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Month: February 2016

Are You Stuck?

Are you stuck?-2
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Help! I’m Stuck!

I did one of my bucket list items when I was 19 years old. I jumped out of a plane with a parachute. After a week of training in Oakland, California, I was ready for my jump. I had no idea that I was going to get stuck in the mud!

Without thinking, I walked through the mud before boarding the little Cessna. I kneeled at the open door during the short flight. Then came the signal to go perch on the wing. I got in position but slipped a little as my boots were muddy. (Do you feel a little fear as you read this?)

Then came the final signal. I pushed off and jumped! My ripcord was connected to the plane with a long cord. My parachute was pulled open when I reached a certain distance from the aircraft. What a scary thrill! The few seconds of free fall were…. Well, you have to add this to your bucket list.

I landed in a field without breaking any bones. And I missed the electric wires I noticed on my descent.

But help! I was stuck in the mud! I couldn’t move my feet out of the mud. Fortunately, someone came to my rescue and had to pick me up out of the mud!

I had taken a significant risk and then got stuck in the mud!

Are You Stuck?

You may have been living an adventurous, joy-filled life and then something happened. And now you’re stuck. You can’t seem to move forward.

Do you feel like you’re not living but just going through the motions? Life has lost its wonder, and you’ve lost your passion? Are you living on autopilot?

You ask, “Where is the abundant life Jesus promised?”

Maybe early on in your life, things happened. You were deeply wounded. You have never felt that you were worth living a life of passion and meaning. Even though you are a Christian, you don’t feel like you have come alive with the joy of the Lord.

A shattered dream, a broken relationship, the death of a child or a spouse, a lost job—these are losses and disappointments that can cripple you. You are alive but not living with purpose and intention.

Many possible scenarios exist that lead to a STUCK LIFE. Bottom-line, you’re not moving forward into the life that Jesus died to give you.

What is holding you back?

Jesus died to give you a life of love, purpose and meaning in Him. He gave you His life! You now have His life in you. “Christ in you,” (Colossians 1:27) empowers you to live the abundant life Jesus promised.

If the life Jesus has given us is such a glorious gift, then why aren’t we experiencing it?

I pondered and wrestled with this question for decades. Why don’t I experience what God gave me? How do I experience it? Why doesn’t my Christian life look more like the way Christ lived?

What kept me stuck in the mud of ineffective Christian living?

Ouch! I do hate to use that word “ineffective.” But Peter did along with “unfruitful” (2 Peter 1:8). My Christian life was not bearing the fruit that I was destined to produce. I was easily hurt and offended. I did not love as Jesus loved me. (In faith I’m using past tense, but honestly, I know the Lord is still working in me.)

Jesus died to give me a life that was so much more than what I was living.

I came up with a list of reasons why I was stuck. Do you relate to any of them?

  • Forgetting who I am and what Jesus has done for me

  • Limiting beliefs or just plain unbelief

  • Shame and guilt

  • Disappointment

  • Not following through

  • Living on autopilot instead of living responsibly

  • Fear

  • Being a spectator instead of a participant in life

  • Making excuses

  • Self-protection

  • Lack of diligent effort

  • Misunderstanding the part action plays in faith

Though these are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, they miss the most crucial issue.

Before I get to that, I want to tell you something about God that has intrigued me for years and left me with a profound sense of awe and wonder.

In just a few minutes you’ll see how understanding this characteristic of God can help us get unstuck and live an effective and fruitful Christian life.

A Powerful Yet Vulnerable God

In creating and loving us, Abba Father opened up His heart to painful wounding and rejection beyond our comprehension.

Our Father made Himself vulnerable to the pain of rejection by His wayward children.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).
Jesus was rejected by His own people and put to death by the agony of crucifixion.

We can grieve the Holy Spirit. Paul in Ephesians 4:30 says: “Do not grieve the Spirit of God.”

Our Father even suffers with those who suffer. “In all their affliction he was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9).

Then the ultimate pain of the Father: Jesus became sin for us, and the wrath of the Father fell on Jesus. The astonishing truth is that our sin separated the Father and Son during that dark time.

Our Father longs for relationship with us so much. He made Himself vulnerable to hurt from you and me.

Being stuck is missing the intimate relationship with Abba Father and hurting His heart.

Unstuck and on a Mission

The eleven disciples all ran away when Jesus was arrested. Peter himself denied that he even knew Jesus.

They were downcast, fearful, and confused after the crucifixion. All were stuck in their grief and shock in the Upper Room.

Then they met the Risen Lord! And then the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. Those encounters changed everything!

The all-powerful God of heaven and earth made Himself vulnerable and risked everything on a small band of ordinary men and women.

Stuck in their own grief and disappointment

in the Upper Room

And then…

Transformed and empowered by the presence of the Risen Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit!

You and I Unstuck and on a Mission!

Unstuck and Free!
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Dear friend, grasp the truth that the powerful God of the universe made Himself vulnerable to us. He knows what we are going through and feels the pain. He does not turn away from us but pursues us with a loving heart. Abba Father desires an intimate love relationship with us.

When I am stuck, I forget what I need and want and what my Father wants. I need a fresh encounter with my Lord to lift me out of my stuck-in-the-mud mindset. I picture Him lifting me out of the mud of ineffective and unfruitful living to an adventurous life on a mission with Him. This intimacy with my Lord is what I want and what He longs for, too.

God in His grace will come to you and lift you out of your stuck mindset. He sets you free to enjoy intimacy with Him. Then He gives you the honor of working with Him.

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

Beloved friend, we can live the life that Jesus died to give us! More to come. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for my blog post emails and receive a 7-Day Email Devotional Study.

Scammed! Love Lessons Learned

Scammed!
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An Interrupted Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Well, at least, I am writing this on Valentine’s Day (and the next day!). My plan was to write this on Saturday, the 13th, and have it ready for Valentine’s Day.

Life happened! I fell for an online scam. You know the kind. A pop-up says that you have malware or spyware and to call a number. I did and gave them access to my laptop. I even filled out the form to get their services. My credit card company declined my card as the transaction was for a possible fraudulent tech company. I called my credit card company, and they canceled my card and issued a new one.

That was yesterday. Today I got worried. Concentrating in church was difficult. They had access to my laptop yesterday and may have stolen personal information. I changed passwords and called my bank. Now I have to monitor everything.

I thought I was careful online. Well, quite honestly I made a foolish choice. I let them in. I gave them access. They were not Mac Support as they said they were. They lied, and I fell for it. They stole my time. I hope that’s all they stole.

An Interrupted Love Relationship

Now, these verses from 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 really spoke to me:

“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

How our enemy loves to deceive us and to lead our thinking away from pure love and devotion to Christ. And I hate to admit it, but I have given access to anxious, fearful, complaining, negative, critical, and judging thoughts. And that’s a partial list! I’ve allowed those thoughts to lodge in my mind and dwell there. Sometimes for a long time.

Interesting that our thoughts are led astray from devotion to Christ. My scam experience made me think more of how I give access to what I don’t want in my life. I make the choice. I need to admit that I choose what I ponder in my mind. You can’t stop wrong thoughts from coming in, but you sure can choose to think about something else.

I have made foolish and sinful choices based on those thoughts. I have spoken negative and complaining words, instead of words springing from a heart at rest in the Lord’s love.

Thankfully, the Lord’s kindness leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). He gives an awareness of those thoughts and how they are leading me away from what my heart longs for most—the intimate love relationship with Him. I choose to change my thinking and rejoice in the love I have in Christ.

A Renewed Focus on the Love Relationship

So now how about focusing our thoughts on Christ’s love for us and our love for Him? Why not turn your attention to this glorious and beautiful love relationship we have with Him? I turn away from worry and anxiety about the scam, and trust my loving Lord.

Imagine that you and I are sitting in Starbucks, sipping our lattes and enjoying time together. I ask you,

“What made you fall in love with Jesus? Why do you love Him so much? Tell me your love story.”

Your face lights up and glows as you share how Jesus captivates your heart, how you met Him, how He won your heart, and how His love delights you.

When you remember the times of darkness, pain, and loneliness, your doubts and questions and your Beloved’s faithfulness, tears of quiet joy flow. Isn’t it in those dark times that His love shines the brightest?

My eyes tear up as you tell your story. There is no greater story than the love story of our relationship with God.

My Heart’s Passion

Beloved friend, this is all about bringing our focus back to our love relationship with God.

I refuse to give my attention to any lies or thoughts that would lead me astray from my pure love for the Lord.

By the grace of God, I will not give the enemy access to steal my joy or bring any destruction into my life.

I will trust the Lord in all of life’s circumstances. He will always work everything together for good.

Nothing, nothing, nothing matters more than a passionate love relationship with the Lord.

His extravagant love will meet your heart’s deepest needs, and capture your heart.

Your heart will be ignited with the fire of His love for you.

As you can see, getting scammed has become a catalyst to making sure nothing leads me away from devotion to God. The scam has become a gift! Who would think that a scam could teach a love lesson? God can use anything!

I must add that the day of the scam was the last day of a 7-day fast. Interesting timing, isn’t it? I had never done an extended fast before. I highly recommend praying and fasting and seeking the Lord. He is so worthy of our love and devotion.

Your Love Story

God's Heart
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I encourage you to write or tell someone your love story. Write out a love letter to the Lord. Do whatever you can do to focus your thoughts on your beloved God. He loves you so much! Don’t let your thinking lead you away from pure devotion to God.

Dig deeply into God’s Word to be renewed in His love for you. Look for His heart.

Focus your thoughts on the Person and Work of Christ. My friends, Arabah Joy and Amanda Criss, have created an excellent tool, “Praying the Promises of the Cross, a 40-day prayer journal.” I am going through it right now and love it.

Here is the link below: I am not an affiliate. I just want you to get this fantastic tool.

Praying the Promises of the Cross, a 40-day prayer journal

Bloggers, writers, and anyone who wants to share their love story with God, I would enjoy publishing your experience of God’s love on my website. For information and guidelines, please email me at

christine email image

Pray with me for my scammer, Steve Williams. (His accent did not sound like his name.) He needs to know Jesus, too. Pray blessing on his life that he would turn away from the path he’s on to the Lord. God can do miracles. We already know that! You and I both experienced one when we became the Beloved of God.

My Guest Post: Abba Father’s Answer to Fear

 

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My Guest Post: Abba Father’s Answer to Fear

I had the honor of writing a guest post for my friend, Valerie Murray, for her “Facing Fear Series.” Click on the link below, and you’ll be able to read it:

My Guest Post at Cordof6.com

In this post, I share very personally about my struggles with the fear of rejection. You’ll be amazed at what our Father did. You’ll see what a blue parakeet had to do with it, too.

God’s Word and His presence bring reassuring comfort and courage to us when we face fear. I hope my testimony of our loving Abba Father’s work in my life will bring you encouragement.

Here is the link to my guest post: My Guest Post at Cordof6.com

Many blessings to you in this new year!