Don’t Let Go!

hand in hand

A little girl stands on the cusp of a sea of strangers. The path before her riddled with people obstructing her every line of sight. Fear and anxiety paralyzed her as she felt a slight tug from her left arm. She looked up into the bright eyes of her Father and looked down to the hand that embraced hers.

“You have nothing to fear my dearest child, just don’t let go.” He said in his soft authoritative voice.

She feels the comfort of His hand and trusts the power in His voice and blindly steps out into the vast unknown.  She continues on, not worried about where He was leading her, knowing He knew the way.   Quickly, the little girl becomes comfortable in His care as He guides her through the crowded way. She begins to look around and admire the surroundings, catching sight of giant helium balloons and beautiful dolls in glass windows, through the legs that surrounded her.  Her hand began to slip from the strong hand that was guiding her as she spotted a sparkling dress wafting near by.  Suddenly, an abrupt thud across her shoulder sent her tumbling slightly backward.

“Don’t let go, dear one,” her Father said, as He gripped tighter.

“Yes Daddy.” she said as she regained His hand.

“I know there are things that look beautiful out there, but trust me to get you to a place more beautiful than this. Be patient my little one.”

She smiled and held tight as she enjoyed the comforting walk, knowing He would protect her.

Yet again, after a short while, from in between the blankets of legs, she became enthralled by the beautiful objects.

“They look so beautiful,” she thought, “why does He not stop and get me what I want? This would make me happy. I don’t want to walk anymore, I want to stop and look around!”

She began to pull Him to the side, hoping His way would sway.

“This way Daddy! Please, I want to go this way and look over there.” she begged.

“That will not be good enough for you my sweet babe, we must travel on. Trust me, you will have something even better. Don’t let go now. Hold tight.”

Frustration took hold of her heart and her hand became limp in His, but His hold did not waiver.

“He doesn’t understand,” she thought. “Why does He not want me to be happy?” she started to lean again to the right, hoping His way would sway or His grip would loosen. Just like before, a thud came across her arm followed, this time, by one slamming into her back.

“Why are you letting them hurt me Daddy?” she cried.

“You need to stop leaning out and trying to let go little one. Trust me and let me guide you. I know where I am going; I can see the way and I promise I will protect you. Hold tight, don’t let go!”

“Hmpf,” puffed the girl as she began to think her Father wanted nothing good for her. He was lying. They were passing all of the wonderful places and He kept saying no. Why does He think He knows? She knew where she wanted to go and what would make her happy.

She looked up at her father in disdain now and glanced back through the crevices of flesh and spotted the perfect store. She could clearly see it now, as the legs began to part. This was it. She would go her way; she would get what she wanted without Him. She slipped out of His hand and began running for the beauty before her. She did not stop, even when she was slashed around by the few legs that bumped and bruised her. She made it to the window and gazed in wonder. She was right, she had never seen such majesty and never felt such joy. But, quickly the scene before her changed. The beauty that was but a second ago now changed to mold. This was not as beautiful as she thought. I was wrong!

Suddenly, she was swept away from the window, and found herself flying through the air away from the window and the doll within. She landed with a thud on the concrete and felt her body heave with pain.

“Daddy!” she wailed, but she didn’t see Him anywhere.

Feet were now trampling her small frame as the passerby’s did not care for her well being. Pain struck every inch of her body as she frantically searched the vast sea for her Father.

“Daddy!” she now screamed.

She closed her eyes, knowing her mistake. She should have stayed with her Father. With the one who would protect her. The one who would care for her. The one who knew the way.

Streams of tears poured down her porcelain cheeks as suddenly a warmth lifted her from the ground, “I told you not to let go little one”, He said with firmness.

She opened her eyes into the comfort and love of her Father’s face and wrapped her arms around His neck as He carried her.

“Don’t let go of me Daddy!” she squeezed as she spoke softly into His ears.

“I never did my young one, I never did.”

Living in a World of Virtual Reality

Samsung Gear VR - SM-R322 - virtual reality headset - frost white - for Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S7, S7 edge

Virtual Reality! Webster’s Dictionary defines it as: an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.

I define it as: dawning a pair of awkwardly large glasses to be transported to a world of our own making. One in which anything can happen. For a mere $100 (like the ones pictured) you can live however you would like with no one to answer to. You can frolic through the woods, fly across the ocean, collect Pokemon (oh wait…). To sum it up, virtual reality is living in a false world (wasn’t there a popular sunglasses movie about that?).

Yet, what we often don’t realize is that we already live in a world of virtual reality; for free. You see, everyday we dawn our flip flops (well maybe galoshes if you live somewhere seasons actually pay a visit) and our self-made VR glasses and head out the door. Armed with our pocket or purse full of instant gratification (also known as a cell phone), that when faced with reality we can quickly turn on and be transported back to a time where staged selfies and narcissistic hashtags live. A place where we have obtained our Masters and Doctorates from the web university and can tout our ever growing knowledge on our newsfeeds. We can, with gusto, shout our brilliant (and of course, always right) opinions for everyone to see.

You see, we have turned into a society where our social media accounts are our virtual reality. We see and live through them; they have become our identity.  All too often I see families and friends gathered at a restaurant all on their phones posting their 5th selfie of the day so everyone can see they are out having fun. When in all reality they have spent less than 10 minutes actually having fun and an hour in their virtual world. We have become a society that while children are dying from terrorists running them over, coups taking place, and cancer eating away their fragile bodies; we run around trying to find fake animals and even more disturbing, take to the streets to tell each other how much we hate each other (and in cases recently, kill one another) because of something social media told us was reality.

You see, I have sat back these last few weeks observing. I love to observe. I am one of those people who will sit at a coffee shop and just people watch and try to figure them out in the two seconds I see them.  What I have observed is alarming. We are so quick to condemn, judge, rule, shout and hate. We live to make ourselves high and others low. We have become a society of bullies. You may not outright see it as such, but isn’t it really what we are doing? We have created a virtual world of know-it-alls that say, “look at me, I know what is right and the rest of you are fools”. We treat each other with disdain and mockery. We jump to conclusions and believe the first thing we read, then make it so that if someone disagrees, they are stupid, “uniformed” or “don’t understand”. We name call and ridicule someone for believing something – that they too only read on the internet. What people have yet to learn is that this society is run by marketing.

Last year in worldview, I told my class to always be leery of what you read and hear because there is always an agenda. No matter if it is a trustworthy source or not, we are all trying to sell something. We manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions with words and pictures to evoke the opinion we are desiring to achieve.  We all do it! We are all trying to sell an idea, thought, way of life or even just a perception. This is why I am a research-a-holic. I don’t ever believe the first thing I hear or read, but I research till I can puzzle together the whole story. Whether that goes to if someone is really who they say they are on their Facebook page or if that article on garlic is right. Whether the Black Lives Matter movement is from Satan or Police officers are power hungry KKK members. Research is the key, because we all tell a story. We want everyone else’s VR world to match our own.

But research and observance can only help us if we have done one thing first: take off the glasses and start coming back to reality. We have to stop living in a world that makes us mad, jealous, narcissistic, discontent, ashamed, embarrassed, selfish, pig headed know-it-alls who lack any kind of compassion and love. We need to stop racing to our social sites (and the local street corner) to condemn everyone and love no one. We need to stop believing the lies and start fighting for the truth.

I imagine Christ coming into our VR worlds and turning over the tables in anger like He did in the temple. He would be telling everyone to drop their glasses and follow Him. Christ is the only truth. He is the light, the only way. God’s Word is the only thing we can fully trust and confide in, that’s why it needs to be our measuring tool for everything. His Word needs to be the glasses we put on to see everything else through, not the VR ones we make for ourselves.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  – We are at war with the powers of this world. Satan wants to destroy love, truth and family. He smiles when we choose our virtual worlds over each other. He smiles when we make ourselves greater than God or anything or anyone else in this world. He smiles when we choose to hate instead of love. He smiles when we gullibly believe the falsehoods that he so simply throws in our paths.

It’s time to take the worldly glasses off and put on the glasses of God. It is time to start making Truth matter! Because this world is not about you or me, but the plans that God has set forth. This world will pass away (thank the Lord) and the new one will come. One that will be God’s virtual reality at last. Nothing like we could ever imagine or program ourselves. This is the only truth that matters. We need to be less about our rightly opinions and more about saving souls for Christ – the only true reality.

Proverbs 2: 6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Proverbs 19:3, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the LORD.

Jeremiah 4:22, “For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.”

Romans 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, ”

Isaiah 55:8, “”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. ”

So then, what does life through the glasses of God look like? Well blessed be us, we have the answers; here are just a few:

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” James 1:19

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” Gal. 6:2

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord” Eph. 5:19

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matt. 22:37+38

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Phil. 2:3

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Cor. 10:31

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Col. 3:2

The Bible completely shows us how to live. They all fit into our daily lives. But practically, in meditating on these, I would like to challenge you to a few things (I challenge myself as well!) to start the detox process and:

  • go out for a walk or for dinner with your family or friends and forget your phone (yikes!).
  • Post as many encouraging things that point people to Christ as you do photos or marketing or opinion tactics (social media is an amazing tool for encouragement. I know many people who post 10 things a day, but they are all either God honoring photos of creation or encouraging quotes).
  • when you’re screaming to shout your opinion – research first – then, in a loving way, bring about truth with grace.
  • pray for the lost!!
  • bring back a reverence in your life for God, His Word (it is the Holy Spirit written word of God that people were burned at the stake for; treat it as such) and His church (it’s the house of God – we have more reverence when we go to a friend’s house than to our Lord’s house.);
  • lastly but most importantly read Scripture as if your life depends on it – because it does!

Drowning and Starting Over

There is power in words. God’s word being the most powerful example of this.

Yes, I am biased about this as well, being that I love to write! There is just such freedom in being able to write with honesty and truth.

With this comes an absolute love of music! I often sit and just listen to music while talking to my Lord. When I can’t fully communicate how I am feeling, I often look to music to communicate it for me.

I recently was introduced to two other Christian rappers: KB & Flame. My love for Lecrae and Andy Mineo is being matched by my new found love for these guys. I love truth spoken – no matter the cost! These guys do just that!

KB’s recent song “Drowning” is amazing. It reminds me of the desperate way I felt before coming to the Lord. Feeling so lost and underneath it all that I was crying out. Praise be to God that He longs for these moments where we will cry out for Him; finally being ready and willing to come to Him! The prodigal son/daughter returning!

Flame’s song “Start Over” reminds me of how it felt actually coming to the Lord. The gospel message is clear, concise and lyrically beautiful and powerful!

I wanted to share both of them with you! May they be a blessing!

 

 

These are not “new” songs, but they are “new” to me. Know of some great christian music with awesome messages? I would love to hear about them!

New Article on CWO

Read my new article on shame here:

Coming Out of Shame

 

Thanks again for CWO and their persistence to proclaim the Word of our Lord!

11th Grade Girls Bible – Project Time

Class

Teaching was never something I thought of myself doing, but like most plans by the Lord – we can never expect what will come about. Yet, in these things we never expect, come the greatest blessings. The Lord has been so gracious to give me, as my first bible class, a room full of exceptional young women. These girls have been such an immense blessing in my life and I feel honored that God would allow me to be a part of their spiritual growth.

This semester we are practicing the art of “Being One” – like in Natalie Grant’s song “BE ONE” – about being the change, the miracle, the feet of those who carry the good news. In hopes to prepare these beautiful girls for life outside our cute Christian school, we are challenging these girls to look outside themselves and get out of their comfort zone and be a billboard for Christ (shout out Lecrae!). Whether it is through interaction with people who need the light of the Lord, bible study with others, mentoring, putting up signs around school of encouragement, making videos that have a biblical theme, doing a devotional or sharing a testimony, these girls are putting their faith out on display.  They are being the hand and feet to bring the good news of our Lord.

Below I am sharing two videos that a few of the girls have made. I told them part of the project is that I have to share the videos…so they know I am doing this hahaha.

This first video is by Grace, Emma, Gianna, Lynette and Syndey. It is a parody of the rapture:

 

This second video is by Kayla and is her own music video of Lecrae’s  “Billboard”.

 

And here are a few fun pics of some of the girls doing their other projects:

Kenzie Gracie Grace Girls Class Fun Cass & V

 

 

 

 

The Young Man

cropped-img_49673.jpg

Every now and again I will write what my husband and I like to call a “Serious Seuss”: a whimsical style poem that is serious in nature. The one that follows is a youthful styled poem that is a biblical worldview of life. The choice we have to make is only a choice while we are here. Any way, here is my – just for fun –  “Serious Seuss” called  – The Young Man.

The Young Man

There was a young man born to prestige and wealth,
Blessed with not only money, but good looks and health.

About the town he carried himself with pride,
Needing nothing from anyone that money couldn’t buy.

Every day he passed by an old man by a store,
Who didn’t ask for money, just a moment of time he implored.

The young man would ignore him and keep on his way.
After all, he had no moments he dared give away.

Then one day while distracted he entered the street.
Where a car sent him flying, clear off his feet.

In front of the old man, he found himself lying,
He cursed, winced and yelled, seeing the old man spying.

“How dare you, old man, come to make a fool out of me!”
“It is not I” groaned the man, “as you will soon see”

“What  madness are you screeching, as I lay here in pain?
Call for an ambulance, run for help, do something! Don’t be insane”

“Your body is broken, and soon you may breathe your last
For a moment of your time, I have captured at last.

Your image and money be your idols that control,
But there is a choice that is bigger to unfold.

Heaven or Hell is the choice you have left to face,
While everything you live for will be left in this place.

God will adopt you, don’t worry, all you need is believe.
Have faith, seek forgiveness, to the Lord you must cleave.”

“Get away from me old man, stop spewing your trash.
I am loosing my…” He whispered, when before him his life flashed.

The young man, now alone,  standing in an empty space,
With two doors before him, his fate he had come face to face.

“Heaven” and “Hell” the doors were glaringly engraved.
The old man was wrong, he wasn’t enslaved.

It was his choice to make, no worries needed to be had.
There was no reason to be anything other than bad.

He ran to the “Heaven” door and tried to go through.
But the door was locked, nothing he could do.

He turned to “Hell” and with a relief, found this too locked.
As he slumped to the floor, feeling he was being mocked.

He sat there and wondered what would he do.
He heard a door creak, then open it flew.

The “Hell” door now wide, as a glaring invitation.
He knew this was his lot. His sinful citation.

The doors had been locked because it was no longer his choice.
That had expired for him, along with his voice.

The man felt the pull of the eternal blackness.
With pain and heaviness he embraced his sadness.

“I shouldn’t have been stupid, stubborn and naïve,
I had been given every chance and assurance to believe.

Now this Hell is mine, for all eternity,
If only I could go back, I would live life so differently.”

“The Tongue is a Fire”

“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.  See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity;  the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” – James 3:6

Do you remember the old saying “sticks and stones may brake my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I always thought this was the funniest saying! Because words, in their simplest form, can brake the strongest of bonds.

As days are going by and more and more corruption is happening in our world, I keep being reminded of the power of the tongue. With words we curse, with words we manipulate, with words we control and tear down.  But most importantly with words we are led toward or away from salvation and our God.

I think instead of trying to speak with our mouths, the things to either build ourselves up or tear others down, we need to focus more on speaking truth.  This life is short and as Ecclesiastes tells us – ALL IS VANITY. We cannot take anything here with us – not even our pride, so why do we make it our priority to strive for selfishness, even if that means leaving a path of destruction in our wake?

It is hard not to turn on the news and see evidences of this everywhere. Lying, deceit, selfishness, pride, etc. I look at Planned Parenthood and their manipulation for money and profit, all at the expense of human life. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions they use words to manipulate people into thinking they are doing nothing wrong. Or, look at our presidential candidates  – I am disturbed by the lack of humility and truthfulness that they possess. The commercials, the tv shows, billboards, etc. all words that are being used to manipulate and control, tear down and steer away from God.

Even in our Christian fellowships we use words to manipulate and tear down. You would think that being fellow heirs of the glory of our Lord would bond us all in a way that we would do what Paul calls for and bear one another’s burdens. But instead, we often just cause more burden. There has been an ever present growing feeling of elitism that is causing our fellowships to be less than what they are called to be. Instead of coming to each other in love or putting others first, we are quick judge  and quick to seek self.

Ephesians 4:29 tells us “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give GRACE to those who hear.”

The key word here is GRACE. We have lost the ability to have grace or impart grace. We put our own selfish desires and emotions ahead of imparting grace to the hearer.  Regardless of the wrong or sin, we should always be first to impart grace. We must think of the grace that has been imparted to us through Jesus Christ and strive to always do the same.

Yes we will not be great at this always. We become selfish and defensive and in some cases self righteous. But if we can just pause and think of our words and how we are using them or how they will either build up or tear down then maybe we can make it gracious more often than not. Maybe we can start to bring back the true art of godly fellowship!

Along with this, we need to guard ourselves against this ever growing deceitful world and not let it tear us down and manipulate us. Don’t let what this world says remove who we are in Christ and make us a part of what we are not.  Regardless if this world thinks that the art of graceful speaking  and selflessness is “old-fashioned” it is what God calls for. It is what will always be needed. So shield yourselves from that which the world calls “modern” politically correct interactions and be a shinning example of what God’s true fellowship looks like.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6:12

Satan is ever moving to manipulate and destroy true fellowship, family and our relationship with God.  This fight is not merely with those who believe and don’t believe, but a fight with Satan over influences for God. If we remove God’s influence in everything – God will soon be in nothing – not even the places where you ultimately go to find Him – like the church.

So fight to stay away from this world and it’s evil manipulations. Don’t let it change the way God has meant our tongues and our words to be used: edification, exhortation, admonition and grace! These are what should drip from every word that proceeds from our mouths.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Eph. 5:6

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you,  be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” 1 Peter 1:13-15

“For,’ THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.'” 1 Peter 3:10-12