Posted in books, christian living, christianity, Faith, grace, Jesus, sports

Life

Image result for lifeLife is weird. Life is crazy. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Life has a way of sneaking up on a person.

I’ve always been told that when life hands you lemons, make some lemonade! I can’t say I’ve always held that positive attitude.

But I serve a Savior who always has my back. Life has thrown me major curveballs throughout the years and I’ve let a majority of them take me out. But when I came to know Christ and know Him fully….He took those curveballs out for me! He always has my back.

When life tries to pull me down Jesus is there, pulling me back up. When life is going great, when things are going my way, Jesus is STILL there with me.

Image result for Gods loveThe point is this: Life will surprise you time after time but there is a God who will always be there for you. He loves you that much.

His love is greater than life itself.

I’m reading “Shaken” by Tim Tebow right now. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tebow, he is a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who played for the Florida Gators and was drafted in 2010 by the Denver Broncos. He had a very successful college career but failed to succeed in the NFL, being traded to several different teams before finally being cut by the New England Patriots and is now out of the NFL.

Tebow has faced much scrutiny throughout his career due to his faith in Jesus Christ. He is very outspoken about his faith and was famously known for kneeling in the end zone and giving credit to God during games. He was mocked for this and he never fully gained success in the NFL.

Image result for shaken tim tebowHis book, “Shaken” is about his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism and intense media scrutiny. He talks about the lessons he learned throughout the way, building confidence in his identity with God and not the world.

Though traveling hard roads is not easy, it’s always worth it!

Some quotes from those who have read his book:

Tim has always inspired me with his dedication to grow and improve in all aspects of life, especially his faith. With this book, Tim encourages readers to keep moving and stay strong while battling life’s obstacles.

Cam Newton, quarterback of the Carolina Panthers

Tim is a remarkable example of one who combines strength and boldness with kindness and compassion.

Ravi Zacharias , apologist, author, and president of RZIM

Tim is a role model, an inspiration to those who have a dream and are willing to accept life as a journey full of ups and downs.

Jon Bon Jovi, singer-songwriter

Whether or not you’ve followed Tim’s career, Shaken speaks to something we’ve all had to deal with–trusting God when the plans for our lives don’t work out.

Judah Smith, lead pastor, The City Church, New York Times best-selling author of Jesus Is____

I’m not very far into the book but what I’ve read is excellent so far. Here’s a couple of quotes from him:

I am a child of God. My foundation for who I am is grounded in my faith. In a God who loves me. In a God who gives me purpose. In a God who sees the big picture. In a God who always has a greater plan

It’s important to take God’s love personally, though it may not be an easy thing to do. Sure, God loves the world but he also loves each one of us individually. With billions of people on the planet, I know it can be hard to comprehend His love for us personally.

Sure, I struggle with God’s love for me sometimes. How on earth can God love someone like me? But He does and He always will. Is that hard to accept sometimes? Yes, but I work through it.

This is going to be a great read, I can already tell.

Have you read it?

When life hands you lemons or throws you curveballs…..what do you do?

 

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Posted in books, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, grace, Jesus, love

Migraines

I suffer from migraines. Last Tuesday I started feeling one coming on and so I took my prescription medication for it. However, it didn’t do the trick like it usually does and as of yesterday, I still had the migraine so I decided to go to the ER. They gave me a cocktail of medications that did wonders for the severity of the headache. As in, I went from a 10 on the pain scale to a 4.

Today I woke up for the first time in a week without a headache. Yay! Praise the Lord!

Image result for not god enough jd greearI was feeling pretty good today so I decided to go out to LifeWay to look around. I found a book by J.D Greear called Not God Enough that seemed really interesting so I bought it.

Your God is too small.
We like God small. We prefer a God who is safe, domesticated, who thinks like we think, likes what we like, and whom we can manage, predict, and control. A small God is convenient. Practical. Manageable.
The truth: God is big. Bigger than big. Bigger than all the words we use to say big. Only a God of infinite power, wisdom and majesty can answer our deepest questions and meet our deepest longings.
Ironically, many today seem turned off by the concept of an awesome, terrifyingly great God. We assume that a God you would need to fear is guilty of some kind of fault. For us, thinking of God as so infinitely greater and wiser than we are and who would cause us to tremble in his presence is a leftover relic from an oppressive, archaic view of religion.
But what if this small version of God we’ve created is holding us back from the greatest experience of our lives–from genuine, confident, world-transforming faith?
In Not God Enough, J.D. reveals how to discover a God who:

  • is big enough to handle your questions, doubts, and fears
  • is not silent
  • is worthy of worship
  • wants to take you from boring to bold in your faith
  • has a purpose and mission for you on earth
  • is pursuing you right now

God is not just a slightly better, slightly smarter version of you. God is infinite and glorious, and an encounter with Him won’t just change the way you think about your faith. It’ll change your entire life.”

I’m already on Chapter 3! It’s AMAZING!

Some quotes I found to be thought provoking:

Most Christians haven’t rejected God; they have just reduced Him

True worship is intimacy grounded in awe.

His love at the cross didn’t move me because his magnificence in the heavens hadn’t humbled me.

A God we can predict, instruct and control is not a God who will captivate our affections or command our devotion.

I haven’t even finished this book and I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite!

What’s on your reading list?

 

 

 

 

Posted in books, christian living, christianity, quotes

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Image result for book of JamesOn Sunday nights we are going through the book of James. We just started a couple of Sundays ago and I can tell it’s going to be a great study.

One thing I’m doing on the side to help me learn this book is reading a book by Dr. David Jeremiah called “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do.” It’s a book on James and Jeremiah breaks up the book of James into different chapters on “What to do when…”

Chapters 1-3 deal with the first chapter of James.

It’s a really great book so far and here are some quotes that I have taken from it:

Genuine faith should make a genuine difference in the way a person lives. One’s creed should determine his conduct!

We are to persevere in our trials so that the work that God has begun in us may be brought to completion

Unless there is within us that which is above us, we will soon yield to that which is around us

We are saved by trusting in Christ but we are crowned when we are tested by fire and continue to love Him

Satan tempts us to bring out the bad. God tests us to bring out the good.

God may test you to strengthen your faith but He never tempts you to subvert your faith.

Always look to the Master’s face.

The struggle itself is proof that God is very close to us.  There would be no inner battle if we were truly lost.

We are not to passively examine the Word that is spoken but are to welcome it into our hearts with anticipation and excitement!

 

Posted in 2018, books, christian living, snow, winter

The Dreaded “S” Word

See the source imageDare I say it? It’s snowing here again. Oh how I wish it would stop! I’m so done with snow….at least for the rest of this winter. Maybe my attitude will change next season but for now I’m ready for the warmer weather. Not scorching hot, mind you, just warmer. Where I don’t have to wear a jacket.

And I can wear my beloved flip-flops! I practically live in those things the second it starts getting warm enough. Socks and shoes, no way. Flip flops all the way!

I won’t lie….the snow is very pretty coming down. It’s very pretty outside right now. I’m sitting at my desk watching the snow fall. But I just don’t want to get stuck in the house like we did after our winter storm a couple of weeks ago. That about drove me crazy with the claustrophobia! And I am definitely claustrophobic!


See the source imageSo I went to Lifeway today and found another Craig Groeschel book in the clearance section for $6.97! It’s called #Struggles. I’m looking forward to starting it. I’m currently reading Good Faith by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons right now so it’ll be a little while before I start it but I’m still excited. I love Craig Groeschel’s  writing!

I also bought Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman on Audio. I have the book and I’ve already read it, it’s amazing. Now I get to listen to it in my car. 🙂

 

Verse of the day:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

John 10:10, NIV

What’s the weather like where you live?

What books are you currently reading?

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, books, christian living, christianity, Faith, godliness

Weird, Chapter 15: Just One Thing

Often he who does too much does too little

—-Italian Proverb

This is the final chapter in Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel. I have enjoyed reading it and I hope you have enjoyed “reading” it!

See the source imageChapter 15 opens up with Groeschel talking about New Years and the many resolutions that are made then broken.

By the end of January he says that “40 percent of people who made New Year’s resolutions break them.  By Valentine’s Day, the number of people who cannot sustain what they started jumps up to 75 percent.”

Groeschel adds that in the last few years he has changed his New Years ritual in a “positively weird way.”

Instead of making a long list of resolutions for myself, I make only one resolution that’s chosen by someone else.

The problem, Groeschel tells us, is that “many of us try to imagine all the things we’d like to be different about our lives and we try to tackle them all at once.”

Usually, though, we spend more time making those lists than we do actually following up and doing the items on them.

Many people have a lot of unfinished ideas–myself included

So several years ago, Groeschel began a “personal discipline to limit (his) life’s focus.” He will pray in the months leading up to a new year, asking God to reveal to him “What is the one thing you want to be different in my life next year?”

One thing may not sound like a big deal to you…..but think about it. If you set out to change several things in one year and you don’t fully accomplish any of them, what was the point?

So consider the weird alternative: if you can change just one thing in your life and you change that one thing entirely, fully, completely–then over the course of a decade, the landscape of your life will look dramatically different.

Ten cumulative one things. Ten major changes. Ten disciplines. Ten steps closer to who God wants you to be. A decade of one things adds up to a changed life.

Paved With God Intentions

pexels-photo-490466.jpegWe all have good intentions when it comes to making new years resolutions. But as Groeschel tells us “good intentions can’t change us or improve our lives without action.”

If we want to be better than normal, we must move from good intentions to what I call God intentions.”

Groeschel tells us that good intentions are our ideas we have that motivate us to set and achieve the goals that we genuinely want to accomplish. God intentions go “way beyond this, because they rely on discovering and acting on what HE wants us to do.”

Whereas good intentions are what we come up with, God intentions are our Father’s ideas.

So how do we find out God’s intentions? We simply ask Him. “If you’ll listen to the Spirit of God, I believe he’ll speak directly to you and show you that ONE thing that he wants for you and from you.”

Good intentions are me-centered.

God intentions are God-centered.

And when God puts something into you, you can be certain it will come to pass.

Maybe God wants to do a new thing for you. Something different. Something weird. Maybe he isn’t waiting until New Year’s to reveal it to you–maybe he’s starting right now.

Isaiah 43:18-19 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

U + 4 = 1

See the source imageGroeschel gives us 4 questions that can help provide clarity if we’re serious about wanting to know what God wants us to focus on.

  1. What One Thing Do You Desire From God?  “If God were to offer you, ‘I’ll do any one thing that you ask’ what would you ask for?  In the Bible, throughout his lifetime, David asked God for many different things–strength, courage, victory over enemies, help for his children, forgiveness. However, there is ONE prayer that David focused on that seemingly put all his desires into a singular request. “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4)  David was a man after God’s own heart. If he could have ONE thing, he chose to want to be with God, in his presence always.
  2. What One Thing Do You Lack?  In your relationship with God, what one thing is missing?  Remember the rich young ruler? He asks Jesus “What do I need to do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him “You need to obey the commandments.” The rich young ruler confirms that he has done all these things. However Jesus can see through to this man’s heart, seeing a problem that the young rule didn’t even know he had. So he tells him to go sell everything he had and to sell it to the poor. “Then come follow me.” The rich young ruler became sad and walked away because he was very rich and had very many material items. “For many of us, it’s just one thing standing in our way of completely following Jesus.”
  3. What One Thing Do You Need To Let Go?  Normal people hold on to just about everything–busyness, money, possessions, grudges. It’s time to get weird and do something different–let one big thing go.  Philippians 3:14-15 says “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But ONE THING, I do: Forgetting what is behind  and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Forget the past. Forge into the future. Let go. “If you’re not moving forward, not headed where God wants you to be, maybe it’s because you’re holding on to something from the past.”
  4. What One Promise Do You Need to Claim? “We mustn’t lose the hope of a specific promise that God has given us. It may not look like we expect it to look, or arrive when we want it to arrive but God is always faithful to His word.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s grace is “sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

One For All

Normal people attempt countless goals with limited success. Weird people focus on just one God-given objective with tremendous results.

Let God create you in his masterpiece. “He will make you truly different and joyfully weird.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2018, books, christianity

Chapter 14: A Weird Blessing

See the source imageIn this second to last chapter of Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel, Groeschel recalls a time when he was asked to preach at a friend’s church. He arrived at the church and was greeted by the church secretary, “I’ve got great news! We’re having a visitor at church today–so you’d better preach great!” Apparently the secretary had received a call from a woman asking for directions to the church. The caller explained that she had hit a rough patch and wanted to try out church. So the church secretary prayed with the caller and told her she’d be sure to look out for her.

Just before church started, Groeschel was standing by the front doors with Virgil, “another pillar from the congregation.” Virgil was very dedicated to his church, and took his post at the front doors seriously. However, as they got to talking, Virgil went on a rant about today’s generation. “They’re rebellious!” Virgil barked. He kept complaining that young people aren’t respectful of God and the church.

It was at that moment that Groeschel saw the visitor pull up in a beat up car so dirty. It had balding tires, low in air pressure and as she got out of the car it revealed a very dented driver side door. She closed her door with a cigarette in her hand and very revealing clothes. Groeschel refused to judge her and ran through his mind several possibilities, “abusive boyfriend?” “drug addiction?” “unemployment?” Depression?” “Abandonment? All of these and more?”

Groeschel uttered a silent prayer asking God to give him the right words to say that might encourage her. However, that silent prayer was interrupted by,….you guessed it….Virgil who “hurled his welcome grenade at the young woman.” “We wear our best clothes for God at this church. Is that the best outfit you own? Or do you just not care what God thinks?”

Groeschel tried to smooth the situation over but it didn’t work. The young woman simply turned and walked back to her car and drove away.

A Burden In Disguise

See the source imageAt that moment, Groeschel “made several promises that (he) vowed to keep for the rest of (his) life.”

I committed to resist judging someone who doesn’t know God. I promised never to turn anyway away from church because of the way they look. I vowed never to become someone like Virgil.

He turned silently from Virgil and walked back into the secretary’s office, “overcome with emotion.” The secretary asked what happened and he told her how “Virgil turned away the hurting visitor.” The secretary asked if she could pray for him and that’s what they did. She “asked God to use this experience to help (his) heart break forever for those who don’t know Christ.”

Groeschel felt like she had just given him a strange gift–“something well-intentioned that was infinitely more valuable than whatever (he) might have asked for”

Blessings come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. It’s normal to give thanks for the good things. God’s blessings, however, aren’t always bigger, better, and beautiful.

I truly believe that God gifts his chosen leaders with a very unusual blessing. You might even call it a weird blessing because most of the time we call it……a burden.

What’s Your Burden?

“If you’re like most normal people, you’re probably wondering ‘Why in the world would I want a burden?'” “Isn’t life hard enough?

But God didn’t put us here on earth just to feel good and enjoy ourselves.

He puts us here to make an eternal difference.

If you listen, God will show you something that makes your heart ache on behalf of his. He will bless you with a burden.

Groeschel tells us that if we want to grow closer to God, “if we want our values to be his values then we need to become vigilant for opportunities where he wants to bless us with a burden.”

He provides three areas that he believes will help:

  1. See the source imageBuilding blocks and broken pieces——What breaks your heart? He gives an example in the Bible of Nehemiah who was a heartbroken man blessed with a divine burden. A burden to rebuild the very walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was so overcome with emotion of the walls being destroyed that he could barely stomach his discomfort. He discovered that God was blessing him with the burden to rebuild the walls. When was the last time you “felt your heart pierced by the plight of another person?”
  2. A righteous anger——What makes you angry? He’s not talking about pet peeves or “supersized abstractions like war, terrorism or global warming.” The larger issues may be a good starting point but Groeschel is hoping we will uncover something specific that makes you “righteously angry–something that moves you on the behalf of God.
  3. When you care enough to send the very best—-You may be heartbroken but not enough to take action. Or you may be outraged and rant about the problem but do nothing about it. We have to have courage to take action. “You have to do something–anything–to alleviate the suffering you’ve identified and embraced as your own. ” See the source imageGroeschel mentions the story of David and Goliath. We all know the story. No one dared to square up against the giant from the Philistine army. Until a young shepherd name David decided to take matters into his own hands and boldly asked “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26)

When you feel this burden, you might be frustrated, wondering why no one else cares as much as you do.

The reason why you care and others don’t could be because God has aimed it directly at you.

Name it to Claim It

“Normal people want to live a burden-free life.” But as we know, God didn’t call us to be normal.  As Paul says in Ephesians, “we are God’s workmanship (or masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Groeschel then asks us to think about what our burden is. And then to “give life” to it.

 

So what’s your burden?

 

 

Posted in books, christianity

Weird Chapter 13: Get My Drift

pexels-photo-753626.jpegChapter 13 opens up with a quick little analogy of how Groeschel and his family, while on vacation at the beach, managed to drift away down the shore and lost sight of their cabin they were staying in.

This chapter is dealing with drifting from our values.

If you’re a Christian, you know that getting sidetracked from God is easy. Most do. It’s perfectly normal. And you’ll find lots of outside help for your heart to wander, lots of things to distract you.

Groeschel adds that eventually we’ll begin to question whether or not it’s even worth it to follow God. “It may seem like not many other people are following Him.”

Perhaps worse, it seems like the people who do follow God are, well….honestly, weird.

Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Satan has an “explicit mission.” His mission is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) It is because of HIM that we even have these sort of thoughts.

If you allow your enemy to steal your faith, he can destroy your life and ultimately kill your relationship with God. He’s the great deceiver, the father of lies, (John 8:44)  so we need to be wise to his tricks. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

See the source imageHe plants the smallest seed of doubt in our minds. Remember Eve in the Garden of Eden? Satan “planted the smallest seed of doubt in the ready soil of her mind.” “Did God really say….(Gen 3:1)

Then the lie comes. Satan essentially calls God the liar and that God was “keeping something from her. In other words he weakened Eve’s faith by questioning God’s authority.”

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:3 “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Groeschel’s concern is the same for us. “If you’ve been close to God in the past but feel distant from Him now, isn’t that exactly how it’s played out?” “…somehow you woke up one day and found you’d drifted. You’d been led astray from your faith in Christ.”

 

Lose Your Faith in 5 E-Z Steps!

  1. Blaming God. It’s so easy to drift from God when we are unhappy with our circumstances.–especially if you blame God for them.
  2. Hanging around Bad Influences.  “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
  3. Giving In to Temptation. God “doesn’t cause our problems and he doesn’t tempt us
  4. Loving the World. The world will bring us down
  5. Faking It. Going through the motions will cause us to drift away.

 

Learn the Ropes

  1. Read Your Bible
  2. Worship God
  3. Get Involved at Church
  4. Pray

 

Now What?

If you’ve drifted from God, Groeschel says he has an honest question for you: Do you care? Or are you like the church in Sardis–dead, just pretending to be alive? (Revelation 3:1)

Have you gotten used to shaking off whatever the Holy Spirit tries to say to you?

Or are you like the church at Ephesus? “You have forsaken your first love? Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4-5)

This is your chance, Groeschel says. The Holy Spirit is talking to you, urging you to return to your first love.

Repent. Turn away from the things you have been doing that are drawing you further away from God.

If you’re “really, sincerely, genuinely wanting God back, he hasn’t moved. He’s still there, just like always.”

Jeremiah 29:12-13 says “You will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Come back to Jesus! He’s waiting for you with arms wide open!