I have a confession to make……

I have a confession to make – sometimes I obey just because I don’t want to have to confess later and have to go through the whole roller coaster of emotions and energy.

You see there is this whole thing that happens.

My mind goes into this argument with itself about why I should do what I want, even though I know that I shouldn’t.

Then I reason myself into doing what I shouldn’t do.

Then I instantly know that I’m wrong and will have to confess to my husband or prayer partners and God.

Then I wrestle the desire to hide and not confess it and apologize (repent) to God for not choosing what I knew was the better choice.

Then I’m exhausted with the stupid thoughts and knowing that I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit and I can’t stand doing life without His great peace and presence. 

Ephesians 4:29-31

…29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.…

I’ve heard the metaphor before that the Holy Spirit is like a gentle dove that sits on our shoulder and when grieved, lifts off to take flight.

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Have you ever watched birds? They take flight quiet easily at any quick movement or disturbance.

The time is greatly shortened now that I’m older and can better sense His presence and His quick absence.

Here are just a few things that make Him take flight -bitterness, judgement, disobedience, un-forgiveness, and my all time favorite-If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

That list is not extensive just my bigger personal wrestles.

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The longer we are in the faith, the greater the sensitivity to what pleases and displeases the Spirit.

So, now you know why it’s just better to obey, whose got all that time and energy to waste?

Sometimes it’s just plumb easier.

James 4:17

Ephesians 4:29-31

James 5:16

1 Samuel 15:22

Romans 7:19

Romans 8:26

Dear Bad day – I’m putting you on notice.

Ever have one of those days? You know the kind that makes you forget the sun is warm and the sky is a stunning blue?

The kind that whispers lies into your head and reminds you of your worst fears or deepest hurts?

I received an email from someone I care deeply about. She was deep in the pain of the terrible day.

Here is a bit of what I wrote back.

Maybe a few of us need to hear it today too…….

Baby, just breath and hold on. These emotions are not the truth and they will pass.

A few days ago I had a weird experience. My nest was empty and I was hit with an overwhelming feeling that I was inconsequential.  Nothing I did mattered anymore. My best is behind me and there is no where to go but down.  The weirdest thing about this lie is that it came with weight and it felt true. My mind new better but I couldn’t help the pain that I started to feel in both my body and mind. For 3 days my body became sore and inflamed and I had a good ol flare. My auto immune system entered the fight.  This one soft thought kept floating above me saying, hold on, just let it pass, it will pass. Don’t panic and don’t make any decisions from this place of pain. This is just grief and it is an emotion that must come and do some shaking but the things that are true in me will hold fast.

It was a long 3 days. I sat in scripture, I prayed prayers. I couldn’t feel God the way I normally do, but I still believed that he was present.

Then I woke up and it was gone, just gone.  I need you to know that I spent those 3 days doing the right things, though I didn’t want to do anything but sleep since I was in so much pain both physically and emotionally.  I asked a few people to pray, I confessed my fears and grief to my husband and close friends, and it passed.

I am believing the same for you.

I typed out all those biblical affirmations of faith.

I’m going to send them to you.

Just breath, read out loud, and hold on.

It will pass. God will heal you though His Word.

Those lies that feel like the have a strong hold on you and are  tormenting are only paper chains. They have no power or right to keep you in bondage.

Love you.

For those of you facing the bad day, I pray this walk through His Word will shake the shame off of you, douse you with the fire of His love and fill you with the joy of His being. Just hold on, it’s coming. The good day is closer than you think.

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Here are some biblical statements with the power to focus our minds on God’s truth and dispel our emotions that often lie to us.

  • I love the Lord my God with my whole heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30)
  • I walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • The Lord is on my side. I will not fear what man can do to me (Psalm 118:6)
  • I am competent not in my own abilities but because He has made me competent by His Spirit (Corinthians 3:5-6)
  • I abide in Christ, He abides in me, and I bear much fruit (John 15:5)
  • I have the mind of Christ: therefore I act in a way that is consistent with His actions (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I do not look with disdain upon my weaknesses. I see them as opportunities for God to display His powerful strength and grace through me (2 Cor. 12:10)
  • No weapon formed against me can prosper, and every tongue that rises up against me in judgment will be condemned (Isaiah 54:17)
  • I will be hospitable without complaint (1 Peter 4:9)
  • I will not use my tongue to speak cursings, but rather I will speak life-giving blessings to everyone I meet and in every situation I face (James 3:8-10)
  • The Spirit indwells me: therefore I am the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16)
  • I am faithful over a few things, and I will be made ruler over many (Matt. 25:23)
  • I humbly submit to God, and I actively resist the work of the devil, knowing he must flee from me (James 4:7)
  • I will not give the enemy an opportunity or foothold in my life (Ephesians 4:27).
  • The One who is in me is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
  • I choose to obey the Lord and receive the prosperous abundance and blessing He will bestow on me (Deuteronomy 30:8-9)
  • My heart keeps the commandments of God. They will add length of days and peace to my life (Prov. 3:1-2).
  • I walk by the Spirit and do not fulfill the desires of my flesh (Galatians 5:16)
  • I am enabled to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • The Lord guards my going out and my coming in, today and forever (Psalm 121:8).
  • I rejoice in the Lord whether circumstances are good or bad (Philippians 4:4).
  • I will not be afraid when I lie down, and my sleep shall be sweet (Proverbs 3:24).
  • I obtain the favor of the Lord (Proverbs 12:2).
  • The Lord is in my midst, and He sings over me with joy (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • I am the apple of my Father’s eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).
  • Goodness and mercy will follow me not only today but all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).
  • I have been made in the image and likeness of God Himself. This is my heritage (Genesis 1:27).
  • I have not been given the spirit of this world; rather, I have the Spirit of God that I might know the mind and will of God for me (1 Cor. 2:12).
  • I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).
  • My steps have been ordained and ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23).
  • I only allow my mind to entertain what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, noble excellent, and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).
  • I long for the pure milk of the Word that I may grow up to spiritual maturity (1 Peter 2:2).
  • I seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14).
  • I am a necessary and useful part of the body of Christ, and I will use my spiritual gifts to edify others ( 1 Cor 12:7).
  • Faith, hope, and love – especially love- abide in me (1 Cor 13:13).
  • I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21).
  • I have been given victory in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 15:57).
  • I am meek and I will inherit the earth (Matt 5:5).
  • I extend mercy to others, and I will in turn will receive mercy ( Matt 5:7).
  • I have a pure heart before God, and I expect to see His manifest presence in my life (Matt 5:8).
  • I discipline myself for the purpose of godliness since it holds promise for the present life as well as the life to come ( 1 Tim 4:8).
  • My ambition is to be pleasing to Him and Him alone (2 Cor 5:9).
  • I do not judge fellow believers so that I will not bring judgement on myself (Rom 2:1).
  • My priority is to seek first the kingdom and God’s righteousness and I expect all needed, secondary things to be added unto me (Matt 6:33).
  • I am a true worshipper. I worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).
  • I do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).
  • Rivers of living water flow out of my inner being (John 7:38).
  • I have been chosen by God to bring forth fruit that shall remain (John 15:16).
  • I am a brand-new person. My old sin nature has passed away, and everything has become new (2Cor 5:17).
  • No matter my past, I am forgiven of  my sins because of the lavishness of His grace upon me (Eph 1:7).
  • I have been given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Eph 1:3)
  • Because He was wounded, I am healed (Isaiah 53:5).
  • In Christ, I am whole and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4).
  • Whatever I ask for in prayer according to the Father’s will, I believe that I have received it (Mark 11:24).
  • I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation, I am one of God’s own people (1 Peter 2:9).
  • I will not be afraid because I know the spirit of fear is not from Him. He has given me a spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7).
  • I am not a stranger to God. I am a citizen of God’s kingdom and a member of His household (Eph 2:19).
  • I have been sealed by the Holy spirit who indwells me. He is a pledge from the Father of my coming inheritance (Eph 1:13-14).
  • I am a masterpiece created in Christ Jesus in order to walk in the good works He has prepared for me to do (Eph 2:10).
  • For freedom I have been made free. I walk daily in the gift of freedom (Galatians 5:1).
  • I am dead to the power of sin (Romans 6:11).
  • I have been raised with Christ, and I sit with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6).
  • I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt 5:13-14).
  • I will not fear because the Lord is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life (Psalm 27:1).
  • The joy of the lord is my strength (Neh 8:10).
  • I trust completely in the Lord; therefore I will be like a fruit bearing tree that continually finds nourishment despite dry, parched weather (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
  • No good thing will the Lord withhold from me as I walk uprightly before Him (Psalm 84:11).
  • Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and I will do the works that He did (John 14:12).
  • In Christ I have become a child of God, and I receive the blessings God has for me (John 1:2 ; Romans 16:17)
  • In Christ, God has chosen me as His own and made me strong. He has placed His mark on me. He has placed His spirit in my heart as a guarantee for all He has promised (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).

Spiritual Community

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A very wise man once said:

“The deepest urge in every human heart is to be in relationship with someone who absolutely delights in us, someone with the resources we lack who has no greater joy than giving to us, someone who respects us enough to require us to use everything we receive for the good of others, and because he has given it to us, knows we have something to give. The longing to connect defines our dignity as human beings and our destiny as image bearers.

“ we don’t need more churches, as we usually define the word. We need more spiritual communities where good friends and wise people turn their chairs toward each other and talk well.” Larry Crabb – The Safest Place on Earth.

I remember when I first read those words how they resonated through my soul like the sound the chimes make after being brushed by the wind. It struck me as deep and true that we were made to turn our chairs towards each other and remove our masks of false perfection. If we could only stop pretending and start practicing a vulnerability that would hunger for true connection.

Larry Crabb goes on to say that the central task of community is to create a safe enough place for the walls to be torn down so that we can reveal our brokenness. Only then can the power of community do it’s job and restore our souls.

Unspiritual community is made up of such lesser things:

congenial relationships

cooperative relationships

consoling relationships

Those types of relationships are so easy and take no courage at all. They fulfill for short periods of time but do not have the power to help us get out of the mud we find our souls in or help us feel known and loved.

And all of these are counterfeit of spiritual friendships/community.

Spiritual community has the purpose of “Reconnecting a detached soul to the lifeblood of community requires power that a few people seem to possess. Powerful people can see the hidden life that is already poured into another by God and, with an awareness of the life they have received from the same source, they pour out what is deepest and truest and noblest within them into the soul of the another; and they do it with a clear vision of what that other person could become as the life of Christ is nourished and released within. Community – Larry Crabb

Here are a few sentences that we can pray to help us form the life giving spiritual relationships that we long for.

—————-

God grant us more empathy and tear down our judgements. In every place that we see others through our veil of fear or pride, I pray for a revelation of the Father’s love to clear our sight.

I pray for courage and insight to build up the man or woman that you bring in front of me.

Lord what are you wanting to release through all the difficulties and joys in this person’s life?

How do you intend to advance your Kingdom through this person?

What weaknesses or strongholds is this person wrestling with that keeps them back from their full potential? Please give me the words and insights to honestly and gently deliver that information to this man or woman of God.

Thank you for the specific ways that this person blesses me. (recount them)

Help me to see how those gifts can bless the body of Christ.

Grant me vision for this person Lord and help me from falling into the trap of believing that I’m dealing with a problem.

Amen

Two books that can take you much deeper into this worthy topic would be Connecting and The Safest Place on Earth. Both by Larry Crabb.

Old Love

In honor of Valentines Day, an old post revisited.

Mcrozy's Weblog

Not necessarily a catchy title now is it?

Roger and I were watching an episode of Star Trek (yes we are trekkies) and laughing at the silly remarks made by a young man on the show who thought he was in love after two short meetings with a pretty girl.

That wasn’t love silly man, that was infatuation.

To be infatuated means to be inspired with an intense but short-lived passion or admiration.

An intense flare of passion does not love make.

Let me tell you about old love.

Love that qualifies as old can make that claim because it grows stronger through the decades.

Old love is seen in the lines around my husband’s handsome face. Lines that were etched by the sun as he worked 60-80 hour work weeks so that I could raise our children in the early years of our marriage.

Old love is in his…

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To the little girl in all of us.

Storie

Dear little girl, who do you see when you look in the mirror?
Do you see a climber who can scale the highest mount?
Or a conquerer of unknown lands?
Is your imagination the size of an ant or as big as Africa?
Of all the things I want you to know this would make the top of the list.

Beauty shines from the inside out.
Your God will value you more than any man.
A boy you have to chase is not worth having.
When you know your worth, others will too.
Your smile can light up a room.
Your heart was made to save lives.

Walk into every room knowing how loved you are and YOU WILL shift every atmosphere.
You are more powerful than you dare to dream.
Hope hurts but it also floats. Never let it go.

Seek the wisdom of God above all else.

You were created to love, and for love, so learn to yield this great power.

Discipleship Tip #2

Remember your role.

Discipler’s are to drive the transformational process not just witness it. Exhorting, teaching and correction are essential in this process.

To elaborate on this point; it is very important to take stock of your own personality.

If by nature you are an exhorter, then you know that part of the process is going to flow freely from your personality.  But the other two components are equally as important if this process is going to be guided and not merely witnessed.

Each personality and gift sets that you as a discipler will have strengths and weaknesses attached to it.

Exhorters

If you are an Exhorter you probably have the tendency to overlook issues because your innate gift erupts out of you like Old Faithful. You can’t help but lift the person in front of you up with your vision and passion for what he or she can be in Christ.

Exhorters need to strengthen their discernment and boldness to speak the truth in love.

Pray God increases discernment and practice boldness.

Teachers

Teachers need to make their material concise and know their disciplee very well.  People listen when what you are saying matches their point of pain or emotional need.  People with a teaching gift must refrain from extra information and stay on point.

There was a season I helped lead small groups for college students. I knew that they needed to know more about God and His ways. They wanted to know how to get a mate. So knowing what they were interested in, I offered small groups with the topic of Boundaries in Dating. 

I could have offered a class on how to read the Bible and I assure you that no one would have signed up 🙂  Meet people were they are and show them what God has to say about it.

Also discovering how your disciplee best learns is also helpful.

For example – If you have a visual learner, use lots of pictures and object lessons. Place handles on truth at all times. The handle is the method in which the person receiving can best carry the lessons learned.

Correction

This is the hardest of the 3, and the one most people run from. But it is also the agent of change. Correction done well is life to the soul.

In my minds eye I see correction as truth. When I see that someone is believing a lie and that the lie is hurting the person, it is a relief for me to shed light on the lie that serves as a shackle. The lie is keeping them in bondage but I come with a flash light and keys!!!!!

The problem that normally happens is that the person who is in bondage is also in pain.  Have you ever hugged someone with a sunburn? It hurts, but sometimes it must hurt to heal.

When you are able stay unaffordable by covering yourself in the loving truth of God, then you can step in and lend someone whatever it is they need.

Prepare yourself that they are probably not going to be instantly appreciate.

Prepare yourself that they will say that you are wrong.

But if you have prayed through what to say and prayed for the right loving attitude in which to say it, then for grace’s sake, give people keys to get free.

It’s not about you in that moment.

How you feel, whether it be scared, mad, irritated, frustrated or dismissed.

It’s all about them being free to know and love God and be known by Him.

It’s your job to say the thing, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to land it in time.

Hope these words help.

Feel free to ask questions if you have any.

Discipleship Tip #1 – Don’t take it personal.

Upon request, this blog will elaborate on the former discipleship tips from last week.

The first tip was – Don’t take it personally.

When meeting with anyone, it is important to remember that he or she comes with a full history of relationships that are both good and bad.

I can tell within moments if the person that I am meeting with has a good or bad relationship with their mother.  The person being discipled will immediately project an attitude or posture that has little or nothing to do with me.

I’ve heard everything from.

“I don’t really respect women.”

“I don’t trust women”, along with a variety of different responses.  Often my age (close to 50) will also solicit a reaction that is either good or bad depending on their history.

I often start with many questions to hear their story and piece together how many walls there are between us. 

Influence cannot happen until trust is established.

If I am oversensitive or over-react in any way (if their behavior is less than stellar), it will add to the distrust that has already come in our relationship.

When I hear an uncomplimentary response, I often just ask why. Why are women hard to trust (for example)?

At all times I ask the Holy Spirit to allow me to discern the hurt behind the comments and that the shield of Faith would extinguish any darts thrown at my heart, whether intended or not.

The un-offendable person always gains the higher ground. The person on the higher ground will always have more perspective.

If by chance a comment spoken from the disciplee happens to sting, I take note of it but do not respond to it at the moment. I do not justify, argue or defend myself.  If clarity is needed because an untruth is spoken, then I do that calmly.

I will take the wounded place back to my prayer time and if I know that it still remains as pain, then I talk to my sacred circle of people that know and love me so that I can displace any lie trying to take root or ask for healing for a wound not completely healed.

There is power in keeping my peace and joy in all conversations.  My security and identity are rooted in God’s opinion of me and not man’s.

I refuse to allow the chaos of choices made by people in process to steal the peace that was gained in fellowship with Christ. I can empathize without agreeing and it is my role to bring the light of truth into the darkness. My light should be contagious and not their darkness.

At the end of the day, if I discover that I have a sore place in my heart after meeting with someone, then I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to discover it so that I can walk in wholeness and love for Him, for me and for others.

Luke 10:27

He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

Hope you find these words helpful.

Discipleship Tips

For those of us on the journey of Faith, I offer a few tips that were learned through much trial and error.

If it helps you to love and lead people well, then it was worth the sharing.

These are short and sweet. If you would like more info on a certain topic, just leave a comment.

True discipleship is about life transformation and in order for that to happen we must allow our wounds to be exposed and healed. When you get near a wound, a reaction is sure to happen and sometimes it is aimed at you, so the first tip is –

  • Don’t take it personally.

People go through many emotions and some of them may be aimed at you as an authority figure.

  • Remember your role.

Discipler’s are to drive the transformational process not just witness it. Exhorting, teaching and correction are essential in this process.

  • The priority of your family goes before those you are serving.
  • Influence – your greatest areas of influence will flow from the areas in your life where you have grown and gained the victory. 
  • Their dramas or self-imposed chaos are not yours so stay objective about what the real issues are and don’t spend all your time dealing with symptoms.
  • Don’t work harder than they do. That is enabling. Everyone is worthy of love but not everyone is worthy of investment. Jesus gave instructions to be able to follow him.
  • Know the difference between your stuff and their stuff. If you ever find yourself reacting instead of responding or your emotion is higher than the situation calls for, be alert to the fact that you have something in you that should be taken to the Holy Spirit for healing. We are all people in process.
  • If you do come across your own personal wound please be proactive and invite discerning friends to offer you some insight and prayer.
  • Identify strongholds so you can pray specific scripture over them.
  • It would be wise to spend just as much or more time in prayer than actually with them.
  • Be prepared for your relationship to be more like a yo-yo than a normal discipleship.  They come and go, come and go.
  • Discipleship is cyclical not a straight shot up so stay encouraged.
  • Do not rescue them unless you have specifically heard from God.  Most problems and situations that are painful are perfect scenarios for God to work.
  • Do not issue ultimatums or promises but keep those you serve rooted in Scripture.
  • Always keep the door open to further communication if they choose to not continue.
  • Let them know what will happen if they are choosing negative behavior.
  • Be a bold truth-teller and also make sure they feel deeply loved.

High affection – High correction leads to health.

High affection – Low correction leads to immature, selfish people.

Low correction and low affection is neglect.

High correction and low affection leads to rebellion.

Above all, enjoy and love the people who are children of God, that you are privileged to serve.

Can you still bow?

Can you still bow? 

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Has your year has been beyond your wildest dreams, or have they been filled with hardships and griefs that are welcomed to never return?

Has it changed your view of God?

Has God become less good because our lives went sideways when we thought we had a good plan in place?

Have people gone that you thought would last a lifetime?

Has loss come to visit or has it been fortune?

Last year brought both extravagant blessings and severe grief.  My emotions have been stretched beyond their boundaries and are in foreign soil.

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In a year that has rivaled it’s predecessors; this is what I know for sure.

God is good.

He is hope eternal.

He is the anchor that holds.

His love is deeper than any grief and richer than any blessing.

To KNOW Him is the continued cry of my soul.

A few weeks ago, I rose from my bed and heard the cry of a little girl calling me from the basement apartment. My grandchild had been up and playing and decided she wanted her Nana. As I entered the room she jumped up in my arms and realized how warm I was in my robe. She bowed into my warmth and let my embrace fully sink in. I was overwhelmed with delight to hold her, and warm her little self, with all of me.

So I pray this year we can bow into His goodness and warmth and know how deeply that action delights Him.

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I have no idea what 2015 will hold but I know who holds my heart in 2015.

A thank you to my funny and creative God.

God you are so funny – I see what you did, you know.
It took me awhile and then, just like that, I saw it.
You answered that silly, heartfelt prayer of a sentimental momma.

All the nights where I would dream of my grown children being little again, and I would wake with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart and pray my impossible prayer/wish.

“Can I have just one day Lord? One day when they are little again? I don’t want a million dollars or anything this world can buy, but I miss my babies.”

If I could have anything, I just wanted one day to kiss their warm cheeks awake. To comb their hair and dress them in sweet smelling clothes. A day to read stories to them and hug them tight. To hear their pure little people voices and see them as the authentic, unfiltered, perfect creatures they are. Safe from harm, warm and fed.

That was the purest joy I had ever known.

That was my impossible prayer, that I offered to you with a heart full of ache when I was missing my little ones.

So God, I know you giggled with joy, when I was given so many days these perfect little, exhausting, grandchildren while their daddy is away serving our country.

I have loved them and played with them, read books, and bathed them and put them in sweet smelling clothes,
gone on walks and fed them till they wobble. I have laughed till the tears soak my face and the 1 year old points at my face with concern as she asks her Momma what is wrong with Nana.

I remembered my prayers and sat astonished that you found a way to answer me.

Not one day, but one day for every time I asked and more.

Thank you for this time with them Father.
It was a treasure I will cherish through to eternity.

And now this Nana is getting ready for her clean and quiet house again.

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