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Today, I posted this #postit on social media. There have been opportunities and relationships I am responsible for losing because I was stupid. But this #postit was dedicated to the ones I was smart enought to learn from. We have a choice to learn from our losses. Although the loss is part of the past, the lesson from it can be part of our future. I was thinking about this one stupid thing I did that rendered a big loss many years ago. Can’t go back and undo it, can’t deny it, so I had to accept it. But as a Christian, it didn’t stop there. I got to ask God to forgive me for it, furthermore, eradicate the guilt-voice in my head (sidebar: guilt beats up, conviction wakes up). Then, after that, I was able to pray, “Lord, what can I learn from this?” In God’s goodness He led me to bible verses, and others who had done stupid things, to cross my path and help me develop a rich lesson of learning. Having a spirit of learning from the things you lose can actually give you a win! Christian, choose to ride the wave of God’s grace and learn from your losses. BONUS, you’ll have wisdom to help OTHERS with what you’ve learned. Life is about choices. But if one of them is choosing to learn from the things I’ve lost, sign me up. In God’s economy, there will be no losers…only winners.
Do we fight? Doesn’t that go against the logic that we are suppose to love? Doesn’t that contradict the adage to “turn the other cheek?” Shouldn’t Christians be “nice guys” who let other guys win? All these questions have run through my head during my Christian journey. And today, the brakes came to a screeching halt when I read this verse: “Thank the Lord, my rock, who trained my hands to fight and my fingers to do battle,” (Psalm 144:1). So judging by this verse, do we roll over and play dead when our marriage is on the rocks? No, we fight and KNOW God has prepared our proverbial hands and fingers to battle the enemy attacking our marriage. Do we let our prodigal child die a slow death of addiction? No, we fight. We put the boxing gloves on, get into the ring and KNOW God is helping from our corner. That weakness we have? That temptation we succumb to? Do we just accept its fate? Do we cower to its pull on our lives? Do we let the stench of its consequence rot in our soul? No, we fight. This verse says David THANKED God who PREPARED him for the battle. If God prepares us for the battle, then Christian, we can fight. Furthermore, the bible promises that we are “MORE than a conquereor,” (Romans 8). What’s more than that? A battler who doesn’t surrender on any battleground in their life because they fight WITH the ultimate champion (“If God is for me, who can stand against me?” Romans 8) So I may not know you, and I may not know your battle, but I know you CAN stay in it and fight! And I pray for the day you see the victory!
Ever open your bible and just read where you land? I did that today and landed in Deuteronomy 1. Something really stood out to me so I thought I’d share it with you! Verse 15, “I took the wise and experienced leaders you chose from your tribes, and I placed them in charge of you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten.” There are two leadership parts to this verse: how they were chosen and how many they led. Regarding how they were chosen, there was only one way. But regarding how many they led, there were different amounts. Verrrrrrrrrry interesting! You see, all the leaders Moses picked had to be “wise and experienced.” But not all the wise and experienced leaders led the same number of people. Some of the wise and experienced leaders led a thousand; some, a hundred; some, fifty and some, ten. Stick with me! If you have been chosen to lead, it’s because you meet a list of criteria worthy of that role. But just because you’ve been chosen to lead, doesn’t mean you will lead the same number as others. In our leadership, some of us will be delegated thousands…and some of us will be delegated ten. But if we zoom to a panoramic view: instead of comparing how many we lead…let’s be thankful we were chosen to! Who knows what kind of God-sized-Promise-Land-Moses-miracles could happen if we embrace that perspective!
I love play-doh! I started playing with play-doh in 1979 and the distinct aroma of a fresh new tub of it has never left my nose-memory! I got to thinking: life’s like a tub of play-doh. We’re born (the container is opened) and there we are….a lump of play-doh on the table. And the times I’ve let the world mold me, I felt like the world looked at me and asked, “What’s that suppose to be?” But the times when I’ve let GOD mold me–the world still looked–but they didn’t need to ask. They knew what they were seeing: something wonderfully molded in the image of Him (Psalm 139). When God makes something out of us, there are no questions, there is no uncertainty. Oh, sure, God’s had to REmold me. He’s even had to put me through the Play-Doh “Dr. Drill and Fill” set a few times (who remembers that?!). But when we let God be the hands that molds the play doh, two great things happen on His table: we become a one-of-a-kind to the world and we become His masterpiece within ourselves.
“Since I know it’s all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:10
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The inspiration for “Wondherful” came from Psalm 139: You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old. Isn’t that wonderful?? This verse is so full of substance for a soul running on empty! God planned our entire mission BEFORE we had our first success or fail. God scheduled our days before we planned them on our smartphones. When you wish you weren’t born, when you wonder why you are here, when you don’t want to keep going…know this: God didn’t have to create you He WANTED to. He envisioned you. He used His imagination to create every aspect of your inward and outward life. He wants you here. You are God’s sculpture, you are his image, and you should be esteemed by the notion that you are the only one he made of you OR will ever make of you! You ARE irreplaceable. You are his dream come true. Don’t let people make insecure what God has secured. And don’t let people declare insignificant what God has already stamped W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L! I hope this encourages someone today!
A basic example of insecurity is when I was in middle school. I was deathly afraid of being unliked so I would do things (I thought) would make me popular. Consequently, I polarized myself because people didn’t want to be friends with a show-off, bragger, big mouth or cheater. My insecurity got the best of me…
Looking back, I learned my insecurity was rooted in a FEAR of being unliked. Maybe that isn’t yours, but consider these:
>Fear of being wrong and a need to be right
>Fear of failure so I’m obsessed to succeed
>Fear of people knowing the real me so I pretend to be someone
>Fear of not getting the credit so I downplay contributions of others
>Fear of people rejecting me so I tell people what they want to hear
>Fear of conflict so I avoid all of them
>Fear of disappointing others so I never say no
>Fear of looking weak so I puff myself up
The common denominator is these insecurities start with “fear.” But, we don’t have to be insecure! Don’t think for a second you have to settle for that with yourself. If you walk with God, you have a KING in your heart and a CROWN on your head. You can walk secure. A security in WHO you are and WHOSE you are is bibilical and Christ-like! (Jesus knew who He was and whose He was, and this was godly because He was without sin!) If we get into insecurity…with God…we can get out. If you have fear, see if it’s hooked to one of these insecurities and tackle it! Prayer + Books have helped me a lot! The following are my 3 favorite books for insecurity:
1) For everyone: Search for Signficance by Robert McGee
2) For women: So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore
3) For men: A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
When I was little, I remember a season where our home was somber. My Dad’s best friend had taken his life and my dad had to identify his body. Over the last decade, I’ve known two childhood friends, a cousin and several in our community who lost their lives to suicide. I hurt hard for these families, friends and their losses, however I do not understand the level of their loss. I can’t speak on their behalf. But as someone who attempted suicide, I can speak on that behalf. Today I live to see the goodness of God; and I testify to give Him credit in my comeback. God determined the day I would arrive and I trust God’s timing on the day I will go. It’s too big of a burden to be responsible for the coming and going of my life. I’m not my expert – because I’m not my Creator. No matter how deep the valley, how dark the sky, how slimy the pit, there are people who need me and you in their lives. We can not be replaced by anyone else. I love this verse about the preciousness of my life when Jesus promised, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have LIFE and have it abundantly.” Some of us may feel like our life has been stolen, but with Jesus, we CAN get it back. I hope this encourages someone today.