Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Refusal To Comply

I REFUSE to comply any longer to the schemes of my adversary.

He absolutely disgusts me. And his filth isn’t welcome on the doorstep of my life ANYMORE.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

You’re not qualified to have this job. You’ll probably be unemployed next season.

You’re not as attractive as you once were, so don’t be surprised if your spouse finds someone new.”

You can’t do anything right.”

“Why are you even wasting your time trying to pursue this dream? It’s not a dream, it’s a joke.

“No one’s ever going to marry you. You’re going to be single for the rest of your life.”

You’re never getting out of debt. You don’t even know how to use a budget. Stop while you’re ahead and avoid the disappointment.

Today, let me make this as clear for you as the Lord has for me.

The enemy is a LIAR. This is his full-time occupation. And his agenda includes nothing more than whispering deceitful lies straight into our minds. If we’re not careful, satan’s thoughts can become our thoughts. 

Think about that for a moment. 

It’s double deceit. We hear the lie. We accept the lie as our own thought. And then the lie  becomes truth. It goes from being a thought in our minds to a belief in our hearts.

I am beyond infuriated with these futile tactics served up as decoys for the entanglement of His beloved. 

We are children of the Most High God. We don’t have to tolerate this mess. Jesus died and conquered all sin and death so we can live in freedom and in truth.

We can’t change the truth. The truth is the truth. And the truth will set us free, beloved.

Look at the warning the Lord faithfully gives us in 1 Peter 5:8-9:

“Be self-controlled and alert (watchful, cautious, quick-witted, sharp). Your enemy (opponent, rival, antagonist) the devil prowls (wanders, roams) like a roaring (continuous or protracted noise) lion looking for someone to devour (consume, squander, destroy). Resist (fight, oppose, withstand) him, standing firm (strong, inflexible) in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same (identical, equivalent, equal) kind of sufferings (distress, agony, misfortune, heartache).” NIV

We must counteract the lies with God’s truth in order to have full victory.

Let’s try this one more time.

LIE:You’re not qualified to have this job. You’ll probably be unemployed next season.

TRUTH: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

LIE:You’re not as attractive as you once were, so don’t be surprised if your spouse finds someone new.”

TRUTH: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31

LIE:You can’t do anything right.”

TRUTH: “I can do all things through he who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

LIE: “Why are you even wasting your time trying to pursue this dream? It’s not a dream, it’s a joke.

TRUTH: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

LIE: “No one’s ever going to marry you. You’re going to be single for the rest of your life.”

TRUTH: “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15

LIE:You’re never getting out of debt. You don’t even know how to use a budget. Stop while you’re ahead and avoid the disappointment.

TRUTH: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

May we be alert, beloved. And refuse to comply.

Photo provided by nancysblog-seeker.blogspot.com

***This post was originally posted in January 2013

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This post was originally written in February of last year and one that I feel the Lord really wants to share today. Perhaps you have made some mistakes (join the club), but now you find yourself unable to move forward to live in the present and hope for your future. Yet we serve an omnipotent and omnipresent God that isn’t bound by time; Jesus is the Lord over your past, your present, and your future. But He is a gentleman and He must first be invited into your heart. This is not simply about salvation, but more so about inviting Jesus into the depths of your heart to search for any lingering wounds, painful memories, or past/present decisions that are binding you in the bondage of regret. He will always respond to the invitation (keep in mind that the door to your heart only has one knob and it’s on your side). Once He is welcome, then the healing begins. Today I want to encourage you to invite Him into your present (or past) cares, and  He will loosen their power from you. Beloved, tomorrow is not promised, so we must live our lives intentionally today to avoid future regrets.

“For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.’ Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:14-16

The famous American author and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau once stated “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

Regrets.

We’ve all had them at some point or another. Webster defines regret as “to mourn the loss or death of someone or something; the expression of sorrow”.

And most often it’s in the form of a missed opportunity. An opportunity to have loved someone, to have pursued a dream, to say “goodbye”, to forgive a hurt, to laugh with a friend, or to build something great.

It was a train that we should have caught. But we missed it.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

I don’t want to have regrets. And looking back at my life, I don’t ever want to mutter the words “it might have been.”

What about you?

It brings me comfort to know King David must have been feeling the same way. Psalm 90:12 states: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

It’s interesting the Lord makes this connection between numbering our days and obtaining a heart of wisdom. Why would He do this? I believe the Father wants us to grasp just how limited our time is here. With this understanding, we can purposefully live out our lives to the absolute fullest. And in so doing, we avoid the regrets.

“LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. ‘Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.” Psalm 39:4-5

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart; for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” Proverbs 3:1-2

“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.” Proverbs 3:19-20

We become intentional.

We no longer say “it can wait till tomorrow”. We do it today.

We seek His face TODAY.

We repent of our sin TODAY.

We love that family member TODAY.

We romance our spouse TODAY.

We take that step of faith TODAY.

We forgive that hurtful offense TODAY.

We make that phone call TODAY.

We begin paying off that debt TODAY.

We start writing that book TODAY.

We plan that trip TODAY.

“My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Proverbs 3:21-24

How many days do you have remaining? I did the calculations. And if I make it to be eighty years old, I’ll have 18,430 days.

18,430 days remaining to make an impact.

What things are you postponing for the future? I’d encourage you, my friends, to number your days and gain a heart of wisdom, so you may live a life rich in purpose. Don’t look back at the train you should have caught. The one you missed.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Instead, look forward to the one you can still catch today.

Photo provided by 4freephotos.com


The Train I Should Have Caught

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When You Can't Control the Crush

If you are a parent with a blossoming young woman in high school (she may enjoy reading this) or you yourself are a young woman in high school, college, or beyond, this may be just what you need to read today. And really no matter what your age or gender, this point remains true: your heart is worth being pursued, and Jesus delights in the dreams and desires of your life.

Dear Christian girl,

Please have crushes.

Please crush hard.

Please crush long.

Why? Because it is okay…because God made you for relationship…because marriage is a good desire. And ultimately, God wants the authenticity of your crushing heart, not your contrived crush-avoiding behavior.

You may have mistakenly heard that crushing is bad for you, or that the desire for marriage is a stumbling block that keeps us from contentment. But the truth is that our hearts are aching for that freedom to desire.

Because I had so deeply stifled my crushes (and berated myself for having them), I never truly gave the Lord access to those parts of my heart where a deep longing for a Godly marriage had existed since before I was even allowed to date.

When I did begin dating in my senior year of high school, all of those suppressed parts of my heart were suddenly indulged by the first boy to come along. He was funny and romantic in a teenage boy kind of way, and we shared some interests and some classes. Before I realized it, my heart was long gone.

All those years of suppressing crushes, of apologizing to God for them, and of trying really, really hard to not like anyone, to not think about anyone, to not wish I had a boyfriend, they were all gone. At my first permitted exchange of mild affection, I thought I was in love. My hope was to be the girl who only ever dated “the one” – this guy would be it.

Some ten years later, here is what I am learning about God:

He could have handled my crushes. He can definitely handle yours.

He can more than handle all my desires, actually. And He can more than satisfy yours.

Too often we limit the truth of “come just as you are” to those who are coming to the Lord for the first time. We would eagerly tell seekers with all of their sin and baggage to let Jesus take all of it away.

But is the Gospel only for the unsaved? Or is it powerful and pertinent to the Christian? What if we also knew that we could come just as we are, even after we’ve been washed by the blood?

What if we knew that to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1) meant to come with all your craziness so that the holiness and acceptance of Jesus covers over you?

What if we knew that to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2) meant that God wanted to take our old minds, with all of their crushing chaos, and mold them into trusting after Him?

What if our worship included trusting God with all of our mess, rather than attempting to clean ourselves up before we came to Him?

Because, believer, you cannot clean yourself up along; that is not what God desires of you. Even when you get married, you will still have unmet longings after the honeymoon. What will you do with the baby fever or the corporate ladder? Or the struggle to create the Pinterest dream home or the loneliness of big life changes?

Why not take Him at His word when He calls His throne GRACE? Why not trust Him when He promises to meet us with MERCY? What might happen if we were to just come?

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

When I recognize a desire that I cannot control, I chase it down to the feet of Jesus. There, I can beg for mercy and find Him. The desires are real and heavy, and while He may not take them away, He will step down into them with me. And we wrestle them together.

Day after day, night after night, I can pour my heart out to God, offering Him all of the tiny details and all of the monstrous realities. I can tell Him how much I want it, and He is not offended by petty crushes or my misplaced hopes. To the contrary, He remains our gracious and loving Lord.

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.” Psalm 38:9

When I bring God everything I want, He makes good on His promise to give me the desires of my heart. Only through my honesty will He openly and lovingly operate on my insides. The One who made my heart knows it truly, and only He can draw out the good desires and put to death the wicked ones. He alone is large enough to pick apart what overwhelms me.

“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

If you ever doubt this, would you really believe that we might somehow manhandle God? We can no more manipulate Him with our madness than we can convince the sun to rise even one moment early. But when we do surrender the madness to Him, His tender hands reach through and hold our hearts with love. He does not manhandle or manipulate, but He does transform. In the openness of my heart before God, all the guilt and shame of wanting wrongly are washed away, and this love He shows to me when I’m absolutely torn apart is the way He mends my broken heart.

So, Christian, we should be the biggest wanters on the planet. Our desires should be gigantic and bold because our God is more glorious and beautiful than anything we could ask for or imagine. He has made all things beautiful in their own time, and He has planted eternity in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

You cannot want something so badly that God cannot satisfy you. Your heart is not capable of wanting anything more outrageous than God. And He actually did the outrageous to give you Himself.

So beloved, want hard. Crush big. Hope for marriage helplessly. God can handle you and all the things inside your heart.

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.” Psalm 68:19

In fact, your desires may have been placed there for such a time as this. He may draw your heart into a place of humbled awe when He provides exactly what He has led your heart to long for. Yes, sometimes He does just that.

But you certainly can find in Jesus the fulfillment of all your desires. Whether in this life or the next, your heart has ultimately ached for only One. And while the pain of longings unmet in this life may never be immediately relieved, the Word of God guarantees that He will meet you where you are and work all things out for your good and for His glory.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose…to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29

Meet our Guest Contributor:

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Katie Kump is an Army wife and nanny pressing hard into her identity as God’s beloved. Throughout high school and college she was continually asking God for a mentor, a woman just a handful of years ahead of her to intentionally give wisdom and spiritual guidance. This prayer seemed to go unanswered until two years ago. As the unmet longing has reverberated over the last decade, the Lord has allowed it to turn Katie’s heart toward joyful discipleship with younger women. In addition to leading a discipleship group at Georgia Tech, Katie’s alma mater, she is pouring her heart into a new blog for young women of the Church. You can find her and best friend, Lauren, over at the Dearly Beloved Blog.

 

Photo provided by Katie Kump

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