It May Be Time to Stir Things Up a Bit

AGITATION: Agitation is the act of stirring things up, like the agitation of a washing machine that moves the water, detergent, and clothes around and gets the dirt out.

In order to clean, there must be some agitation.  Take washing clothes for example. No matter how far you look back in history, some sort of agitation was necessary for the process of cleaning.

Washboard

When I clean my house, I may stir things up a bit, especially when I dust! Sometimes, my house looks worse before it looks better. For example, when I recently cleaned out, organized and purged items from my closet, my house was in disarray. I had stuff everywhere!!!! BUT, I knew it was just part of the cleaning process.

But why did my closet need cleaning? I could barely step inside my closet to reach my clothes. It had gotten cluttered with various storage items. No, it wasn’t always that way, but over time I would slowly put things in my closet that perhaps I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of. I also would hide boxes, bags, etc in there when people would come visit, and then I’d just leave it there thinking I’d get to it later. In time, this behavior crowded me right out of my own closet.

We often do this in our spiritual life…..hold on to things that we should really get rid of…or hide things we don’t want anyone to see. In time, our spirit man can’t fulfill the purpose God intended because of all the un-spiritual junk!

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart Oh God!

When God reveals areas in your life that need a bit of “cleaning up,” it may not feel good, and you may feel a bit of agitation. God may be stirring things up, but He is preparing you for something greater! Don’t begrudge the cleansing, because the reward is more than worth it.

(https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/agitation)

Decisions, Decisions!

My co-worker asked me to her home one day after work. We both hop in my car, but only one of us knows where we are going, and it isn’t me. Yet, I’m the one behind the wheel. Without her telling me every turn to make, I would have been lost and the destination would not be reached.

So it is in our everyday Christian walk. We are behind the drivers wheel but the Holy Spirit gives us directions.

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 31:21 nlt

Imagine what might have happened if……I ignored my co-worker’s directions, or I cut the radio up so loud I drowned her out? What if I thought she was just offering me “suggestions,” and that I had a much better route?

These questions make us all think about how we respond to, and interact with the Holy Spirit. What is He telling us, and will we listen?

He has a purpose for our lives, and a destination in mind. Trust in His Word…..”Your own ears will hear Him….” He will NOT steer us in the wrong direction.

What Are We “Singing?”

I had punched out for my lunch break, and was walking across the parking lot when something caught my attention on the sidewalk. A lady had in her earbuds and singing loudly and proudly to the song she alone could hear.  Yet, the guy walking with her, who did not have any earbuds, was singing her song.

Each one of us influences those around us. Whatever we are listening to, we will “sing,” and those around us will be influenced by our song. There are many people in this world, in your families, and even in our churches who are not hearing directly from God Himself; but they ARE hearing His voice indirectly from others who are plugged in and tuned in to God’s channel.

What are we “singing?” What will others hear?

Think about that. I want to be a conduit for others to connect with what God is downloading into me, until they can learn to hear from God themselves.

Just like this man began singing a song that he was hearing second hand, he still sang it loud and proud right along side her even though SHE was the source of music for him. Sometimes, WE are the only God source that people will ever hear.

This is a great reminder to stay tuned into The Source of Life so that we are “singing” Godly influences over those around us.

In other words,  “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” I Corinthians 11:1.

Love Is Easier Said Than Done

I just want to slap some people across the face with my Bible, and pretend I was being Holy. Everyone is just not easy to love, yet we are called to love everyone. I’m not talking about just saying “I love you” as casually as a waiter says, “thank you and come again.” I’m talking about the kind of love that chooses the right reaction over, let’s say that Bible slapping thing.

Love is easier said than done. Even Jesus addresses the fact that we will encounter people that aren’t very lovable (Luke 6:32-36). Yet, He wants us to love them: it’s what will show the world WE are Christ followers (John 13:35).

This means I can’t go around slapping people in the face with Bible. Okay, so now what? Loving people can be hard. Loving your enemies can be even harder. But God has promised to equip us to do everything He has called us to do. And furthermore, HE provides the strength and ability. (Hebrews 13:21) (Philippians 2:13)

Love (and its variants) are mentioned a grand total of 554 times in the KJV, so it must be important, right? But why??? Contrary to Tina Turner, love is NOT a second hand emotion. Love was the only driving force behind Jesus providing Himself to be our sacrifice, so love isn’t a guideline for Him. IT’S WHO HE IS (1 John 4:8).  If God so loved the world (John 3:16), and He isn’t willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), this means it’s up to us to spread the love folks.

Feeling like LOVE isn’t your calling? Not your gift? No worries. Remember you and I have been equipped to do this!!! Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we will role our eyes sometimes, and we might even walk the other way. Yes, some people are better at it than others. And No, God doesn’t expect us to get it perfect, but He does expect us to try, try, try again.

This loving people command can be a sloppy mess sometimes, but we can do it with the help of God. You may stumble over your own two feet sometimes, just like I do. You may even want to slap someone in the face with the Bible (Please don’t try this at home)!! Prepare yourself for the fumbles, fouls, blocks, and blitzes; but the game is not lost. Get back out on the field, and love again.

And one more thing, FORGIVE YOURSELF when you fail. God does.
He loves YOU more than life itself!!

A Gift With A Purpose

“And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden
to tend and guard and keep it.” Genesis 2:15

The Creation story from Genesis chapter one, is one we’ve probably all heard. God created our world: complete with sun, moon, stars; day and night; oceans and land; land and sea animals; vegetation and man.  But THEN God shifted His focus in Genesis chapter two. His focus was one born of great love.

I recall the time I shifted my focus to providing my daughter with a surprise birthday party. Because her birthday is near Halloween, she had never had a huge party due to holiday conflict. My husband and I wanted to go all out for her: make it a memorable day she would never forget. We secretly planned for months. I gathered ideas…logged many hours on detailed planning… re-purposed items to create a nice shabby chic decorated yard. We worked on prepping our yard every weekend for two months. We invited guests, shopped, cooked and decorated. My husband and I were determined to make this a special day for her.  We worked hard to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i.’ We put our heart and soul into this endeavor. We were so excited!!! We couldn’t wait to surprise her! All this extra planning exclusively for our daughter was fueled by our love for her. I imagine God had the same excitement as He planned His gift for Adam.

He already created the world, but God wanted to give something exceptional and extraordinary. God specifically chose a location; then planned, prepped and planted a beautiful garden with all the amenities. After all the work was done, He presented the gift to Adam.  Then God invited some special guests: every animal that He had created. He let Adam choose their names. What an incredible honor.  For the after party, God created another special gift: Eve. Adam had received God’s exclusive attention; God’s very best!

Adam and Eve were all about that Garden life. EVERY day, God Himself would visit them, and walk in the garden with them! It was euphoric! Perfect! No worries, just right! YET God had given them a job; a mission; and a purpose.

To Tend: have care of or look after; manage or run
To Guard: watch over or shield from danger or harm; protect against a challenge or attack
To Keep: retain rights to

Wow, this raises a few questions for me like: How could they lose rights to the garden….to the gift that God had given them? Protect it from WHAT danger…..wasn’t everything euphoric and perfect?

Like Adam and Eve, God has given US many precious gifts like:
Salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) (Romans 12:6-8) (1Peter 4:10-11)
Ministries (I Timothy 1:12)
Children (Psalm 127:3)

And we have that same mandate because the enemy is waiting for any opportunity to steal what God has given us, just like he did Adam and Eve. Each gift from God has a purpose! WE have been given the responsibility to tend to these gifts; to guard them; and more importantly, to retain the rights to them! These gifts were intended for us, and belong to us! Let’s keep them, and use them for His glory!

 

What’s Holding You Down?

“Hallelujah You have won the victory
Hallelujah You have won it all for me
‘Cause death could not hold You down
You are the risen King
Seated in majesty
You are the risen King”
THE ANTHEM by Planetshakers

As we sang these promising words one Wednesday night, God reminded me that had He NOT “gotten up” there would be NO victory. Then He added, “It’s the same with you. If you don’t get back up-there will be NO victory!”

David got up from the grief over the death of his son, and became a victorious King.
(2 Samuel 12:15-20)
Hannah got up from her barrenness, and became the mother to many: one of whom was the most renowned prophet in all of scripture. (1 Samuel 1:1-18)
Peter got up from his shame of denying Jesus (Luke 22:54-62), and went about healing and doing other miracles under a mighty anointing (Acts 5:15-16).
Elijah got up from his suicidal depression.
(1 Kings 19:1-8)
Lazarus got up from the grave, and lived! (John 11:38-44)

What is holding you down today?

  • Guilt/Shame/Condemnation
  • Grief/loss/Betrayal
  • Depression/Past Hurts
  • Sickness/Disease/Physical limitations
  • Financial burdens
  • Addictions/Bad Habits/Sin
  • Insecurities/Anger/Bitterness

Holding on to any of these things will create a stronghold in your life: holding you down and keeping you back from the wonderful plans God has for you.  If you stay down, you will live a life weighted by the very burdens that Jesus’s death and resurrection set us free from.

Just like Jesus called Lazarus to get up and come out of the grave, He is calling you and me to get up and come out from under these things that can so easily overwhelm and torment us. He doesn’t want us imprisoned! He wants us free!

I’m here today to tell you…..Don’t quit. GET UP!! It’s the only way to victory! These “things” don’t have to define you, and they certainly don’t have become a fixture in your life that holds you down. Don’t let anything keep you from His purpose which is “to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10tlb). He has won the victory! He defeated death to give us life! So live!! Get up and live!

Repurposed

Being born October 28, my daughter never had a huge birthday party: partly because of the conflict of Halloween festivities.  So on her seventeenth birthday we decided to make it happen. It was a BIG deal for us! We wanted it special for her, but we didn’t have a lot of money to sink into this, so we got creative. We went shopping at second hand shops and thrift stores. We saw items that had been discarded by others; items that were past their prime; items that were calling my name!

An old wooden door that once stood sentinel for someone’s home became a huge deck table.  A discarded wooden storm door from up the street, was transformed into a photo booth. I made yard signs out of old kitchen cabinet doors that were long past their prime. Empty picture frames became chic little chalk boards. A bag of various fabric remnants became a decorative garland for our fence.

I sanded, tore fabric for the garland, painted, sanded some more, and stained. The work took months of preparation. But it was well worth it. Old and unwanted items; items with wear and tear; items that once served one purpose, now served another.

The definition of repurpose:         

To give a new purpose or use to….

To change something so that it can be used for a different purpose…..

This is what God does for us when He saves us. He cleans us up and gives us new purpose. He wants to develop in us our potential, our purpose, and put us in a better place. This sounds great! It IS great. But what about when you’ve been serving God for a long time? We can begin to feel a little wear and tear….we can even begin to question our usefulness.

Everyone goes through seasons in life: when one season ends, we can feel like our purpose and usefulness is ending as well. We can begin to talk ourselves right out the next season God wants to prepare us for. “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.” Proverbs 19:21. God has plans for our entire life. Just like I changed a door into a table, God changes us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Our purpose may change, but our usefulness is never over!

God wants to repurpose our lives…..not once…..but continually: from glory to glory! As long you as you have breath in your body, know that God has a purpose and a plan for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)