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Archive for the month “July, 2012”

The Circus of People Pleasing


“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12, NIV

 

“Oh, the joys of being a people pleaser,” said no one ever. Come on, we all know what it means to be a people pleaser. I know all too well, because that is an area I struggle with. Yep, I want everybody to like me. I want everyone to be happy with me at all times. I get anxious whenever I feel that someone doesn’t like me, and I begin to try and figure out what I could’ve done to cause this person to not like me. Again, this is an area I struggle with.

Being a people pleaser is like being in a circus act. You jump through one hoop in order to gain another person’s approval, only to find that the first hoop didn’t quite cut it. So, you jump through another hoop, and another hoop, and another hoop, and etc., until you no longer even know who you really are. You see, when we try to please everyone, we slowly lose sight of who we are created to be. We forget that the only One who we are suppose to please is God. 

These people we are trying so desperately to gain approval from have no say so over our eternal life. They cannot make us a better person. They cannot bring true lasting happiness. In the end, all we are left with in the game of people pleasing is heartache and misery. But when we seek to please God, and allow Him to take care of the people around us, we are filled with lasting joy and a peace that passes all understanding. 

So, I say let us leave the circus, and let us seek to the please the One who created us!

Grace & Peace, Jac

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He is With You


“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3, NIV

 

I came across this verse this morning, and it reminded me of how much our God truly loves us. Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine. He is concerned with us, and everything in our lives. When our hearts break, He brings healing. He mends them. When we have wounds, He binds them. He bandages them. Everything, from the tiniest to the largest, in our lives is of importance to our Heavenly Father. 

Beloved, I don’t know what you are experiencing in your life right now. I don’t know if your heart is breaking, or if you have wounds in your life. What I do know, though, is that our Heavenly Father knows. He sees your struggles. He hears your cries. He feels your heart break. He is walking with you. 

I pray that you will take this verse and meditate on it as you walk through your experience. I pray that you will be reminded of great the Father’s love for you truly is. He has you in His hands. He is bringing healing into your life. Hold on my friend. 

Spiritual Workout


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We all know that working out (exercising) is good for our bodies. It helps to keep us healthy, boosts our metabolism, helps to burn fat, and strengthens and builds muscles. But what about a spiritual workout? Have we ever thought about how just as we need a physical workout for our bodies, we also need a spiritual workout for our souls? 

Listen to what scripture says, 

So then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7, NIV

 

This passage of scripture says that we are to be “built up in him” and “strengthened in our faith.” How do we become built up in Jesus and strengthened in our faith? I mean, we lift weights, run, jog, or do some cardio for our physical workouts. But what do we do for our spiritual workouts? We lift the spiritual weights. Yep, you heard me. There are spiritual weights that we can lift in order to build us up in Christ and strengthen our faith. 

1. The first spiritual weight that we must lift for our spiritual workout is prayer. Oh buddy, I can’t stress how important this “weight” is. This weight is one that tends to get overlooked until we are faced with some sort of crisis, but it is one that needs to be lifted everyday, all day. Prayer is not just for panic times. Prayer is our communication with the One who created us. We can pray when we are happy, sad, in need, or for whatever reason we wish. Prayer is a powerful weight. It strengthens our connection with God, and helps us to see things in a better light. It can also help us see the needs of others.

2. The second spiritual weight that we must lift for our spiritual workout is reading and studying the Word of God. Yep, it’s time to break out your Bible folks. It’s not there as a decoration or a dust-collector. It’s a book that is actually meant to be read, daily, folks. It is amazing to me how full of life the Word of God is. And no joke, you can read a passage of scripture at one time and read that same passage again at another time, and it can speak completely different to you each time. It never gets old. It never gets boring. It is always life enhancing! The Word of God helps us to see the heart of God. It keeps us connected to how God operates, and how He wants us to live our lives. It is an important spiritual weight that cannot be neglected in our daily spiritual workouts. 

3. The third spiritual weight for our spiritual workouts is fellowship with other believers. Now, I am not saying that you can only have fellow believers as your friends. It is ok to have friends that may not hold the same beliefs as you do, but you definitely need other believers in your life. Fellowship with other believers can come through attending church, Bible studies, small groups, and gatherings such as these listed. Having fellowship with other believers helps us to be held accountable in our daily walk. We can help encourage one another, pray for one another, share how God’s working in and through our lives with one another. We can help to sharpen one another. I cannot stress enough of how important this spiritual weight is. As believers we need to fellowship with other believers. The Christian faith is not a lone ranger faith.

4. The fourth spiritual weight that we need to lift in our spiritual workouts is servanthood. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must reach out to serve others. Helping those in need, feeding the hungry, reaching out to the poor and homeless, helping the single mother who is struggling to care for herself and her kids, helping the young teenage girl who just found out she is pregnant, helping the teenage boy who has fallen into the wrong crowd, helping the addict. All of these are ways of servanthood. Jesus came to serve, not be served. We should live our lives in such a way that we are always looking for ways to bless other people. 

All of these spiritual weights are important for our spiritual workout. Just as healthy sting habits and exercise go hand-in-hand for our physical bodies to be healthy, lifting these spiritual weights and living the Christian faith go hand-in-hand to keep our spiritual bodies healthy.

What are some other spiritual weights that we need to lift?

Grace & Peace, Jac

Every Knee Will Bow


Yesterday during the worship service, the pastor quoted these verses. As I listened to the verse, my eyes couldn’t help but well up with tears. So much power in these verses.

“Who, being in very nature God, did to consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 
                                                                                                                                                                 Philippians 2:6-11, NIV
* Bold print emphasis, by me.

Grace & Peace, Jac

No More Wallowing Like a Pig


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the  new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I can remember thinking as a teenager that I knew everything. I didn’t need anyone telling me how to live my life, because I always (insert eye roll here) made good decisions. I can remember thinking my parents were too prehistoric to know anything, and apparently after you’re a teenager you just become senile. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong. I can’t even begin to list all the poor choices I made. I can’t tell you how many situations I could have avoided if I had just listened to my parents when they tried to lead me from my poor choices.

But I can tell you that I don’t have to wallow like a pig in my past poor choices. I don’t have to walk in regret, shame, humiliation, or guilt. I can walk in freedom. Through Christ, I have been made new. I am a new creation. The old has gone, and the new has come! I don’t have to let my past control me. Isn’t that amazing?

Friend, I don’t know what past poor choices you have made. I don’t know if you are carrying around guilt, shame, regret, or humiliation. I don’t know your story, but I do know the One who does know it and knows you. You don’t have to wallow like a pig any longer. You can walk in freedom. The old can be gone, and the new can come. You can be a new creation today! There is no mistake, hang-up, screw-up, or poor choice that is too big for Jesus. He can and will make you new.

Grace and Peace, Jac

Sin is Nothing More Than Empty Calories


ImageAs I made cupcakes for K’s birthday the other day, and then enjoyed one later that evening, I thought about the lack of nutrition that the cupcake held. Let’s admit it, cupcakes may be delicious and satisfying at the moment, but they hold no nutritional value. As I thought on the “bad” about the sweet yummy treat, I also thought on how sin is just like this cupcake. Sin looks so yummy. It is enticing. It is alluring. Sin grabs us where we are weak, and promises sweet satisfaction. But the truth is that sin holds no nutritional value for our spiritual walk, just like this cupcake holds no nutritional value for our physical walk. Sin may satisfy at the moment, but in the long run it leaves us empty and dissatisfied. The only one to completely satisfy is Jesus. So, next time sin tries to entice you, remember that sin is full of empty calories that won’t ever truly satisfy.

Grace & Peace, Jac

“Hold Please…”


“Hold please while we connect you with our next available customer representative.” <insert bad elevator music>

I am sure you have heard this dreaded statement before. I have heard it a lot lately. With moving comes all the joys of getting things connected in your new home. Phone, satellite, power, water, internet (that is another blog in itself….we are still battling that one). And unfortunately, most of these require you making a phone call to the business that will handle getting you “all set up” with whatever service you are needing. Once you make that phone call, you are then connected with some automatic service (frustrating in itself). Then you must go through all the available options (“Please press 1, 2, 3…), and then just when you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are put on hold and hear the above statement ringing through your ears. Ugh.

This got me thinking the other day, as I sat on hold, only to be connected with three different people before I finally found someone that could actually help me with my issue. When we are wanting to connect with God, we will never hear, “Hold please while we connect you with our next available customer service representative.” We will not have to go through 3 different outlets before we finally get God. God is available to us directly. ALL the time. EVERY day. ALL day. There is no being put on hold. There is no automatic service. We can go directly into His throne room and connnect with Him. We can talk to Him. We can rest with Him. We can praise Him. We can worship Him. We can just be with Him.

I am so thankful that we serve a God who is always available.

Grace & Peace, Jac

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