Category Archives: Live Radically

Going outside!

Confession: I skipped class today…

“What? You did what, Sissy?”  My mom is probably asking this question in her head and THEN wondering why in the world I would write about it.  (Hi Mom!  I love you ;) )  But here’s why…

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature.”

Anne Frank was the wise, young woman that wrote these words, and this is basically what she’s saying.  Whenever we get so consumed with our own problems/fears/worries, the best thing for us is to go to the place where we feel closet to God: nature.

While I am not suggesting that we skip work or class or a meeting whenever we feel stressed, today, I didn’t go to class in order to spend this time to remember that God is my first priority, not grades.  It’s because of Him that I am able to go to class and even make grades.  I had forgotten this.

So do whatever it takes for you to remember who it is that you are living for and from.  Don’t be irresponsible–I’m not giving you a “Get out of jail” free card like in the game monopoly–but I am encouraging you to find your strength in Christ and be empowered by that strength to do all that He has given you to do.

“In return and in rest, you shall be saved.

In quiet and in trust shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15

Take time to rest in beauty of God… Take time to appreciate Him for all that He is in our lives.  See and BELIEVE that He is the reason for every occurrence/occasion in your life.

Go outside and rest in God!

Going the Distance

“Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags go up.
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank.
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
Their prowess is potent and secretly stearn.
As they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

He’s going the distance…”

Do you recognize those lyrics?  It’s the beginning of Cake’s song called “The Distance.”  It used to be one of my favorite songs because of the song’s funky style.  You need to check it out, but beware… the chorus WILL get stuck in your head.  He’s going the distance…He’s going for speed…

This morning, I was flipping through pages in my Bible, just looking around, and I noticed something.  The theme of endurance is all throughout it.  Romans 15:5 even calls God the “God of endurance and encouragement.”  Here’s part of that passage starting in verse 1:

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up…that through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.  May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:1-2, 4-5

Sometimes we can be like the man in Cake’s song.  Someone may have already won the cup in a worldly race, but we must keep on with endurance for the reward that we have in Heaven with Jesus Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-25)

Let’s yearn…. Let’s go the distance

A Lizard Taught Me to Have Faith This Morning

Do you ever feel like you are a stranger in your own homeland?

This morning when I walking into the hallway, I saw a critter on the floor.  At first, I thought that it was a dustball being moved by the moving air from when I opened my bedroom door.  When I put my glasses on though, I saw that it wasn’t dust but that it was a baby lizard instead.

Knowing me and the animal/critter lover that I am, I said, “Oh!  A new pet!” but then I remember that I was living in a house full of 50+ women and thought against that idea.

And so, I got a small, Styrofoam cup and scooped it up with the assistance of a napkin.  After grossing out on of my sorority sisters with the news that I had caught a lizard outside of her bedroom door, I took it downstairs and out into the yard.

While I was doing all of this, one thought came to my mind: this little guy is a stranger in search of the way back home.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”    -Hebrews 11:13, 14, 16

We were created to desire a better country, a heavenly one.  So have faith!  Even when you feel like you are an exile, even when you feel like a stranger, remember that God has prepared a place for those that remain steadfast in their faith.

Even as an exile, remain faithful.  Have faith!

A Spiritual Heart Transplant

Are we changed from the inside out?

In the book of 1 Samuel, there’s the story of a guy named Saul that became the first man to be elected as the king of Israel.  God has chosen Saul specifically to be their king; it wasn’t by chance or by the power of men.

When Saul left from being anointed as king, 1 Samuel 10:9-13 says,

“When he turned his back to leave from Samuel [the priest that had anointed him] God gave him a new heart…and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them.  And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over him?  Is Saul also among the prophets?”  When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be given a new heart. While there are many different ways that you can reference the heart–the organ that pumps blood, the warehouse of emotions, etc.–the heart especially seems to us to be the place where God’s Spirit dwells within us.

God has plans for each and every one of us, and He has equipped us with the skills, gifts, talents, loves, and even a special heart in order to fulfill every part of His plan for us with His help.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

Psalm 139:23

God knows us better than we know ourselves, but it’s time that we get to know ourselves a little bit better.  It’s time that we get to know ourselves not by our intentions but by our actions.

Does our outward appearance reflect the inward change that occured when the Holy Spirit filled us and were given a new heart?

The Coach’s View on the Soccer Field of Life

Do you ever wonder how God looks at us as His children?  If life was a soccer match and God was the coach, to whom would God give high fives or shake His head because of a bad play or yell out shouts of encouragement? 

Recently, this question has been on my mind.  While we can never know the motives of God, there are a couple of verses that have given me some thoughts on how God looks upon us.  

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

Right off the bat, we see that God sees differently than we do.  Why is that?  It’s because on earth, our outer appearance is how we usually convey our worldly state–whether we are happy, successful, wealthy, etc.  But here’s the thing, God’s kingdom is much different than our world.  While the criteria for who’s the best here in the world may be based on status, God’s kingdom sees right through all of this. 

“27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

You see, it’s all about our heart condition.  When we encounter God, does the life that we live from there out give all the glory to Him? 

Just as a great coach, God sees that while skill is needed for His team–after all, He gave us every skill that we have–it’s the condition of your heart that determines how you will work in His body of believers.  Will your life of being the most improved–from a destitute sinner to a believer washed in God’s grace and love–be even more important than being the team member that scores the most goals?

God loves each and every single one of us–bench warmer or team captain alike.  So the real question for you today is this: by your heart condition, are you ready to glorify God?

What would it take to radically share the gospel?

“They beat the apostles and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

Then they left the presence of the council,

REJOICING

that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

And every day in the temple and from house to house,

they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

Acts 5:40-42

What would it take for us to rejoice in suffering for the name of Christ?

How can we learn to find honor in being counted WORTHY of such suffering on His behalf?

By the way that we live our lives, are we even worthy of suffering dishonor for His name?

———————————————

I read this passage again this morning, and it made me wonder, “Am I waiting for some event to happen in order for me to proclaim the Gospel from every rooftop? What am I waiting for?”

We can share the Gospel in between our friends and smile at the latest realizations we’ve had.  That’s great, but where is the daring courage to reach those that don’t know Him yet?

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

Matthew 5:46

God has placed us on this earth to share His love with everyone around.  We should love them through living as an example of the love that Christ has for them.  Forget about our reward, but what others’ rewards.  Will you help them see their reward of heaven through believing?

The question for you today is this: “What would it take for me to love others through a contagious and compelling necessity to share the Gospel?”

What would it take for me to radically share the gospel?

Remain faithful to being full with faith

Do you ever feel like  you are searching for something that you can’t see?

We read the Bible, and we go to church, and we do all of these “Christian things,” and yet sometimes we just want to ask God, “Where are you?  Just show Yourself to me so that I can believe and never question Your existence again!”

Whenever we get this idea in our head, that we will have our search for God satisfied once we finally see Him, we are just getting ourselves mixed up.  You see, we’ll never be satisfied until the day that we are finally with God.

Brian Sorgenfrei, Mississippi State’s RUF minister, once talked about this while referencing Rocky Balboa.  He talked about how Rocky had trained for this one fight believing that it would be what defined him, what satisfied his deepest desires.  So the Italian Stallion fought that fight, and he even won!  But guess what…. there are five more Rocky movies!  That deepest desire that Rocky thought would be satisfied by winning the first, big fight, well, it was never satisfied, after all.

We are just like Rocky, going from one thing to the next trying to find a fact on which to base our faith.  If you truly believe in God and the work of His Son, His Holy Spirit lives within you!  What more of a reason for faith do you need than this?

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11:1

“We are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13, 16

God has prepared a city for us, a heavenly one.  And though we cannot actually see it, we see the evidence of it in our daily lives.  Sometimes our faith is tested in hard times, but we have to keep it!

We have to remain faithful to being full with faith.