Friday, September 27, 2013

Access Denied




We’re sorry; your username does not match our records. Please try again.

I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology.  I love what it can do for me, but I hate having to remember all the codes and passwords to access it! Something designed to make life easier shouldn’t be so difficult to get into.

After the third failed attempt of logging in, being blocked, and sitting on hold with tech support listening to elevator music, I was grateful not every area of my life was so complicated.

We have full access to God
No matter how complicated we manage to make a situation, God is always available. He never requires a username/password combination or requires some kind of secret handshake. He is available 24/7 with no holding time. Now we may not get the immediate answer we want, but God will always hear our hearts.

We have full access to our friends
I’m blessed to call some of the most amazing people my friends. I’ve learned to surround myself with people I want to be like. Do you do that? But out of that group, I have a chosen few that know me intimately. They’ve laughed, prayed and cried with me. They know my weaknesses and failures and have chosen to love me anyway. Have you allowed anyone that kind of access to your heart? If not, why?

We have full access to our family
Family is complicated. You may be shaking your head right now saying ‘Girl, you have no idea!’  You’re right, I don’t know your family’s story or if you even have family. What I do know is that when push comes to shove, your family may just surprise you. Even if you don’t come from a close, supportive family you have the opportunity to create one now. My husband and I have some friends from church without any family in the area so we’ve become their family. We care for them like we’ve known them all our lives. Some families are born while others are assembled from other people in your life – either way, they are valuable. If we open up to those people, we will learn so much about ourselves and them.

Being accessible is scary because no one wants to be hurt. But when we password protect our hearts, we keep some amazing things out. The bottom line is we have full access to support in our lives. We make it complicated by requiring people to jump through hoops and fill certain squares to be near us. God doesn’t deny our access to Him, should we so stringently deny access to others?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Obedience of Faith




Have you ever heard someone say something that made you stop and say, “Wait, what?” That happened to me this weekend. A conference speaker was teaching about our relationship with God and mentioned we are called to an obedience of faith. But that was it. She didn’t camp out on it, didn’t unpack it a bit, she didn’t even explain what she meant by the expression. She simply said we’re called to an obedience of faith.

My mind began marinating in this idea – an obedience of faith.  I don’t know what the phrase means to her, but God showed me what it now means to me.

God can use every effort
Sometimes I get so consumed by following God the “right way” I stop looking at Him and start looking at my feet. Unfortunately my feet have no idea where they’re going! I can walk one foot after another right off a cliff when left to my own devices. Obedience of faith shows me that as long as I am looking at God, not my feet, He will use every effort for His glory. Do I mean we can give a half-hearted attempt and He’ll honor it? No. I’m saying when we consistently look to Him for direction; we will give a full-hearted effort for His glory.

It’s okay not to know
Do you ever suffer from paralysis of analysis? Those times when you are so uncertain of what God wants that you end up doing nothing?  Me too! He wants us to be active for Him even if we don’t have all the answers. Trusting Him to write our story allows Him to create all the twists and turns life brings with the promise of an amazingly glorious ending only God could deliver. 

I’ve spent too long believing there was only one way to fulfill the hope of my calling. But the idea of obedience of faith has helped me realize that God gives us diverse experiences to make us more mature in our faith. When we trust Him in the things that are not obvious, we grow into a deeper relationship with Him. The road you’re on may not seem to lead you to where you hope to go, but the God you follow can take you anywhere!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Friday, September 13, 2013

Do you fight fair?






We live on a battlefield. Not only do we fight the spirits of darkness, quite often we fight one another. Whether it’s a complete stranger or someone we love, we need to know how to fight fair. What we say in the heat of the moment can not only hurt our witness as a Christ follower, it can break a heart.

Do you THINK before you speak?

T – True
If you use words like “always” and “never”, what you’re saying isn’t true.

H – Helpful
Are your words just critical or are they seasoned with instruction or information?

I – Inspiring
Do you instill confidence in the other person? Encouraging them they’re capable of something better?

N – Necessary
Sometimes it’s important to point out the obvious, other times not so much.

K – Kind
Our words can cut people down or build them up. How are you using yours?

You’ve probably seen this acronym before, but it bears repeating. In our fallen world, we have to choose to be different. We have to choose to fight fair. The enemy is constantly seeking an opportunity to destroy, let’s not allow our words to be his weapon of choice.

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Life on Hold




I’m in a new season of life. I’m an empty nester – almost. I’m moving to a new house – but not yet. I’ve completed one work role and am hoping to take on a new one – eventually. My life is on hold.

Have you ever felt that way? The winds of change start blowing. The excitement begins to build. You’re standing on the brink of something…yet it doesn’t come. You feel the constant battle between expectation and irritation; the exhilaration of a new adventure and the agony of the wait. Or is it just me?

If waiting is unavoidable, what can we learn from it? What’s the take away from living on hold?

Wait well
If we haven’t learned it by now – God’s timing and our timing are clearly not the same thing! Like a pup on a chain wanting to run and play, I keep feeling the strangle-hold of waiting. But instead of becoming frustrated and biting those around me, I’m learning to calm down and wait. God wants nothing more than to turn us loose, but not until the time is right.

Talk with Him
We may feel we’re living on hold, but we’re not on hold with God. Our lives are not in a celestial queue waiting to be next in line. We don’t serve a “take a number and have a seat” kind of God. He knows us. He understands our frustration. He wants to talk with us. Have you grown tired of taking the same requests to the throne? Do you still believe He will answer your prayers? It’s essential to talk with God during the wait. Notice I said “with” and not “to”? When we talk to God, we do all the talking. This brings me to my next point…

Listen for Him
How many times have we poured out our hearts to God, laying our requests at His feet and then went along with our day? God didn’t say anything because we didn’t allow Him to get a word in. Sometimes God gives us encouraging words immediately. Other times, He whispers to us throughout our day. Are we listening for Him? Are we searching for Him with expectancy? Our day will be filled with God moments if we would only listen for Him.

I have to believe there is a reason for living on hold. I’m choosing to trust God is changing me for the better through this. If you’re living on hold too, let’s encourage each other. Let’s stand together instead of feeling alone. What are we waiting for?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5