Friday, December 19, 2008

Confession No. 15: I Was Living In The Fast Lane

In our chaotic and fast paced world, people usually think that faster is better. Shorter lines, quicker commutes, and fast food is often a necessity for busy families...

but what happens when our shortcuts cause us to miss out on what God wants to say to us? Rather than spending time allowing God's word to penetrate our spirits to create lasting change and a pure heart for Him alone, we settle for short inspirational quotes on His promises. Oh His promises! (sigh) We love to memorize them and pull them up when life gets us down. The only problem with this is we tend to leave out everything that comes before and after the promises.

Here is an example: Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

For years I stopped right after the part that says God has plans on giving me a hope and a future. In doing this, I was totally missing the part that tells me I need to seek Him with all of my heart. Our life with God cannot be lived in the fast lane. Living a life that pleases Him takes time. Time spent with Him and in His word. If you've been living your life in the fast lane too, pull over to the side of the road. It's not too late to evaluate where your life is headed and get back on track. Your father does have amazing plans for you, but you'll need to slow down enough to let him tell you about them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Confession No. 18: I'm Praying With My Eyes Open

Have you ever wondered what God looks like? If the Earth is his footstool (Matthew 5:35) and he created millions of galaxies, then I'm positive that we don't have the mental capacity to imagine how huge He is. In my effort to reignite my prayer life, I once asked a few people who I know and trust the following questions: "What do you imagine when you pray?" What does God look like when you close your eyes to talk to Him?"

I thought that if I could just picture Him, then surely I would be able to communicate with Him better. Some of the responses worked for a while, but I still struggled with lack of focus and drifting thoughts during my time with Him. My problem was that I didn't realize that God is really really real. He is always with us. He is not something that we just dream up and trying to create a mental image of God is almost like the Israelites creating a golden calf to worship. (No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,[a] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. John 1:18)

God is bigger than our hearts can contain and we must continually pursue more of Him in our lives, but making up some imaginary image of Him is not the answer to this. We must trust that God has revealed himself through His son. If you want to see God, then study Jesus. God lives within us and is omnipresent (present in all places at all times )... So my confession today is that I'm no longer praying with my eyes closed. God still lives and he is as close as your next breath. You are never alone. He is with you everywhere - every minute of everyday. Take time to acknowledge Him and start praying with your eyes wide open - He is here and He hears you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Confession No. 14: Learning To Call Him Father

I've known God as savior, master, and friend, but recently He's been teaching me to recognize Him as Father. A few times in the Bible He is referred to as Abba Father. Some language experts believe that the word Abba relates to how an infant would respond to their father - Not necessarily as "Daddy", but as Da-da. What a beautiful picture that paints for us. It's at this young age when we are closest to our parents. It's at this young age when we must depend on them for absolutely everything. I believe that our Father is calling us to a life that is 100% dependent on him. Will you allow Him to carry you in His arms again? Will you trust Him like a child? Will you let go of this world and let Him protect and nurture you?

As I've thought on these things over the last few days, God placed these videos in my path and they ministered to my heart on so many levels. I hope they do the same for you. I'd love to hear comments about your Father/daughter relationship with God.

Beth Moore - A Parable About the King

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Confession No. 13: I didn’t Answer The Call

With talks about financial crisis, political disarray, and war threats on every side, it’s no wonder the average American struggles with so much stress. It’s hard enough that we each have our own personal problems, but to have to think about the country’s problems as well can feel overwhelming.

A few weeks back, I felt God calling me to pray for our country and its leaders. I’ve never been one to do so, so my immediate response was to ignore the call by rationalizing with myself. How could my simple ignorant prayers ever make a difference? I don’t know the first thing about economics, politics, or war. I decided that someone more knowledgeable in those areas could worry about those things. Unfortunately, God didn’t let me off the hook that easily. As the current events become more dramatic, He’s intensified the burden on my heart to pray diligently. With the chaos that’s been going on all around us, it’s obvious that we are all clueless about how the country should be handled. Neither of the political parties have an answer to our imminent problems and the media’s ploy to increase ratings and revenues leaves us with an even more skewed and fearful view of the days ahead.

So how can we make a difference?

First and foremost, God is calling us to keep our eyes on Him. Don’t be moved by what’s going on around you. The market and gas prices may go up and down, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He holds us in the palm of His hand and even though everything around us may be falling apart He still reigns. He created the Universe and knows every detail of it’s past and future.

Secondly, we need to do something! We can’t just point fingers. Everyone loves to blame the president or the Republican’s or the Democrats, but the truth of the matter is that we are where we are today because we have failed as a church to be God’s people. We have all waited for someone else to pray or take action, but action must start within ourselves. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God tells Solomon, “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” God didn’t tell him that he would heal their land if they elected the right officials or if they came up with the perfect economic bailout plan. God also didn’t leave it up to Solomon’s actions and prayers to heal the land. God gave the people three tasks

1. humble themselves
2. pray and seek his face
3. turn from their wicked ways

If we want God to restore our land, we must be willing to do each one of those tasks. We need to stop blaming others, humble ourselves through confession of sin in our own lives. Seek God’s face for grace, mercy, and wisdom not only for our own lives, but also for our country and for our elected officials. We need to ask God to reveal our wickedness to us so that we may repent and make changes. He is calling us to serve Him through diligent prayer and worship. He has always promised to take care of the details. Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. He wants all of you: your faith, your time, and your adoration, but He will never give us more than we can handle. Be faithful with the three tasks above and leave the rest to Him. He wants to heal our land, but we must give Him room to rule and reign in our own lives first. The Lord is calling you. Will you answer?

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Confession No. 12: I Was Storing Junk

I recently learned that the first rule of getting organized is to Purge! Purge! Purge! “Get rid of everything that you don’t absolutely want or need,” experts say. In my sincere effort to “start over” in life, I started on a mission this morning to clean out the unnecessary. It’s not like my closet was a complete wreck, but it was full of boxes and bins of “stuff” and to be honest, I could use the extra space. Now, you might be wondering what “stuff” was in those boxes and bins, but the truth is that I couldn’t of told you about 5 hours ago. I’ve been lugging them around for the past 6 years from house to house… did I mention that I’ve moved three times in the last 6 years? It’s been that weird time in my life where I’m just trying to figure out where GOD wants me. Each time I pack up my boxes and move everything with me, never taking the time to figure out if I still need all of that “stuff.” The sad thing is that with each move I have more and more “stuff” to take with me.

Today, as I sorted through my boxes, I started to realize how much of it was actually junk. Junk that I no longer value or need… junk that was taking up precious space that I could be using on things that I now love. With all of my junk unpacked and spread out over the room, I started to think about my life. How many things am I still holding on to that are just taking up valuable space for what GOD wants to do in me? I’m not sure yet, but I’m thinking that it may involve a few time wasters, past commitments I’ve made that may have run their course, and maybe even a few unproductive relationships. Tonight I’ll lay them each down before the Lord as I ask Him to examine my heart to help me get rid of the junk.

How about you? Is there anything that GOD may be asking you to let go of? He has so many amazing things for you and I wonder if you’ll need to let go of a few things to make some room for HIS plans.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Confession No. 11: My Pursuit Was Half-Hearted

What are you pursuing in your life right now? Is it the American Dream of wealth and prosperity? The historian and writer James Truslow Adams coined the phrase "American Dream" in his 1931 book The Epic of America. His analysis perfectly expresses what we strive for from day to day. I wish that I could call myself the exception, but my confession today echoes the lives of millions of Americans. We work our tails off for our homes, cars, financial security, and personal achievements. We sacrifice time with our creator, family, and friends, to get ahead… to achieve The American Dream.

In a seminar that I attended a few months back, I was asked to list out my values and describe what was most important in my life. Then I was asked to outline my schedule to see if my daily activities reflected those values. I was completely shocked to find that the one thing that matters most to me (my relationship with God) was the area of my life that I was devoting the least amount of time to. My heart was saying that I loved Jesus above all else, but my actions were saying that I loved money, security, and my own personal achievements. My actions were far from that of an heiress to the throne of The Almighty. Instead of diligently pursuing the King for myself, I’ve settled for the scraps that are hand fed to me by my favorite Christian books, music, and sermons. I’ve traded true intimacy and fellowship with Him for the comfort of His promises.

In the book of Luke, one of the teachers in religious law asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus responds with a simple answer. “…You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31

What a challenge GOD has called us to. Since childhood, I’ve been taught to work hard and do my best so that I can achieve success. I’ve spent years building my business, pursuing excellence, and trying to leave a legacy for those that will come up behind me. The only problem is that all of these pursuits have been in vain. They sound good on the surface and they may even exemplify the American Dream, but the truth is that they have caused me to sacrifice what truly is important to me. I’ve got a lot of serious reflecting to do from here. What does it look like to love GOD with ALL of our heart, soul, and mind? Will you join me on this journey? What changes will we need to make? What things must we stop doing and what things must we begin?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Confession No. 10: I Can't Be The Bunny

Remember the Energizer Bunny? She just kept going and going and going. I can relate to her in so many ways (and not just because she can stylishly pull off an all pink wardrobe either). The last few weeks have been especially fast paced for me. Trying to be everything to everyone as well as the girl who positionally lives out her dreams has lead to a lifestyle that I'm not sure I can keep up with. As I watched the sunrise outside of my office window (after pulling another all nighter), I asked myself "Is this the life that Christ has called me to?" From all of my efforts to be a customer focused entrepreneur, the perfect June Clever wife, the zealous Monica Geller-Bing friend, and the Oprah wannabe Encourager; it just seems like something is missing. It seems like I've neglected my most important role of all. As a daughter of the king... hmmm... Princess (if you will allow me to indulge myself for the purpose of making my point). As GOD's princess, my most important role should be to spend time with my King. Absolutely everything else in life should be secondary. I've not only allowed others to steal this precious time away from me, but I've practically been giving it away. In my chaos, GOD has spoken a word to my heart... "but only one thing is needed." (Luke 10:42) In the story of Martha and Mary, Jesus stops by their house for dinner and Mary chooses to sit at his feet and bask in his presence while Martha is frantically trying to make everything perfect for their guest. I can totally understand where Martha's coming from. When the creator of the Universe is sitting in your living room, paper plates and a frozen dinner just won't work. The surprising twist to the story comes when Jesus tells Martha, "but only one thing is needed. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Just one thing! I've been doing a million good things lately, but I've neglected THE ONE that Jesus has called me to. If you are like me and my pink bunny friend and you've been going and going and going... trying to make things perfect... trying to be it all to everyone... trying to be the perfect hostess to The Creator of The Universe... I hope that you'll take time to answer Jesus' call. He's still there waiting. Waiting for us to take off our aprons and put everything else in life on hold to sit at his feet... daily. This is the one thing that truly matters in life. This is what pleases the king. Don't let anyone or anything steal this time away from you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Confession No. 9: I Can Only Imagine...

The I Can Only Imagine Mercy Me song has been out for years. When I heard it today, it reminded me of the tears that filled my eyes the first time it's lyrics touched my heart. The song offers such a powerful reminder that one day we will meet Jesus face to face. We'll finally be able to embrace the one that comforted us, loved us, and died for us even while we were at our worst. We'll be able to touch the hands that created ours and actually hear the voice that guided us from within. What an amazing moment that will be. I don't know what I will do when we finally meet, but My confession today is nothing more than some deep internal dialogue. Why don't I feel moved any longer when I imagine meeting my king? How did my heart get so hard? and more importantly how can I regain the enthusiasm, zeal, and passion that I once had for him? How can I let go of this world and cling to the only one that gives me any real reason to live? How can I grab hold of the vision that my life here is so temporary and that He has created a home for me to fellowship with him for eternity? How can I daily remind myself that I was created to serve him, not the other way around?

My heart wants to want Him more! More than I want peace, security, and to be loved and approved by those around me, I want to be desperate for His presence again. I want to long to hear His voice again. I want to get lost in His overwhelming glory.

For today, I know I won't find my answer in a song, program, or Christian book. Only Jesus can answer my questions and only Jesus has the power to breath spiritual life back into my suffocating lungs. I can only imagine where we'll go from here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Confession No. 8: I Was a Superhero Sidekick

What a day! I went to the beach with some family and friends and was able to spend a few hours with 7-year old Jaime. Jaime is an expert in all things superhero. Primarily Batman and Spiderman, but his character of the day was someone called Sub-zero. As we fought evil one wave at a time, I decided that I was going to need an official superhero name as well as special powers. I finally settled on The Encourager. (Jaime asked if my character was related somehow to The Incredible Hulk.) I told him that my special power involved being able to kill with kindness. He looked a little confused, but was happy to play along.

Jaime... I mean, Sub-zero decided that I could be his sidekick. The only problem was that after coming up with a great name like The Encourager... it just felt like I should play a bigger role than "sidekick." After several minutes of negotiations, it was evident that he was not going budge on his decision. After all, it was his game. He created it and if I wanted to keep playing, I was going to need to play by his rules.

Before the day was over, I wondered if I'd been trying to steal the spotlight from GOD the same way that I was trying to do with Sub-zero. God created me to love and serve him, yet somehow I started to think that this life was all about me and my great ideas and accomplishments. I tried to make myself the Hero rather than the sidekick and in doing so, I lost site of what it was all about. today, it is with great honor that I am resuming my role as a loyal sidekick to my Hero! Will you join me? There are still many battles ahead of us and we need you on our team!

2 Corinthians 10:17-18
But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Galatians 6:14
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Confession No. 7: I Was a Party Girl

I've spent at least half of my life as a party girl... pity party girl that is. I hate the sound of that and I hate admitting it, but the truth is that when things got tough in my life, I got depressed. Ugly, crying, snotty, depressed! The devil knocked on my door, asked if he could help me relive my pain, and I would invite him right in every time.

There are so many times in life when we feel like we deserve to cry and be angry... maybe someone betrayed you or you were treated unfairly. Whatever the situation was (or is), you have got to remember that God is still in control. The Bible tells us that God works ALL things (good and bad situations) together for our good. So if you believe that, then you need to continually ask yourself... Do I believe that God does what He says He will do? Do I believe that He has a plan for my life? The answer to both of those questions is always YES!
If you've thrown a few pity parties of your own, remember that before you were born, God created a plan for your life. You were created to serve HIM! So, wipe away the tears. Stop thinking about everything that's going wrong in your life and start thinking about how you can make the most out of the life that you've been given. When you can learn to delight yourself in the Lord, He promises to give you the desires of your heart. –Psalm 37:4

Confession No. 6: I Had Stipulations

Does your faith in God involve stipulations? I'd be embarrassed to admit to anything like that, but as I examined my own heart after God brought this to my attention, I was ashamed to say that I had to think long and hard about my answer.

As you know by now, Abraham had waited on God many many years before the promise of a child with Sarah was fulfilled. I'm almost positive that every time he looked at his son he was reminded of God's faithfulness. I wonder what went through his head when God told him to sacrifice the very promise that he had waited so long for.

At one point in time or another, we'll all face something like Abraham did and what we need to ask ourselves is... "Do we love the promise more then we love the one who made the promise to us?" Can we get so caught up in the promises of God and forget that we are here for Him, and not the other way around.

I've spent the last 10 years waiting on God to show me my purpose in life, but one day I came to a place where I had to ask myself... "What if I was just created to know and love God?... no glitz. no glamour. no glory!" Is he enough for me? If he asked me to give up everything, could I still be satisfied with Him alone? Would I be like Abraham and be willing to lay it all down or would I be like Judas who sold out for a few bucks?

Is God asking you the same question today? If He never gave you the job of your dreams, the perfect family, healing, money, or ministry... would you stick around? Would you still worship Him? Does your faith in God involve stipulations?We would love to hear your thoughts!

Confession No. 5: We Had 5 Days To Say Goodbye

Is there a dream that God has placed in your heart? Are you waiting on the promises of God for your life? If so, I'd like to encourage you not to give up hope. Abraham held onto the dream that he would be the father of many nations. He waited until he was over 90 years old before he ever saw his dream fulfilled. I can only imagine how seeing God's promise fulfilled must have ignited Abraham's affections for GOD.

Has God ever done a miracle in your life? Sometimes we forget about all of those crazy times when there is no other explanation but God. In December 2006 my uncle experienced a massive heart attack. Doctors determined that they would need to do a quintuple bypass surgery, but they waited 5 days before doing the surgery because they didn't think that he would survive. They wanted to give him some time to say goodbye before calling it quits. That was over two years ago and he is still alive today. Doctor's can't explain it, but we know that God was at work. It's situations like this that we need to remember when we feel ready to give up on our dreams. You have to remember that God is always in control and that He is working all things together for your good. The Bible tells us that his ways are not our ways.

So… I just want to leave you with two questions to encourage you as you wait on God. Do you believe that God is who He says He is and do you believe that He can do what He says he can do?

If you are waiting on God for a dream to be fulfilled, send us your comments, we would love to hold you up in prayer.

Confession No. 4: I Assumed Tomorrow Was Mine Too

I laughed as I played a message that was left on my voicemail last Thursday. A friend left a message saying... "I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that we are still alive and that God gave us one more day. The bad news is that we won't be able to make it to your office today." I remembered his words (and my laugh) later in the day as our car spun out of control on the expressway during a crazy rain storm. In that tense moment of terror I was reminded that God never promises us tomorrow. (James 4) As we get caught up in day to day living, we kind of just take it for granted.

Have you thought much about your life lately? Where you've been? Where you want to go? Don't wait until it's too late to get things right. The Bible tells us in James 4:14 that "Life is like a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow."

So what do we do with today? Before you were even born, God skillfully crafted every part of your being to prepare you for this life. He knows everything about you and despite your imperfections, He wants to use you to make a difference in this world. Out of the billions of people that have ever lived or will ever live on this Earth, there is not even one other that is like you. God is depending on you to do what He created you to do before your last day comes. Start asking him to reveal His plan for your life to you. He is so faithful to answer when we call.

Don't make the same mistake that I did... appreciate EVERY single moment. Surrender your life to God and He will help you make it count!

One day... maybe on your last day, you'll look back at your life. What will you see? I heard it said best in Angelina Jolie's movie (Life or Something Like It)... "Live everyday like it's your last, because one day it will be."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Confession No. 3: I Wanted To Sing Along

My mom and I went to the movies to see Mamma Mia. We intended to see something else, but arrived too late only to find ourselves sitting in with a room full of bright eyed and enthusiastic women. It was so amazing how God worked it out for us to be there. I wouldn't have chosen it otherwise, but I walked away with some great songs stuck in my head and a sincere appreciation for friendship GOD-style.

As a struggling work-a-holic, I spent too many years neglecting my girl time and more recently GOD has been showing me the beauty of a group of women coming together to let go and have a little fun. You'd be surprised at what a spiritual experience it can be. The truth is that we were created for fellowship with GOD and with others... not just casual fellowship either. We were created for deep meaningful friendships. Jesus had them! He hung around with a big crew of about 72, then of course he had the 12 disciples, and we even find that He was especially close to three of them.

Let's make that our goal. Why not take those friendships to the next level. The entire world is suffering from loneliness and all we have to do is reach out to the people that GOD has already placed all around us. Go to lunch or a movie. Share what's on your heart. Be a good listener and an even better forgiver. Friendship is hard work, but it is oh so rewarding.

Anyone up for some margaritas... oops! I mean coffee?

Confession No. 2: I'm Letting Go of Me

I always saw myself as a compassionate person, but a look at my inner thoughts and fears would tell you otherwise. I worry about how others will perceive me. I worry about how I will reach my goals. I even worry about how I can do something HUGE for GOD. The only problem with all of these worries is that they are all focused on ME! Notice how each sentence starts with I.

Through a series of circumstances, GOD has begun to reveal my selfishness, so today I'm asking GOD to help me let go of myself... to let go of my fears and ambitions and to become a women that waits on Him. Today, I'm posting the words of John 3:30 on the window of my heart: He must increase, and I must decrease.

God promises that as we put him first in our lives then He will provide all that we need in every area of our lives. I'd love to hear from you! What are some ways that we can focus more on GOD and less on ourselves?

Confession No. 1: Paris and I Share...

Even though Paris and I are thousands of miles away from each other, we share one thing in common. We are both passionate about pink! From my pink keyboard, calendar, inbox, and bathroom, to her purses, cars and dog clothes: some people might mistake us for twins... ok maybe not. Maybe we don't share anything but the love for the color pink, but even in my clearance isle shoes and my Target top, I know that I'm an heiress to something much more magnificent than her millions.

I'm a daughter of the most high GOD. The creator of the universe, the one that controls the sun, moon, and stars has called me his own. He has crowned me as part of His royal priesthood and doesn't see me for my failures and faults. No, instead when He sees me, He sees the perfection of His son. If Christ is Lord over your life, then you too are an heiress to the throne and I am honored to call you sister, princess, and friend.

I hope that you'll follow along with me on this blog as we dig deeper into what GOD expects from His girls. He has so much that He wants to show us about our role in His kingdom. Freedom comes through confession and I believe that as we confess our sin one to another and before GOD, then He will be faithful to not only forgive, but to help us become ALL that He created us to be.