Tis The Season – For a Change of Heart

I should probably preface this post by saying it is not at all strange for me to be thinking or daydreaming about all things Christmas, no matter what time of year it is. You see, I am a Christmasaholic. Even as I sit in my rocking chair on my front porch enjoying this beautiful 72 degree May evening in Kentucky; I can’t help but wish it was almost Christmas again.

My mind was repeating, the song “Pretty Paper” by Randy Travis. If you’ve ever heard it, I’m sure the unique voice of Mr. Travis is ringing through your ears with those familiar words. I slowly rock back and forth as I watch the sunset over the horses in the field, humming the holiday tune. But the rocking stopped, and I felt myself scowling as I paused on the following lyrics:

“Crowded street, busy feet, hustle by him
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won’t pass him by
Should you stop? Better not, much too busy
You’re in a hurry, my how time does fly
In the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter, he cries….”

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My feelings of holiday spirit quickly shifted to ones of concern and sadness. How often have I been guilty of that very thing? How many times have I been too busy or distracted to notice someone I could help? I’m flooded with conviction as I think of this morning’s drive to work. It was pouring rain; I could hardly see through the windshield. Through the rapid swiping of the wipers I could see a man riding his bike in the same direction I was headed. A raincoat synched around his face and wearing a backpack; I am confident he was doing what he could to get to the school that’s a few miles down the road. The next thing I know, I am looking at him through my rearview mirror as I drive on. I could’ve stopped. I could’ve put his bike in the back of my SUV and got him out of the rain. Yes, I would’ve gotten drenched, and I had no way of knowing if he was a good person or not (you know, all the excuses I let justify me not doing the right thing). But isn’t that the point? Sacrificing for someone else?

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2

My heart aches at the thought that our world, or should I say, the people in it, can be described much more accurately by the lyrics of that Christmas song than by the example set by our savior.

Think about the last time someone did something nice for you that was a complete surprise. Those moments in life when people go the extra mile to encourage and lift us up really makes us feel special. Why do their actions have that effect on us? I’m sorry to say that they probably stand out because it’s so different from what we experience the rest of the time. Day in and day out, most of us are forced to deal with people who care more about themselves than they care about others.

We have allowed ourselves to become a people who are no longer willing to carry the burden for someone else. We make every excuse in the world to justify our behavior. “I’ve got my own problems; I can’t worry about them right now.” “Someone else will do it; I just don’t have time.” Or my favorite, “I just don’t feel called to do that.” So engulfed in the business and worldly things we have worked so hard for; we are suffocating from our toxic self-centeredness as we choke God out of every aspect of our lives and effortlessly make those in need around us invisible. Just look away, don’t make eye contact…the second you are out of sight, they are out of your mind.

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These quotes from Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love are spot on:
“God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.” – Chan isn’t referring to how we love our families and friends. And neither is God.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:43

How are you doing in that area of life? How often do you find yourself showing love, compassion, and respect for those that aren’t your favorite people in the world? One of God’s greatest commandments is for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. To regard their needs and desires as highly as we regard our own. THAT is what God measures our lives by…are we imitating the life of our savior and putting the needs of others above our own?

“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.”

Chan is reminding us that God didn’t create you and me to merely exist and make our goal in life to get as much money as possible so we can be as comfortable as possible. He puts us where we are because He has something for each of us to do at that very moment. I passed that man on his bike and FAILED! God’s plan was still fulfilled. Someone did stop to help him. I drove right past an opportunity to serve and glorify God and be used by Him out of complete and utter selfishness. So He used someone else. That shouldn’t be a relief to anyone. I want to stand before a Holy God and hear Him say, “Well Done Daughter, Well done.” Not, “Is this all you did with the time I gave you.”

“Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?” – I don’t think Mr. Chan needs my help explaining this one at all, do you?

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

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Proverbs 19:22 tells us that we crave as human beings unfailing love and that no person can live up to that role (Proverbs 20:6). But there is an unfailing love that will fill the craving! It is god’s sake. We were designed to crave an unfailing love, by a God that is nothing but unfailing love. See we were created to find God and to be satisfied in His love. Psalm 136 has an overwhelming pattern that occurs. Some would say it screams it “For his steadfast love endures forever.” Praise God! Thank you, Lord, for your love never ends, it never leaves, it never is exhausted, it is honest, it is loyal, it never keeps a record of wrong doing, it never is puffed up or inflated, it is always constant. Sound familiar? Turn over to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 yes the love chapter!! Our God’s love, agape love; this is the love that Proverbs 19:22 tells us that we crave and need so badly. God’s love is only found in Jesus Christ. The perfect love, the divine love the perfect love that 1 John 4:18 says perfect love drives out fear. Listen, this perfect love can never be severed when Jesus Christ is abiding in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Just like Paul says in Romans 8:38-39 nothing can separate us from the love of God once we are His. We have a love that is steadfast and endures forever!! If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior, please reflect on your need for unfailing love. Do you crave it? Do you find yourself seeking to find an everlasting stable love? If you do friend, can I tell you that you will not find it in another human or object, but you will find it in the arms of Grace, Christ Jesus! Would that make you cry out to Him today? Would you believe and profess Christ as the Messiah, The Savior of the World, The Son of God that died took the wrath of God upon Himself? For our sins and rose again and ascended into heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of the Father and that one day soon is coming back to rule and reign as our King! If you cried out today I am praying for you I am praying you will find a local body of believers, and you would have a hunger for the Word of God. I pray you would join a local body of believers and profess to them that Jesus is Lord over your life and be baptized and serve God for the rest of your days. barefeet

I promise you this following Christ may not always be easy, and there will be days that you will fight for your faith, but His love endures forever, and He will keep you in His perfect love! You can always trust and know that! Just a short blog post today, but I feel that just meditating on “His steadfast love endures forever” is sometimes all we need to remind our souls that we are loved beyond measure. This life can be downright cruel, and what we need more than ever in this fallen world is the unfailing love of Jesus Christ. 

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Reluctant Relationships

Somebody asked me if I thought time changes a relationship! I had to think for a while. I think it can if we let it, but no I don’t think time changes any relationship. I think people change relationships with assumptions and feelings. If the heart is in it, then it will last. If the heart lets’s go, then the mind lets go, then the soul lets’s go then it wither’s! Love makes a relationship last, time just test’s a relationship. It takes two to communicate. You decide! You chose. I pray we don’t throw out relationships because of what we feel, but I pray we stay in long-suffering in our relationships. This might be the biggest challenge God has given me! See, I tend to be a guarded fortress when I “feel” uncomfortable. That’s not the mind of Christ or the heart of Christ! That is not healthy, and it surely is not serving anyone but old faithful misery. There are times that I get disappointed, hurt, angry, sad, depressed, happy, silly, embarrassed, humiliated in relationships; we all do, there are things we would take back in a blink of an eye because we know the outcome, and we want to avoid it at all cost! There are times that I would go back and say this better or do that this way, but we do not have that option. We have right now to be gentle with one another. We can choose to look at the bigger picture in a person’s life and understand that they are just as broken and hurting as we are. The Lord can give us compassion and will freely give us if we ask. I pray that each of us gives and bless someone else today. That we can see past the mess and see a person that is just as broken and bruised as I am. Listen, if God has called you to be a beautiful friend to someone do it with the excellence of Christ. If God has given you, a companion love them like Christ loved the church! If God gave you any relationship, then let that relationship bring glory and honor to Him! The enemy loves nothing more to divide and bring strife. He gave it all so we all could have Him but he also gave it all so that we would be a kingdom family one day. So choosing today to take my advice I am purposing my mind on heavenly things. ( Colossians 3:2). I want to fill the void of my heart with the love of Jesus Christ ( Ephesians 2:4-5) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the vast love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
I purpose in my mind, heart and soul that 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; In relationships we need to understand that there is only one that was ever meant to fill us when we are dry and wandering in the desert. I choose to purpose my mind when I feel like I am in the wilderness that He will never leave me nor forsake me. That is the only thing that has kept me going through my life. I pray that He is what pushes you forward too! If not would you please open your heart to the great love and grace and mercy God has planned for you. That perfect grace, mercy, and salvation came from His throne in Heaven made Himself flesh and fellowship with humanity so that He could become sin and take it away from humankind so that we could be restored back to the Father! He bore every curse/sin mentally, physically, spiritually so that we could be with Him forever. And He declared that on the third day when He rose from the tomb! What a mighty God we serve and such love flows from the living water! I pray with all my heart that you know that love! That you purpose the Word of God over your mind, heart, and soul. Lord, we praise you! In your mighty and holy name, Jesus let this be a balm to a hurting heart! Lord your word never goes out void! Thank you, Jesus! Amenthholding-hands

The Road

The Road
The road leading to Christ can be exciting, joyful, mournful, dim, bursting full of light. There will be times of fellowship, and there will be times where no one dares to go with you. There will be loneliness in the physical realm. Rest assured though that you have a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) That is Jesus; He will never leave nor forsake you. In the days of loneliness or maybe you just “feel” like you have a million people around but you “feel” like you have never been more lonely. Let me tell you that in those moments the enemy of God is twisting the reality of your situation and turning your feelings. I will agree that people are disloyal, untrustworthy, uncaring, they betray. They do this because they are flesh, and we know we do not war against flesh and blood, but principalities and darkness, evil rulers of our time. Our fight is spiritual this is where our struggle is!! (Ephesians Chapter 6)

This chapter is a golden chapter today it allows our insight into understanding that human beings betray, are unloyal, uncaring, hateful, abusive, downright mean at times, but this is not to be our focus! Switch it up on the enemy! You are not in the fight alone! If you have Jesus, you have it all! Might not “feel” like it, but as I have told you all before that the heart is deceptive and lies to us regularly (Jer. 17:9). This is why we need the Word of God to check ourselves against every day! To weed out the weeds of the enemy untruth and deception and even our flesh lies and deception away from our hearts so that the seeds of the harvest can grow and take root in our heart. That seed is the Word of God, and it can only be shown by reading, studying, applying, and speaking the Word over and intopathroad your situation.

 

Don’t allow the deception of your feelings keep you in anger, fear, loneliness, anxiety, most of all a prisoner or slave to your emotions. I am not saying opinions don’t matter; I am saying run to the word of God with your feelings and check them. You struggle with them, and I struggle with them but to grow up in Christ, we must tenderly learn that our feelings are deceptive, and the only thing that we can 100 percent rely on is God. Like all the people in the Bible, Christ must become greater, and I must become less. When this process happens, freedom starts to happen The Freedom of Jesus Christ! Oh that my friends, is the sweetest freedom there is. The only freedom that we have in this dying world. Our hope is in you Jesus! Only in You! Sweet one, reading this with tears down your cheeks don’t be discouraged by loneliness, it is just not true. Jesus is right there wiping the tears of your heart.

 

Allow Him to whisper to your heart today and fill you up with His love. We all need it, we all were created for it! Just let Him sweep you off your feet! I am posting the scriptures I want you all to remember, no matter what you are loved, favored, and cared for by the hands of the Living God. You are not alone; He goes with you!

Psalm 25:16-17
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.

Isaiah 41:10
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 68:5-6

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in this holy habitation. 6 God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
A truth that God is with us

 

Matthew 28:20
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

 

When you have these feelings and thoughts run to prayer

 

1 Peter 5:7-8
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

 

I am praying for you and cheering you on today! Do not think that you are alone for one second! “The God that see’s” as Hagar said Is watching you and has his eye on the situation! He is faithful!

I pray and hope that you find Him today!

Your sister in Christ,

Kim

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