A Valuable Lesson

I read Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge 8 years ago.  Reading this book laid a huge memorial stone in my Christian journey and it has had a huge impact on my walk of faith.  It is now 8 years later and I want to share with you one of the valuable lessons that I have taken from this book, applied to my life and seen the truth of it lived out:

The Enemy will always try to get you to do to someone
what he is doing to that person.  Heads up - it's not you, and being aware of it
becomes a very helpful diagnostic. (170)

I would like to take this thought one step further, by adding that the enemy, by getting you to agree with these lies, would like to prevent you from being able to be used as a tool of God for good in this individual's life. This understanding has had a huge influence in my life, especially in my ministry to women. 

If you are willing to admit it, there are some people that just annoy you!  You walk into the room and they are annoying.  Everything they say or do gets under your skin.  The best way to deal with it is to AVOID them, right?  That used to be my solution, but ever since I read this quote the Lord has challenged me to push beyond my initial reactions and learn to love these people through His eyes.  I would like to say that it is easy to do and required a simple prayer, and voila, everything was better.  But in my experience that wasn't always the case.  Often times, it required lots of prayer, denying and fighting against the agreements that my mind and the enemy wanted me to make about those people.

Are you ready for some good news yet?  The good news is that it is worth FIGHTING through the "annoying" attitudes to get to God's perspective on the issues.  I can name at least 4 women (and for all you self-conscious friends of mine out there ~ yes, it was you - just kidding - maybe...:) that used to drive me absolutely crazy, but I applied and fought in this truth - that I cannot settle for what the enemy has to say about them, or over them.  I had to fight for friendship and for Christ's love.  As I look back over the last 8 years, those people whom I fought to love have now become some of my dearest friends and the Lord has bound us together to fight for some very significant areas of freedom.  What I now see, is that the enemy did not want us to become friends because he knew the significant roles we would play for freedom was dependent upon the bond of unity we discovered through God's love.

It is almost humorous to me now when I meet a woman who initially drives me crazy.  I often chuckle to the Lord, "what is it that you have for the three of us together?"  The enemy has also laid off in this area, I believe, because he knows it is not worth his time to try and disrupt this relationship through initial lies and attitudes.

So this post is written to share with you what I believe is one of the most significant, tried and true life lessons that I have faithfully put into practice in my life over the last 8 years.  As you know, I have a passion for the Lord and for people to experience the freedom that only comes through Him.  It is important to put on our spiritual eyes and recognize that not every attitude, emotion and initial response we have to people and situations is correct.  Instead, we need to fight for God's truth and learn to love people the way God loves them, even when it is hard.  Time will prove that it was worth the fight, worth the pain, and worth the denying of yourself to do this.

In Christ,

Book Review: Surprised by Oxford

Right now all I can say is, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh." And it is a sigh of beauty, joy and contentment.  I absolutely LOVED Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber.  Reading this book was like going away on a long weekend with a beloved friend and getting to hear her God story.  The book description is:

A girl-meets-God style memoir of an agnostic who, through her surprising opportunity to study at Oxford, comes to a dynamic personal faith in God.

Carolyn Weber arrives for graduate study at Oxford University a feminist from a loving but broken family, suspicious of men and intellectually hostile to all things religious. As she grapples with her God-shaped void alongside the friends, classmates, and professors she meets, she tackles big questions in search of love and a life that matters.

This savvy, beautifully written, credible account of Christian conversion follows the calendar and events of the school year as it entertains, informs, and promises to engage even the most skeptical and unlikely reader.

Carolyn has studied and taught Romantic Literature so this book is not only a beautiful God story, it is also a beautiful display of the use of language, and poetry.  Throughout each chapter she throws in poems and quotes from famous poets, authors of old and U2.  This book has an absolutely beautiful way of sharing the Gospel through a life lived in question.  Throughout her life story, she wrestles with many of the questions Christianity presents unbelievers and she manages to answer those questions in a grace-filled way.

As many of you know, I had the privilege of growing up in Christianity. After you have been around faith for many years, the waters can get murky with religiosity. Carolyn came to Christ, in her adulthood and didn't have any experience with Christianity. It was refreshingly beauitful to see the Gospel come alive through the power of love to someone who has no experience with Christianity. It was also beautiful to see how in hindsight God had been weaving His way into her story through the people and influences around her. This is a modern day life story lived out showing how God is a loving Father who strongly desires for all men to be saved.

I hands down loved this book.  It was not only an enjoyable read, it ministered to my heart in a very healing way and it expanded my love for my Heavenly Father.  He is a good Father, and He loves to author our stories.  I sooooooo hope that you decide to read this beautiful book; it's that good. 

To get a taste of the story, you can download the first chapter for free from the author's website: http://www.pressingsave.com/.

In Christ,

P.S. I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for a review.  I was not paid for my review or required to give a positive review.  I really just loved the book! I am an Amazon.com affliate so if you purchase the book through one of my links, they may store up some pennies for me.

In theory

(Shhh,don't tell my mother-in-law) But in theory it is possible for someone in America to leave their garage door open all night and leave their doors unlocked.  In this theoretical situation, it is also possible that nothing bad happened as a result.  The family was not murdered, no goods were stolen, everyone slept soundly and securely.

It is also possible, in theory of course, that the said family had a husband and a wife and that on this particular night the wife went to bed slightly upset at the theoretical husband.  Perhaps, as she was walking up the stairs, thoughts were ringing in her head, "Don't let the sun go down on  your anger, it can give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26)."  Of course, the thoughts were ignored as, "it's no big deal, we can deal with it in the morning."  The situation was dealt with in the morning and it ended up being no big deal. 

However, as the wife opened the door on the theoretical next morning and saw the garage door, wide open to the outside air the Holy Spirit began to speak, "Going to bed in your anger is like leaving your garage door wide open to the enemy.  Just because the enemy, who steal, kills and destroys (John 10:10), didn't stop by that night it doesn't mean it is wise to leave your garage door wide open."

So perhaps this theoretical woman will stop by this blog and read posts like Movement and remember that it is worth choosing life in your marriage for the protection of your home and your family.  Also, maybe she will remember to make sure the garage door is closed before going to bed.

In Christ,


The summer after sixth grade was a summer full of dread.  I went to a small private school and the seventh grade teacher had given us an assignment to do over the summer.  We were to collect insects throughout the summer and turn in a bug collection for our first science project in seventh grade.  I don't remember how many we were suppossed to find to receive an A, but my "recollection" is that it needed to be 100 insects!  This was just terrible.  Who would want to collect bugs throughout the summer?  Are there really even that many bugs to collect?  Well, my bad attitude was not very conducive for the finding of bugs.  The night before the project was due, I ended up literally being on my hands and knees unsuccessfully searching for bugs in spider webs.  I think I managed to collect 30 bugs that summer and my very best bug, a June bug, got a book dropped upon it and broke. (P.S. I did not get a very good grade, probably my worst grade in life:).

The other night, I had to laugh at the irony of life.  The Lord has blessed me with a daughter whose interests lie in the exact opposite realm of my own.  Her enthusiasm for nature and exploration are way beyond mine.  But the one thing my daughter, Mercea, has is the ability to encapture my lack of passion up with her own passion and make me passionate about something I used to hate.  We literally spent an hour outside with a butterfly net, trying to catch bugs.  Mercea ran with enthusiasm and deep belief that we would catch the bugs.  Our mission on this particular night: dragonflies.  There were literally 100's of dragonflies flying around this night, and it was quite a beautiful sight.  They were flying between 15-20 feet above our heads.  My short little daughter would run full speed ahead and jump trying to catch a dragonfly.  I soon got caught up in her mission.  We would watch for ones that would start to fly low and the chase would be on.  Those little suckers are very fast and very smart.  They zigzag all over the place.  After 15 minutes of trying to catch a dragonfly and being unsuccessful, I began to believe all the more that we would catch one.  Low and behold, I did manage to catch a beautiful iridescent green and blue dragonfly in our net.  Our night ended with one large beautiful dragonfly, two different kinds of grasshoppers, and 2 little moths.  They now sit in a butterfly house on my kitchen table as treasures.


So the teacher in me wants to give you a beautiful parallel between this story and my life.  While I've thought of many none came close to the beauty of the moment.  So, I really shared it because it is now a precious summer memory I have of my daughter but if you want some thoughts to ponder from this story here is my list:

  • Enjoy the unique qualities in your kids.  If you let them, they will expand your world more than you ever imagined.
  • I think the Heavenly Father gets excited when He sees us trying to do the impossible and He steps in and helps us finish our dreams of the impossible.
  • If you are passionate about something, you have the ability to encapture others that could care less and bring them along with you.
  • You get more done and do a better job when love and not duty is motivating you.
  • Where was my daughter when I was in seventh grade?
  • Finally, I pray your summer will be filled with a beautiful memory for you to carry throughout your life.
In Christ,

Should people come to us or should we go to them?

We started school up again this week!  Another year, with Sonlight as our core and already one of their books has me thinking:).  We are reading Walk the World's Rim by Betty Baker.  In this story, there is a 14 year old Indian boy whose life intersects with Spanish conquistadors.  These Spanish people seem to have the gift of healing and this inspires the boy to find out more about their God.  Their response, "Our God lives in a stone church in Mexico.  You have to come there and learn from the priests to know how to worship Him."  As I read this, it really bothered me.  Here they are telling this boy that he has to come with them in order to meet with God instead of sharing the truth with him right then and there!  But as I have thought about it further, I'm not sure if we are much different than the Spanish conquistadors.

How often do we say to ourselves, how can we get this person to come to church with us?  If they would just come and hear our pastor give the sermon of his life, then they will "raise their hand and be saved."  Whether we say it with words or not, the way we live our lives shows that we still believe God exists in a building and that our goal as Christians is to get as many non-Christians to cross the threshold as possible.

I'm excitedly reading through Surprised by Oxford (which if you are a fan of my Facebook Page: For His Glory Alone you've already heard about).  It is a beautiful memoir of how God's love pulled an intellectual agnostic into His kingdom.  I'm only half-way through the story at this point in time, but she has yet to hear one sermon in a church.  Do you know how she is learning about God's love?  It is through conversations over dinner, in pubs, on an airplane...  And it is not, "if you die tonight..." kind of talk.  It is asking her questions, sharing how they understand and see God's love in their own lives, encouraging her to read the Bible for herself and leaving her with questions.

What did Jesus say in Matthew 26, "Go out into all the world..."  John 1 also tells us that "His light came into the darkness, but the darkness did not understand it..."  The point, I hope I am getting across, is that Jesus came to man to set them free.  We as His followers, are called to go OUT to them where they are at and bring His light into their darkness.  We do not need to "bring them to the light" to save them; the light is already right there next to them. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, we have created a hierarchy in the American church today.  We think we need the pastors to do the hard work of speaking the truth and leading people to salvation.  Don't get me wrong, I love pastors (my Dad is one) and I know that they have an incredibly difficult and important job, but I believe part of the difficulty is a result of placing ALL the burden on them, instead of joining with them in the task God has called ALL of us to do.  If you are a Christian, you carry the Holy Spirit inside of you.  You can share the love of God with people right where they are at. 

I recently listened to a talk by Erwin McManus where he shared how their community of faith encourages and releases their people.  He said that when they first started, they would celebrate when people would leave as missionaries to other countries.  They soon realized the message they were sending was that the people left behind weren't called by God.  They soon switched their methods.  Whenever, anyone chooses to join their community, they bring them up to the front, pray over them, anoint them with oil and send them forth as missionaries to their city.  They give those individuals a Bible, and ask them to write a name of a non-believer they know in it and give it to that person that week as a step of faith.  As I heard him share this, my heart went YES!!!!!!!!!!  This is how it should be.  The gatherings of the body of Christ on Sunday's should be ACKNOWLEDGING and ENCOURAGING it's people to go forth and be a light in their places of influence.  You carry the life-changing gospel with you in your hearts and this Gospel has the power to change people's lives right where they are at!

And so the cherry on top of the Sunday: I've been working on this post for a week now, and as always letting it sit and simmer.  This afternoon, my father-in-law shared a beautiful testimony of how he was able to share the love of Christ with someone at this work this week.  My father-in-law had been praying for the opportunity to share God's love with someone and "out of the blue" this conversation started and that is exactly what happened.

What if we all were ready, available and expectant to have God allow us to share His love right where we are at?

In Christ,

How do you view people?

I am still marinating my way through An Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus and have been stuck thinking about two short paragraphs on page 181:

We preach against sin, but have we ever developed the anger of God when it relates to lost human potential?  Have we ever looked at human lives and felt our hearts break, not because of the sins committed but because of the potential left unattended?

An apostolic environment sees character development as a commitment to maximizing the life of every individual and seeing each and every human as a treasure of God.  We've been negligent in our examination of what it means to be re-created in the image of Christ.

The same week I read that I also read Isaiah 1:13-18

13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.

16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.

18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.

In this Scripture, God presents a problem, His heart's cry and then a solution to the problem.  The Israelites had gotten to a point where their ceremony had everything to do with them and nothing to do with God.  They cared more about the ceremony for the forgiveness of their sin, then changing their lives to do the things on God's heart.  God's heart is revealed in those verses showing that He desires for His people to be ministering to the poor, downcast, and brokenhearted.  He wanted the Israelites to do those things, instead of spending all their time trying to be right with God.  The solution God presents for this dilemma: I will erase the sin issue between us, I will make your sin as white as snow!  What was His purpose for doing this?  The purpose was to free up the Israelites so they could go and pursue the things on the heart of God.

Because of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we now live in the new covenant and this Truth of our sins being as white as snow belongs to us. We have been freed up from ceremonies so that we can be released to do the desires of God's heart, and not have to spend our time "getting right with Him."  Yet, if you go to many American churches today, what is the main focus of the sermons: your sin, how you blew it this week and then creating an environment where you can once again "get right with God."  I am personally struggling with this and have started to wonder if God could still speak the message in Isaiah 1 to the American church today.

We are spending so much of our time and money building our nice church buildings and making sure we are "right with God" every Sunday, that we have begun to lose focus of the gospel and the freedom Christ purchased for us!

Recently, my mind has been captured by the heart-wrenching pictures of starving children in the horn of Africa:

And as I drive by field after field of sky high corn, I can't help but think that there is something more that we can and should be doing as the body of Christ then is currently being done.  I can't help but think we need speak the message of the truth of the Gospel: that we have been set free so that we can go out into the world and restore and redeem humanity to the way God created them to be.  Who better to do it then those who have direct access and freedom to go into God's presence?  Beloved, Sunday after Sunday we have 1,000's of Christians sitting in pews having their wings clipped.  They are being reminded of how they blew it, how they still are not measuring up and taking time to "repent."  However, according to Ephesians 4:12, the purpose of the group meetings of the body of Christ is to equip the saints so that through unity we can go out and be His body.  We were redeemed so that we could FLY.  Let us embrace the truth that our sin no longer separates us from God (if this thought trips you up, check out my post Journey to Understand Grace), that we are His beloved Children and that He has good works prepared in advance for us to do.  Let us look into the eyes of the lost and share with them the depth of God's love for them, the plan and purpose He has for their lives; to see them as the TREASURE of God.

I wrote this post earlier this week, and have been sitting on it.  Last night, my husband read me an advertisment out of a Christian magazine about a new magazine called: Reject Apathy.  From their website, here is a glimpse of what their magazine is about:
Such overwhelming need awakens our
compassion and tugs at our heartstrings—
but it can also do something else ... it can, well, overwhelm us.
 Apathy is not only a product of indifference,
apathy is often a direct effect of inundation...
Reject Apathy is focused on five key areas:
Loss of Innocence, Creation Care, Preventable Disease, Poverty and Violence
Each represents a part of our “whole-life ethic”—
an ethic that believes every life is created by God,
has a purpose and should be given an opportunity to live fully.
Each of the five key areas address barriers
that stand in the way of this opportunity. 

You'll find opportunities to engage in world change,
as well as encouragement to invest time and energy locally.
Our prayer for the stories and ideas here
 is that they'll help you see it is possible to change the world.
It is possible to make a difference.
It is possible to reject apathy.

So with that I leave you.  

In Christ,

P.S.  Don't forget to check out my fan page of Facebook: For His Glory Alone.  My posts automatically will load to your facebook page, and any other random thoughts I decide to share:).

P.P.S. The information about Reject Apathy is all on my own.  As I stumbled across it and it related to my post:)

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