Go Ahead and Twirl…

We bought my daughter’s dress for her junior prom last week. It is a traditional ball gown in a beautiful shade of pale blue, made for a princess with a long, full skirt. She looked like Cinderella when she came out of the dressing room. I choked back tears because she was simply breath taking!

It reminded me of seeing her at our wedding. She was 7 years old and dressed in a white dress with a full, knee length skirt that flowed out and around her when she twirled with excitement in her eyes. Ladies, can you remember twirling when you were little when the skirt or dress fit the occasion?

A few years ago, we used the theme, Sky for our Vacation Bible School. The movements to the songs were graceful and flowing, with lots of twirling and soaring of our hands through the air. I can still remember one little girl, around 5 years old, dancing and twirling for her Father in heaven with complete abandon.

Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to” be” the Beauty of the story. (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John Elderidge)

Isn’t that so true? Wouldn’t it be nice to stay in the innocent, unabashed delight of a little girl twirling in her dress? Yet, life beats that out of us somehow and we begin to believe messages like: you aren’t pretty enough; you aren’t thin enough; you aren’t smart enough; you aren’t strong enough; nobody wants to see you twirl; you aren’t enough. And before you know it, the twirling stops.

Listen, God is whispering to you to twirl! In His love letter to us, He tells us that we are chosen, beautiful and more than enough. In fact, we are a royal priesthood and we are fearfully and wonderfully made to accomplish glorious things!

I encourage you today to bask in the innocent delight of a Father who delights in You! I encourage you to dance, twirl and know in your soul that He could not love you any more or less than He does today. Make no mistake when you come out of the veil of lies that the world has sold you, He is waiting and you take His breath away!

I can’t wait to see my beautiful daughter twirl in her dress in a couple of weeks and I pray that she never stops twirling.

Be hopeful and go ahead and twirl!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalms 37:23‭-‬24 NLT

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

I Dare You…

Here’s the truth ya’ll, I don’t think that we take God at His Word. We struggle with control, worry and self worth; instead of trusting God and what He has to say.

We allow the size of our pants, our job title, or our social status to dictate how we feel about ourselves; all the while spouting that our hope is in God and God alone.

Our prayers are bold in words; but, weak in complete trust that God sees us, hears us and answers us.

We allow trust issues to keep us from loving those around us deeply, abandoning ourselves to walls that we build that isolate us further.

We seek the approval of others and often change ourselves to fit in; which essentially places God’s opinion of us lower and of less importance than others.

We allow fear to dictate what we can’t accomplish, setting parameters on our abilities; instead of seeking God on what we can accomplish and seeking what He enables and empowers us to do.

So, this evening, I dare you. I dare you to see God in His fullness: all powerful, fully capable and willing to give you the absolute best life. The same God who parted the Red Sea and stopped the Jordan River to rescue His people fights for you every single day.

He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
Joshua 4:24 NIV

I dare you to take His Word as complete truth and to bask in the light of that truth and what it has to say about who you are and what you are capable of accomplishing for Him.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

I dare you to let your identity in Christ be the most important opinion in your life and let it permeate your soul, allowing you to walk in bold, secure and complete confidence.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

I dare you to be a bold, limitless prayer warrior, trusting to your absolute core that God answers every prayer in His perfect timing and within His perfect will.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV

I dare you to love people without fear. In fact, love fiercely without expectation of something in return; be quick to forgive, slow to anger and extend grace often because that is exactly what Christ does for you.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Psalm 103:8 NIV

I dare you to replace fear with faith and love, stepping out of your comfort zone to serve God boldly. Let God give you a “can do” attitude in ways that you never thought were possible. His ways are good and fear doesn’t stand a chance against our mighty God!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV

I dare you…..

Be hopeful!

Drink Your Water…

My daughter has the flu. When the doctor told us the news, she looked right at her and said, “Water, water, water! You need to drink lots of water!” She has been running a high fever, having some tummy issues and taking prescription and over the counter medicines. Drinking water was imperative to keeping her hydrated and feeling better. Yet, this one simple task has proven difficult for her, which meant stomach cramps yesterday. We have upped our game today for sure. Mostly because I am now telling her to ‘drink water’ every time I come through the room.

Jesus is living water. We need Him to stay hydrated and to feel better as we navigate life. Much like the doctor told my daughter, Jesus tells us, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14 NKJV)

Yet, don’t we find ourselves much like my daughter finding it difficult to drink our water? I don’t know about you; but often I find myself rushing into my day without spending a moment with my Father. I rush through busy days without taking time to open His Word and allow Him to permeate my heart. When was the last time you drank deeply?

You see, if we don’t take time to let God tend to our souls, we will find ourselves depleted and with cramps from trying to do it on our own.

I encourage you to drink deeply today. He wants to become a fountain of water in you springing up to everlasting life!

Be hopeful!

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He. ” John 4:25‭-‬26 NKJV

Negativity Bias….

Why does negative energy seem to speak louder in our lives? Think about it. You can be having a great day, feeling really good and that one person can raise their eye brows at you and you begin second guessing everything.

I am blessed to teach at a wonderful gym and I truly consider class members like extended family. The support that I receive as an instructor is amazing. Recently though, I found myself distracted by a couple of people who were dissatisfied with class; rather than focusing on the positive majority sweating it out in front of me.

Or how about your social media? You can have a couple dozen likes and several positive comments; but, have you ever found yourself focusing on that one person who never likes your stuff? You make sure you generously like their posts; but can’t get any love back. Please tell me that I am not alone in this folks?

Well ya’ll, it is called negativity bias, a form of cognitive bias which causes humans to subconsciously place more significance on negative events than positive ones, affecting behavior and cognition.* In other words, the struggle is real.

Thankfully, we have freedom from this bias in Christ! We can shift our focus from the negative to God’s truth for our lives. And God is not biased. He loves us the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You are His favorite! And so am I! His Word provides a daily boost of positive energy, goodness, love, hope and faith!

But, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a closer look at this issue of flesh. It seems to me when it comes to negative bias it is a basic issue of focus. Who am I trying to please? The world? Or Jesus? 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. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24‭-‬26 NIV

So, the next time you find yourself focusing on the negative, stop and reflect on God’s truth for your life. Oh how He loves you. And He wants to be your source of love and light every day. Let Him speak life into your soul! Then, walk in His way, His truth and His light.

Be hopeful!

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1‭-‬2 NIV

*What is Negativity Bias at whatis.com, Margaret Rouse

Wash Some Feet…

The Bible lesson for our Wednesday night children’s program was on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I decided the best way to teach this lesson was to demonstrate it. So, I washed the feet of some of the crew leaders, while talking to the kiddos about this powerful lesson from Jesus.

Jesus, in His perfection, humbled himself and took the role of a servant. He washed the feet of the disciples, who that very night argued about who amongst them would be greatest in heaven. He demonstrated greatness, when he unwrapped the cloth from his waist, grabbed the basin and knelt down before the disciples. Do you want to be great? Wash some feet.

Jesus washed all the disciples’ feet that night, including Judas. Yes, the disciple who would trade him later that night for coins in complete betrayal had his feet washed by our Savior. Has someone betrayed you? Wash some feet.

Jesus washed Peter’s feet too, even as he argued with Jesus, not realizing the beautiful symbolism of the moment. The disciple who would deny him three times before the rooster crowed that next morning felt the gentle hands of His Savior on his feet. Has someone denied you? Wash some feet.

Jesus has called us to be His servants. He gave us the perfect example during his time as a man on earth. The question is whether you are willing to humble yourself, kneel down and gracefully serve those around you: regardless of the task; regardless of the risk; and regardless of whether it is deserved.

Let’s wash some feet folks!

Be hopeful!

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13:12‭-‬17 NIV

Flower Delivery…

I just spent the afternoon delivering flowers. You see, a dear friend of mine is our local florist and she asked if I would be willing to help during this very busy time. What a great way to spend an afternoon; delivering expressions of love, kindness and joy around town.

At one of my stops, a sweet elderly lady answered her door. She obviously was not expecting flowers and she literally lit up when she saw the bouquet. “Someone loves you,” I said enthusiastically and she responded, “my daughter must have done this.” She was tickled. So was I.

Every day we are handed the same unexpected gift from God. He knocks on the door of our hearts and exclaims, “this is the day that I have made, rejoice and be glad in it.” He extends His grace, His goodness, His love, His forgiveness and His Joy freely to us through His Son, Jesus. It is the most beautiful bouquet of love you will ever receive and it is absolutely free!

As you are spreading love this Valentine’s day, please remember that we love because He first loved us. And He loves us more than we will ever comprehend.

And if you ever get the chance to deliver flowers, take it!

Be hopeful!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:7‭-‬11 NIV

Authority…

Yep. I’ve been thinking a lot about authority lately; largely because we now have a 17 year old who is trying to thwart some of her own authority in our house! I think it is safe to say that most of us would rather be in the position of authority, rather than under someone else’s authority. The definition of authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

We live in a culture that no longer respects authority, particularly if that authority steps on our toes in any way. We also live in a culture where parents shy away from being the authority for their children, especially when life gets uncomfortable. And it shows in endless levels of disrespect and miscommunication.

I think it would be wise for us to remember that God holds all authority and He ordains authority too. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1).

Make no mistake, God is our authority and He is in control. And any person who holds a position of authority (i.e. leaders, parents, teachers, employers) are accountable to God for how they handle this authority.

It has been a challenging week for my husband and I as parents. As my daughter pushes back on some of our household rules, it is easy to lose our patience and focus.

Ya’ll, isn’t that a picture of what we do regularly to our Father in heaven? He places rules and ordains order and authority in our lives. Yet, we push back and demand that our way is better. All the while not realizing that those rules and boundaries are for our own good!! And instead of losing patience and focus, He sent His own Son to save us, providing us a way back into His loving arms of forgiveness and grace.

Authority. I’m so glad I have a Father who has the final say on this subject. What a relief! What a mighty God we serve!

Be hopeful!

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:5‭-‬7 NIV