Belief

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I heard something similar to the quote above in an online study I was listening to. I was struck by it. Am I living what I profess or what I actually believe? The issue isn’t how am I living. The issue is why am I not living what I profess? Why is my belief different than my conviction?

Example: I profess God loves me. My actions show: I believe that in certain circumstances. When I didn’t get my bonus last month at work because I was 2 students shy of qualifying for a bonus, my first thought was “why did you let this happen God?” I blamed Him. My loving God who I profess loves me. A loving God doesn’t punish or dole out bad things just because. What I believed was that God loves me but sometimes He doesn’t. Being disappointed and turning to God for a release of my disappointment is appropriate. Blaming God wasn’t. Blaming was me living out of my belief not what I profess to be true.

We profess God loves us. We profess He wants to be in relationship with us. We profess we are forgiven if we confess our sins and receive His Son, Jesus, as our personal Savior. We profess He works all things for good. These are all truths in scripture. These are all true! Do we live that way? NO! We just don’t but we can STRIVE to. Let’s strive to make our beliefs and professions line up. Let’s strive to live in the truth of God’s promises. When we fail (we all will), let’s dive deeper into that truth in scripture and next time we may not fail. We may start aligning our profession of truth with our beliefs, and therefore our actions.

I hope I haven’t lost anyone in my logic here. If I have, let me give this take away. If you profess God loves you, live every day, in every circumstance, like you are loved by the King of the Universe. If you do that one thing, everything else will fall in line.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16

Draw Near

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Friends – don’t grow weary! Keep seeking God. I got weary. I was listening to sermons and praying. I wasn’t sitting with God and listening. It made all the difference.

When the fires hit California, the Bobcat fire was only about 6 miles from my house. That meant my yard filled with ash and smoke hit my eyes and nostrils the moment I opened the door. My morning tea with God in my backyard had to cease. I couldn’t be out in that air quality. The problem: I didn’t move my time with God indoors. I stopped. Why? I don’t know. I was dealing with the fires, friends possibly evacuating, Covid-19 lockdown, working full time, the kids starting online high school, friends and family who were ill, and so on plagued my life. Yet when the fire hit and I couldn’t go outside for my tea with God, I stopped.

Some may say that Satan distracted me. He did. Some might say you just got caught up in life and will return to that practice when you can. Others might say I was proud and doing life on my own terms. Probably all of that is true. Regardless of why, the consequences weren’t pretty. Short tempered. Crying at the end of the day from exhaustion. Back issues resurfaced. Friends, when we don’t draw near to God, we fall apart. It may take a few weeks or even a few months, eventually we run on empty. Last week I talked about running on fumes. I didn’t even have that the past few days.

I was still listening to sermons online and even praying fervently for needs of family and friends, but I wasn’t connected to God. What? Yep. Prayer can be one sided. Learning is mental. Until my heart gets involved, my practices of my faith don’t lead to a changed heart. I need to listen!!!! I need to be still before God. When I pray, I need to have a time of listening for His response. When I listen to a sermon, I need to sit and ask God what He wants me to take away from this lesson. When I read scripture, I need to do the same. Sometimes, I just need to sit with my friend Jesus and cry. I know all these things yet bad air quality (really bad air quality) was all it took to derail me.

This week, sit with God. Just sit. If you want to pray, do so but after you talk – listen. If you read His word (which I encourage), sit quietly while you digest it. If you were impacted by the sermon you heard yesterday, ask God how He wants you to change as a result, then listen. I am listening this week. It’s another hard week. My tea time in my yard won’t resume for another week because of my schedule. Drawing near starts today. This moment. Sit with God this week and listen! I will. Join me.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Fuel or Fumes?

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Are you running on fuel or fumes? This question was posed to me on September 12, 2020 by Christine Caine in her online devotional.

The red light turned on my fuel gauge while I was driving home very late. My kids and I were on a dark freeway with exits several miles apart. I passed several exits knowing my tank was low but figured I had time. Once the light came on, I was running on fumes. Thankfully an exit with a gas station appeared and I fueled up my car and we got home safely. However, those miles on fumes were filled with anxiety and worry.

How much easier life would be if we had a red light come on when we were out of fuel? We may not have a red light but we have other indicators that we are running on fumes. Here are a few I have seen in my life:

  • I get angry quicker than usual
  • I’m exhausted
  • When I get a new task on my plate, I fall apart
  • I feel down, depressed, anxious, tired, angry, or other negative feelings
  • I feel physical pain in my low back or shoulders or neck

What does my life look like when my fuel tank is full, or at least not on empty? My tank is filled when I spend time with God. It’s that simple. I can do some self care and get back to a 1/4 tank. I cannot fully fill up unless God is involved. I am a fan of self care and encourage you to pair that with your time with God. Time with God is self care. Sitting outside and sipping a cup of tea is self care. I usually end up praying during that time or just chatting with God. A bubble bath is self care. Listening to worship music during the bath turns self care into time with God as well. Hanging out with friends is self care. Praying before your meal, or at the end of the night, brings God into the equation. My fuel increases with self care but my tank is filled when self care involves God.

Right now – I have been on fumes lately. I am diving into God’s word but then things are happening that are draining my tank quickly. You are probably facing that too. Work, finances, fires in California, physical issues, friends who are ill, stuck at home, anxiety and so on are plaguing so many of us. I am working to include God into more parts of my day to keep me going. I’m not there yet. I am on fumes a lot right now. Are you? Join me in my quest to fuel my tank – daily, hourly, minutely – whatever is needed for the day before you.

Take a moment to think of what your “running on fumes” indicators are. When they arise, dive into your source of fuel – God and His Word. When you are practicing self care to refuel – make sure you add the fuel that sustains. We need Him to fully fuel our tanks and keep us from running on fumes.

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! (1 Chronicles 16:11, ESV).

Dream Big! Pray Big!

A Sweet Aroma

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But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14, ESV)

Right now the only fragrance I smell when I step outside is smoke. So many fires burning around California. Ash is all over our front and back yard. Yet when Christine Caine referenced this verse in her daily devotional email yesterday, the phrase spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere caught my attention.

I pondered what fragrance am I spreading? Do people find my fragrance sweet smelling? Encouraging? Hopeful? Of course, I am not referring to my actual fragrance, or stink, on these hot days. Besides, I don’t wear perfume. I’m allergic to most of them. When people leave an encounter with me, do they leave with a fragrance of joy around them? I want to make sure the fragrance I spread is pleasing.

The second half of that phrase says the fragrance is the knowledge of Him. When my fragrance is sweet smelling, God is seen and known. Who He is is shown by how I behave and interact with others. There are days I do not giving a pleasing fragrance. I am still passing on knowledge of God. It just give the receiver a negative view of who He is. When I repent and seek forgiveness, His grace and mercy are seen and known. God’s reputation is stronger than my weakness and sin. Grateful for that truth. However, the phrase “you may be the only Bible someone may ever read” is true. Let’s make sure we are leaving a good impression of God with those we connect with.

The last word in the verse is everywhere. When I rise up, when I sit down, when I go to the grocery store, when I fill my car with gas, when I return an item to the store, when I talk to my child’s teacher, when I discipline my child, when I talk to my friends, and so on. Everywhere I go and everyone I encounter, I leave behind a fragrance. Let’s make it a sweet aroma!

Dream Big! Pray Big!