Monthly Archives: December 2009

Becoming Rocky Balboa

Do you ever hear Satan and his temptations calling your name?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to say that not only have we heard him calling but that we have also rejected him every time?  The reality, though, is that none of us are strong enough to resist temptation each time that it strikes.

Thank our wonderful Father that He is always with us.  Look at what He says through Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Isn’t this verse awesome?  It’s personally one of my favorites because it reminds us that God is always with us.  You may read this verse, though, and ask, “If He’s with us, why doesn’t He stop us from sinning?”

God wants us to learn to look to Him for the way out.  If He just gave us the way out each time, how would we ever appreciate each time that he saves our life from sin?  How could we ever gain the confidence needed to have a face-off with Satan?

Instead, look at each time of temptation with this verse in mind.  Remember that you have the ability to overcome it–God tells us that–and He is standing in the corner coaching us in the ring against temptation.  We have to listen to God in order to know just the way to win the fight.  In the fight, though, we are able to gain the confidence in ourselves that, with God, we can overcome any temptation.

Let’s become Rocky Balboa in the fight against Satan.  With God’s help, let’s fight like the Italian Stallion.

God quiets our anxious hearts

Butterflies eating at the inside of your stomach.  Your skin feels as though it is crawling.  To top it all of, your head seems to be embodied by smog; you can’t even think straight.  Have you ever felt these things?

These are the symptoms of the perfect combination of anxiety and fear taking control over my body.  This current state of mine can only mean one thing for me: I have a drive for success, yet I am bridled by my fear of failure.

For the past week and a half, I have been writing a book.  It has been amazing!  However, I’m honestly beginning to get the fear of “What if it’s not good?  What if it doesn’t even get published?  Would I have wasted a whole break and gotten sore fingers and forearms from typing for nothing?”

Although you may not be experiencing the same anxiety/fear combo, I am more than certain that you have found yourself in a similar place.  Whenever we find ourselves in this state of stress, anxiety, etc, we can rest in the promises found within the following verses:

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58

“Therefore, do not be anxious.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” -Matthew 6:31,34

“Say to those with an anxious heart, ‘Be strong and do not fear. Behold your God will come.” -Isaiah 35:4

No matter what, remember that God is with you.  God delights in helping you accomplish tasks, especially when they further His kingdom.

Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed by fear and/or anxiety, God will come to catch those butterflies in our stomach and squash the bugs crawling on our skin.

He will come to quieten our anxious hearts!

Give God the Steering Wheel

Before asking the major question of this post, let’s take a journey through our imagination.  Picture this:

One beautiful day, God tells you that He has a special place that He wants to take you, a surprise destination.  You agree to go, and you two jump in the car and hit the road.

Not long after even buckling your seat belt, though, you become any driver’s biggest annoyance: a passenger seat driver.

“Wait, if you take the right at the fork, I bet we will bypass all of the possible traffic ahead of us.”  You don’t even know where you two are going, and yet you are telling God how to get there.

“God!  Watch Out!  That car in front of you is braking!”

Suddenly, you grab the steering wheel, and you pull it towards you.  Even though He hasn’t even come close to crashing the car, you decide that you are the only one that actually knows how to drive.  After all, do they even drive cars in Heaven?

Down the road you two are both driving.  Back and forth, back and forth, the steering wheel keeps moving.  God realizes that if both of you are trying to drive the car, there is a good chance that a wreck will actually happen and, until then, somebody will get carsick.  In hopes that you will actually be able to enjoy your trip with Him, God lets you take the steering wheel.

Although God gives you the steering wheel, God is still sitting there in the driver’s seat.  God is sitting there, and He is waiting for you to finally let go of the wheel.  He is waiting for you to trust Him.

If we could just let go of the steering wheel of our lives, we would finally see that God has a beautiful road just for us to experience.  Even though His road has some twists and turns, He created it that way with a Divine Purpose in mind.  After all, what fun would it be to go down a road that was only straight?

Are you ready to hand back the steering wheel?

Are you ready to trust God?

Be Someone’s Angel

Have you ever met an angel?

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning walking to my Psychology class, I always see one of the shuttle drivers.We stop and exchange the routine, “Good morning. It sure is beautiful this morning! Have a great day!” conversation. Although I never knew his name, I always considered him to be my newfound friend. Today, however, I finally had the pleasure of meeting him.

On the shuttle ride, we talked about the weather; we talked about the morning. He told me that he didn’t understand how someone could be a “morning person.”He told me that he was “an all-day person.” “Every day is a gift,” he told. “After seventy-five years of gifts, you realize that every day should be filled with smiles.” I was so touched by his optimism, a rare jewel it seems, that I introduced myself before I got off. His name was Charles, but he told me to call him “LaLa.” While I shook his hand and received the blessing of his smile and his wishes for a good day, I realized that I had met an angel.

Today, go out into the world and find your angels. Have a “Tuesday with _” you fill in the blank. Find and appreciate those that God has placed in your life to encourage you in your walk with God. Sure, we have hard times, but God is calling us to live like my friend LaLa—abandoned to the ways of this world and trusting that God is in control.

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Only once we “let go and let God,” we are finally able to spread the joy of Christ. We are finally able to be someone’s angel.

No Need For Wishing

We all have a dream, don’t we?  When the clock reads 11:11, our breath catches, we close our eyes, and we make a wish.

My dreaming and wishing, however, went beyond the confirmations of fortune cookies and digital clocks. For the assurance of my dreams to come true, I even turned to scripture.  Matthew 7:7-8 says,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; see, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (ESV translation).

After reading this verse, I put God to the test.  “Alright, God,” I would say, “I’m asking in prayer for _____.”  Since I had always learned that nothing was impossible for God, I would expect Him to deliver whatever I had asked for with a big, red bow on it.

Praise God that He didn’t give me all of my desires.  If He had, well, I’m afraid that I would have become the most self-centered, vain, and conceited person on Earth.  We all would be if God catered to our ego’s and selfish desires.

James 4:3 says,  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

The next time you begin to wish on a star or a clock that reads 11:11, say a prayer about your wish instead.  Ask that God would reveal His plan to you.  If you feel that God is calling you to pursue that dream, go for it!  If you feel that God is calling  you towards something else, though, remember that His plan is perfect.  If you don’t know if God is even calling you, that’s okay!  Just keep praying and listening for His whisper…

Dreams and wishes don’t always come true, but God’s plan always does.  When our dreams are of God and His Will, we don’t need to wish at 11:11.  We don’t even need to wish at all…

A Calling to Serve through a Cinnamon Bun

Just yesterday, I went to the post office in Hillsboro Village.  Along the walls, hundreds of headshots of famous country singers hung, reminding me of where I was: Music City USA.  One headshot, however, seemed quite out of place.

The Mother Teresa Cinnamon Bun…

When I first saw this, I started to laugh out loud and praised the Good Lord for having brought my camera.  Then I remembered one quote that Mother Teresa once said…

“In this life we cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.”

As a people, the human race tries to do great things.  We try to solve world hunger, global warming, child labor, etc.  It’s about time that we listen to Mother Teresa and realize that we cannot do these great things!  There will always be a crisis going on.  Rather than trying to solve it ourselves based on the expanse of what we believe to be our infallible, technologically-advanced, human knowledge, we must realize that it is only God that can solve these issues.  

A quote that one of my high school English teachers wrote on the board one day said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”  I would like to rephrase this quote to say, 

“It’s amazing what God can accomplish if we don’t care about getting the credit.”

God didn’t put us on this Earth to serve ourselves.  He placed us on this Earth at this time and in this place for a very special reason: to serve Him by serving His children in love.  

“You stand tallest when you stoop to serve.”

Take a moment to think about a way God could be calling you to serve Him.  Remember that we are given this day.  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, but we have today to do small acts with great love!

His Calling may come in a moment of prayer, but it may even come in the headshot of a Mother Teresa cinnamon bun.

Using Our Breaking Point as Our Building Point

Do you ever feel as though you are at your breaking point?

This past weekend, I came to closet that I have ever been to an emotional eruption.  First of all, I was (and still am) in the middle of exams.  Secondly, my computer crashed on Friday.  Thirdly, I got into a big fight with one of my best friends.  I have spent the weekend trying to patch our relationship back together, rewrite a paper, and study.

Then last night, I experienced the most frustrating event of all….I dropped a box of 100 toothpicks.

In the moment, anger flashed through my body.  Pulsating and bubbling in my flesh, all I could do was sit in the floor of my kitchen.  

Isn’t it funny how God reaches us?  Among 76 scattered toothpicks, I realized that God was asking me to give all of my anger to Him.  You see, anything that we keep to ourselves–whether it be joy, feelings of frustration, confessions of sin, etc.–separates us from God.  By keeping any of our feelings, thoughts, and actions from Him, we are saying, “God, step away.  This is too ugly, too messy, or this is only mine to have.”  

When you feel as though your life is built upon sand, maybe it is time let yourself get washed away.  After your past life of sand is washed away by the flood of God’s cleansing love, you can finally build a life with Him on His foundation of rock.

We all have breaking points.  Whether you’re in a sitting in a library cramming powerpoint slides into your memory or sitting in the floor among scattered toothpicks, God is in that place.  Open yourself up to His presence.  Let Him reach you; let Him love you.  

Let Him turn your breaking point into a building point.