As A New Week Dawns…

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When exciting things are happening in the lives of those around you, rejoice with those who rejoice. Send the card, buy the gift, go to the shin dig, make your presence the present. May you support them amidst the changes. May you remind them who the Giver is. 

When tragedy strikes in the lives around you, mourn with those who mourn. Send the card or encouraging text, buy the flowers, sacrifice the time, take the meal, keep your words but give your ear to their questions, give them the ministry of your presence. May you support them amidst the changes. May you remind them who the Comforter is.

Two extremely different seasons. Just like spring, summer, winter, fall, we all go through them all. Support today, be supported tomorrow.

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A Thought for Your Thursday | When You Want Something Other

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You want to go out to dinner. They wish they had food in the fridge.

You want a house. They wish they could afford an apartment.

You want to retire. They want a raise.

You want a better job. They want a job, any job.

You don’t have enough money for vacation. They don’t have enough money to pay their bills.

You want to have children. They want to be married.

You don’t want children. They can’t have children.

You want what they have. They want what you have.

Have you ever stopped to think about how privileged you really are?

When you are caught up in the wanting, focused on the lacking rather than the having, have you ever stopped to think that someone else would GLADLY live the life you lead? They would love to swap seasons?

When you are caught up in jealousy, do you realize that you may be the object of someone else’s jealousy?

We all want something else, something other, something more. We feel the pull. We feel the discontentment swell.

So how do you fight it?

When comparison costs us joy let thankfulness drown discontentment.

Give thanks today for the things in your life. Name them out loud, big and small. Trump jealously by verbally giving thanks for the blessings in other people’s lives, even your “enemies” (how often do you do that?). Engulf envy before it has a chance to plant its roots in your heart.

Anchor yourself in the truth that Jesus is enough. He knows your needs. Where the ideal is lacking, His grace abounds. Cry out in your discontentment. He will stir your wanting for Him. For only He satisfies.

What About You Wednesday | Lindsay

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Today we welcome Lindsay to the blog. Let’s step into her season…

Lindsay Feet

What season of life are you currently in?

“The season of life that I’m in could be summed up in a couple of words: painful growth. I am coming up on two years of marriage, only a few months into my first “big girl” job, just recently bought a house, and am more comfortable in the material/circumstantial ways of life than ever before. But… I’ve been reminded that peace and contentment are so much more than these things. It’s been a neat reminder that no amount of success, love, or accomplishments can satisfy one’s heart.”

What is God teaching/revealing to you during this season?

“God is exposing the ugly and breaking my heart in the process. It’s so good, but man is it tough. I came into marriage with a ton of baggage, and I’m slowly sorting through it all. It sucks, if I’m being honest.”

How have you/are you changing during this season?

“As my ugly heart is exposed, I am then freed to walk in Grace. Knowing that, I feel like every day I have to make a choice. I have to choose selflessness and joy, in every aspect of my daily life. Saying that, I screw that up minute by minute, truly. But… I’m trying.”

What encouragement would you give someone in a similar season?

“Don’t give up. Don’t build up walls and let pride come in to make you believe that vulnerability and exposing your heart won’t be worth it. The more you open your heart to your spouse, family, friendships, co-workers, etc., the richer your relationships will become. Christ calls us to community for a reason. You can do it!”

A Prayer for Lindsay

Lord, You are good and You do good. Your glory is our good. Thank You for Lindsay. Thank You for being aware of her and with her in this season. Thank You for the way You have provided both earthly and eternal for her. As she transitions into a new house and a new job, show her how constant You are. Thank You for putting a longing in her that cannot be satisfied with earthly treasures. Continue to show her that only You satisfy. Thank You for seeing her as Your beloved, and not wanting anything unholy in her. Thank You for using marriage as an avenue to sanctify Lindsay. May she always remember that You are for marriage, that You are for her marriage. Continue to strengthen her marriage and help them to grow deeper in love with You so they can love each other better. Continue to tear down the walls she tries to put up by reassuring her that there is nothing she could hide that would separate her from Your love, so she has nothing to be afraid of. You see all, You know all, and Your grace covers all. May she take her sin seriously, repenting when needed and walking in the freedom of forgiveness. In Your Name, Amen.

Entering Dangerous Territory|Part Two

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A few weeks ago I invited you along on my journey into the dangerous territory of gossip. Since then, I have dove into a book I ordered and have found some answers to the questions I presented in my initial post. Today I start unpacking what I’ve discovered through my reading…

(Much of this is summarized or quoted from the book with a little of my own thoughts here and there).


“Gossip is something that we all experience. No one is safe from its tantalizing lure. No one is safe from its poisonous effects.” –Matthew Mitchell

If nobody is safe, then the battle is everyone’s.

Facebook. Twitter. Magazines. Conversations. Work. Home. School.

Proof that gossip is everywhere.

I’ve never heard a sermon on gossip, but I see it in the Bible, and I know it is wrong.

What is gossip? What makes it wrong?

I’m confused on what gossip is and what it is not, because it is hard to define.

If we are going to battle, we must first know our enemy.

In his book, “Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue,” Matthew Mitchell offers a one-sentence summary of the Bible’s teaching on gossip:

“Sinful gossip is bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart.”

Let’s take a look at the first part of the definition…

What is “bearing bad news”?

“…sharing, communicating and transmitting stories. These stories flow in both directions: talking and listening…It is often sharing someone else’s secret…It is a betrayal by talking…Sometimes just receiving that spicy piece of gossip without stopping the conversation (or, at least, saying something) is sinful—almost as sinful as speaking it.”

And what is considered to be “bad news”?

“The content of sinful gossip is never neutral.”

Mitchell groups bad news into three categories:

  • Bad information: Bad information is lies, things that are not true. And if we know they aren’t true and we keep on spreading them, we are no longer just gossiping but we are also slandering. Ever play the telephone game? One whispers something in someone’s ear and the information gets passed from person to person. When it reaches the final person they say the info out loud. Rarely does it make it all the way through intact. Somewhere along the line the information gets cloudy, twisted. So it is with gossip. Things get passed through the grapevine and false rumors get spread. “Bad” information can also be something that you think is true but really is not. You make a conclusion or infer something that is unverifiable and you pass it along, you gossip. The Bible promises that “a false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free” (Proverbs 19:5).

gossip

  • Bad news about someone: This type of bad news is “shameful truth,” a true story about something bad someone has actually done. “Some of us have been taught that if something is true, then it’s not gossip. Not so. Gossip is also foolishly spreading that awful truth about someone.” You hear about something bad a friend has done, maybe even a friend told you about it himself. Lying to a spouse, lying to a friend, cheating on a test, cheating on a someone, smoking, getting wasted, stealing from work, premarital sex, a certain sin struggle they are walking through, and the list goes on. Newsflash! Just because you hear about it doesn’t mean you have to talk about it with someone else. Proverbs 11:13 says that “a gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” But that’s hard for us isn’t it? It is hard to resist. The Bible even says “the words of a gossip are like choice morsels,” or in other words the words of a gossip are like your favorite piece of food. And we all know it’s hard to resist our favorite foods. My mouth is even starting to water right now thinking about mine! But, like most of our favorite foods, “bad news is attractive but not good for us.” Gossip is hard to resist, but Jesus is better.
  • Bad news for someone: “A third kind of bad news is neither false nor true but is a projection of something bad happening to someone.” Ever heard or said these (or similar) lines?

“He’s going to lose his job.”

“He’s not going to make the team.”

“He’s going to fail the class.”

“She’s going to get kicked out of school.”

“Her husband is going to leave her.”

“They’re going to lose their house.”

“He’s going to break up with her.”

 Bottom line, these projections are all gossip.

So whether we are bearing bad information, bad news about someone, or bad news for someone, by either listening or talking, we are endanger of gossiping.


Join me next week as we look at the next part of the gossip definition…. “behind someone’s back…”

And as you go through this week, think about these questions:

-Are you usually on the talking or the listening side of gossip?

-Which category of gossip do you find yourself participating in most often?

-Do you believe Jesus is better than gossip?

-Do you believe God is powerful enough to overcome gossip in your life?

(Photo Cred)

What About You Wednesday | Ryan

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Today we welcome Ryan to the blog! Let’s step into his season…

  
What season do you currently find yourself in?

“As much as I’d love to say I’m not a typical young adult, I’m not able to meet my desire to break the mold and be unique. I’m transitioning! We’re typically tagged as transient. Young adults are seen as noncommittal, wishy-washy, and unable to endure the ebb and flow of anchoring in one job or place. And I wish I wasn’t smack dab in the middle of..not being smack dab in the middle of something. I love knocking stuff out, achieving, and clearing a to-do list. Right now I’m not feeling a whole lot of value being added by me in my new role, because it’s new!”

What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?

“This is probably a laundry list I haven’t finished figuring out, but I’ll settle for a few bullet points.

How can you minister to young adults if you haven’t experienced what you’re all going through?

The transition I’m in, the move I’ve made, the culture shift, leaving loved ones, stepping out in faith, etc. These are all things I’ve experienced in the last few months. The majority of people in my generation have endured steps like this. I’ve been quick to overlook the value of this page-turn in my story! God’s really teaching me a lot (you’ll see that in the next few lines) and will more than likely be using this to bless people in similar stages I’ll meet in the future.

I don’t know that much..again.

New opportunities are inextricably linked to a new need for new information and experience. So here I am, desperate to know more and have a better understanding of my city, my organization, my role, and even my identity (especially pertaining to my role). I’m almost helpless, a place I pridefully get away from as much as possible. Thusly, humility and patience have always been major pain points the Father loves frequenting with me.

Is your heart really set on My glory alone? 

In friendships, my dating relationship, and in my conflicts with work, I’ve been made very aware of my selfishness and pride. My sinful heart is so swollen with conceit lately and I hate seeing the pain it causes, the shame I experience because of it, and the lies the enemy tells to stroke my pride and to tear me down after pride has left me reeling. The question I sensed today was the aforementioned. I’ve fooled many people, and I believe I had even deceived myself, believing my heart had been postured humbly and wholly on the glory of God. This hit me this afternoon, and I’ve been hungry for the Spirit to whisper rich affirmation into and over me all day. I hate being confronted with areas of my heart that aren’t surrendered to Jesus, but I’m thankful He loves me enough to overlook my feelings. And I’m definitely ready to be on the other side of this little season of sanctification!

Apart from Me, you can do nothing.

I’ve always loved this piece of John 15:5, but I’m constantly confronted with how little I conform to it. The most beautiful part of the gospel is our union with Jesus. We aren’t just “made better”; He completely unifies us with Himself. Our new means of living is immutably attached to the life of Jesus. We are unable to function fully without Him. It pains me to ponder how much I attempt to live the life I’ve been given by Jesus without Him, knowing I’m not able to succeed aside from His aid, affirmation, and approach to situations. He’s so wise, so kind, and so patient, three things I would never be aside from Him. I’m so desperate for Him! …and I’m being reminded of that, to the point of actually submitting to it habitually.

Discipleship is all that matters.

The most important hill I can die on is the last command Jesus gave His followers after He died on Calvary. Everyone, regardless of age, education, career, or calling, is commanded and able to fulfill the most important investment in the Kingdom and ministry: discipleship. Jesus is a smart dude and grows all of His people through this command. Please consider who’s discipling you and who you’re discipling! If you claim to be a disciple of Jesus, let this area of your life reflect it!”

How have you/are you changing during this season?

“In taking this new role, I wasn’t most excited or anticipating the opportunities, platform, or accomplishments. I knew God was calling me to this, and I looked forward to character and personal growth. My character is being refined and my mind is being sharpened. This is so exciting, but it’s also pretty painful.”

What would you like to share with someone in a similar season?

“A few things are:

Being formed into the likeness of Jesus isn’t fun, but it’s worth it. Obedience isn’t always easy. Don’t overlook discipleship. Don’t forget Who your life is really about.

But most importantly:

Find your purpose, not just your job. Please know the difference. You were created for one; the other pays the bills. There should be overlap, but your purpose transcends everything and drives your life. Jesus crafted you to fulfill a purpose. Find it, and fulfill it.”

A Prayer for Ryan

God You are SO good! We marvel at the way You are moving, always working, always present in our lives. We thank You for Ryan. We thank You for being aware of Ryan and with Ryan in this season. We thank You for the way You use transitions and newness to rip us from our comfort and confront areas of our hearts that aren’t surrendered to You. Thank You for using this transition to do that in Ryan’s life. Thank You for the way You are pruning him. Thank You that pruning, although painful, proves profitable. Thank You for giving Ryan the desire to obey You. Continue to keep his heart sensitive to The Spirit’s conviction and leading. May the godly guilt Ryan feels continue to lead him to repentance and may his shame be swallowed in grace. As he continues in his new role, may he work under Your timing and not his. Help him not to feel entitled to see fruit fast, or at all. May he continue to be faithful in the little things, for those are the people You entrust with much. May he not work for his name, but for Your name to be made known, to be glorified! Teach him to walk humbly. May we all take to heart the call to discipleship. In Your Name, Amen.