2.28.2012

Boot Camp


This past weekend, I attended Writers Advance Boot Camp at The Cove in NC with Edie Melson. It was hosted by Christian Devotions. While we didn’t have to crawl through the mud and climb over obstacles, the weekend was intense. In a good way.

We all received dog tags when we arrived. Throughout the weekend, we were challenged by the speakers. The message was clear.  God does not retreat. We have marching orders. He has called us to advance his kingdom: by serving, ministering and writing.

When he gives us a talent, we are to use it for him. Not for ourselves. And we do need to use it.

I had a wonderful time in a gorgeous setting and made friendships that will last for a lifetime and beyond. Friends that will get in the trenches when times are hard and I want to question God’s call on my live. Friends that will encourage me, challenge me and help keep my eyes on what’s truly important. And I will absolutely do the same for them.

When I join where God is already working, instead of “doing something” for him, there is much more joy and power. And I found that this past weekend.

So, while you may not have attended this conference this past weekend, I do challenge you to ask God what he has called you to do. To join him where he is working. You will find amazing people to work with when you do! 







2.14.2012

I Went to the Circus and Found out I'm Wimp

Yes, I went to the circus and found out I’m a wimp.

Recently, I took my boys to Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus. We had a blast. The theme this year was the dragon. So, they featured true kung fu fighters. And what they did was amazing. They used solid oak poles and broke them over each other. Two of them placed a steel pole in their necks and then proceeded to push toward each other, bending the pole as they went. One lay on a single sword and balanced there.
On his stomach.

I’ve seen things like this done before. But what struck me was what the ringmaster said as they started. First came the disclaimer: “Don’t try this at home.” That was a good thing. I have boys. Nough said.  

But the next part is what made me realize I’m a wimp.

He said they’d started training with monks at the age of 5. Five years old. These weren’t children performing. They were men who had been at this for years.

If someone took an oak pole and whacked me with it, I’d end up with broken bones or a massive concussion. But they weren’t injured at all. They’d been training. And their training wasn’t easy. You don’t learn how to deflect blows like that without being hit. And hit hard. Over and over again.

But these men were conditioned to handle it. I complain when I get a small burn or paper cut.

I seek comfort.

They seek training.

So, I realized I was a wimp.

The blows in life are coming. But am I ready? Is my faith in God steadfast in the hard times? I tend to cry and whimper and want the hard times to stop. But I need to realize I’m in training. I can be strengthened by dealing with the blows instead of letting them stop me. 

As I was amazed by these men and what they could do, I realized others can be amazed by how I respond to life’s blows. That is if I let God be my master trainer and let his spirit work in me. If I believe that the challenges are actually meant to strengthen me and not break me, then I can walk closer to God, not questioning his love for me.

And that’s what I want. An unmovable faith and confidence in his love for me. Then I can stop being a wimp.

And after that, maybe I can fly.

2.05.2012

Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?


While millions of fans are watching the Super Bowl, hoping their team wins, the question arises: Does God care who wins the Super Bowl?

Well, short answer: Yes.

But for the reasons we think? Probably not.

I enjoy watching the Super Bowl and the commercials.  Our family is just hanging out, eating, and laughing at the good ones. Personally, I really don’t care who wins this year. “My team” hasn’t been there for years. (Go Dallas!)

Since I don’t have a vested interest in this year, I started thinking about it. People are praying for God to help “their” team.

This is not a bad thing. Prayer is a great thing. But when we go to God with a list of our wishes, we sometimes we lose perspective on what prayer is about. We come to him with some great requests: forgive me (which he always answers) and help me listen to Your voice (another good one). Some good requests: please change me. Some laundry list requests: please change others, please take away all my pain, please do this, and please do that. Amen.

Some of our requests grow very self-centered: Fix everything for me. The way I want. God, make my team win.

Does God care about everything in our lives? Absolutely!

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
          

But does that mean I know what is best for me? I pray like I do sometimes.

Right now, God is working in millions of peoples’ lives and hearts. Only he knows best who needs encouragement, discipline, humbling, love, and compassion. He makes decisions that are for the good of many.

I need to come to him and cast my cares on him, but leave the answers to him. To trust him that he will answer in the best way for his glory and my good. But his glory comes first. My good comes from that.

And as for who wins the Super Bowl? I’m leaving that to him.

2.02.2012

No Fishing Allowed





I love fishing. Haven’t been in a while. But I still love fishing.

There is a peacefulness that comes from standing on the bank, shoreline or sitting in a boat and just casting, over and over again. The warm sun, the watery sounds, the fresh air. It relaxes me just to think of it.

And then there’s the excitement from “the tug.” You know it when you feel it. The fun has just begun. Depending on the fish, you may get quite a ride. Setting the hook and keeping tension right in the line is part of the fun and skills to be learned. Distinguishing between a fish, turtle or log is also part and parcel of fishing. Catching logs or seaweed isn’t fun. I know. I’ve had that happen.

But there is one type of fishing that is never good. That’s fishing for forgiven sins. Yet I do it all the time.

Why on earth do I do this? Because I don’t accept Christ’s forgiveness. Or because I feel the need to make sure I don’t commit that sin again.

So how do I recognize this type of fishing? It’s called living with regrets. Maybe bitterness. Worry. Unforgiveness.

When I ask God for forgiveness and accept Christ’s work on the cross, he casts my sins into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:19: He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.

He does that so they’re out of my reach. He removes my sin from me and casts them away. To the depths of the sea. But I pull out the rods and go fishing. I let the regret of what I have or haven’t done overcome me.

This is when I need a great big sign that says clearly: 

YOU ARE FORGIVEN. 
NO FISHING ALLOWED!

So let’s put away our spiritual poles and stop fishing for old sins. Once we’re forgiven, it’s done. Live like it.

But pull out a pole intended for real fish and enjoy some quiet time with God, thanking him for forgiveness and enjoying the beauty of the world he created. And who knows, maybe you’ll actually catch a fish or two.