Why You Can't Waste Today Being Angry--Pray For Noah Chamberlin's Family

Why You Can't Waste Today Being Angry--Pray For Noah Chamberlin's Family

I don’t have time for this today. I have so much to do. So many other things in my head. I have places to go, things to do, people to see. But instead, I’m sitting here grieving and crying my heart out. The tears are flat out ignoring my will to stop and pull myself together. So I’m going with it today. I’m just going to let myself be sad. I can’t help it.

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How To Meet With Jesus When You Want To Stay In Bed

How To Meet With Jesus When You Want To Stay In Bed

The worst part about having a bad dream is the insufferable feeling that my voice is building in my throat but my mouth can’t seem to release the scream.

It happened again last night. Someone was accusing me of a crime I didn’t commit and try as I might, I couldn’t shake the shackles in my throat to protest. So I woke up, churned up, and shaky for no good reason.

The nightmare was a symbol of my day yesterday. It was a doozey. It seemed that at every turn, someone was trying to thwart me. Silence me. Minimize me. Objectify me. Reject me. Steam roll right over me and leave me feeling flatter than a pancake. Those who tried to help, hindered. By the end of the night, I was a tearful mess and though I hoped that sleep would bring peace, it only brought panic.

The temptation this early morning is to assign the sinfulness of man to God and to bounce around the idea that maybe God doesn’t really care about me anymore. I had to fight hard against the heaviness of a feather-light bed sheet to untangle both my heart and my limbs so I could read my Bible.

I came begrudgingly to the table that the Lord set before me though I knew that He had run as fast as He could to meet me while I dawdled and drug my feet. I came because the alternative was doing me no earthly good.

There was no magical revelation as I read in 1 Chronicles or Romans that spoke directly to my current circumstances, and there was no flood of peace when I opened my mouth to pray. But there was commitment. And honesty. And I knew that the Lord was listening to the unspoken language of my heart.  Sometimes, that’s enough. It’s enough to know that He loves me unconditionally as it says in Romans 8:31-39 (MSG):

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

I can’t help but believe that I’m not the only one feeling a bit bruised by people this morning. Maybe you can relate? Perhaps you are tempted to turn your cheek to the other wall and avoid God too? To throw the baby out with the bath water?

Let’s not.

Let’s be people who persevere and believe the best about our Savior Who is worthy of our gratitude even when things don’t go “our way.” Come to Him and at the very least, be still and know that He is God.

Let’s meet at His table regardless of our difficult marriages, our messy friendships, our physical pain, or our failures. We may not be at a place to feast on the fattened calf but even the crumbs at the Master’s table are more than enough to satisfy.  The Truth that He sees us and is intentional in the details of our lives is not the stuff of dreams. It’s a blessed reality for those of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, even when it seems that everything is against us. He is always FOR us. Sticking up for us. He is our voice when we can’t find our own.

When I meditate on God’s love for me I not only find my voice, it sings.


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Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades of Gray (And You Shouldn't Either)

Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades Of Gray And You Shouldn't Either

Hey Christian! I want you to consider a different kind of approach to the very loud protesting against the upcoming movie, 50 Shades of Gray this Valentine’s Day weekend.

I see it everywhere I turn in Christian circles lately-women and men posting scathing protests against any believer or even the secular public who might support a film that contains graphic sex and blurred lines between love and abuse.

But I won’t.

And I don’t say that with pride and a puffed up chest either. I say it with sadness, honestly.

Here’s why:

  1. If my main objective as a Christ-follower is to be a light and to be known for how I love others, then publicly protesting a film on a moral level will only pit me against my target audience for sharing the message of Jesus Christ and His love.

How open is an unbeliever going to be if I spend my time coming across as judgmental and close-minded, even if I am being neither of those things? Because that will be the perception.

And perceptions matter.

I firmly believe that living a quiet, yet stalwart life for Christ is the testimony we need to portray to the world:

 …and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders… I Thessalonians 4:11-12b

Offending others intentionally is foolish, friends. Gain their respect so that when the time comes that they hunger for something beyond the emptiness of the bedroom or the pursuit of the boardroom, or the burdens of life, you are the first person they want to approach, instead of avoid.

But if those around us only see believers standing with a fist and building brick walls with our words, then they will never consider us respectable people that they would want to have a conversation with about our differing views.

Conisder Chik-fil-A's Dan Cathy's friendship with gay activist Shane L. Windmeyer. I lOVE these guys!

How can we publicly condemn others for having a sinful belief system and then think that they will come to our homes for dinner or accept Living Water from our hands when we run off at the mouth?

  1. As a passionate Christ-follower, I want to be known by what I stand FOR not what I stand AGAINST.

You won’t find a more passionate advocate for all things good and praise-worthy when it comes to what I choose to dwell on and promote. You can bet that I will stand for life, for integrity, for Biblical love and if you knew me personally, you would know that I am no pushover when it comes to Truth.

But conversations about deep heart issues are best held between people who have mutual respect for one another-something that is void in a public protest.  I’m happy to talk through my beliefs with anyone who comes to me and asks. And in that conversation I hope I will do as much listening as talking.

There is enough negativity in social media already. As a believer, the last thing I want to do is add to it. My prayer is that I will be known as someone who believes the best about others, gives them the benefit of the doubt, seeks good in the world around me, and pursues it.

  1. Controversial topics rarely edify those who “listen” in the public forum.

Words can bring healing or cut like a dagger. They have the power to bring freedom or implement bondage.

Invite or alienate.

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Christ-follower, your “neighbors” are listening. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and ask yourself how you come across to them. Would you approach, YOU, if you were someone who largely disagreed with your views? Are you being kind and gentle while still being a man or woman of integrity?

I’ll tell you what. I know a lot of beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ who are being staunch and vocal about the debate of 50 Shades of Gray. They are signing petitions and doling out heaping measures of guilt. I love these people. But every time I see them rail on this film and those “Hollywood” people that my husband and I have given up EVERYTHING to reach and to love in practical ways, our job as faith-friendly producers and missionaries in a very secular environment gets that much harder. We get lumped into that pool of “Christians” who are judgmental and hateful. And all those people who we care about so deeply retreat a little further from our message of the Gospel.

I could just weep over it. And I have.

I don’t feel grace or benefited when I see Christ-followers waving banners of protest and shaming the world for being the world. I feel sick. Disgusted. Saddened.

Anything but edified.

Listen, I’m not saying that we shouldn't have convictions about issues, but I think we need to reconsider the forum and the decorum with which we discuss these matters.

Live your life quietly. Love God. Love others unconditionally-even those who will see 50 Shades of Gray this weekend.

Radiate joy in good times and bad.

Make choices that are counter-culture and raise your kids to do the same.

Be satisfied in Christ and the world will take notice.

And because you are known for your kindness and convictions that you live out in everyday life, you will be given opportunities to share Christ in a personal way.

The light of your life is more effective than a thousand petitions. And far more reflective of Christ who pulled up a chair to eat with “sinners” whom he preferred over the self-righteous of His day.

Be a light on a hill that welcomes the lost and the weary and when the many gray areas of this world dim and begin to reveal themselves for the darkness and void that they are. The light you radiate in word and deed will be a welcome change in the world around you.

YOUR TURN! What do you think are the best ways to stand for your beliefs while also loving others?

(NOTE: This post is not meant to be a discussion about whether or not you or anyone should or should not see this particular film. It's a discussion of the "forum and decorum" of how we engage culture regarding issues of morality as Christ-followers. If your comments don't fit the nature of the discussion, they will most likely be removed.)

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