God is on the move in a big way! The story of Jesus Christ is coming to theaters this Friday, Feb. 28. You will be very blessed by this film titled Son of God, and I highly recommend seeing it. What a great opportunity to dive into the story of Jesus and share His message of truth and salvation for all who claim Him as Lord and Savior.
If I had a nickel for every mean comment someone said to me regarding my looks, personality or unpopularity, I’d have quite a pile of nickels. And that’s OK, I bet we all have a pile of nickels don’t we? Because there are many, many people who think little about the words that come out of their mouths. While they seem to go merrily on their way, what they don’t understand is that we live with the consequences. We hear those words replayed in our heads during moments of weakness and times of sadness. We look in the mirror and feel the pain that doesn’t seem to go away. And as many times as you think about it, the feelings still remain.
But I have some GOOD NEWS for you. Are you ready for it? … Every word that cuts you down is ONLY worth something IF you believe it. They have no power over you when you realize they are ALL UNTRUE.
So here is the truth:
You are created in the image of God, and while people may tell us we are full of flaws, GOD makes NO mistakes. He made no mistake with you and no mistake with me. You are PERFECT to God. You are beautiful, smart, capable, fun and unique. When did everyone start wanting to be like everyone else anyway? That’s no fun! God loves diversity. That’s why no one is the same as anyone else! God made you special, don’t conform to ANYONE’s image of perfect. You are already COMPLETELY ACCEPTED in Jesus’ eyes. Even better, when you claim Jesus as Savior you are COMPLETELY FORGIVEN in His eyes as well.
Why is the world so concerned with what we are doing or wearing or thinking or hanging out with? Well, I guess it always has been… Something important I have found out along the way is that people who criticize often mask a lot of pain. We shouldn’t be so harsh with one another even so called “enemies,” because we don’t know the battles each other faces. We can only see the outward appearance of things, and that can only tell you so much.
When God looks at you He doesn’t see your “flaws,” He sees your heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
“7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
And as it goes with people who are trying to tear us down, the Bible tells us we are to make every effort to live at peace with everyone as far as we have control. Revenge is not ours. God will make right all the wrongs in the world, so we are free to live at peace…. Peace with ourselves, peace with others and peace with God.
“18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”
Don’t look in the mirror and see all the things you don’t have, but look to your heart and ponder the things that really matter… kindness, gentleness, patience, love. These are the things you should value the most. The right people will value them in you too. In the mean time, pray for those who are hurting you, they might need more help than you think.
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
I have been thinking a lot about the topics of trust and faith. The two are so closely intertwined. Really, you can’t have one without the other. Trust in God is needed to grow faith and without trust, faith cannot flourish. According to the Bible it is our faith that produces righteousness within us: Genesis 15:6 “And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
We see in this passage that the Lord truly values faith. Why is that? Well, part of it has to do with our interpretation of who God is. When we come to him in “faith” we are believing that He has the power He claims to have as the Creator of Heaven and earth; that there is NOTHING impossible for Him to do.
As we seek to grow in trust and in faith we must first come to God believing in His power. Hebrews 11:6 “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
Do you remember when you were a kid and you used to sit and imagine all sorts of fantasies about the world and about the things you wanted for your life? Did you not believe those things could happen? Did you not think that one day your dreams could come true? I did. But somewhere along the road of life the harsh reality of the world pounds us down, and we start to stray from this whimsy we once knew. The truth about finances and the job market set in and we imagine in one way or another without hard, tireless work we have little shot at attaining even a mediocre lifestyle.
But what if we didn’t stop believing that anything was achievable? What if we found a way to get our whimsy back? What if we started listening to the voice of truth that tells us that even when something is impossible under human limitations, it is STILL POSSIBLE through God. Because He is an expert at miracles. Not only did He invent them, He is STILL DOING them in our time.
Open your eyes and look around. The sun did not rise today by itself. The breath in your lungs is not there because of your doing. God specifically sustains ALL things, because He is THAT POWERFUL!
You see when Jesus explains the concept of faith He does not reference the religious leaders at the time, He compares the concept of faith to that of children.
“15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.
16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
The innocence and trust that little children have is precious, pure and full of promise. It is that purity of heart Jesus speaks of—still believing in miracles and possibilities. Still hoping for the best but believing it will ACTUALLY HAPPEN. Seeing the goodness in the world despite the opinions and judgments of others.
Don’t misunderstand me, getting back to this mindset is not always easy. It is difficult to see the good in people when they constantly show you otherwise. It is hard to undo all the harm the world has caused. Recognize this: people are not God. The way the world treated you is NOT the way God has or ever will treat you. You are His BELOVED son or daughter. And if we come to Him believing that even the smallest miracles are possible, because we have heard of His power and we KNOW that HE is capable of ANYTHING, miracles small and large will occur. Don’t miss this though: The greatest miracle is the one that takes place in your heart as you come to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ, His story and His LOVE for YOU.
Matthew 17:20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
So give it a try. Why not dream a bit when you only need to begin with faith as tiny as a mustard seed? The mustard seed starts as a very small seed, but with growth it becomes an enormous tree.
The only thing you need to do is include God in your dreams, and not allow limitations to get in your way. With God, there are NO LIMITATIONS to life’s possibilities. See how different the world will look to you then…
The holidays are a difficult time for many. Everywhere you go happy families are out & about and couples are as easy to find as a Starbucks. It’s this sort of cheer that leads dreary thoughts to come about. Thoughts like “everyone else’s life is so ‘together’ and mine is so not” or to silently start humming Hunter Hayes’ song “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” everywhere you go.
Why does this happen? Why is it that we are just fine until we start looking at our life in comparison to someone else’s? I think at some level we think that everything as beautiful and seemingly perfect on the outside must be just as flawless on the inside. And here is where the problem begins.
There is a popular quote that goes “Don’t compare your behind the scenes life with other people’s highlight reel!” What we see in the day to day snippets of people’s lives isn’t a true image of who they are, and what battles they face. Because we all face something, whether it’s health-related, money-related, relationship-related etc. Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world, but to take comfort in His victory.
John 16:33 “ I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
It’s simply impossible to escape difficulties in this life. But we can share in Christ’s victory and our redemption. So the next time you see someone with a picture-perfect façade just know, you only see a single frame in their film and you don’t know the whole story.
Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the thief of joy,” and I couldn’t agree more. When I find myself measuring my life to another’s I become saddened, distressed and full of self-pity, but when I focus on the plans that God has for my future, the clouds are lifted and my future is bright. Stay strong! Good things are on the horizon for us all! Keep your eyes on the promises of hope, not society’s measure of success and happiness. One important thing Paul the Apostle taught us is that we can learn to be content in any and all circumstances.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
It’s always puzzling how fast time flies. One minute I feel like I have a million moments at my fingertip and the next I can’t stop thinking about the ones I missed out on. Life is a funny thing you see, always progressing without hesitance.
Society tells us a lot about time, how to enjoy life and be present. But the media were not the first to tell us life is moment by moment. The Bible talks specifically about spans of time and relative progression. When Jesus teaches us how to pray He does not focus on future trials He says to pray for this day. Matthew 6:11 “Give us today our daily bread.”
In the Old Testament during the Exodus from Egypt God rained down manna from Heaven to feed His people, though they were only to gather bread for one day at a time.
Exodus 16:4 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”
If we are repeatedly told not fret about the future, then why does God place such an emphasis on the day to day? In part it has to do with trusting Him. But it has everything to do with relying on Him. We are given strength for each day says the Bible, according to the needs of that day. Deuteronomy 33:25 “The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.”
In having reliance on God we are trusting Him to faithfully fulfill His promise to us; that He will provide for our needs according to His glorious riches. We do not know what the future holds, only God does. In such we should not put our hope in planning for later events, but instead live in dependence on the One who holds all things together. God is capable and wiling to provide every need you have this day. And living in any forthcoming space is only wasting those precious moments of today.
“26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
I have been playing “the waiting game” for a while now. Maybe you have played it before too? Those times in your life where you feel at a standstill and wonder why things are not progressing. You may sit and ponder about all that could be, all that you want to be and yet look down on your life to see that none of those things are really a reality. I used to think this way and to be honest every now and then I still do. I’m only human and in no way am I an expert about what I am about to tell you, which is why when God gives me revelation about different struggles in life I know they are partly for me as well.
There are so many things in life that we wait for: the job, the house, the family, the spouse, the end to struggles. Sometimes it feels like an eternity has gone by and yet nothing has changed. But the truth is that you are not at a standstill no matter how much you feel it. If you could only hold on to see the things that God has prepared for you, you’d know that no waiting has been in vain.
God is constantly on the move. Though we cannot see what He is doing except in glimpses of events from time to time, He is moving. If I were to look back on the hard times in my life, and hopefully some day I will look back on those day of struggling (even as I write this), I will begin to see the pieces of my puzzle fitting together. I will recognize the waiting was not really waiting at all in fact it was refining. You have to be at the right time and right frame of mind in your life to receive that which God has already prepared for you. Please don’t despair because He who promised to do a great work in you is faithful to complete it.
God gave me this revelation earlier today in speaking to my own circumstances…maybe it will speak to yours too—–Don’t be so anxious to get to your “there” that you don’t take time to appreciate what God may be doing in your “here.” What does that mean? Well it means in the struggles when we think God may have forgotten about us or is unsympathetic to our circumstances He has been working and reshaping you for what lies ahead. It means that while we think we are at a standstill there are actually many, many hidden blessings in everything we will ever experience. And finally it means stay with Him, because He wants to give you more than you could ever ask for or imagine if you will just take His hand and trust Him to fulfill what He has promised.
Here are two of my favorite encouraging verses for this time in life:
“11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
After becoming involved in music ministry I decided to immerse myself in the stories of the Christian musicians I wrote about. I learned about the bands, the songs and the plan God had for His children through music. But I didn’t know the path of my life would take me to anything some may call “glamorous” or “high profile.”
When I was given the opportunity to attend the 44th GMA Dove Awards in Nashville on October 15 I jumped at the offer. Not only was I excited as a Music Blogger to see all that was happening in the Christian music community, but as a long time fan I was also thrilled to get up close with some of my favorite musicians.
Before arriving at the location, while getting ready for the awards, I remember thinking about who I might run into, what the atmosphere of the event would be, who I would be seated next to… all the while trying to maintain my composure. In reality I had never attended a music awards show, though I’d seen many on television. I presumed being there would be something different altogether.
The awards were tapped at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena. As I arrived at the taping, the first thing I noticed was that nobody was there yet. Just like me to arrive too early! But on a positive note, because it was empty of musicians, I could see the set up all the better!
In front of the entrance to the arena, the red carpet was already draped across the floor for the musicians to get photographed and interviewed. Reporters and photographers were already badged and set in place to begin the night. Anticipation was heightening. But I found myself not thinking about the potential of the experience, and instead catching laughs at the many students walking by in gym attire with puzzled looks—not understanding what was going on.
While I went through the mental list of the bands in attendance, I knew I had the pleasure of meeting a few of them myself. However many of the nominees I had never seen in person. Time passed quickly, and soon enough people started to arrive.
From producers to managers, to fans and students the crowd grew and grew. Within an hour the dark of the night lay a shadow on the people and it was harder to see through the sea of faces to the red carpet about 30 feet ahead. While I was not able to view every band with my own eyes, I did spot Sidewalk Prophets, Jamie Grace and Love and the Outcome to name a few.
Once we began to notice that the crowd was thinning we made our way to our seats. My seat so happened to be a few rows back from 1 Girl Nation, which was pretty cool. And next to my seat was a small stage that, little did I know at the time, many performers would stand on and sing some of my favorite songs of the past year including: Colton Dixon, Capital Kings and Michael W. Smith.
Honestly the night went by fast. Between the performances and hosting, we all had a real concrete sense of the closeness of God’s family. Even in the midst of an awards show, the vein of humbleness ran through the winners and nominees.
It was an honor to hear all God was doing through songs such as “10,000 Reasons,” and listen to the powerful words of Chris Tomlin & TobyMac and their gratefulness toward God’s calling on their lives.
If I had to pick a highlight of the night, it wouldn’t be possible. From for KING & COUNTRY’s win as new artist of the year to Tasha Cobbs’ performance of Break Every Chain it was honestly enchanting.
The awards show broadcasts on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. EDT on UP (Uplifting Entertainment) and I highly recommend watching it. The events that transpired are a real testament to the legacy of our vibrant God who is still moving in mighty ways in our generation.
AWARD WINNERS: http://www.doveawards.com/current-winners/