Do NOT Become a Christian

Are looking for something to fulfill your life?  Need a list of laws to follow?  Are you a good person?  Are you rich?  Is your life put together and you want a church?  

Let me be the first to assure you, Christianity is NOT for you. 

Are you outcast because your sins are much too many?  Do you want to be dead of this life you live?  Sick?  Find this world meaningless?  You don’t fit in?

Then, for you, I may have the answer. But I will be the last to try to persuade you. In fact, I will do the opposite. Consider the cost carefully. 

Jesus himself turned away the crowd. To the rich young ruler that he loved, he looked straight to his heart and saw the one thing he could not give up, “Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor.”  There was no hug and welcome and let me lead you to the sinner’s prayer. No!  To follow Jesus, to be like him, he will have no competition!  The Lord must be loved with ALL your heart. 

This is no plan of your own. You do not approach your Maker and ask him to bless your plans. Oh!  How many curse God because He does not answer their requests!  

First, you must die. All your comfort, your identity, riches, and beauty are dead and buried. Meaningless. Rags to be offered. But you will walk in danger and not be afraid. And it will be so very dangerous. You will be mocked and count it as blessings. Monies only purpose is to be given away. Prayers are to be reserved for miracles. The miracle to accomplish a part of God’s big huge plan. 

And ladies and gentlemen, the very miracle is that God himself reaches out his hand and extends an invitation. And the church of religion kindly declines, “No thank you.  I’m doing just fine on my own.”

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Satan Does Not Want Me to Suffer

DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?!  The power of God Almighty that raised Jesus Christ from the grave lives inside of me!  The power of Him who will fling Satan into eternal Hell is alive and well in my body!

Pain of cancer, hateful glares of the unaccepting popular majority, discomfort of living without, financial difficulty, hunger, any pain this human body has to throw at me ain’t got nothing on the book of suffering!  I have been crucified with Christ!  I find myself dead to my past life, of all that I know and hold dear.  Being willing to serve God above my human nature.  Dying to self and giving and giving when all I wish and long for is to retire into solitude.  All my sinful body longs for is relief and comfort.  OF COURSE IT HURTS TO FOLLOW JESUS!

And does Satan want me to suffer?  Hell yes!  It is his all ending goal, to drag me to Hell with him forever and ever.  Does he want me to face cancer fearless where others turn and question where my peace comes from?  Hell no!  Does he want to give me a testimony of overcoming pain and fear?  Hell no!  Does Satan want the suffering majority to find hope in my story of love and peace in Jesus Christ, to share how all this world will pass and fade but we are adored by the Father who calls us to be His princes and princesses?  Hell no!

Satan holds the longest bluff of all time!  His chains have long been broken and all we need do is call upon the one who sets us free!  When we know this, we call upon the name of Jesus  and the blood of the Lamb and Satan flees!  We fight with demons and we win!  We crush Satan with the power of the Almighty alive and well that dwells in our very hearts!  It is not pretty, it is war!

With great determination, Satan stood in glee and pride with the Son of God crucified upon the cross.  And with the completion of the death of the beating heart of Jesus, HE FORGAVE THE WORLD!  HE DEFEATED SATAN!  Satan has learned his lesson well that suffering can lead to victory.

While being stoned, Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God!  We have no fear even of death!  Just seconds later, Stephen stood before his Maker and proclaimed that he gave all for his Name!

With comfort, oh how I retreat!  And in health, the lesson is hard that IT IS ALL FOR NOTHING!  None of it, I want NONE of this world!  I want no one to look at me and declare the love of how I dress, please see no beauty in my humanity, I want no one impressed by my home or my abilities, and I don’t want to seek those accomplishments any longer.  One thing I want, only one I desire to be said of me:  She loved Jesus Christ with all her heart, her soul, her mind, and her strength.  I want to be loved and hated for this!  And I want the Prince of demons to be terrified to let me suffer because every moan and every breath of my pain will be to call upon the name that he loathes to hear!

 

I know God’s Calling for My Life

“God did not call me to do that.”

“Not everyone is called to be missionaries, so give some money and help these people tell the world about God.”

The only problem?  Jesus did not make distinctions when He said, “Go into the world and preach the gospel.”  It’s not just for a certain group of people. 

He never said, “If you feel called” He said “Go.”  That applies to everyone. 

Don’t feel the calling?  I bet Shadrach didn’t feel like being thrown into a fire. I bet Corrie Ten Boom didn’t feel like spreading the love of Jesus in a concentration camp. I bet martyrs didn’t feel like being tortured. JESUS DIDNT FEEL LIKE DYING ON THE CROSS!

Are you a Mom?  Be so wildly in love with Jesus that your children see Him as the very air you breathe!  Be so beyond patient that others notice something different about you and have to comment. And then answer!  

Are you a husband?  Love you wife like Christ loves the church. Daily die to her!

Do you drive?  Forget about road rage. Do you buy coffee?  Grab a cup for someone else. Invite a homeless person to church. Stop and chat with a lonely person. 

Be so crazy in love with the King of kings that you are a fool in love. Live like this is not your home!

And when you screw up, BECAUSE YOU WILL, the absolute biggest way that you can stand out among the crowd is to ASK FOR FORGIVENESS!  

Ask for forgiveness and FORGIVE, that is what I am called to do. What better way to preach the gospel?

Open Journal

“My sweet little bitty, teeny tiny baby,” You have never been one to really like the many nicknames that I have thrown out your way, “Mom! Don’t call me that!” And then I pulled out this exaggerated pet name and you didn’t mind. It is the first that you smile and let it be.

As I like to do, I was having coffee with a friend, who happens to be a mom of one of your friends. She asked, “how do I keep improving my life to show my daughter that she can be anything?”  She, and I, realize our immense responsibility to be the role model of our daughters. We chatted and I loved our chat so that the words have stuck with me, bringing a new realization a few days later:

Madison, you are so enthusiastically curious, so calmly friendly, ever achieving new abilities, lover of learning without the stress of perfection, independent, and SO PERFECTLY YOURSELF, that I believe others expect more out of me! This is what I mean:

Madison plays piano. Oh! I never played any instrument.

Madison excels at an exemplary private school with whatever you can throw her way as a model student. I struggled through public school.

Madison plays volleyball. I never did. 

M rides horses. I never. 

Madison stands up for others (at such a young age)!  I didn’t know how to.

Madison loves sharks! Me: scary!

On and on the list goes so that I have realized:  Caroline, your job is to get out of the way!  God is her parent, He is her Father. I have prayed for this child since I was pregnant and when she was three months old, God said in the most audible way, “She is not yours!  This baby is MINE!”  So hard for me to open my hands!

But there are NO WORDS that I can write to fully illustrate the overwhelming JOY and PRIVILEGE to see God Himself take my nine year old daughter by the hand and whisper softly,

“Little bitty, teeny tiny baby, I have one big huge, God sized plan for your life!

The Goodness of Pain

Oh no!  There was no way around the large puddles now. I splashed right through them. My pants were already soaked through so that I could feel the coldness upon my legs. The sudden downpour caught me unexpected and soaked me through and through. Pain I did not like but with or without a good attitude, I tolerated it. 

The sound of the small drip, the sight of steam rising up from the coffee pot, the smell.  My brain was already enjoying the promise of a hot cup of coffee. After a hot shower and putting on comfy pajamas, nothing was a better ending to this cold day than holding a hot cup of coffee between my fingers. I slowly lifted the the large mug to my lips and, to my delight, the soft touch of my lips told me the contents of the cup was much too hot. Pain I enjoyed. 

I knew the seriousness of the moment as she slowly and solemnly entered my room. I put down the shirt I was ironing and simply looked into her eyes, telling her she had my attention. As tears rolled down her face, we collapsed into a chair and I held my arms around her. She recounted the guilt over a wrong and poured out her broken heart. There was no further need for discipline, her heart had learned the lesson well. Pain she learned from. 

There were even times that I intentionally brought pain on my own daughter that I love so much!  Lack of treats when she was craving them, remaining loyal to a sports team when she wanted to quit, shots at the doctor when she did not understand, stitches at the hospital, the natural consequences of forgetting to do her homework. I used pain for her own wellbeing. 

I didn’t know them all that well. But I hear that they’ve lost their two year old daughter in a drowning accident. I can not begin to explain this. I do not understand. But I take comfort in knowing the God who knows us through and through promises me that one day all the wrong will be undone. One day I will look upon his face and I will have no more questions. One day it will be all the better because in this oh so short life I have suffered real pain and real hurt. 

Simply put, the existence of pain is by no means an explanation that there is no God.  How could I ever question God, mere man that I am?  He gives and he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!  And he simply looks into my eyes, showing me that I have his attention. We collapse into a comfortable chair, he wraps his arms around me and tears roll down my face. I tell him of my wrongs and my lessons learned. Blessed are those that suffer and they suffer for righteousness!

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 6

He was raised by a nanny and then sent off to boarding school at the age of ten.  He had one older half-sister, Sarah.  She was ten years older and not a part of his childhood at all. She was his father’s child from a past marriage and lived with her mother in another state on the other side of the country.  He also had seven other half-siblings, but he never knew of their existence and his father never claimed them.  They lived with their mothers in poverty, children of prostitutes.  

His childhood contained a workaholic father who traveled more than he was at home and a needy mother who succumbed to the cravings of this world.  He had no rules. He was told to follow his desires and he was given the resources to do so.  His name was Wayne.  

Deep, deep evil and the purest goodness fought for these two lives.  They battled for my life and for the life of Wayne.  Our lives were connected from birth but we did not know it.  We were meant to be and we were prepared for each other.  Not by our parents, not by our teachers, not by ourselves, but by God.  He always has a bigger plan than we see.  He has a plan of love for each of us.  Satan does not believe in love and he does not understand but he is terrorized by its power.  He shrieks and wriggles at the very mention of the word.

To be continued…

Spiritual Flesh and Blood 5

There was another life that affected my own as much as anything that happened during my childhood.  He was formed out of the dust of the ground and I was made from the ribs of his body.  I was completely oblivious to the life of a little boy who was as much me as I was myself.

He was not loved by his parents, but he was provided for.  Concurrent to the day of my mother’s funeral, his father called him into his office.  The little boy wore a designer baby blue suit tailored to fit him, made of shorts at the bottom to show his knee socks and leather two toned shoes.  His bowl haircut and chubby cheeks showed his youth more than his dress or his serious expression. He walked with fear, wishing he had not carried his airplane into his father’s presence.  His father leaned forward from behind his large desk.  The sun shone in from the large window behind him so that the little boy could only see his large silhouette.

Invisible demons stroked his father, “Yes.  Yes.  You are powerful.  What is this thing that lingers in your presence.  Make him leave.”  His father listened to this inner conversation as he stared down at him.  He thought about his personal power and accomplishments.  Who was this person that was not respectful of what he had accomplished?

The little boy paused, not knowing that the silence was awkward, knowing only that it was fearful.  His heart was beating quickly.

A beautiful woman wearing a dress suit and her hair tied up in a bun walked over and leaned down and whispered into his father’s ear.  His father did not change his expression or even seem to notice, except that he gave her a single nod.

Then his father addressed him.  He spoke for the first time since the boy had entered the room.  It was two words but it turned all the mystery and awe the little boy had concerning this man into one thing:  hate.

Go away.” These two words his father coldly addressed toward him.  He gave no reason for having called him there.  What he felt now was what he had always felt about his son.  His father felt he had never wanted him.

To be continued…