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LOVE AND PEACE CHALLENGE

I pray that on this week we will experience unusual amounts of love and peace. The receipt of these fruits is about our perception. Perception is reality. What we perceive to be true is the truth to us. Let’s ask ourselves where our truth is coming from. Let’s evaluate our root and foundation. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior”. Let’s challenge ourselves to combat every thought outside of love and peace with love and peace. If a family member says something hurtful, fill your thoughts of a memory of them that makes your smile or laugh and then share it with them. If a co-worker is slamming doors, remind him or her how valuable they are. When was the last time that you’ve complimented a co-worker on a skillset that they have that is priceless to the team?  If your child disappoints you, respond with a loving kind word that will change their attitude and shock them. If your spouse gets under your skin, pause.  Pray about your response and then shower them with their favorite things.

Consider yourself deputized. You are the love and peace deputy of the week. It is your job to enforce love and peace no matter what. You’ve been designated to influence every place that you step in to. Empower others around you to spread love and peace in their circles as well.

Stand up for it. Cover others in it. Spread it abroad. Express it abundantly. Share it intentionally. Love and peace over everything else. We can all agree that the world needs more of it so let it start with you.

Let’s go out of our way to give a compliment, a hug, a gift, a kind gesture, a loving expression or more. Let’s do the unexpected to make someone feel that they are appreciated. This week won’t be about us or what we need or want; it will be about others.  “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silent the ignorant talk of foolish people.”

Obedience is just better…

It is better for us to obey God alongside with giving him our worship vs. giving him worship and disobeying him. Obedience is what affords us the opportunity to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; it opens doors. Offering worship alone is like sitting our family down for dinner and then bringing them empty plates. We may go through the motions of preparing but came up empty and therefore unable to give our family anything of substance; something that will change their current status of being hungry. Worship w/out obedience is going through the motions of preparing for God to use us for his glory but missing the opportunity to give him anything substantial to work with so that our status of being hungry can change. Obedience gives us authority that empty worship and works cannot provide. It behooves us to run towards obedience despite what others are doing, despite our feelings or inhibitions and despite the cost. Lose yourself in obedience so that you can find yourself living in freedom and in eternity while still here on earth.

In order to obey, we have to hear. In order to hear, we have to listen. In order to listen we have to be set apart. Although lonely at times, we should never despise being set apart from the noise; we’re never alone.

Obedience is just better. It’s the best way that we can draw closer to God. It’s the best way to learn more about ourselves. While we are being obedient we are becoming the light of the world. While we are being obedient many things also come to light. We become more aware of the things that are still in our hearts that we thought we gave away to God. Obedience is just better. Disobedience is the easy way. It’s the way that we’ve always known. For most of us, our 1st word was no. We’ve been saying no to the right things for a long time and old habits seem unbreakable but they’re not.

Obedience is just better.

Relationships Matter

It is my prayer that this long weekend be the start of us (me included) going the extra mile to spend time with loved ones and those that are less fortunate. It has been my experience that the busyness of life coupled with low tolerance of others causes us to isolate inside of our own bubbles. The more people that I converse with the more I am finding that only spending quality time with our immediate family is the new normal. The immediate family generally includes those that we live in the same house with. This is not the plan of God. I can honestly confess that time just gets away from me. I intend to reach out or to go and check on family but I fail miserable. A lot of my failed attempts can be attributed to my preconceived notion of the visit or call.  Guilty.  This past week the Holy Spirit dealt with me personally on this topic so I am sharing.

How can we ever expect to truly understand one another if we don’t put in the time? Ministries can truly be effective when the members take the time out to develop real relationships with one another. Families can heal sooner if we set aside our intolerable differences and accept people for who they are. We have to remain humble and come to grips with the fact that we too have habits and quirks that are less attractive than we think. Patience with one another in any group setting is possible through the act of love.

The bottom line is that we have to stretch ourselves with the instruction of the Holy Spirit to show love to God and to others through our efforts to develop relationships. The world would be a better place.

I encourage you to make the phone call today. Drive over to see your Aunt or Uncle. Face time your best friend from high school. Call a member of your ministry for no reason at all but to say hello. Go the extra mile and expect a difference in your life and in the life of others. To God be the Glory!

The Audacity to have Expectations!

I so love this time of the year when we get to share with family and friends all of the joys of moving forward as we ourselves or our children, grandchildren, spouses, siblings and/or friends graduate. I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through social media and taking in all of the memorable photos and videos. I can always feel the corner of my mouth turning upwards; smiling from the inside out. What a fantastic feeling of celebration that comes over us as the completion of a goal has come to pass! I remember receiving my graduate degree in 2013 and all of the emotions that consumed me on that day. I was full of excitement and great anticipation of what the future would hold. All of those long hours of studying and writing, meeting with project team members and grueling exams gave me the right to expect something in return. I expected to have more confidence and greater self-esteem. I expected my daughter to have another reason to look up to me and to know that she could accomplish this as well. I now expected to get a better job. I now expected a greater salary. I expected a return on my investment. The commitment, dedication and completion gave me the audacity to have expectations. Imagine that! I yielded some of these expectations right away and others I still had to work hard at achieving. Today, I am still striving at some of them. When I achieve one goal, I’m on to the next.

What I’ve concluded is that as children of the most high, we should never become satisfied with the mundane, low level, grasshopper accomplishments that even non-believers can achieve. Life as a co-heir with Jesus Christ gives me the bold audacity to always want more and to believe in dreams that I haven’t dreamed yet! I am a recipient of the investment that Jesus made on the cross. I have access to super natural achievements and miraculous success. The challenge in all of this is staying focused on the assignments and not to be overwhelmed by the processes. It’s going to take a lot of work at remaining to be a vessel that can be used. God does the work but we are the vessels that he uses to do the work. So just as academic matriculation requires studying, working on teams, being tested, learning, making mistakes etc. so does being a student of the gospel of Jesus Christ! There never has to be a stopping point and the results are much greater. The price has been paid, there won’t be any student loan debt and the final reward is eternal. To God be the glory! I have the audacity to have expectations!