The hits just keep coming…

 

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Transition is rarely easy, but some transitions are harder than others.

Change. This one word has the power to strike fear in the hearts of many. It has the strength to catapult us into a new chapter in our lives. It has the ability to bring an end to suffering and pain, or to create it. Change may arrive clothed in mystery and bringing uncertainty, questions, anxiety. Change may arrive sporting clear expectations, opportunities for growth, a new start. But one thing we can be sure of, change will come. Whether it comes like a gentle breeze or a roaring hurricane – it will come.

I guess the the question is how do we survive change, especially the roaring hurricane kind of change?  Continue reading

Fight Club?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108718688/flash-sale-til-midnight-vintage-boxing?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=boxing

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108718688/flash-sale-til-midnight-vintage-boxing?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=boxingIs it me, or have you noticed that it seems like it’s everyone versus everyone in the church these days?

This church badmouths that church. Leaders pit themselves against other leaders, denominations against other denominations. Ministry versus ministry, department versus department, congregation versus pastor, pastor versus board… I could go on. But it’s actually painful to list these conflicts.

There are a ton of verses in the Bible about loving one another, preferring one another, serving one another, and yet, we contend (fight). We contend not for the faith as we are encouraged to do (Jude 3), but we contend with one another. Seriously, what are we thinking?

I think we can answer that question in one word: us. We are thinking about ourselves.  As Americans, we celebrate the scrappy underdog, who fights his way to victory. In some contexts this is great, in others, not so much. When it comes to interpersonal skills this is not the way to win.

The Bible is pretty clear. The Bible refers to all followers of Jesus as His bride, His body, His church. It also says, “If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart.” (Mark 3:25 GNT)

As believers, we should all be aware that this kind of division is contrary to the Word of God. It is an attitude sported by the immature, the arrogant, and the self-centered. Does that mean we have to agree on everything? Not gonna happen. Does it mean we should make our focus the things we agree about? I believe it does. When we talk smack about other believers, we’re talking smack about Jesus’ bride, His beloved. How does it go over with you when someone talks poorly about your spouse, your kid, your best friend? Yeah, it’s like poking a bear with a sharp stick, right?

So, let’s take off the boxing gloves and use the verses to overcome the versus. Let’s contend for something not against everything and everybody.

1 John 4:7-8 MSG “My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”

 

photo credit: shawnstpeter

 

What’s That Exotic Scent You’re Wearing?

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What’s that smell?

Believe it or not, this used to be a pick up line! Can you imagine a gorgeous guy coming up to you and asking, “What’s that exotic scent you’re wearing?” Um…. Secret? Seriously, people are influenced by scents. Think about it:

  • Going outside and smelling your neighbor grilling
  • Walking past the Cinnabon stand in the airport
  • Getting the blast of coffee-meets-cigarette breath as someone talks a little too close

We all have smells we love and smells we hate. I don’t like the smell that lingers after cooking fish or the perfume, Taboo, that my mom used to wear, or BO cloaked in cologne. I love the earthy, woodsy smell of the forest, maple pecan candles and newborn babies’ breath.

God has smells He likes too.

  1. He loves the smell of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. Ephesians 5:2 (GNT)  Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God“.
  2. He loves the smell of true Christians who are sharing God’s love. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (AMP) “ But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;”
  3. He loves the smell of our offering or sacrifice for others. Philippians 4:18 (GNT) “Here, then, is my receipt for everything you have given me—and it has been more than enough! I have all I need now that Epaphroditus has brought me all your gifts. They are like a sweet-smelling offering to God, a sacrifice which is acceptable and pleasing to him.

We take great pains in our culture to smell good. We spend a ton on deodorant, perfume, body spray, body wash, mint toothpaste, mouthwash, foot powder, lotion and the like just so we smell good. But as Christians, how much am I investing in smelling good to God. He doesn’t notice our outward smell. He smells my heart and your heart.

He doesn’t notice when we’re wearing Juicy Couture, Dior or Channel. He notices when we smell like Jesus. A heart that loves God, shares with others about God’s love and sacrifices for the needs of others is a heart that smells wonderful to God. Jesus loved God. Jesus shared about God’s love. Jesus sacrificed for our need.  I want that exotic scent I’m wearing to be Jesus.

What do you smell like today?

New Year, New Attitude – Part I

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Tees on Kaboodle

“Are you going to do that with a happy heart?”  These were the words of a young mom I know. She gets that raising a child is more than just outward obedience. She is focused on developing the inside of her three-year-old, not just his actions. Obedience begins in the heart.

On this morning, she asked him to pick up the toys but he wasn’t done playing. When he slammed the first toy into the box, she asked him that question, “Are you going to pick up your toys with a happy heart?” He paused and thought for a moment. Then he smiled at her and began gently picking up the toys. Now, I know it doesn’t always go that smoothly, but he is learning at an early age to stop and make the adjustment on the inside, which produces better behavior on the outside.

Many of us struggle with having a happy heart when we obey God. We may even be really good at outward compliance, but inside… we are shaking an angry, defiant fist in the air. It is the heart that says, “I’ll do it, but I’m not going to like it.”

For instance, a woman can act calm on the outside, but on the inside her temper flares from zero to 60 in two seconds. Is this person only quick tempered if she displays that temper? Or, is she quick tempered because of what’s going on inside, before it ever reaches the boiling point on the outside?

Jesus said that evil actions begin in the heart. (Mark 7:21-22) He also reminded us that what’s inside the heart will make its way out, good or bad. (Luke 6:45) Actions, obedience, sin – it’s all a heart thing.

So, I have to ask myself, what’s in my heart? Am I obeying God with a happy heart?

What about you? What’s in your heart? Do you obey God with a happy heart?

“It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard.” Matthew 12:35 The Message

New Attitude #1: Obey with a happy heart

#NewYearNewAttitude2015

Special thanks to the young mother training her child in the way he should go – you know who you are and I love your littles.