you to be.  Someone needs your touch in their life.  Search for who that is and act accordingly.

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10.

Killing Me

I don’t like my perspective today.  I don’t like what I think will happen, what I see and what I feel.  I don’t like me or anything about me today. So I’m not doing it anymore.  I’m going to kill myself. I don’t have the desire to deal with me or “this” anymore.

I’m going to decide to trust God and what He says about me – that I’m cherished, beautiful, and the apple of His eye.  I’m going to believe He has a great plan for me, plans to prosper me.  He has hope for me and since I don’t (today), I’m going to keep moving on what He says and act like I believe it.  He’s my willpower and energy today because this ole gal is dead.  I’m choosing to “kill” her and not do anything, say anything or believe anything she says.  I’m living for and BY Him.

Some days that choice…that sacrifice is more significant than others.  Some days it’s easy and we live subconsciously doing our normal things without giving them a thought.  Other days we just don’t want to get out of bed.  Whether we’re going through something or recovering from having gone through something, some days we may not want to.

Even on good days, strong days, we should get ourselves out of the way and live for Him as that puts us in a different place, a better place…a place outside ourselves.  During those times, everything has more purpose and meaning and we see it’s really not about ourselves at all.

Killing ourself isn’t such a bad thing if it means sacrificing our wants and desires for Him and what He wants for us which is better and greater than we can imagine.  I’m willing to believe that and try it again today…are you?

Psalm 54:6 “Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name O LORD, for it is good.”

Alterations.

Almost nine years ago my world began to drastically change…it started with the unexpected death of my younger sister.  As I reflect on that time in my life, I realize that was some kind of a starting point for colossal change in my outside world and my inside life…who I was, what I believed, my…everything.  I remember who I was then and see that now, I’m not even close to who I used to be.  At the time I remember knowing God would see me through; I had no doubt of that…but I also remember thinking nothing would be the same. I had no idea how right I was.

Since that time, pretty much everything that was important, almost every significant person in my life, my ideals and perceptions, the way I approached and thought about things…literally everything is either gone or changed.  Even material things I held dear are gone; hopes for things and the way I thought things would be…gone.  My sense of fair, good and right are forever altered.  Even my faith in God is completely different from what I thought (back then) it should be.

Life takes unexpected twists and turns.  Stuff hits you, you have no way of seeing coming. You’re unprepared.  I never considered the fact my younger sister would die before I did; didn’t see that coming.  At my age (very close to 60) I never thought I would lose my job…get evicted…have to work 2, 3 and 4 jobs to make ends meet…didn’t see that coming either.  Who prepares for this?  To my embarrassment and immaturity (in Christ), I somehow thought because I had had some tests and bumps in my younger life that the rest of my life would be less difficult.  Go ahead, laugh…I am.  My faith was built on something false…something earthly – a false perception of what I thought I deserved and what I was sure would happen.

Over and over again “My ways are not your ways…” has played in my mind. “Lean not on your own understanding…” were the words I woke up to many a morning.  Through all this, I found truth, absolute truth, in those words.

The enemy wants us to think we’re unloved and forgotten when bad things happen but because I’ve been through this “desert season” in my life I can tell you with absolute certainty exactly the opposite is true.  When we find ourselves in extremely painful and terrifying circumstances those are the places where God…His literal presence can be more real to us than in seasons of joy.  Some choose to blame Him and run like spoiled children as far away from Him as we can; others choose to cling to Him for our lives and fight the good fight of faith even if our faith is less than the size of a mustard seed…maybe the size of a grain of sand.  Sometimes that choice brings a “curse God and die” mentality and a very real choice – sometimes on a breath-by-breath basis – confronts us.  It doesn’t look like we’re loved and cherished; it feels like we’re utterly alone and abandoned…so will we choose to press on based on NOTHING else but God’s word to us or will be choose based on our raw feelings and emotions? Those are the moments of spiritual life and death.

Sometimes we have to “get naked” before God, absolutely stripped in order to get to the nitty-gritty of what the real relationship is all about.  Sooner or later, I believe everyone will have a “season of Job” where there is nothing but you and Him.  Our suffering seasons may not look all like someone else’s – it doesn’t even matter what it looks like to others because this is between us and Him.  What matters is the result…will we allow ourselves to be forever altered?  Will we come out closer to Him or farther away?