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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Freedom of Truth

"Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
                                                                  Philippians 4:8

I've spent a lot of my life in prison - not a prison made of metal bars but a prison of crippling lies.

Our world so often distorts the truth and makes us believe that lies are truth.

That our income determines our value.

That we must be young and impossibly thin to be beautiful.

That our life is a failure if we aren't honored or recognized for things we have done.

That possessions matter more than people.

With God's grace, I am learning slowly but surely that His truth often does not match up with the world's skewed version.

His truth calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

His truth calls us to make sacrifices for others instead of always putting our own needs first.

His truth tells us to move beyond the powerful pull of destructive thoughts and feelings.

God's truths are not always easy but they are always life-giving.

They show us the things that really matter in the end.

Love

Compassion

Kindness

Honesty

Faithfulness

Humility

Self-control

Peace

Patience

Joy

Fruits of the Spirit that transcend the passing fads and passions of this fallen world.

I pray that we may all come to know and live by God's unchanging truth and love and be set free from whatever imprisons us.

"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence."
                                                                             Acts 2:28
                     

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Boundaries

"Barriers set relationships on a regressive course that leads to isolation.  Boundaries set relationships on a progressive course that leads to connection."
                                                        Lysa TerKeurst
                                                        Unglued (p. 85)

I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't struggled with boundaries.

I find it so hard to say the simple word "no" and to set limits on my behavior.

If I'm involved in a conversation, I don't want it to end.

If someone needs my help, I don't want to disappoint them.

If someone asks me for something, I don't want to to turn them away.

But painful lessons in reality have taught me that I can't be all things to all people - and I wasn't meant to be.  That's God's job.

When I try to give or be more than I am capable of I become depleted and defeated.  I shut myself off from others so I won't have to feel the disappointment of not meeting their expectations.  Walls of resentment become barriers and cut off healthy communication.

I am learning through God's grace that I cannot always be who others need me to be.  I will let others down and feel saddened by my weaknesses and limitations.  But ultimately these are only reminders that I am not God.  My job is to stay closely connected to Him through prayer and His Word so that I can discern the things I am truly called to do and leave the rest to Him through  faith.  My job begins with listening.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
                                                        Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Labels

Labels are such a quick and convenient way for us to safely put ourselves and others into a comfortable box.  Although the box may have the illusion of being comfortable and safe, it is really nothing more than a prison keeping our self or someone else from expressing the freedom of who they really are.

We are each on individual and unique expression of God's eternal and unfathomable creativity.

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

We all have parts of ourselves that need to grow into fullness and other parts of ourselves that need to be chiseled away by the painful experiences we endure.  But the truth of who we are - who we were created to be - is a unique and beautiful masterpiece never to be created again in all eternity.

May we have the grace to see ourselves and one another as the wondrous works of art that we are, casting aside the hurtful lies and limitations of labels and living instead in love.