Categories
Devotions Godly Living

Awkwardly Living Out My Life

Today has been adventurous. I had a stress test and a holter (heart) monitor placed on my chest a few hours ago. And, it feels like all I am truly capable of – is awkwardness. Have you ever found yourself in such a place, dear friend?

Instead of focusing on what I could potentially complain about, I just want to talk about being awkward for the glory of God.

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

Romans 12:2, ERV

When it comes to acting awkwardly, or doing things differently from others, we need to remember those just might be the things that the Lord chooses to use the most.

Earlier, I opened the wrong “riding sharing” (Lyft, Uber, etc) car door. And there just so happens that a couple of people were getting out of the car. Now I could berate myself. “Why did I do that, Lord?!?!?” Or I could respond to myself with mercy, the kind of mercy our great God shows me.

The way others respond to me, in this moment, was kind. We spoke, laughed, and I wished them a good day, but they were just so kind about it. Kind like I should be, when I accidentally make a mistake.


Why is it we are so harsh to ourselves, when we can extend mercy? We need to love ourselves right where we are. Our great God has demonstrated love toward us, while we were still sinners (see Rom. 5:8). If God loves us where we are, why can’t we? It seems like trying to tear down a building.

Brick by brick, truth by truth, loving act by loving act, we need to live out our lives in a much better way. Our goal cannot be perfection. It has to be awkwardly living out our lives.

Because of the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, I can awkwardly live out my life. And as each day comes and goes, maybe, that self-induced shame and anxiety become a little bit less. Maybe, I am a bit more merciful to myself – as I learn how to be a follower of Jesus Christ who is authentic and loves her self so she can learn how to love others.

We will either become fixated on our awkwardness or the beauty that is found in coming to Jesus Christ. Our fear of awkwardness could cause us to not obey the Lord, because we are so afraid. My second awkward moment came, because I was not afraid. I chose to call up a loved one, because “what’s the worst that could happen?”

. . . Okay, so we only talked for literally a minute. But I chose to be brave and honor that holy –nudge to call my loved one and ask how they were.

I chose to follow Jesus Christ, even if it meant awkwardness. And, that’s what we need. We need to be willing to follow our Lord Jesus, even if it means awkwardly living out our lives.

Categories
Inspiring Women (05/17)

Clothed in Love {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan.

Our faith and hope rest in Jesus Christ alone. God chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior and purposely sent Him into the world for our sake.

Reborn

Jesus Christ has brought us into a new place with God our Creator. We have been forgiven of our sin and reconciled with God. Because of Jesus Christ, we can trust God and find rest for our souls.

Now your faith and hope can rest in him alone. Now you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred when you trusted Christ to save you; so see to it that you really do love each other warmly, with all your hearts (1 Peter 1:21b, 22; TLB).

Friends: From the moment where we first said “yes” to Jesus, we have been reborn. We have a brand new life, which “comes from Christ, God’s ever-living Message to men (vv. 23).” Let’s bask in our new life. While I know we are often reminded of our past, our slate is wiped clean by the work of Jesus Christ.

Church, we have been given such a precious gift through Jesus Christ and the amazing love He has demonstrated toward us. It’s time to celebrate.

The Selfless Surrender

Look at what God has done on our behalf:

He forgives all my sins. He heals all my sicknesses. He saves my life from going down into the grave. His faithful and tender love makes me feel like a king. He satisfies me with the good things I desire. . . (Ps. 103:3-5, NIRV).

As we walk in our new lives, we can have genuine love for others. This is made possible, because of the transformation Jesus Christ is doing in our lives. As we surrender our selfishness and hatred, it makes room for the good work God wants to do in our lives.

The Changed Life

He is our beloved Savior, and has chosen to redeem us. He has taken us out of our pit of selfishness and hopeless despair, and given us new life. As we walk in our new life, we are given the opportunity to take off our old “clothes” and put on the new. God wants to radically transform our lives, including the way we treat others. He is heaping gift upon gift over our lives, as we surrender control to Him.

God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So you should always clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. Even more than all this, clothe yourself in love. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity. (Col. 3:12-14, NCV) 

Feature image by Jeremy Bishop.

In Christ,

Signature

 

Categories
Blogging for Books

“Messy Grace” (A Blogging-For-Books Review)

messy graceIn his book, Messy Grace, Kaltenbach shares his story and counsel to the Church. This book is part memoir and part biblical teaching. It is beautifully put together to show his experience growing up in the LGBT community, and the teaching of Jesus Christ. In this book, we get to see the view of someone who is a devoted follower of Christ, knows what those of a different lifestyle face, and helps us to learn what it would look like to begin to love others. Really love others.

Caleb’s Perspective

The author brings forth a perspective that many in the Church need to hear. Because of the testimony God has gifted him, by growing up in a LGBT community, he can share his experiences with his readers. He can help us to understand what life is like for someone who is of a different background, and how they have been treated by the church. The point is to help us love God and others better. While we won’t love people perfectly (because we aren’t Jesus), we can learn how God wants us to love and invite others into our lives.

Recommend…

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn to love God and others. It is a great book that helps us understand how the Church can love and be Jesus’ hands and feet. It points out the truth that we all have sinned. We are struggle. The most important thing is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite all we have done, God still deeply loves us and sent His Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior – taking on the sins of the world – making us right with God through a relationship with His Son Jesus. As we celebrate His love for humanity – each one us, it’s time to share that celebration with the world – by the love we show them.

While we focus on loving people, we can trust that God will do the rest.

Messy Grace will be released tomorrow (October 20,2015). Visit its Amazon link for more details.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the “Blogging for Books” book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Categories
A Month in My Shoes ('15 Challenge)

MMS – Love

MMSFor the month of October, I am joining many bloggers in a challenge to write every single day for 31 days. I learned about this challenge through another challenge I participate in most weeks. The “Five Minute Friday” challenge is going to expand to last the whole month! Each entry, will be five minutes unedited of writing on a particular theme – found on Kate’s blog.Today’s theme is “love.”

How do we show love? Love is something we all stand in need of. We need to be constant in our love for our Creator and His creation (humankind). Love is more than a feeling. It is an action.

Love is displayed regardless of circumstances. It is never ending, when it is the-right-kind-of-love.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT).

[Love] takes the best and kindest views of all men and all circumstances, as long as it is possible to do so. It is the opposite to the common spirit, which drags everything… and makes the worst of it (Pulpit Commentary).

God’s Kind of Love

Scripture reminds us that God loved us when we were most unlovable!

At one time you were separated from God. You were God’s enemies in your minds because the evil deeds you did were against God. But now Christ has made you God’s friends again. He did this by his death while he was in the body, that he might bring you into God’s presence. He brings you before God as people who are holy, with no wrong in you, and with nothing that God can judge you guilty of (Colossians 1:21-22, ICB).

Why We Can Love Others

We love others, because He first loved us (see 1 John 4:19). We need to stop and consider how we love those around us. As we think on the way we love, we need to think about how others may be deficient in being shown the good-kind-of-love.

The How

As the Church, how can we pour out His love on the community where He has placed us? In our churches. In our neighborhoods. In our families. In our friendship circles. In our workplace. In our schools. We all stand in need of God’s love. As part of His love, we all stand in need of His grace too. When we have openly received His love and grace, it is then that we can really know how to love God and His creation – through Him, we can know how to love those around us.

And everyone felt great respect for God. All the believers stayed together. They shared everything (Acts 2:43b-44, ICB)

Categories
The Best Yes

For the Sake of Love

phil 2-14
Yesterday’s “Theme”

Last night, I just struggled. When we are in the midst of serving, sometimes we struggle. Our attitude deflects what we want it to be about, which is the love of Christ. We can be filled with complaints, frustrated, or just struggling in a different way. Maybe, we just had a bad day or our body’s remind us of its fragility. Whatever it is, these things happens. In all activities I commit to or find myself in by His divine will, I need to strive to have an attitude of love. I am trusting that it is a growing opportunity, and not something that is hit-or-miss.

“God’s way is love. My way must be a way of love. As I make this choice, I must consider what this choice will cost me in my attitude. My attitude of love must trump my activity.” -Lysa Terkeurst

When we say “yes” to an activity, how do our attitudes reflect God’s love in the midst of that activity? This should be something we ponder in our hearts, and bring to God in prayer. We can easily overload ourselves, and our attitude (as well as those we are serving) suffer. We need to consider the reason for our unloving attitude (circumstances, lack of rest or time in the Word, much busyness, etc). Those are two things to consider. Are we over-scheduled? Are we trying to use resources we don’t have?

I trust God has me serve in certain areas for His purposes, but I need to do more to prepare for each opportunity that I am given to serve. I want to be able to take much time to prepare my spirit for service. Taking time away to reflect on each serving opportunity is also important. This is how I can better develop an attitude of love, and learn how to glorify God more in each opportunity.

1 Corinthians 13:3 teaches that we need to do all things in love. It is what makes our activity worthwhile! We can do all the “right” things, and still get it wrong. It has to be about showing the love of Christ. It is Him working through me!

Here are the steps I need to take. Both now and in the future.

  • Confess to God our sins… our actions… Talking with God is the best way to go. We can come boldly to His throne, and confess that we fall short. We can share with God that we need His forgiveness and help, because we can’t show His love on our own- for we will fail.
  • Be ready to ask for others’ forgiveness. When we realize that our attitude is becoming less-loving, we can stop right there, ask for their forgiveness.
  • In the moment, stop and pray. Last night, I had to just stop everything and seek God’s help. My prayer was very simple: “Lord Jesus, please help me.”

Resources: 5 Questions to Ask When Making a Decision
Scriptures: Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3