Mind control

Mind control“I hate it when he does that.” “Oh, she irritates me so bad.” “Why am I the one who always has to do it?” Have you ever asked those questions?

Surely not. Surely it’s just me who ever sinks that low. Surely the rest of you always think sweet and kind thoughts toward your family and friends.

Or maybe not.

The Bible talks a lot about this so that makes me think it’s kind of important. Let me break it down with some scripture to back up my hypothesis.

Philippians 4:8 NKJV says this: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Focus on their good qualities? You mean I have to control my thoughts? Whaa? How do I do that?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

Every thought? You mean, don’t let my mind run wild? And just how long exactly do I have to do that?

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. Galatians 6:9 AMP

Oh, so that’s a while. I guess I’ve got some work to do.

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He made me this way

Juli baby pics4 (2)Let’s skip over the fact that I haven’t written in ages and focus on the fact that I’m writing now, okay?

Last night my bible app led me to a simple scripture, one I’ve read a thousand times and heard a thousand times sung in an old Sunday School song. It’s amazing how you can hear something in a song over and over but not really hear it. A song from the past, like Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya, kind of memory. (Lynn thought that “Montserrat mystique” was “mounds of rotten steak, ha.”)

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

Hallelujah, glory hallelujah. Can you hear it?

He made me. That means He made my mind and the way it operates. He made my emotions and the way they operate. He designed my goofy personality. He made my body, my face. He made my hair. He made my teeth. He made my bones. He even made my hips. And then He made them spread in childbirth and not go all the way back. He did that. Not me.

I am the way I am because He made me that way. And He made everybody different. He made all kinds. Thinkers and dreamers and planners and list-makers and risk-takers and everything in between.

When we get upset that someone doesn’t do things like we would, whose fault is that? They don’t do things the way we would because they’re not made like us. And they didn’t make themselves… God did.

You don’t like that? Take it up with Him!

Celebrate life

Celebrate lifeSo, I found a new show to watch on Netflix and it has rocked my world. No, it’s not Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy; nothing that gritty, nothing that would get tweeted about or invent new words. This show is about something more precious and less celebrated… life.

Call the Midwife is a BBC production based in London’s poor East End in the 1950s. It chronicles the lives of young nurse midwives and the women and families they tirelessly served. Never have I seen a show more full of love and committed to life. These young women were so passionate about helping babies into the world, and they had such high regard for life. Sad to say, I don’t imagine a show like that taking off in this country where we are obsessed with making things as convenient and hassle-free as possible.

But these midwives cared deeply. They cared about the new babies and the frightened mamas and the freaked-out husbands and the overbearing mothers-in-law. They held the hands and wiped the brow of all involved. And they did it in love and in expectant honor of the life that was coming into the world, no matter the circumstances.

I imagine that’s how God looks at us… each one precious, each one worth saving, each one loved, no matter what. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Oh, to demonstrate just a fraction of that love. He died for us and we didn’t deserve it. He honors us with His love, even when we are jerks. He lifts us out of our troubles, even when the mess is entirely of our own making. God loves each and every one of us… for no other reason than we are His children, created by Him, and worth loving.

My heart song

Unto youUnto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

I don’t even want to think of the mess I would have made of my life if not for the Lord. Can you imagine what situations He must have saved us from? The tragedies we have avoided? I have had struggles aplenty, but they have not destroyed me and my hope remains intact because I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. His mercies are new every morning. His faithfulness endures to a thousand generations.

Unto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

My future is bright because I have given it to Him. My heart is fulfilled because my future is in His hands. God is good and He’s never failed me. I’ve seen Him turn my mourning into dancing. I’ve seen Him turn my mistakes into wisdom and knowledge and understanding.

Unto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

I’ve seen Him. I’ve seen the Father. I’ve seen His awesome power. I’ve seen His tender loving kindness. All these things are there for the asking. All for the children of God. All for humanity… the heart of God. We are His beloved. You are His beloved. Your very life and future sent Jesus to the cross. Don’t let it be in vain.

Unto you, oh Lord, do I bring my life. (Psalm 25:1 AMP)

Love… for the win

Love for the winI love the movie Little Women. In one scene after Great Aunt March passes away, Marmee exclaims about the old, drafty house she left behind, “Her blessings became a burden because she couldn’t share them.” That may be the only thing to come out of that particular actress’s mouth that I have ever and will ever agree with.

…Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything… (From 1 Peter 4 The Message)

What do you have to offer? Offer it. What do you have to share? Share it. And love like your life depends on it. Do it so God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit. I can’t say it any better.

Be the miracle in someone’s life. Be the conduit through which God helps someone back to their feet. That’s real love. And yes, I know it can be risky. We’ve all felt the sting of giving love that isn’t returned or is mocked. But that’s the very definition of love. We give it even when it isn’t deserved. Jesus certainly loves us whether or not we deserve it. And if you think about it, do any of us really deserve His love? I know I don’t.

So if I’m supposed to be like Him, then I have to love like Him. Love sent Him to the cross. And through His perfect love for me, I am saved.

Love won on Calvary. Love still wins today.

Faith without love is just noise

I loved these guys at the Oscars the other night. I love how Angelina is smiling her big, beautiful smile, and I love that you can almost see Brad’s hair being blown back by the wind they created. I love it when Hollywood gives me a blog idea served up on a silver platter… or in this case, on a gold cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1 says, Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis banged their cymbals together and they demonstrated noise. Just noise. Loud noise.

Faith without love is just noise. You see, faith works by love. (Galatians 5:6) Unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, resentment, all of these can only operate in an environment devoid of love. And on the flip side, if there is love, those things cannot flourish.

If God is love, then that’s what I want to be.

The Bible tells me to abide in faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.

The Bible tells me to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and love my neighbor as myself.

The Bible tells me to forgive others so that I may be forgiven.

I sure don’t want to be on the wrong end of that promise.

I want my prayers to be a pleasing sound in God’s ears, not a crashing cymbal. I want to bombard Heaven with true prayer that changes things, not just a lot of noise. That seems to be a much better use of my time.