Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Free Books!!

I stumbled across http://booksneeze.com/, a website that gives free Christian books to bloggers who are willing to read the books and write a book review. If you like to read and have a blog that meets their requirements, I highly recommend it.

You can choose between several books and can request e-book or hard copy. I requested a hard copy and received it within about a week. The requirements are that you have 90 days to read the book and post your review. Once you do, you can request another book.

I need to get off here and start reading!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Freedom is Rising

I was blessed to be able to go to Greenbrier tonight to see the Arkansas All State Drama Team! They did a fantastic job, but I expected nothing less. When I saw them last year, I cried. This year was slightly less teary eyed (but I still cried).

They have been traveling the state this week with a message of freedom! Freedom from any chain or bondage that may be entrapping you. Big things like drugs, alcohol, pornography, and cutting to the little things we all may face in life like fear and depression.

In all the running around this week I have been overwhelmed by the same message. Bondage can be broken and freedom has arrived! That's a scary thing to say for me, because it insinuates that bondage won't return. I have lived through cycles of bondage so it is hard to state in public for others to hear that bondage is gone and chains are broken because there is a part of me that is just waiting for the next chains to come.

I guess that is a chain in itself. Constantly living waiting for the next bondage to come and fear of what's ahead. Not fully living in freedom because I'm just waiting for the next entrapment. Over thinking and over analyzing situations in life is like second nature to me. What can I say, it's probably what drove me to get an accounting degree!

Christ has said, that I am free, my family is free, and my life is a story of redemption walking around everyday. I can't live life waiting for the hammer to fall again.

Living free in Christ is a privilege. It is a gift from God. If your Father gave you a new iPhone as a gift, would you refuse to use it because there may come a day when you drop it and crack the screen? Would you give it back to your dad and say I don't want it because I may not have it for long? That's crazy. No one would do that. Maybe they would get an otter box to protect it while they use it, but they wouldn't just refuse to accept the gift.

That's what it's like when Christ gives you freedom and salvation in Him! It is a gift from our Heavenly Father. To refuse it for fear that it won't last is like refusing to take the iPhone because you think it won't last. Accept the gift with joy and the wholehearted belief that it will last. Protect the gift with prayer and getting in the word. Proclaim the gift (brag about it) like you would the iPhone. It is a freely given gift and it is available for everyone. If you could give everyone you meet a free iPhone, wouldn't you? I know I would! So why not share the free gift we do have?

Countless times this week, Gods message to me has been, "you have been set free", "The past is over. Whether it was 10 years ago or 1 week ago, it is still the past", "You have a new beginning", and "Trust me and just keep moving forward".

If you are in central Arkansas you can still catch the drama team Sunday morning in Sheridan or Sunday night in Jacksonville. I highly recommend it!!

Live Life UNSTUCK!!

This week has been full of Jesus, from Revival services, to hearing about the great things going on at kid’s camp, to waking up in the middle of the night dealing with life changing thoughts and revelations. I’m expecting even more tonight with All State Drama Tour!

During service Tuesday night, I had a moment that hit me like ton of bricks. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the main focus of the service. Have you ever had those moments in church? The preacher is preaching on one thing but you walk away with a totally different thing from it? Well, that is what happened to me.

The message was on finishing your race. It was heavily geared toward encouraging you, if you fall, to get back up and keep running. To never look away from the finish line and to stay focused on it. Something that was said struck me the way it was meant, and then in another way also. “There is no rule in track that says if you fall you are disqualified”. Wow, think about it! Life is a race, and if you fall or make mistakes, you are not automatically disqualified. You should pick yourself up and keep going.

On the flip side of that, I was hit between the eyes with another thought. If in life someone else (not you) falls, they are not automatically disqualified. For those I love, when they fall (because let’s be honest, we all do at some time or another) I need to realize that it isn’t the end. They aren’t disqualified and they have the ability to pick themselves up and keep running the race.

Here is the bottom line. If you fall down in the race of life, the only person keeping you down is yourself. You can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep running toward the finish line. If you are struggling with someone else’s fall in life, the only one keeping you from moving forward and finishing your own race, is you. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes in life, keep you stuck where you are. Dwelling on them and wallowing in self-pity over them, does nothing for them and it does nothing for you.

Live life UNSTUCK! Release yourself and others from what is holding you down, not by some magic formula, but by making a choice to run your race looking forward to the finish line, not looking back at the past or in the lane next to you at the person beside you. Pray for the person in the lane next to you and encourage them as they run their race, but don’t get stuck standing there waiting on them.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rise Up and Walk

Our church has been in revival this week with Evangelist Robby Mitchell. The Holy Spirit has been moving and Bro. Robby’s messages have been relevant and real. Sunday night he preached a word on "nothing". He talked about when you are down to nothing that is when miracles can happen.

I went home Sunday night and had an extremely long night. I couldn’t sleep. I kept tossing and turning and my mind was just racing. I thought through my life and all the "nothing" moments it has contained. All the "stuff" that has happened in my life that would drive people to a place of nothingness. I made a list and then I sat back and thought how sad it was that I could list so many things that would drive a person to nothingness that has actually happened in my family’s life and I’m not even 30 years old yet.

I have to be honest here. I struggled Sunday night with the altar call, because while in many ways we have hit a place of nothingness, I haven’t looked at it that way. For the last few years I may feel burdened and be going through trials, but I have chosen to say, "God knows my trials and He is handling my situation". I haven’t "looked" at my nothingness.

As the night went on, I finally fell asleep around 4:00 AM. I woke up again around 6:00 remembering a song that I learned years ago in a Vacation Bible School I attended. The theme that year was Peter Rock. There was a song about when Peter met the lame man at the temple gate. The words were, "silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."

I haven’t sung that song in years but it came back to my memory that morning. Why, so God could remind me of something. I started thinking about the miracles that are in the Bible. Not only were the people down to nothing, but they were asked to do something in order to see the fruit of the miracle. They were asked to actually take steps in faith in order for their miracle to occur.

Acts 3:6-8 (NKJV)
Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God

The lame man at the temple gate as referred to in the VBS song, for example, had to stand up and walk. Now, I realize that the Holy Spirit made it possible (thus the miracle that occurred) but the lame man had to trust the Holy Spirit enough and step out in faith to stand up and start walking.

Sometimes we get down to nothing and we want to see a miracle. But how often do we just wallow in our nothingness, waiting on a miracle, but we just want to sit there and DO nothing. I have been guilty of this myself at times. If you are waiting on a miracle, don’t do it sitting down. Stand up!! Take a step!!

There are two other points I want to make about this particular miracle in the Bible. This particular miracle happened after Jesus had ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit. Guess what that means? Miracles can still happen! They didn’t ascend into heaven with Jesus. They are just as real today as they were in the Bible. I also really love "And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up"! Peter, "prayed" or asserted his authority that was given to him and started this miracle in motion, but he didn’t stop there. He showed by his actions that he believed that the man would be healed and he helped the man up. He didn’t just pray for him from a distance. He made a personal connection with the man.

This blog post today I am writing as much for myself as anything. First to remind myself that while we should trust the Lord to work in our lives and our situations, we have to sometimes actually acknowledge the truth of where we are in life, even if where we are is the lowest place we can imagine being. Secondly, to remind myself that when I’m waiting for a miracle, I have to be willing to move myself. I have to be willing to stand up and walk! I can’t ask to be healed of being lame and just stay seated on the ground when my miracle comes. RISE UP AND WALK!!!