I’ve seen your conflicted faces. You bring a lot of baggage with you on Sunday mornings. Your kids are sick, your spouse is mad, work is stressful, there are never enough hours in the day and never enough dollars in the bank. Or maybe you are dealing with much more serious life altering problems. You listen to a lovely message and then I get up to lead you in worshipping God and you stand in silence. Maybe you are just taking some time to reflect on God and worship quietly to yourself, or maybe, like me, you were told “you shouldn’t sing the words unless you really mean them in your heart.” So you stand there conflicted. I’ve been there, trust me, and it’s awkward because I’m standing up there with a microphone in my face expected to be singing and I used to feel like maybe it wasn’t genuine to sing words I wasn’t “feeling” that day. Then it occurred to me one day. Sometimes worship is singing love songs, and sometimes it’s singing war songs. I’ve been in war song mode more lately than love song mode. When I was 41 weeks pregnant and having no hope for the birth I was wanting I would drive around town listening to I Really Love You, singing loudly and bawling. And in those moments I was saying, you can’t get me down Satan, I love my God and he loves me and I will not be swayed by this and I will still have hope. Or the week I planned the song Wonderful and woke up that morning to a husband with the flu and two kids I had to get ready and take to church last minute and had a thousand other things going on in my life that had really worn me down. That day despite how I was feeling I chose to declare that the Father is holy, Jesus is Worthy, the Spirit is Lovely and God is Wonderful. During our war song that morning, church, Satan was silenced. So when you come to church and you feel nothing but love for God sing it out and tell him how awesome he is and how much you love Him. And when you come with a heavy heart and you just aren’t feeling it that day I say sing it until you mean it. There is a lot of power in the words we speak so I encourage you to speak the truth even when it doesn’t quite feel like you believe it yourself. The beautiful thing about God is he doesn’t change based on how we feel, He is always powerful, always loving, always just, and He is ALWAYS good. Let’s tell him how good he is today and everyday.
-image via here
This is a question we will no doubt hear over the coming weeks and have heard over the years, “if God exists, why do bad things happen to good people?” The simplest answer I can give for this is, “because evil exists too.” I don’t really believe in coincidence. I’m sure there are a few things in life that are coincidence, I’ve had examples in the past that I think might be coincidence, but I can’t think of one right this minute. Rather I think God and Satan are both at work in our lives and the good is from God and the bad is from Satan. God is good, all the time, and satan is bad, all the time. They are at war and sometimes satan wins a battle here and there, but I promise you this, God wins the war.
I’m sickened and saddened by this tragic event. As some of you know my brothers have participated in many races and we have had the privilege of spectating at marathons and an ironman competition. Just a few years ago we attended the Boston marathon to share the accomplishment with my brother Kevin. It is a joyous occasion, the entire city shuts down for this fun day where everyone comes together and cheers on the runners. I can only imagine the sheer panic, fear and chaos of the days events. While evil created this event God was in attendance. The stories of good have started coming out. God was in the hearts of the people that sacrificed their safety to help others. I watched 100s of people stick around to help, pushing wheel chairs and seeing what they could do. I saw on twitter that runners ran to the hospital after they had finished to donate blood. I’ve seen a quote going around the Internet from Mr.Rogers, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
God is in the helpers. I urge you to strip the glory from evil and not dwell on the tragedy, rather praise God for the good that has been happening, pray for the victims and families, and pray for our country and the decisions the government has to make in the coming weeks. I’ve seen a lot of people post that they are “praying for Boston,” let’s really do this, not just say we are doing it.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Oh women, it’s our job to sumbit, say what? How is that fair? We are liberated women right? Have you ever been to a wedding and heard the traditional sermon about husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church and wives submit to your husbands? I’m guessing most of you have and I’m also sticking my neck out and guessing that there are a few of you who have felt that the women get the raw end of the deal here. I’m sorry, but men have a tough job here, they are to love their wives as Christ loves the church…He died for the Church people! If you want to begin to understand Christ’s love for the church and how that plays out in a relationship read the book of Hosea, God calls Hosea to demonstrate that kind of love and it’s incredible. If you want to read the book in novel form Francine River does a phenomenal job in her book Redeeming Love.
In small group last week we were talking about these verses and we read this verse in reference to wives submitting to their husbands:
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2
Those are stinking empowering verses ladies! The way I see it submitting empowers us, by submitting to our husband we have the power to change them, to win them over to Christ if they are not believers. That is some powerful stuff.
If I may offer this one piece of advice: marry a Godly man, you deserve to be loved like that and if you aren’t married or are married to an unbeliever know that Christ’s love for you is absolutely amazing and unconditional whether you love him back or not. So next time you hear this verse know that neither of us are getting a bad deal, both sides have their perks!
Yesterday the sermon at church was supposed to be on what it means to be a Godly woman. I have no idea what the sermon had to do with women, but it was a great, thought provoking sermon. She talked about finding contentment, ceasing to compare and basically counting your blessings.
Have you ever thought about why Eve ate the forbidden fruit? Susie Davis’ take on this is that the Devil basically told Eve she didn’t have everything that she needed. Isn’t that how we feel sometimes, that God isn’t supplying all our needs and so we look elsewhere to get what we “need”?
I saw this on Pinterest a while ago and while she didn’t use this exact phrase she definitely implied this.
Think about that, how true is this?? For Andrew and I this is absolutely true. This is partly why I had to fast Facebook for Lent. I looked at other people’s lives and lusted for what they have. When I take my eyes off the Lord’s blessings in my life, it derails me and suddenly I’m discontent. Susie asked the question yesterday, “What wrecks your paradise.” For me (and I can almost venture to say for Andrew as well) what wrecks our paradise is comparison.
The last point she made that really hit me is what she said about stress. I’m going to get this somewhat wrong, but she basically said stress comes from managing our blessings. She didn’t want to minimize people’s hurts and hard times, but most of us are stressed because of life’s blessings, even doctors appointments are blessings because we live somewhere that we can go to the doctor. Taking your car to the mechanic is a blessing because you have a car and access to a mechanic. This list goes ON AND ON. Really think about what stresses you out and see if this holds true for you, are you stressed out from managing your blessings?
If you want to read more about this sermon check out Susie Davis’ blog by CLICKING HERE!
Last week I made my Christmas list, or at least the beginning of a Christmas list and sent it to my mother. It took me several hours to visit websites, cut and paste pictures and give her the links to the things I wanted. when I asked Andrew what he wanted he was able to come up with ONE thing…wow we are different people.
Now to tell you a story about a list that has nothing to do with the first story, but I’ll bring them back together at the end of this post! When I was in highschool I dated a guy who was somewhat uncomfortable with talking on the phone, after dating for awhile he shared a little something with me. He used to sit down and write a list about things we could talk about while we were on the phone, that way if conversation would hit a lull he would have a topic to bring up and get the conversation going again. He liked me enough to take the time to get to know me, write down things he wanted to find out about me and to be INTENTIONAL with me.
This has really gotten me thinking this week about my prayer life and meditation. What if I was THAT intentional with God? What if I made a list of all the things I wanted God to reveal to me about His character, or wrote a list of things I wanted to sit and talk to him about? What if I took hours writing lists for God like I did to write a list of my selfish wants? There’s a little food for thought for you today…chew on it!