How God says to respond during the pandemic….

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“I feel like everyone, everywhere has lost their minds…..”

This is  a quote that came out of my mouth several times during the past week and a half. Between the Facebook posts, conflicting news reports, and aggression from people over small things, I had come to the conclusion that the world has lost it’s mind. Things seemed so out of sync.

Once, only a few short weeks ago,  this pandemic had started bringing out the best in people like when we saw millions of hearts in the windows of homes across the country in support of our essential workers and to lift the spirits of those who saw them. People were social distancing even though it was hard to not see loved ones. We were protecting each other because we cared about each other. Everyone was coming together, regardless of political, religious, or other belief systems. The world recognized ourselves as the human race – a united group of people who together would help defeat a virus called Covid-19.

Fast-forward a few weeks to the present…..People are playing politics even though the virus doesn’t care how you vote. People are condemning others because of the choices they are making for their family. Others are name-calling and arguing back and forth like they were on an elementary playground. So many are only focusing on themselves and what affects them – selfish behaviors are becoming the norm.

Because I am a rule-follower, ever since I could walk and talk, I have been on the receiving end of these comments. Because I am continuing to shelter in place I have been told that I am “caving to the political agendas instead of fighting for my rights and freedom.” Because I wear a mask, I have been told that I am letting fear get the better of me. Because I am not “bucking the system” I have been called a sheep. And the lowest blow of last week was being told that I wasn’t really a Christian if I was allowing myself to be told what to do by those in power. That because I don’t speak out against the leaders of my state and nation, I must not be a true Christian. (mouth drop)

As a child I was always taught to respect those in authority. From my parents, my elders, teachers at school, etc. I was taught the important lesson of respect and how to follow the rules.

Titus 3:1-2 saysRemind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (NIV)

The Message puts it more bluntly…. Titus 3:1-2 (MSG) “Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people should be bighearted and courteous.”

Romans 13:1-7 says this “Every person must obey the leaders of the land. There is no power given but from God, and all leaders are allowed by God. The person who does not obey the leaders of the land is working against what God has done. Anyone who does that will be punished.

Those who do right do not have to be afraid of the leaders. Those who do wrong are afraid of them. Do you want to be free from fear of them? Then do what is right. You will be respected instead. Leaders are God’s servants to help you. If you do wrong, you should be afraid. They have the power to punish you. They work for God. They do what God wants done to those who do wrong.

You must obey the leaders of the land, not only to keep from God’s anger, but so your own heart will have peace. It is right for you to pay taxes because the leaders of the land are servants for God who care for these things. Pay taxes to whom taxes are to be paid. Be afraid of those you should fear. Respect those you should respect.” (NIV)

Scripture says this over and over again.

1 Peter 2:13 Obey the head leader of the country and all other leaders over you. This pleases the Lord. (NIV)

Instead of condemning our leaders, God actually says we should be PRAYING for them! We need to be praying for wisdom for our leaders. Even if we don’t agree with what they are choosing to do, God commands us to pray for them.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 says First of all, I ask you to pray much for all men and to give thanks for them. Pray for kings and all others who are in power over us so we might live quiet God-like lives in peace. It is good when you pray like this. It pleases God Who is the One Who saves. He wants all people to be saved from the punishment of sin. He wants them to come to know the truth.” (NIV)

God even shows us what to do when we disagree with someone else. In 1 Peter 3:15 He says, “Your heart should be holy and set apart for the Lord God. Always be ready to tell everyone who asks you why you believe as you do. Be gentle as you speak and show respect.”

As we go about our weeks and months ahead, I pray that everyone can be a little bit kinder, thinking about others, and representing themselves as Christ has asked us to. God gave us the two most important commandments:

  1. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
  2. You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.

So whether you agree with someone (leadership included), let’s move forward with a lot more love as we get through this pandemic together.

 

Daughter of the King

At our Women of Worth event at my church I had the privilege to share a devotional that I had not intended to write, but was prompted by the Lord to do so. I hope and pray it speaks to your heart so you know your worth in Him!

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“For as long as I can remember I have loved the thought of being a princess…. What little girl doesn’t at some point dream of that? But many times throughout my life I have felt more like the a lady in waiting, not worthy of being called royalty. I have always been a fan of the Princess Diaries movies from Disney. I mean what one of us wouldn’t love to find out that have been a princess all along? That we have a castle? A kingdom to serve? How incredible would that be? But here is the good news….. we ARE all princesses! We will inherit the Kingdom of God as His heirs! He has called us, as His daughters, to serve His people right here on Earth, so that they too will know their inheritance as heirs of the Kingdom as well.

Hear these words ladies and KNOW they are true.

1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.

John says that God gave those who believe in Him the right to be called children of God, therefore I am His daughter. As the King of Kings, that makes me a princess and heir to the Kingdom of God.

There are so many days where I feel like the kingdom servant instead of a princess, while doing the daily grind of chores, parenting my children , and keeping my house in order. But a speaker once told me about how she had to remind herself of her royal status by taking these moments and making them a moment to feel like a princess. She used to vacuum with a tiara on her head…. So of course, I had to try this! And many times if you drop by my house when I am vacuuming, you would see my tiara on the top of my head! Because now I wasn’t a servant in my house… I was the Princess that was serving her people as God called her to do.

There are days I feel like I am not living as royalty and am failing as a princess. I look in the mirror and I see all of the flaws and failures. I see someone who needs to be more patient, more loving, less selfish, needs to take better care of herself, her family, etc. But that isn’t what our Father sees. He sees us as His children with unconditional love. He calls us BEAUTIFUL!  Our Father – THE KING – calls us His children and is enthralled by our beauty…. Check out Psalm 45!

And someday He will call us Home to the Kingdom and we will be with Him forever. He has prepared a room in the Kingdom for us….. mine will look like a room in Cinderella’s castle from Disney world. But until that time, we wait in anticipation for the Father to return just as an eager child waits at the window for “Daddy” to come home from work. When we return to our heavenly home with Him He will recognize us as His daughters because it says so in His love letters to us — the Bible!

This morning as we come together to have fellowship with our sisters at our tables, while we learn together about this inheritance we possess, and serve together for the Kingdom of our Father, I pray that you begin to feel like the princess you truly are. You are a daughter of GOD! Even on days when you feel wounded, like an outcast, lonely and afraid, remember you possess the inherent right to be regal, powerful, confident, joyful, a peacemaker, an overcomer who is loyal, faithful, and seeks above all to bring honor to our Father’s name and reputation.

So polish up your crowns and let’s act like the royalty we are.”

 

 

My response to the Bachelor Fantasy Suites February 2020…

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I have been watching the Bachelor since 2006 when I was a single girl in my apartment dreaming of my own love story. I used to get captivated in the romantic settings, dates, and of course those long dramatic stares into the Bachelor’s eyes…

Now 14 years later I am still captivated by this “reality” TV show because I am a sucker for watching shows about people and how they live. I love watching  and studying their personalities, stories, and their characters.

This season has been less than thrilling, even though Chris Harrison has promised it will be the “most dramatic season yet.” Same old drama between the girls, same internal conflict with the Bachelor who is in love with more than one girl…. nothing new…. or is there?!

Last night we saw Madison, one of the finalists, who has been vocal about her faith through her actions and then last night through her words as well. Madison has not allowed herself to get caught up in the other girls drama and has carried herself through this process with dignity and class. She has also been very strong expressing her convictions to wait to have sex until her wedding night. Since this was the fantasy suite week where the finalists are allowed an overnight date (which allows for a more physical relationship to form – usually sex), Madison had pulled Peter aside and had expressed to him that she wasn’t sure she could continue in this process if he was going to become physically intimate with the other two girls. She didn’t want to give him an ultimatum but wanted him to know where her heart was. Ultimately, Peter chose to spend the night with these other two women in their fantasy suite during their overnight dates and then was upfront with Madison on the evening of their fantasy suite date. She handled herself with grace and poise, even though her heart was breaking because he hadn’t put value on her words a few nights before about her ultimatum. After watching a heartbreaking conversation where she stood very strong in her convictions and didn’t allow her standards to lessen, she eliminated herself from the show.

As I was processing through what just happened on national television, I kept thinking of this verse that has always been a big part of my life (especially through my teenage years). Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Madison just showed Christian girls everywhere that you should value yourself enough to not hold yourself to the world’s standards, but to hold yourself to the standards laid out in the Bible. She also told young women everywhere to value themselves enough to not settle for something less than what you want. She knows her value and wants her future spouse to value her in the same regard.

She didn’t portray it as being an easy choice, because let’s be honest, making the right choice isn’t always the easiest option. She was heart-broken and disappointed. But she knew that Jesus has a plan for her and is trusting in that instead of trusting in her feelings for Peter alone.

As I watched this unfold and processed through it, it gave me hope for my own daughter. I pray that Lucy will someday hold herself to a high standard because she is worth it. Her value shouldn’t just be in what the world (or even her future husband) thinks of her. It should be the value that Jesus places on her. He loved her enough to die on cross for her. He calls her beautiful and His princess. He says in Proverbs 3:5 “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” My prayer is that Lucy will always know that worth and continue to follow God’s standards, not the world’s.

CHALLENGE: This week let’s pray for our daughters and sons. Pray that they will come to know their worth to God and continue to hold themselves to a high standard. Pray that they will go against the grain in this world and shine their lights for Jesus.

When Christmas Comes Early….

 

When Christmas Comes Early

It’s that time of year again! It’s the holiday season!

I recently came across an article on Facebook about how psychologists have determined that people who decorate early for Christmas are truly happier people. These posts have been posted and re-posted again all over my social media. Being one of those people who can’t wait to start the Christmas season I was excited to find out that my “pre-holiday excitement” is actually good for me! Many of my friends and family members are also in this same state of mind. Then I asked myself

“Why are we as a society so anxious to get the Christmas season started?”

Every year it seems signs of Christmas start showing up earlier and earlier in the retail world. I even got my Hallmark ornament preview invitation as early as June this year! Hobby Lobby and other craft stores begin their holiday sales before school starts. Many other retail stores also begin putting our their Christmas decor/gifts as soon as Halloween ends (give or take a few days).

I know many people don’t like seeing Christmas before Thanksgiving has happened, but for me I have an overwhelming underlying joy from seeing the brightly colored bows, festive green trees, and hearing Bing Crosby singing “It’s Beginning to Look like Christmas” over the speaker system while shopping through the stores. And I don’t feel like I am alone.

Next weekend (the weekend before Thanksgiving) we are decorating our house for Christmas — the tree, the mantle, etc! We will be watching the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movies on repeat and playing all of our favorite nostalgic Christmas tunes! Why? Because of the hope, peace, joy, and love Christmas brings to us all!

As I was reflecting on WHY the world is so anxious for Christmas, myself included, I decided it’s because of what the season means to so many of us. Christmas is a time of advent which is a time when we remember and anticipate the arrival of Jesus. When we light the advent candles they represent our feelings of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. These are things our world desires whether they are celebrating Christmas as Christians or not. It seems that during the holidays people are a little bit kinder or more giving. People smile more and wish each other well! There is an overwhelming season of peace (even when it seems crazy and chaotic).

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

So if you find yourself singing “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World” early this year, is it because you really are desiring and pursuing Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love? Don’t feel guilty because you are celebrating “early” this year….. because we need to celebrate Jesus all year long! Embrace Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love today and everyday —- feel Christmas all year long! Celebrate the Gift that was given to us from our Heavenly Father and share it with all you encounter.

Happy Holiday Season my friends!