This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Posts tagged ‘faith’

I Deserve Hell

It seems to be that very often I hear the phrase “You deserve it!” It is almost always in conjunction with some self gratifying decision, though at times it can be used with an accommodation by someone else to the individual.

For Example:

I: “Just booked a vacation to Hawaii!” A- “You deserve it”

I: “So grateful to everyone who voted me most popular person” A- “You deserve it”

I: “Bought myself those new boots I wanted” A- “You deserve it”

Lets just look at this from a Biblical standpoint:

Romans 3:23 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

That means that everyone DESERVES hell. We deserve to be eternally separated from God – not new shoes, not a vacation, not awards and accolades. It is a serious pet peeve of mine to hear or see that phrase – you deserve it. My amazing friends who mean very well have all received the same response when they use that phrase with me. Yesterday when a dear friend said I deserved a bouquet of flowers I was given I replied, “I deserve hell but by the Grace of God I got flowers.”

I seriously believe this. We all deserve to go to hell because we can not measure up to the perfect holiness that is God and His standard. It is only through the grace and mercy, by the sacrifice of death, that Jesus Christ gave that I am able to have or be anything at all. It is ONLY through Him that I exist. It is only through Him that I have the gifts, talents and abilities to use on this earth. It is only through Him that I am able to be reconciled to God and live eternally in paradise.

I DON’T deserve anything I have, and I have a lot. I have 4 beautiful and amazing children. I have a home, a closet with ample clothes and a fridge filled with food (when I get to the grocery  store and back). I have family and friends. I have business and ministry, and much much more!!

I have the opportunity to love others on this earth as He has loved me. It’s sad how often I fail at this so badly.

Yes my friends I do deserve something and I have worked hard for it – I deserve hell,

BUT

By the Grace of God I am never going there.

Thank you Jesus. I am and will be eternally grateful to you.

Five Bucks

I have a friend named Dave Dalley. He has given my kids and I the opportunity to get to know people of other faiths and also talk about what they believe and why. He often spearheads some really cool projects to bring people together and/or help people.

The latest initiative is that they had donors give $5 bills that they put in envelopes and left around the city. They then left a message with the money asking whoever found it to spend the money according to their values and beliefs. They also asked for the founder to write them back and tell them how they spent it.

The first founder wrote back today and here is what they said, “I went to the library to pick up a book on self compassion! 

I was delighted to find the 5 dollars and I will be holdin on to it for a little while just so I can appreciate it that much more!

Once I am ready to spend it it will either go towards a yoga class or a nice cup of tea at a coffee shop! Thank you!”

It’s amazing how small things can make such a big impact. It was, after all $5. It’s not like we paid her bills or cleaned her house. What’s important is the thought behind it. Someone was thinking of you, even though they didn’t know you, and did something about it. Thought seriously counts!

Is everyone who gets the $5 going to be as impacted, probably not – but does it matter? What matters is that the effort was made and chances are high that when you do something like this people are impacted, even if you never know about it.

Christians should be front of the line in these kinds of things. Showing kindness and loving others is what Jesus modeled for us. I just see people get so busy with all their churchy activities they miss opportunities right in front of them. Alternatively people give their tithes to the church and expect the church to do something with it. They give themselves a pat on the back that they did their part, but hold on: if you claim to have Jesus as your Savior then YOU ARE THE CHURCH.

You don’t get to hand things over to leaders in the church and let them take over. I don’t see Jesus saying, “ok God you do it all and I’ll just give you a cut of what I have, then I can go and enjoy the church social with all my friends.”

Sometimes we get intimidated because we see these leaders who are running massive organizations of outreach and think, “I could never do that.” Well that’s totally fine. Your probably not supposed to do that.

Even if you were, it would still have to start with $5.

 

 

I am a pastor

I am a licensed and ordained pastor.
I wrestle with my faith.
I struggle with temptation.
Every person has a calling. I have the title of pastor because part of my calling includes leading people.

Leading others doesn’t mean I don’t have difficult times, or don’t ever question things anymore.

I actually think it means I have a duty and obligation to question things more, on behalf of the people that I lead.
We all have a lot of different options every day. Even though we hardly recognize the fact, we are often at crossroads.
Each road will take you somewhere.
Some roads lead to challenges,

some to character development,

some to harm and

some to many other things.

Each and every decision we make takes us down a road.
Recently I felt I was standing at crossroads, and took a good long look at each one.

Some were very, very tempting.

Some were even familiar, based on habits and patterns from long ago.
I did look long and hard.

Maybe even with moments of longing, because in some ways those roads are easier, if only for a time, and familiarity breeds comfortability, even if it involves dysfunction.
I realized I was like a vacuum plug.

The cord gets pulled by pain and life events, and it starts to detach from the wall.

The vacuum motor starts to sputter.

It’s not as effective at its job.
In order to be useful it must remain plugged in.
I am a light.

I am not a light source.

If I disconnect from the power supply, my light flickers and starts to fade. I have to remain connected if I am to shine brightly.
Being connected also helps me pick up my feet and chose the harder but better road, because I am not who I used to be.

With each step I am being transformed into the likeness of my Savior.

Hopefully others will follow, because I am a pastor.

Where to stick your bumper sticker theology

I recently read this blog about God not giving us more than we can bear by Nate Pyle. Honest, truthful, bold stuff. The last two years of my life have been filled with a lot of pain and this really hit my heart in a way I needed. I have been through many difficult things in my life: sexual abuse, death of a baby, separation, death of family members and friends by natural causes, accidents and murder.

Almost without fail some, probably well intentioned, Christian has spouted off some little phrase they heard that they think will help. I love how Nate referenced it to bumper sticker theology. So true!

I love how Job’s friends stayed in silence with him, at first. How much better off would they have been if they had stayed that way. We just get so uncomfortable with silence we feel the need to fill it with something – anything. Saying stupid things like, “it’s for the best,” or “they’re in a better place,” really doesn’t help me in my pain.

A dear friend recently said to me, “if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” In her case, I know she meant well and we have a relationship where I could comment back that I think there are many things in life that He doesn’t bring us to, but we go running full tilt into ourselves, never the less, He can still bring us through.

What will help, is other people who know when it’s better to not say anything at all. Sometimes I just need people to BE with me. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

Here are ways to ACTUALLY be helpful:

Learn to be ok with silence

Tell someone you will pray for them and then actually do it

See if there is a tangible need that you can meet

Stay connected

Pain is uncomfortable for the person in it and those around them. The past two years have been a long, hard, painful process for me, but those who have walked with me through it have carried me in more ways than they know. Bumper stickers will fade and peel. True friends, with hearts like Jesus, show love continuously.

Fight For Me

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I am not sure if observant Jews still today wear phylacteries, but I know they used to. They would walk around with sections of the Torah on their forehead. I don’t think we have to do this, but today a scripture impacted deep in heart heart that I wrote it on my hand so I could grab on to it whenever I needed throughout the day.

I am not sure if it is because I am human. I am not sure if it’s because I am a woman. I am not sure if it’s because I was teased in school. I am not sure if it’s because I grew up in a broken home and knew I had bigger, older brothers out there somewhere, but didn’t really know them. I am not sure if it is because I was victimized several times in my life – I don’t wear the label victim, but I don’t minimize what happened either.

I am not sure where it comes from, but I have always had this deep sense of wanting to be fought for.  People fight for things of value and worth; land, jewels, titles etc.

I am at a place where I know that I have value and worth simply because of who created me. I do fully accept this, but I still have this love to being fought for. When it doesn’t happen my heart aches.

My heart is aching, and today my reading came to Exodus 14:14. Please understand it is a pet peeve of mine that people take scripture that was given for a specific people, at a specific time and hold it as a personal promise, but that’s exactly what I am doing today. I will be first to call myself hypocrite, let’s move on.

God told Moses that He would fight for the Israelites and they just needed to be still. Being still is sooo not my forte but in this time right now, I think it’s exactly the thing He is telling me to do.

So when my heart gets anxious I grab on to the fact that He will fight for me. How do I know this to be true? Because He already did – more than anyone else ever can or will.

Thank you Jesus for the cross. You fought for me and won.

Look At Women

Just recently I read this blog http://earthtourist.org/2013/07/05/modesty-misunderstood/ by Travis Klassen. His viewpoint was not brand new to me, though it was not what I was taught growing up. The fact that it was coming from a man was new to me. The idea that a man’s lustful thoughts are the responsibility of the man, and not the women he is lusting after, is something that has come to make sense to me, but again was not how I was raised – by my parents or the church. Anytime a women has posted this viewpoint I feel like she is too often dismissed as looking for an excuse to dress “inappropriately.”

A few days after reading that blog, my devotions fell in Job – specifically Job 31. Verse 1 says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” It really stuck me that Job said he would not look lustfully at a girl, he did NOT say he would not look at a girl.

We demean men into mindless animals when we except that they could not look at an attractive woman without being reduced to something with no self control and completely bound by a sexual instinct. Can a man look at a woman and lust – yes. Can a man look at a women and not lust – yes.

We tell men to avert their eyes from women so as to avoid lustful thoughts. But what if they learned to look at women and not lust? Are they going to be attracted to some women – yes, because God made us to find certain things attractive about others but that doesn’t mean it has to go further. By all means if you are looking at a women and find yourself having lustful issues and need to “bounce your eyes” please do so. I am a woman and I have done so. I have also been guilty of lusting at times. It all depends on the self control that I use or don’t use over my own thoughts. Where am I allowing them to go? Am I looking at this attractive man as someone God made that is appealing to me but I will only allow my thoughts to think on him as a brother or am I letting my thoughts go to places they should not? Why is the expectation different for men? I don’t believe it should be.

Men are strong – in body and in spirit. They are fully capable of viewing women – even scantily clad women as sisters. I know because I have brought men with me to porn shows with www.xxxchurch.com to hand out Bibles to porn stars. They tell them that Jesus loves them and they look them in the eye to show respect and that they are more, so much more than just a physical body. Why can’t we raise our young men to do this? Why can’t we instil in men that they are more than just lustful desires that are beyond their control?

Evidence to Convict

I remember there used to be a saying that, “if you were put on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict?”

This saying made me think about all the good deeds I had done or maybe feel guilt over the non-Christian music I had listened to that week.

What if love was the evidence that we were children of God, BECAUSE IT IS : see 1 John 3:14

Would there be enough evidence to prove you belonged to Him? How much love have you shown this week? Guilty?

Save the world

My best friend and I have an infliction, if you will, that we both clearly understand. We call it our “save the world” complex. Our hearts are moving hearts – they are hearts of action. If we see injustice or we see hurting we want to do something about it. This can be very serious when you live in a very fallen world. At times this can be so overwhelming because of the depths of the suffering around us. Sometimes it is our own families or friends and other times it is people we have never met in other countries. There are times I feel so completely inadequate and incapable of making any real difference.

This debilitation comes when I look at the enormity of the evil in the world. This is when my savior, the savior of the world, whispers  “over here”. He sees it all. He knows it all. In order to not be overwhelmed and incapacitated I have to look at Him.I have to remain focused on Him and trust His sovereignty. He is ultimately in control. He does have a plan. He has won the victory and the end is already written.

For now I must remain loyal to the tasks He calls me to.

How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time.

Into the Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You remember those guys right? They got thrown into a fiery furnace. I lead 9 other people to the sex show in Vancouver for the fourth year to hand out Bibles and tell people that Jesus loved them.

Here’s what I know:

The furnace boys were not alone. Jesus was with them.

The furnace boys had an impact in their world without mega phones and preaching.

The furnace boys were not harmed in anyway and didn’t even smell like smoke.

The furnace boys lives were changed.

This weekend…so were we. All the glory to God.

Who is He?

Wouldn't everything be simpler if when Jesus was on earth he stated 
overtly who he was and what the plan was?

I mean why not spell it out, lay it out so there is no guessing
- no questions - no squabbling - plain and simple.

Why not?

Because what matters is who you say he is.

He asked peter. He asked his disciples.
He wanted to know, that based on what we see, who do we say he is?

Who you say he is doesn't change who he really is, but it does determine
your destiny and what you do with him.

Do you disregard him as a lunatic
Do you cling for your life to Him as your savior.

It matters who you say he is.