Let Choices Lead and Feelings Follow

Help! There’s a tornado whirlwind of jeans, tops, and dresses all over my bedroom! I cannot make up my mind on what to wear so I throw every article of clothing I feel like wearing in every direction of my bedroom. Can anyone relate?? I like the idea of wearing one blouse in my mind but I like how another shirt fits and feels better on my body. So I change. After walking out the door and realizing I’m not dressed for the weather, I change again. Then I feel like wearing different shoes because they look better with the new dress I put on. This probably goes on two or three more times. Then don’t get me started on my food options. I will probably feel three different ways about my lunch today when it comes time to chow down. There are so many feelings, no wonder our culture thrives on one of the scariest ideas floating around – that your feelings are truth.
feelings face
feelings faces – bernadinia
Our culture is saturated with feelings! Do not misinterpret this. Feelings are not bad. In fact, they were given to us by God. However, to allow our feelings to dictate what we do and how we identify ourselves in critical areas of our lives is deception and misaligned. Our culture believes that those desires, those urges, and those impulses are who you are. Live how you feel! Do what you want, when you want, and with whoever you want. Follow your heart! This is a horrible existence. The reality is this is not truth. Pastor Judah Smith stated it best, “Don’t follow your heart, question your heart.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Don’t follow your feelings. Most of the time we cannot identify our emotions or know what we want. How can we trust the roller coaster ride of our emotions dealing with God, people, careers, etc? Yet, it is a sad reality that the same approach we have towards what we’re going to eat and what we’re going to wear, is applied to other major areas in our lives. One of the best ways to safeguard our hearts and lead a life of decision is to understand that it starts with relationship. Here are three important areas of our lives where we can be a generation of people that choose to live by decision and will, not by emotion and frill. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!
  • Our Relationship with God
    • What if God responded to us out of His feelings? We would not be redeemed today! Someone once told me that they are waiting to feel God before they start following Him. Well, that is the wrong approach to our relationship with our Father in Heaven! Friends, let me tell you that our love for God is an act of the will and selfless surrender of ourselves. It is a decision. (James 4:8)
    • Love is a law and laws have no feelings. Romans 13:8; John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Sometimes you feel like running the red light because you are late, but the law says STOP! (Myles Munroe) God has given us a command to obey, even to the point of loving our enemies. We definitely cannot feel our way to doing that. We choose that!
    • Obey God wholeheartedly – If we think of love primarily as emotional desire and not as active committed service, we end up putting duty and desire against each other in a way that is unrealistic and destructive – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
  • Relationship with our Spouse

    • Andy Stanley said, “Falling in love is easy; all it requires is a pulse, but staying in love requires a plan.” Love is a verb. You do it. You don’t feel it. Love is an act of the will. We think love is some emotional concoction deep in the soul. However, it is a daily decision to love (verb) our spouse. Then those initial feelings we had when we were all googly-eyed during the dating season will return and stay!
  • Living Out Our Purpose and Calling
    • What is that hard thing God has called you to? Did you start out with enthusiasm and emotion but found yourself giving into your feelings of not wanting to do it anymore? Most people start out feeling one way and quit on a “bad” day. Here’s the thing, you cannot rely on your feelings to lead you to greatness. Greatness occurs through daily habits and choices. Commit, follow-through, invest, practice and deliver even when you don’t feel like it.

God Isn’t Finished With You Yet

I wrote the post “The Comeback” over a year ago and wanted to revisit it again today, especially after being inspired by Tiger Wood’s legendary comeback yesterday. Your past is not the indicator of the future God has for you; neither is the present moment. In fact, we are all in this process called life together, we just happen to be at different places in our journey. Here’s the good news:

God does not call you based on your history, He calls you based on your destiny.

When you’re faced with doubters and critics in your journey of life, keep believing. When you’re faced with setbacks, keep believing. When you’re alone and your circle of friends no longer is with you, keep believing. When you think you’re past your prime, God’s time is always better. You have to teach yourself to hope when others default to despair. You have to develop grit and deepen that passion on the inside of you. There are no gains without pains. Just keep believing. “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16) Get back up again. Fight again. What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger if you choose.

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We are all going to come to a point in our life where “we need a fresh start, a new beginning, a spiritual turnaround, a change of direction”… we need a comeback. Comeback and underdog stories are what I love. In fact, the ultimate comeback story belongs to our Heavenly Father when He conquered death, hell, and the grave and is alive today! No matter what circumstances or situations we are facing or have experienced in the past…hope is still available to us and we can overcome through Jesus Christ. Still believe! Still trust! Here are a few appetizing points from this book I read by Louie Giglio, “The Comeback: It’s Not Too late and You’re Never Too Far.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

  • God is always good, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
  • Jesus is always there for us. He doesn’t stop healing us. He never stop forgiving us. He won’t stop restoring us. He refuses to stop loving us.
  • He melts the grip of sin and dire circumstances and leads us back to his springtime full of life and growth, productivity and beauty.
  • God isn’t finished with you yet. Jesus is a dream restorer.
  • We are in the plan of God and not the plan of men.
  • It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone, what you’ve done,or where you’ve been. God always throws the door wide open and says, “Welcome home!”
  • His grace comes in oceanic proportions.
  • Nothing gets in the way of God’s great plan.
  • Sometimes we try so hard to cheat death, but Jesus wants us to beat death.
  • He wants us to understand our constant need for the extravagant grace of God.
  • The thing we need most is not to be perfect but to be in love with Jesus. All the condemnation already fell on Jesus.
  • We need God’s saving grace to be made alive. We need God’s transforming grace to be made alive every day.
  • There’s more at stake than what happens in your life. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation, and the world to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in people’s lives.
  • He is the person our hearts and souls were made for. Jesus is enough.
  • Give it away. Give God your dreams. Give God your intense feelings. Give God your little and see what he does with it.
  • We all have an ability to have a relationship with almighty God.
  • In the unpredictable places in life, we learn that the one thing we can predict is that God will come through.
  • He doesn’t want our dreams. He wants his dreams.
  • Keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us.
  • God is still at work. God has not forgotten you. Your comeback will probably look different that you have imagined it, and that’s okay. Wait and believe.

 

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Start Your Day with WWJD

wwjd

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

You remember the “WWJD” phrase? This was the most popular Christian saying back in the 1990s. In fact, it was so culturally iconic, you weren’t considered cool or Christian unless you wore a WWJD bracelet (maybe not that extreme lol)! However, the motto, “What would Jesus do?”  does hold so much truth in how we demonstrate our actions in every situation and circumstance as believers. I also believe it can be a catalyst for how we shape our mindset to start our day.

This is an encouragement for you this morning to start your day with God. Let me ask you this… did you wake up with a worrisome thought about life? Did you wake up with thoughts of fear? Or how about thoughts of extreme lack of motivation for the day…dreading the work hours ahead of you? Did you wake up feeling rushed, too busy to think with all of the work you HAVE to get done today? If any of those scenarios didn’t fit, then you probably were the one who walked mindlessly to the bathroom or kitchen, possibly contemplating if you could sneak in five extra minutes of sleep. Yet, in all of these scenarios, if we’re not careful, they can be the catalyst to how we go into the rest of our day, with a filter being worried, doubtful, tired, stressed, or without purpose. But what if we woke up thinking WWJD?

Remember that worrisome situation that was on your mind when you woke up? “If you’re tuned into God, the first thing you’ll do in any worrisome situation is lift it up to Him.” When we wake up in the morning and devote the priority of the day to our King, we do what Jesus would have done…go to the Father in prayer. I find setting time each morning to pray before anything else, is the most important part of your 24 hours.

God can do more when we allow Him with our day, then we can do on our own. Give Him control.

Praying prepares our hearts and minds for whatever may come at us that day. Prayer allows us to cast every burden and weight on the Lord so that we can start each morning free and joyful. Prayer is setting the thermostat for our day. When we set it, we carry the presence of God that has the power to influence people and situations for His glory. When we don’t set it, well…we can be subject to the people and circumstances around us. So let’s hold true to the motto WWJD. Let’s start each day communing with Christ in prayer and reading God’s Word, even if its just for a few minutes. I’m telling you, your life will change all for the better! Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

How to be “Suprisingly Satisfied”

Surprisingly Satisfied
From “The Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer

Did you know that rat poison is only 3% poison and the other 97% tastes good to the rat? In fact, the poison is a slow killer, so that the rodent does not realize where the source is coming from. Ultimately, it’s the 3% that kills the rats. I’d thought I just share that random information to you this Monday morning 🙂 No really, on a more serious note, overall, life may be good for you and I, but there is a small percentage of posion that the enemy uses to slowly kill our joy, our peace, and ultimately will destroy the purpose God has for us if we are not careful.

That deadly killer… comparison.

We drink in that poison every time we compare our lives to someone we wish we were or something we wish we had. You know…those times we scroll on our facebook or instagram feeds and wish we had what the girl/guy next door has. Or that time someone on social media, we don’t even know, got blessed with a brand new car, brand new job, and went to the most beautiful island for vacation, all at the same time, and you secretly say, “I wish that was me.” We do it without even thinking! Oh friends, we think it’s harmless, but in reality, comparison is a dangerous game to play!!! When we compare, we run a race that was not meant for us and exert energy that leaves us in the same spot we started.

You may not compare yourself to others, but you wish you were in a different season of your life, hurrying and trying to get to a “better version” of your story. I remember the days of my singleness, wishing for Mr. Right to come and sweep me away forever into the sunset. There were moments in my singleness that I did not embrace the beauty of that season. Now I have Mr. Right in my life (praise God :)) and I find myself hurrying our season for the next best thing. If I’m not careful, I will miss out in the beauty of just enjoying my husband fully in the season we are in now before becoming parents or moving or thinking about grandkids lol!

Contentment is not equal to complacency. ~Priscilla Shirer

There is so much beauty where you are now! There is so much God has for you where you are now! There is peace now. There is joy now. There is contentment now. There is purpose for. your. life. NOW. All we have to do is invest fully where we are, because friends, this season we are in will not always be present. Let’s not drink the posion of comparison. “Someone else’s blessing does not mean that it was deducted from our account. Celebrate others’ blessings!” To be content is to find rest in this busy rat race called life. Pastor Larry Stockstill gives us four ways to pace ourselves and find contentment and rest:

R- RELAX: in who you are. Paul said in scripture, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” Learn to be comfortable in your own skin and who you are in God! Learn to love yourself.

E- EXAMINE: your heart for sin. Psalm 32:3 guilt shame, and condemnation will destroy your inner rest. Isaiah said, “there is no rest for wickedness.” Disease is broken down as “dis-ease.”

S- SURRENDER: to the will of God. God’s plan is contingent on your obedience. Rest in His purpose. Until God is through with you, you’re not going anywhere.

T – TIMING: Don’t try to make it happen. God is walking the path with you. Relax. God has a perfect timing. Don’t drive to keep up with the “Joneses.” Sometimes, God will allow some circumstances to prolong to show a great miracle. Don’t pick the fruit before it’s ripe. The fruit will fall off the tree when it’s ready. Timing issues cause Christians to leave their rest.

Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. ~1 Timothy 6:6

 

“Are your dreams CRAZY enough?”

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I remember as a 7th grade girl I went to my dad and told him I was going to run for the class officer secretary position. I was so elated and nervous to step out in faith for this class position that I could not wait to tell this dream to my dad. As I was explaining with excitement and energy about this role that I wanted to take on, I noticed his demeanor was not moved by my 7th grade buzz. So to pull a response out of him, I asked my dad what he thought about this next endeavor I wanted to pursue. With love in his voice and a warm embrace around my waist, I will never forget the words that came out of his mouth next. He said, “If you’re going to run for an office, why not run for president?” Stunned, I looked at him blankly. I had no answer. In fact, the response shocked me and completely shifted my thought process. Why didn’t I think of that before? If I was going to dream, why not dream big!

I look back at the scenario in my early childhood to remind me to dream crazy dreams. Moreover, our Heavenly Father is saying the same thing to us. “God is offended by anything less than your biggest dreams and your boldest prayers.” As Mark Batterson put it, “If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God…because they don’t require divine intervention.” God is waiting to move miraculously on your behalf and most importantly for His glory!

Before I got a chance to run for office, my father passed away suddenly from a fight with Leukemia. That next year I ran for class president and titled my speech, “Why not me?” I won the election and will never forget the lesson my father left me that day when I spoke to him. Our heavenly Father is welcoming the same invitation in our lives. Why not you?

So, answer this question with honesty and truth…”Are your dreams crazy enough?” If the answer is no, “then you haven’t really come to life yet.” As I was finishing up the book I was reading called “The Circle Maker,” I came across the new Nike commercial released a few days ago as well. They both echo a message that we all need to desperately grasp. Are you dreaming bold, daring, crazy dreams? Are you living your life to its fullest potential? Are you relying on and inviting God to intervene and show His faithfulness in your life? Today is the day to begin if you have not started. I encourage you to pick up the book and dive deep into the pages. Then read it a second time, and again, and again. Batterson outlines 10 practical steps to goal setting and writing down your life goal lists. Below are a few highlights I got from the book. So dream crazy big dreams. Dream daring bold dreams.

If you want, comment below on some of the dreams you are believing for in your life. Be Blessed. Be revealed!

The Circle Maker

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

  • Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers.
  • Do the best you can with what you have where you are.
  • When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter in prayer?
  • After you pray through, you need to praise through.
  • Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming, The more you pray the bigger your dreams will become. And the bigger your dreams become the more you will have to pray.
  • May imagination overtake memory.
  • Circle makers are risk takers.
  • If you give beyond your ability, God will bless you beyond your ability.
  • Today could be the day. When you live in prayer mode, you live with holy anticipation.
  • I’ve never met a person who didn’t experience some big disappointments on the way to his or her big dream.
  • How desperate are you for the miracle?
  • We do know that 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray won’t get answered.
  • Pray through the Bible.
  • Pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you.
  • It’s the hard times that teach us how to pray.
  • What seems like an unanswered prayer means that God has a better answer.
  • Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long. Prayer is the inheritance we receive and the legacy we leave.
  • The only way you can fail is if you quit trying. If you’re still trying, even if you’re failing, you’re succeeding. God is honored when you don’t give up.
  • Your greatest legacy is the prayers you leave behind. It’s also your longest legacy.
  • God will still be answering your prayers long after you are long gone. And the ripple effect will only be REVEALED in eternity!

 

The Comeback

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We are all going to come to a point in our life where “we need a fresh start, a new beginning, a spiritual turnaround, a change of direction”… we need a comeback. Comeback and underdog stories are what I love. In fact, the ultimate comeback story belongs to our Heavenly Father when He conquered death, hell, and the grave and is alive today! No matter what circumstances or situations we are facing or have experienced in the past…hope is still available to us and we can overcome through Jesus Christ. Still believe! Still trust! Here are a few appetizing points from this book I read by Louie Giglio, “The Comeback: It’s Not Too late and You’re Never Too Far.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

  • God is always good, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
  • Jesus is always there for us. He doesn’t stop healing us. He never stop forgiving us. He won’t stop restoring us. He refuses to stop loving us.
  • He melts the grip of sin and dire circumstances and leads us back to his springtime full of life and growth, productivity and beauty.
  • God isn’t finished with you yet. Jesus is a dream restorer.
  • We are in the plan of God and not the plan of men.
  • It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone, what you’ve done,or where you’ve been. God always throws the door wide open and says, “Welcome home!”
  • His grace comes in oceanic proportions.
  • Nothing gets in the way of God’s great plan.
  • Sometimes we try so hard to cheat death, but Jesus wants us to beat death.
  • He wants us to understand our constant need for the extravagant grace of God.
  • The thing we need most is not to be perfect but to be in love with Jesus. All the condemnation already fell on Jesus.
  • We need God’s saving grace to be made alive. We need God’s transforming grace to be made alive every day.
  • There’s more at stake than what happens in your life. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation, and the world to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in people’s lives.
  • He is the person our hearts and souls were made for. Jesus is enough.
  • Give it away. Give God your dreams. Give God your intense feelings. Give God your little and see what he does with it.
  • We all have an ability to have a relationship with almighty God.
  • In the unpredictable places in life, we learn that the one thing we can predict is that God will come through.
  • He doesn’t want our dreams. He wants his dreams.
  • Keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us.
  • God is still at work. God has not forgotten you. Your comeback will probably look different that you have imagined it, and that’s okay. Wait and believe.

 

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Go Look at the Horizon

I have a confession. I don’t like waiting…

For example, the thought of long lines, being put on hold on the telephone, and the worst…traffic…makes me want to avoid them at all costs! Here’s the thing, if you know anything about Atlanta, GA traffic, you don’t have the option of avoiding it. You learn how to deal with it. You find out that morning rush hour is from 5:00 am to noon and that evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 pm. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Atlanta has its own. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Period. Seriously. Something worse could happen. I’ve learned to pack meals and even listened to entire book audiotapes to pass the time away. I’m telling you it’s a fine art in how you deal with waiting in Atlanta traffic.

But life has you wait for more than just long lines and terrible Atlanta traffic. You could be waiting on a job opportunity, a dream in your heart to come true, your future spouse, a change in your health, financial turnaround, or waiting to have kids. The wait is different for everyone but everyone has a wait. Waiting is a big part of the Christian life and prayer. In fact, you don’t get the option of whether you have to wait as a Christian, but you do get the option of HOW you wait. I recently listened to a message from Jesus Culture Church in Sacramento called “The Prayer of Anticipation.” It has definitely encouraged me in my own waiting process so I wanted to share some great points that will hopefully encourage you as well on waiting on God. Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

Lamentations

  • There are two types of waiting: Passive waiting and the Biblical concept of waiting. People think waiting is passive. They distract themselves with other activities and get their mind off what they are waiting for. Yet, this is not the Biblical concept of waiting. The definition of wait in the Bible come from several different Hebrew and Greek words. In general, it means to LOOK, EXPECT, HOPE FOR, LIE IN AMBUSH FOR, LONG FOR…I don’t forget about it. I keep looking. I anticipate. I lean in to prayer and expect it. Waiting on God is to seek Him and pray anticipating that what your Father said will. come. to. pass. It’s not going through the motions of prayer. We can pray and not believe. Yet, waiting on God is to pray AND believe in faith.

 

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4 NRSV

 

  • Waiting helps us know the character of God. When I can know God in a deeper way and trust His character, it can help me get through the long process of waiting. When we do not know that God is faithful, consistent, not a respecter of persons, kind, good, etc. we can become bitter, hurt, discouraged, and stop praying in our waiting process. God wants you to get to know Him while you wait! Lean in and position yourself to know that God cannot deny His own character. If He did it for other people, He will do it for you! When fear or doubt try to cloud your mind remind yourself that God is faithful. He is the most consistent person you will ever meet. He will not fail you. Even when we are not faithful and consistent, that does not stop God from being who He is.

 

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  • GO LOOK AT THE HORIZON. When Elijah prayed for rain in the Bible, he told his servant to look toward the sea for rain. When the servant came back and said there is nothing there, Elijah told him to go back…seven times. On the seventh time, the servant responded, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” Before you knew it, a heavy rain poured. You and I need to pick-up the prayers we put down and pray with anticipation and expectation! We need to keep looking at the horizon until it comes and lean into God! It may take seven times, it make take 7,000 times but that is part of trusting that God will deliver. It’s coming and God’s timing is not our own. Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Just Go Look One More time.