Should we be quiet about our faith?

tellsomeone

They showed up at my door. I was 14. They went to my school. I was grounded, so I was in my room.

My mom let them in and they stumbled in, standing awkwardly with their youth pastor. They invited me to come to church. One shuffled from foot to foot, and then asked if she could tell me about Jesus.

I didn’t want to hear it.

I was angry at God, if there was one.

The scriptures they shared didn’t move me or make sense. I didn’t grow up in church so I didn’t know a lot about the Bible. All I knew is that life was hard and I didn’t ask anyone to fix me.

Thank you, very much and now here’s the door.   [Read more…]

#livefree Thursday: Deny my selfie

denyyourselfie

My friend, Lynn Cowell, and I were hiking in the mountains. We had driven several hours away to pray and fill back up after an intense week of ministry.

At one point on the trail we stopped to rest while this sea-level girl let her lungs fill up with sweet oxygen.

Lynn sat on a rock and began to share her burden for teen girls. She told me how the #selfie movement was impacting girls, leaving them confused when the attention they hoped to receive backfired, or as they confused “likes” and cyber attention with real love.

As we hiked down the mountain trail, I couldn’t get away from this conversation.

Because my#selfie gets in my way all the time. 

It lands in my heart asking me to validate my ministry with the number of likes that I have.

It shows up when I put way too much thought on that wrinkle that’s popped up right between my eyes. (How many times do you retake your #selfie to get it just right?)

It happens when I miss the bigger picture because I’m all up in my feelings, wanting nothing more than to karate chop someone in the throat in the heat of the moment. Even though I might not won’t do it, I really, really want to.

I know this sounds silly, but scripture invites me to experience a #denymyselfie shift in my heart.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV).

When I do this I lose #myselfie, but I find myself in the process. 

Here, let me take the spotlight off of me and put it on You, Jesus, as I rejoice in the 10 or 10 million! 

Because that’s who I am. I love ministry through and through. It’s a privilege!

Here, let me celebrate the years and the laughter that caused these wrinkles for You have given me life!

Because I prayed years ago when I was a young mom to be healed of cancer, and I love nothing more than the joy of what I’ve gained with those extra years.

Here, let me relieve this relationship of the grudge I’ve carried for far too long, because You forgive me over and over.

Because I was never intended to live tangled up in my emotions, stuck when God has so much more for me.

As Jesus walked with those disciples, he knew that they would inherently struggle with this.

He knew that I would struggle with it, too.

#Denyingmyselfie is putting the me factor aside long enough to find the God factor instead.

That’s deep, transforming work on the inside that spills out in ways that can never be captured in a 3-second selfie or a #selfie way of life.

Suzie

LiveFreeBadgeWelcome to today’s #livefree Thursday linkup!

The writing prompt is: #selfie

1. Link up your inspiring post with the button below.

2. Feel free to grab the #livefree button (on the right) to display on your blog. I’d love for you to add a link to #livefree Thursday.

3. If you don’t have a blog, share in the comment section. I’m reading everyone of them!

4. Then, and this is the only thing I ask of you. Leave a comment on the post linked up right before yours, and then check out one more. Tell her that her words matter. ♥

Let’s do this! Link up!

Real love is more than a feeling


unsplashbench

I used to think that loving someone was a feeling.

That feeling that makes you feel secure.

Or happy.

You just can’t get enough time with that person. You think about them. You love their touch.

I’m so glad for those emotions, but the older that I get the more I am privileged to see long term love in action, and I’ve noticed something. [Read more…]

10 scriptures to help when you are tempted

faithful

 

Temptation isn’t sin. 

Maybe you need to hear that today. But perhaps you need to hear something else.

You aren’t alone in your temptation.

There’s power in the Word of God. Memorize one of these truths. Some are advice. Others are promises.

Follow the link for a verse that speaks to you. It will take you to Bible Gateway, where both a traditional version of the Bible is shared, but also The Message in everyday words.

Soak it in. Let it settle into your heart and thoughts. You have help when you are tempted. If you have questions, let’s take this deeper. ~ Suzie

 

10 Scriptures to Help When You Are Tempted

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

2nd Peter 2:9 …then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment

Luke 11:4 …and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Luke 22:40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.

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.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

#livefreeThursday: Filled!

unsplashsnow

Have you ever been studying the Bible and suddenly you read something that makes you want to leap from your chair and shout out loud?

Maybe even do an undignified spin or twirl.

That happened to me this week. I was reading about how Jesus was led in to the wilderness.

I’ve got to be honest. 

A bleak, lonely wilderness where satan pesters you and pokes at you with temptation seems like the last place I’d want to be, but as I read verse 14, it stopped me in my tracks. It said this:

Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.

How is that even possible?

So I went back to the beginning of the story and I found this:

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. (Luke 4:1)

There it was. A bookend of sorts. Jesus went into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit. After 40 agonizing hungry, wearisome days, he left the wilderness filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.

The wilderness was real. Bleak. Lonely. Dark. Tangible and big.

But what was inside of Jesus was just as real and more powerful.

When people talk about temptation they often talk about it as if it’s a fault. We’re told that we shouldn’t be tempted. That if we were more spiritual, more tuned in, more “you fill in the blank,” that we wouldn’t be tempted at all.

Not true. Not true. Not true. 

Jesus was tempted.

I don’t understand fully why the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where the enemy taunted our Savior, jabbed at Him, and tried to influence Him to do what was unwise and against God’s plan for His Son.

But what I do know is that Jesus turned that around each time and put the emphasis on the truth of God’s Word.

This is who God is.

This is who I am in Him. 

He showed the enemy what was inside of Him.

Are you struggling with temptation?

twirl

Let the enemy know the truth of who God is, and who you are to Him.

And we’ll celebrate together as you walk away from that battle filled.

Suzie

 

LiveFreeBadge I hope you’ll join me in today’s #livefreeThursday link up!

The prompt is: Filled.

Filled with His Spirit. Filled with joy. Filled with strength. Filled with Him.

1. Link up your inspiring post with the button below.
2. Feel free to grab the #livefree button (on the right) to display on your blog.
3. If you don’t have a blog, talk to me in the comments. I’m reading everyone of them.
4. Then, and this is the only thing I ask of you. Leave a comment on the post linked up right before yours. Tell her that her words matter. ♥


 

Bad days don’t make you a bad mom

Luke

This week you were tempted to throw your hands up.

Or yell.

Or pull the blanket over your head and hide from the world

Because it was one of “those days” as a mom.  

When everything goes wrong or you feel unappreciated or a combination of both.

You struggle because your plan is to raise a confident, strong, in-love-with-Jesus child, but you wonder. . .  

[Read more…]

Downton Abbey, God, and the little things

dowager

I woke up in the middle of the night and knew that God was interrupting my sleep to talk to me.

Give it up, Suz. 

I instantly knew what was being requested.

Not food. Not sleep. Not sweets.

But television.

So, right now, just in case you think I’m super spiritual, I want to clear that up. 

I like watching TV.

I love watching Downton Abbey.  I even might qualify as a PBS Masterpiece Theater junkie.

My love for entertainment isn’t limited to British dramas. I also adore curling up with my super soft afghan in my comfy chair and watching Survivor.  Intrigue. Fishing for your own dinner. Inter-relational issues. Who doesn’t love that?

And then there’s Parenthood, the complicated a lot-like-life family saga where everybody seems to speak a hundred miles an hour and at the same time.

And then, this is where I’m feeling vulnerable. . . [Read more…]

You are welcome around my table

Every Wednesday women gather around my kitchen table.

Our Bibles open. Lots of laughter. Tears sometimes. Lots of prayer.  Good food.

We grow together in the Word, and closer to each other.

It’s also where Josiah sits, my youngest grand baby. Shaking his shoulders and moving his hips. Leaning in for just one more kiss.

josiah4

 

Sticky fingerprints and crumbs under the table are washed away after my other grand babies leave. Five grand babies under the age of 4. From crying to singing to chattering away, it’s a wild ride when they are all around the table. [Read more…]