Aim High!

“He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done. ” 2 Kings 14:3

In some cases, it’s ok to be mediocre. No one can be the best at everything and some things are not important enough to deserve our energy and time.

Other things, however, mean so much that they deserve our utmost.

I speak specifically to your heart toward God. Today’s verse gives a chilling description of the heart of King Amaziah. At first it sounds like he was getting a glowing review: he did right in the sight of God. The description quickly darkens when it says he didn’t do right like his ancestor David, a man after God’s own heart. King Amaziah was satisfied being “good enough”.

Call me an overachiever, but I want to do more than just get by in my walk with God. I want to be a woman after God’s own heart. I don’t want there to be any area of my life that I am satisfied with the bronze or tin when the gold of knowing God deeper is available by His grace.

How about you?

When we start talking about being pleasing to God, the mind automatically looks at the mountain of times we failed before, but that’s not where we should focus. We must focus on the power God offers to help us persevere and overcome. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

It begins with repentance and surrender. Are there morals you have let slip? Have you given up striving to hear Him say, “well done” because it seems nobody else is trying? The benefits of following hard after God far outweigh the “pleasures” of mediocrity. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

The cross was God’s way of reaching low to save us. Our best response is to aim high in pleasing Him.

Step by Step

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the Christian life? Have your attempts to please God left you exhausted and discouraged?

Sometimes I’ll encounter a person who seems to have a walk with God that is so far ahead of mine. Their life makes me want to hurry up and grow in order to enjoy God as much as they do. Can you relate?

The walk we desire to have with God is never achieved in one big jump, but step by daily step. Sanctification is a process and growth is on the installment plan, not cash-and carry. We have a say in how quickly we grow, but there is no way to skip to the head of the line to maturity overnight.

Psalm 30:14 says that God remembers that we are human. He is patient and full of compassion, so why should we be any less so with ourselves while we grow step by stumbling baby step?

Get Back Up!

Some failures are hard to recover from, but recover, you must. Like worrying, wallowing in regret is a waste of time. I’ve discovered that when I don’t get right back up after a fall, it indicates I’ve forgotten some key truths.

One is that God’s forgiveness is one confession away. Our emotions tell us we must stay down and beat ourselves up before we come to God because we feel we don’t deserve His mercy and grace. Well, we don’t deserve it, which makes His offering it all the more beautiful. It’s best if we respond to Him with gratitude, not groveling.

Two, this failure did not catch God by surprise. It did not knock the wind out of Him, make Him blush, or cast His view of you into a shadow of shame. You can’t do that to Omniscience! He does, however, point us to Jesus, our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Look there!

Third, we have too much living, loving, serving, discipling, sharing, and eternal-treasure building up to do to darken our falling place with our shadow for too long.

Reflect, yes.

Grieve some, perhaps.

Maybe even shed a tear or two, but not so long that we cry a lake or an ocean.

Christ’s death on the cross covers all our sin That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting when we displease Him. If we love Him, it should. Because He was crushed for our iniquities they need not crush us (Isaiah 53:5). Failure need never be final, My Friend. You may have fallen, but through Him you can get back up!

I’m Back

Hello Readers,

I’ve been away for several months due to personal life issues, but now I’m back! I hope you will enjoy the blog entries written to fuel your passion for Christ and to encourage you to find joy in your journey with Him.

Feel free to share these posts with anyone you think might be blessed by them. I believe writing is meant to be shared.

Finally, I hope to get your feedback. I love hearing how these posts impact you, and your comments encourage me to keep writing.

Blessings to you all.

The Road to Greatness

“… whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 20:26

We live in an upside-down world. It’s almost certain that the road signs to success are always mis-marked by the world. For example, if you want to be beautiful, the world says you must dress to reveal as much skin as possible, whereas the Word says beauty comes from the hidden person of the heart. If you want to experience a good time, the world says you need alcohol or drugs; otherwise, it’s dry and boring. The Word gives better directions to fun that require no alteration of the senses.

The same is true if you wish to find greatness. The world’s road signs point to academic achievement, wealth, and power. The more you have of any of these, according to the world, the higher your level of greatness. Some spend all their lives striving to make a name for themselves, sacrificing relationships and health for what can’t travel with them beyond the grave. At worst, many who reach “the top” experience disappointment that their accomplishment did not deliver the high it promised. At best, the high is short-lived and the slavedriver of success cracks the whip as he cackles, “Go higher, achieve more, work harder!”

Christ offers a far better way! He says that the road to success is marked “Servanthood.” Forgetting about yourself and focusing on the needs of others is counter-cultural and contrary to human nature, but it is the fool-proof way to greatness. Oftentimes, this road is void of the flashing marquee bearing your name or a mention through a microphone, but the eyes of the King itemize your every work of service and one day His great voice will say “Well done!” He won’t even need a microphone!

Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others who appear to be accomplishing so much and experiencing the glow and popularity of the limelight. Instead, measure your success by Christ’s map. How often are your footprints found on Assistance Avenue, Sharing Street, Provision Parkway, Compassion Cove, and Doing-For-Others-Drive? The world often visits these places with ulterior motives, but you can come with joy because you are simply passing on what God has lavished on you. Because He is all you need, you are free to serve simply out of love for Him and a desire for others to experience the same.

Which kind of success are you pursuing, My Friend? Do you need to make a detour? If so, Christ will meet you at the crossroads where you made a wrong turn and will gladly exchange your heavy burden of the world’s success for the lighter load of servanthood.

A Prayer When You Fail

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

I didn’t think I’d be here again, Lord. I am embarrassed to find myself here once more. I should be farther along by now. I thought this was behind me, that I’d made enough progress that this would never happen again. I feel so dirty inside, and the heaviness of my guilt makes me want to do something crazy to escape it. I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but I sure do need it. Part of me wants to delay asking as a way of punishing myself. I feel I’ve used up too much grace already. I wouldn’t blame You if You said there’s no more left for me, but where else can I go? You are the only One Who cleanses soul-deep, and I can’t live with myself if I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you haven’t cut me off, but I’m glad you haven’t. My guilt says I have a lot of nerve asking for mercy, that I should quit asking. I can’t!

Please forgive me, Lord. Cleanse me from my sin and help me start again. By now, I don’t trust myself to stay right, but I’m begging for Your power not to be what I hate most.

“Thank You” seems too small a response for such a colossal cleansing, but I’ll start there. “Praise You” gets closer to what my heart feels for this indescribable gift. I’ll need to do it the rest of my life for what I feel for You in this moment. “Change me,” reminds me of my dependence and gives me hope that future days will find me walking in victory. I love you, Lord, and I’m grateful for this cleansing…again.

“…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:11

The Fight With Fear

“Fight the good fight of faith…” 1Timothy 6:12

Every time you start making important changes, Fear loud-talks you, hoping you will retreat to the old familiar territory where nothing ever changes but your age. She is always telling you why something won’t work, why it’s too soon or too late, or that you need to be more realistic. She taunts, “Who do you think you are?” How long has she kept you stuck already? Aren’t you tired of it?

What are you going to do about it?

How about you call Fear’s bluff? Stop letting her do all the talking, and YOU tell HER how it’s going to be from now on. She says you will fail if you try. Why not tell her you prefer risking failure while trying than failing by way of negligence? (Besides, you never fail when you dare to try. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you learn something, gain valuable experience, and best of all, you receive the automatic reward of knowing you defied Fear and forged ahead anyway. That, My Friend, is powerful!)

Be rude to Fear, interrupting her while she’s still talking. Ask, “Why are you working so hard to keep me here? What benefits don’t you want me to reap? Which one of God’s promises are you hoping I won’t see fulfilled?” Fear has an ugly agenda, and you can’t trust her.

Fear does her best work when you are alone or tired. She never fights fair. Determine to never make a decision based on anything she says in those vulnerable moments. Fear is a pushy drama queen who thinks everything must happen now or the world will end. Then when you make rash decisions, she’s the first to call you a fool. To fight her, you need reinforcements. Call a friend, journal, ask God to give you His perspective and to unveil the lies Fear is telling in those moments.

In Christ, you are an overcomer, an overwhelming conqueror (Romans 8:37). This gives you the right to slap Fear in the mouth with the truth, kick her with the cleats of courage, and gouge her agenda with faith. You can win the fight with Fear!