Thursday, August 28, 2014

To Hell in a Handbasket?

Quite an interesting title for today, I know! I looked up the meaning for this phrase and this is what I found: 
To be 'going to hell in a handbasket' is to be rapidly deteriorating - on course for disaster.
As I sit and reflect on my life, like many of you, I definitely had my season of what I call my black sheep days! Late high school, early college, the definition above defines the direction of my life. Without Jesus, doing what I felt like doing, my life was rapidly deteriorating & on course for disaster.

One of the Bible verses Tyler & Trinity know, is one of my favorite.
Romans 10:9 - If you, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord & believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!  
But isn't that true of every person who has not accepted Jesus as their Savior? It may not look like their life is deteriorating. It may not look like their life is on course for disaster with their nice new car or new house, their elegant and perfect interior decorations, or the front porch wreath & topiary tree that makes everything look so together. You know that friend, you partied with them back in the day. You joked, laughed, created memories, most of which you now wish you could take back.

But then… that day came for you. Like the prodigals son, who went and squandered his inheritance, he came to his senses. He came running back to his father. You and I did the same. We had that defining moment when we realized our life was empty. The parties were not fulfilling the empty void in our heart. The relationships weren't completing us like we thought they should. The money seemed pointless and meaningless. We had that moment, down on our knees where we took Romans 10:9 and received it for our life. We confessed with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, for the first time we believed it in our heart that God did raise Him from the dead, and for me, that day in November 1996, I was officially saved. Saved from a deteriorating life. Saved from a life headed in the wrong directions. Saved, ultimately, from a life in hell, had I not confessed Jesus as Lord and received Him into my life.

What about those friends? What seemed like decades ago, what about them? Did they make the same change or decision I did? Some did. Some did not.
Jonah 4:2b - ...for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and [when sinners turn to You and meet Your conditions] You revoke the [sentence of] evil against them.
The evil sentence? What is it? For those who DO NOT accept Jesus as their Lord, the eternal sentence is inevitable. When they breathe their last breath on earth, they will go on to spend an eternity in hell.

And that friend, for years, has continued to come up in my mind. She continues to prod at my brain. Why? Because I know most likely where she would go. I don't think she has made that decision for her life.

Which leaves me with the challenge. Who is it that you need to talk to about Jesus? Who do you need to ask that question?
On a scale of 1-10, how sure are you that when you die you will go to heaven? ------ Oh, you're a 7? ---- Would you want me to tell you how you can be a 10? Eternity is a long time to play around with and not be 100% sure. Because if you're not 100% sure, you are 100% unsure. Can I share with you how you can KNOW you are going to heaven? 
Romans 10:9 - If you, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord & believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!   
Repeat after me: "Thank you Lord that I confess that Jesus IS Lord and I DO believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. I receive Your salvation. I confess my sins to you and ask for your forgiveness. THANK YOU LORD that TODAY, on __(date)___ , I AM SAVED!"
You pray for me and I'll pray for you. I have a phone call to make that I've dragged my feet on for years. Who is it that you need to call?

And please, SHARE your story in the comments below!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Any Excuse Will Do

Do you have something in your life that you know you are supposed to be working on? A habit you are supposed to be establishing or breaking? A task or assignment that you are supposed to be completing? Have you been diligent to complete this assignment?

Or are you letting life pass you by?

Any excuse will do not to complete a task. Over the years, I've noticed I've had many excuses for different things. Let's look at a common list of tasks... And list of excuses.

  • Complete the book. Edit the book. Pursue a publisher.
  • Start the business.
  • Get on a consistent exercise routine. 
  • Organize ________________.
  • Make your bed everyday. 
  • Clean regularly.
  • Start cooking and eating healthy. 
  • Save money.
  • Get out of debt.
  • Do what it takes to grow existing business.
  • Read and listen to success/spiritual books or audios.
  • Teach kids the Bible, manners, how to clean up room/make bed, ____________.
  • And the list goes on. 
Well, I like most have been guilty of making excuses, and guess what, any excuse will do!! Here's a list of some I have used over the years, as well as maybe some extra's. 
  • I have small children, I just don't have time to __________.
  • I'm a nursing mom, I can't ____________.
  • My kids are in soooo many activities. I'm just a taxi and don't have time to ______________.
  • I'm pregnant and need to sleep. I'm just too tired to ________________.
  • We don't have the money to do ___________.
  • I don't know how to start the __(business, podcast, book, you name it)__.
  • I don't have the materials to _____________.
  • It's too hot. 
  • It's too rainy. 
  • I don't have the contacts to get started with _______________.
  • My house is too small. 
  • I have to clean, I don't have time to ___________.
  • I have too much laundry, how can I fit in doing _____________?
  • My family doesn't believe I can do _____________.
  • My friends aren't supportive. 
  • I would have to wake up early, my sleep is too important. 
Honestly, to not accomplish something in life, any excuse will do! You could just as easily say, "I can't write the book because of the hangnail I have. It's too painful to type." 

You could be making excuses or you could be simply running. Let's take a look at Jonah, 
Jonah 1:3a - "But Jonah rose up to flee..."
It's easy to make excuses and it is easy to flee what you know you should be doing. Most likely, you or I are not going to be swallowed by a whale if we are disobedient to God....but what are we going to miss out on for not being obedient? What life could you be living if you followed that gut instinct that you've had for years! (i.e.: gut feeling, also known as the prompting of the Holy Spirit) What could be your happiness level if you just completed this assignment instead of chalking up excuses. What could be your significance level? Would you be able to help a large group of people if you completed this _________________?

I'm speaking to myself here! Trying to accomplish things with a 4 1/2 year old, 2 1/2 year old & a 7 month old can be interesting. Sometimes it's interesting to just fit in a shower, let alone accomplish something major!

Friend... I'm going to challenge you today, unlike Jonah, don't flee! Choose to not make excuses and just do it anyways! DO SOMETHING GREAT! Go against the odds and WIN anyways! Despite what you could use as excuses! Do it anyways! Excuses will always be available! No one ever did anything great with excuses, they always operated in spite of their obstacles and adversities!

Friend, today WIN ANYWAYS! Any excuse will work for you remain average, but friend, go out there and ACCOMPLISH YOUR DREAM! START IT! BEGIN!

I believe in you and am praying for you right now!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Numbing Joy

Have you ever been at a crossroads? One path will take you down a road to one life, while the other path will lead to a completely different life. The 1st life, The Blessing - the blessed life that The Lord has in store for you to live. The good life. The 2nd life, a life that, in the beginning brings happiness, it feels good, it fills a void in your life, it even seems consuming. Your heart and mind are consumed by this life (often revolving around a person or position). You think about it/them all the time. When you rise and when you wake, it is the consuming thought that is with you at each breath. 
Proverbs 2:23 - Men who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness
Proverbs 4:26 - Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
I remember well that day. That defining day. The day that would change the very course of my life. The term crossroads almost seemed too light of a word to describe the position I found my life. I knew, though tangled up, obsessed, wrapped tightly, consumed - the one life would bring me fulfillment in the today. The fulfillment would be at least for a day or maybe just moment, though it could immediately turn on me for the worse if it felt like it, as soon as tomorrow! The other path, in the short-term, would be painful. It would be a painful today, tomorrow, next week and most likely next month. It would mean cutting ties. It would mean hurting my heart. It would mean opening up a place in my heart where I had allowed something to slide in and fit, puff up and fill a void. Path 2 meant I would take that piece out, leaving an empty, shallow, dark, painful hole. My heart would be open and my heart would be hurting. 

The defining day. The lottery option. If I chose the first road, it was a true gamble! The lottery option in effect meant, I could lose everything. My second road, I ultimately knew would bring pain now! I would be in pain for awhile, and only time down this path would heal my opened heart. BUT….. the end of the road meant I would be fulfilled, healed, whole and healthy. My heart would be in a healthy place. The void would be filled with God, and by choosing Him, He could lead me to HIS life that He had for me. The immediate life, the microwave choice, would be immediate happiness, long-term mediocrity, and potentially end in devastation & toil. 

The good life, the blessed life required patience. Painful, day in, day out, patience. The path God had for me, put me on a path that required putting in, beginning to fill that void with Him. Beginning to fill the place in my heart with God was not always easy, but I chose God first over self, short-term feelings, my flesh and my pleasure. It was a painful path that required my continual, daily pursuit of God, when sometimes the pursuit of alcohol or relationships would have brought a more numbing joy

On this journey, when I was ready, when I was complete, the ultimate gift would be waiting. The gift that would bring so much joy and happiness that I could not have imagined. After the pruning away, trimming back, the waiting, shaping, molding and defining, that ME…. the me of the 2nd path, could be finally trusted with the good life! I had proven myself faithful. I had allowed roots to not only take root, but go deep & thicken. In pruning out the hard things, my roots were strengthened. God could TRUST me! 

I'm so thankful I chose true joy over numbing joy. The numbing joy would have been fleeting. It would have gone. It would have continually had to be replaced. It would have included toil. It would have ultimately caused more pain. It would have pushed me into the hamster wheel of life, sin and entanglement that had me going too fast, it was hard to get off the wheel… not to mention, the wheel was extremely exhausting and certainly not the blessed life. 

Is there something in your life that you are choosing numbing joy instead of choosing to truly seek & follow God? What is it? Will you consider dealing with it today? Finally head down the road of peace, restoration & true joy! 

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