FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


Leave a comment

A Better Dance Partner

I am not a dancer.

My sister revoked my “Black” card a long time ago.  She said that I had absolutely NO rhythm.  I could not argue, but that is not why I am not a dancer.  Not really. 

It’s because I tend to lead.

In many types of partner dance, lead and follow are designations that need to be respected and adhered to.  Traditionally, the male leads and the female follows.  The lead guides and initiates changes and transitions.  The lead also chooses the steps and the direction.  When the follower matches the lead, the dance is smooth, coordinated, enjoyable to participate in and beautiful to behold.

But when the follower tries to lead?  Oh, that is a different story.

The troubled church in the book of James provides both an example and a lesson for us.  In this text we find a church out of sync – unresolved issues of who will lead and who will follow.  Specifically, James writes, “[Y]our passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4: 1-4 ESV)

The church, the people, want to lead.  When we read verses 7 and 8 we learn the real problem – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”  They want to have things their way rather than yield to God. They want to choose the steps and determine the direction.  They want to lead while God follows. 

It doesn’t work that way in dancing.  It doesn’t work that way in life. 

In dancing, the follower must respect, trust and give into the lead going wherever he leads.  The dance manuals tell us that “partner dancing requires awareness and clear communication; the follower must maintain a centered readiness to the leader watching for and ready to obey visual and physical cues; the leader will give clear direction.”  Additionally, the manuals say, “Physical contact is the most effective means of communication between the lead and the follower.  While the lead’s steps differ from the follower’s, the follower need only mirror the lead’s footwork.  The partners must work together to create synchronized movements.”

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

Suzie Eller says, “[T]here’s a gift found when you let God take the lead. You start to understand His rhythm in your life and in your thoughts. Your will begins to align with His.” 

How do we draw near to God?  Just as the dance manuals tell us  Be are aware of Him and His communication.  Study to know His Word and His ways.    Maintain a centered readiness watching for and ready to obey His cues.  Listen and expect to hear Him speak to you.  Physical contact is the most effective means.  Meet with Him in Prayer.  

THIS WEEK determine to become a better dance partner.   Begin by knowing your Lead, your Heavenly Father.  Trust His lead (James 4:6) and develop a centered readiness for His cues (James 4:7) watching and being ready to obey (Luke 11:28, 1 Peter 1:14, Deuteronomy 11:1, 2 Corinthians 10:5, John 14:15, Romans 2:6-8). Then let Him lead, and enjoy the dance!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Afraid? It’s Okay

NOTE:  THIS IS NOT MY WORK.  I WANTED TO SHARE THIS POWERFUL WORD FROM PROVERBS 31 MINISTRIES.

Afraid? It’s Ok, I Am Too
By Melissa Taylor

“Hey Y’all. Melissa Taylor here.

I don’t usually put a post up that isn’t previously planned, but I thought today of all days, we needed some “real hope for real life.”

As I watched the news unfold about the attacks in Paris, I felt my heart crumble. Tears instantly flooded my eyes. I was sad, but I was also filled with fear. How can one not be scared when such horrible things happen and they are completely out of our control?

I instantly began to seek help through God’s Word. I thought I want to find that verse that says something like ~ “In this world we will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.”  As soon as I thought about that verse, the word John 14:27 popped into my head. I figured that must be where that verse is. So I turned to John 14:27. To my surprise, it wasn’t the verse about in this world we will have trouble.  It said this:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

~John 14:27

Thank you Jesus, I needed that one too.

Y’all, I’m not going to try to spiritually coat this post with all positivity & cheer about how God will take care of it and we don’t need to worry. Although true, I also have to be honest. I’m scared. I have tears of sadness and fear as I type. So you know what we do in situations like this? As Lysa TerKeurst has told me many times, we need to “boss our feelings around.”

We might be fearful, but we don’t have to be ruled by fear. So, as your friend and leader in this OBS study, I want to offer you some encouragement and REAL HOPE amidst all that’s going on in the world.

The best way I know to do that is through the sharing of God’s Word and prayer.

Let’s unite to #PrayForParis, for France & our world.

PrayForParis

Thank you @SJMCalligraphy for this beautiful graphic.

Philippians 4:6-7 tell us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Let’s hang on to that today. Are you with me? It’s OK to be afraid and sad, but we don’t want to stay there. Instead, turn to Jesus and allow His peace to take over. And don’t let it stop there, point others to this hope as well.”

Proverbs 31 Ministries

http://proverbs31.org/


Leave a comment

What Not to Wear

Chances are you have seen the American makeover television show, What Not to Wear.  The show featured participants nominated by friends, co-workers, or relatives or sometimes individuals who had nominated themselves.  The nominee was secretly videotaped then brought to New York City for a week of evaluation, shopping and hair and make-up styling AFTER getting a chance to watch their secret footage.  The show always ended showing a party in the participants’ hometown, where she would show off her new look to friends and family who would all, of course, comment on how impressed they were and how happy she looked.  Most importantly, from then on, the participant knew what not to wear!

Well, at least on her outer body.

Let’s face it, sometimes we struggle with getting dressed.  I seriously cannot be the only one who stands before a closet full of clothing (remember, I have a bedroom converted to a closet) and thinks, “I have nothing to wear!”  Nor am I the only one who faces an event (special program at church, class reunion, Thanksgiving dinner with family…) and feels compelled to go shopping for something to wear.  And somebody, other than me, has a couple of tags still hanging on some things that have been in the back of the closet for at least a few weeks, if not months.  Or years!

Yet, we tell ourselves we have nothing to wear.  We are convinced we have nothing to wear.  We honestly believe that we need to go shopping, borrow an outfit or pass on going to the event – because we have NOTHING to wear!  We tell ourselves that lie and swallow it hook, line and sinker even when the truth – that God has provided what we need stares us in the face.  And, in many cases, He has provided a whole lot more!

If we can so easily swallow a sweet little lie about not having anything to wear, even while staring evidence to the contrary in the face, what other lies can we readily accept?

Before we continue, this is a good time to remember that Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44).  Well, surely he is too busy to be bothered with something as simple as getting you to believe a lie about what is or is not in your closet?  No, he’s not.  Because it’s not really about your clothes at all.  Satan will do whatever he has to get you to distrust, doubt, shrink away from God and His Word.

Philippians 4:19 (ESV) says that God will supply your every need.  Check the Scriptures before that passage and those that follow and, unlike those little sale circulars that come in the mail, there are no exclusions and no fine print.  You won’t find somewhere else in the Bible that God says something contrary – “I will supply your every need EXCEPT…”  No every need means every need.  Satan does not want you to know that, to understand that, to believe that, to stand on that!  But he is smart; start with the seemingly little, insignificant, unconnected lies.  If he can get you to believe those (I don’t have anything to wear.  Hmm, maybe God didn’t really mean He would supply my every need?), He can get you to believe some even bigger lies.

Don’t believe me?  I won’t take the time here to go into detail, but just look back at Eve’s encounter with Satan in the Garden of Eden.  He was sneaky, crafty, strategic.  He wasn’t blatant, overt and in Eve’s face.  He just cast a stone or two of doubt about who God was, what God said and what God would or wouldn’t do.  You know the rest.

So what not to wear?  Don’t, like Eve, take on the lies of Satan.  He wants you dressed in a coat of defeat with a shawl of weak and flimsy resolve tied about your neck, carrying a backpack or handbag of insecurities, standing in shoes of doubt, pulling on a hat of confusion.

The What Not to Wear participant gets a Visa card and goes shopping.  She buys the foundation of a new wardrobe and is taught how to dress from that point forward – how to build on that foundation for a lifetime of smart and appropriate dressing.  It wouldn’t be enough to simply tell the participant what not to wear and not to teach her what to wear – and how and where to shop for it!

Consider deeply the following Scriptures:

Ezekiel 16:10-13 (ESV):   “ I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.  And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.  And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth.

Romans 8:15-17 (ESV):   “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV):  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Do you get the lessons of these Scriptures?  Do you understand what they teach us?  We are children of the one true King.  We are join heirs with Christ.  We are chosen.  We are Holy.  We are His!

No matter what Satan would try to tell us, no matter what he would put in our path to try to make us stumble, no matter what weapon he pulls from his arsenal…it is no match for what the power and authority we have in our Father.  And here’s the clencher, Satan really has only one weapon – lies!  While your Father has equipped you with many weapons and full armor, the key piece that you need to fight Satan is the belt of truth!  Not your truth (which might not be true – remember, you didn’t have anything in your closet to wear), but God’s truth.  This belt accentuates every figure and compliments every outfit; without it, you might as well be naked.  No well-dressed, Christian would be caught without it.  Put it on. And never take it off!

THIS WEEK clean your closet.  On What Not to Wear, the participant must bring her old clothes with her to New York.  They are tried on and sorted.  Occasionally one gets to keep a piece or two found to be acceptable.  Most end up in the trash can.  As Christians we are to test all things and hold only what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  We discard or throw away everything else.  What lies has Satan told you?  Lies about yourself?  Lies about a friend?  Lies about a situation?  Lies about a family member?  Lies about a relationship?  Test them against God’s Holy Word.  Keep that which is good and toss the rest!


1 Comment

A God Break

In my state, North Carolina, the Wage and Hour Act does not require mandatory rest or meal breaks for employees over the age of 16.  Additionally, there is no law requiring employers to give smoking breaks.

However, most wage and hour employers offer such.

Not once, but at least a couple of times during the day if an individual works eight or more hours.  And most do not require employees to “clock out” or “go off the clock” for these breaks.  Bottom line – most employers give their employees breaks and pay them to take them!

Why?  Because most companies realize that for one to do his or her best work, he/she needs periodic mental and physical breaks – even if just for a few minutes.  The same is true for stressful and salaried jobs.  Long-distance truck drivers must document their breaks.  Likewise airline pilots and air traffic control employees.  Surgeons’ work hours versus off-work hours are routinely monitored.

But some of us are “Energizer Bunnies” going from sun up to sun down 24-7.

Not good!

Research shows that breaks are critical not only to our productivity but also to our health and our happiness.

Scripture shows breaks are critical to our spiritual health and growth!  That is if we take a God Break!

Look at the example of Jesus:

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35 NASB).

“After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone” (Matthew 14:23 NASB).

“But Jesus Himself would often slip away…and pray” (Luke 5:16 NASB).

Habitually.

And this is a practice that needs to become habit for us, too.

If we want to fulfill God’s vision for our lives, we must continually hear from God. If we want to be more like Jesus, we must spend time with Him.  If we want to be all that God calls us to be, we must feed regularly at His table.

In the book named after him, The Prophet Habakkuk wrote (v2:1 NLT), “I will climb into my watchtower ….” meaning that he would go to a place away from distractions, away from people, away from busyness, away from his own thoughts.  And this is what we need to do – find a quiet place away from the distractions of life and take a God Break.

This Week:  Begin making it a habit to press the pause button and take a God Break.  Psalm 46:10 teaches, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Take time to “be still” before God and alone with God.  Use this time to align your heart and mind back to God – to His Word and to His plan for you.  You may need to begin with a reminder –  a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, an alarm on your cell phone, a note penciled in your day planner.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be a LONG break, but it needs to be an intentional, focused and private break – just between the two of you..