F365: Fearless to Drop Your Rocks

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Public Stonings

They still happen today. Barbaric, inhumane, and bloody. Stones of death are hurled by hands of hatred and hearts of vengeance, until the victim is a deformed mass of flesh, barely resembling its former self.

I don’t know how any person could stand and watch such violence and not be deeply grieved..even haunted by the blatant disregard for the sanctity of life.

I think it’s safe to say, 99% of the people on this planet would agree this is absolutely worthy of a protest. Resonating deep inside our moral compass, we know this brutal act is way off “True North.” There must be a better way. No, let me rephrase that: There IS a better way.

The other day I witnessed a different kind of stoning. One just as bloody and hateful, as people violently pitched stones of accusation, insults, judgement, lies, half-truths (and even full-truths), at one another in an attempt to “be right.” And most of these people were Christians. The Church. Only at the end of it all, the only thing left was a deformed mass of church, barely resembling her former self.

Pain was flung at pain. Sin compounded by more sin. Darkness swirling around in a tumultuous storm of human words and hearts bleeding out. And many were happy and contented about it. But God was certainly not glorified, and nobody could tell we were Christians by our love.

I wept. And I am going to be bold enough to say, I believe Jesus wept, too.

As I sat in prayer before Jesus, I wept even more as He gently convicted my heart of the times, in the not so distant past, when I cast my own stones of judgement and divisiveness. 

Jesus, help me. Help us all. There must be a better way. No, let scripture rephrase that: There IS a better way. And it is found in the Gospel of Matthew:

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (The Message Bible)

Read that scripture again. Let it sink in. And if you are brave enough, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal a picture of your own heart. It ain’t pretty, but it’s the only way to healing.

I am not saying Jesus wants us to sit down and never stand up for what we believe is right, but He certainly teaches us that the way to do this must be in a manner that will bring life. Perpetuate love. Further the cause of Christianity and His Church.

Being “right” does not give us a free pass to start hurling rocks at whomever or whatever we think is “wrong.” As a Christian, Jesus calls us to a higher level of life that goes beyond being right: He calls us to be righteous. 

When He calls us to pray for our enemies, or those who have wronged us, even those who have spitefully abused us, He is inviting us to see that situation as HE sees it…which is the only view that is perfect and holy. It’s the only view that is accurate enough to show us how to bring righteousness and light to those areas of sin and darkness around us.

No matter how “right” we are, if we cannot pray with a clean heart UNTIL we see that other person or side through the loving eyes of God…then we are not seeing clearly. We are still selfishly and pridefully only seeing our truth and our way, disregarding and devaluing any aspect of truth that is held by the other person or side.

That person you have spite toward? Guess what? God loves that person just as much as He loves you. He wants that person to find healing and wholeness just as much as He wants it for you. It is HIS WILL that His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven for EVERY person. When we fling our judgement and hatred at each other, we are actually positioning ourselves contrary to His will.

No one wins in that battle.

Only pain begetting more pain, darkness drowning out light, and love overshadowed by hate. 

Hearts are weighed down with sin, the cause of Christ is hindered, and the Church of God is diminished.

There IS a better way: Respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.

Posted on October 28, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Sing From Your Gut

SING!

Some songs you sing quietly, and then there are songs you sing from your gut...your soul. This is one of those songs. It's been on my playlist for so long now, and I just can't get enough of it.

SING your way out of your funk! Video is below to listen...

FEAR NOT

written by Kristene DiMarco, Seth Mosley, Robby Busick

*VERSE 1*

When life piles up

And you’re feeling overcome

Stand still and believe 

I won’t let you drown 

When a cry’s in your throat

Watching all the waves below  

Lift your eyes to the sky 

And trust that I won’t pass you by

*CHORUS*

Fear not

If I could say it any louder I would

Fear not

If I could say it any louder I would

*VERSE 2*

Let me show you what I see

You can’t dream too big for me

So get up get on your way

We’ve got things to do today

*BRIDGE*

Remember all I told you

Remember all I said 

When the questions start arising 

Keep your eyes fixed straight ahead 

Hold on tightly to the promise 

Hold firmly to the truth 

That I love you

Oh I love you

*CHORUS 2*

Fear not 

If I could shout it any louder I would

Fear not

If I could shout it any louder I would

Posted on October 21, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Laugh and Laugh Again

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Laughter. 

It really is the best medicine. And sometimes, you simply need to make the time to laugh. 

Yes, I realize there are catastrophic events happening in our world. And I'm not saying that we should stick our heads in the sand and ignore it. But by the same token, we should not submerge our hearts and minds so deeply in the quagmire of bad news that we feel like we are drowning. It's not good for our souls, and it certainly does not help us to be alert and open to hear the voice of God about how each of us is to do our part to be a positive influence in those areas we can affect. 

God is God, and He has been doing that for a very long time. He has enormous enough shoulders to bear the burdens of the world. We, on the other hand, do not. We simply need to trust and allow Him to work through us to do what we can...and then trust Him to do the rest.

So I challenge you right now to take a few minutes and recharge yourself. Clear your mind, and decide you are going to refresh your soul with laughter. One of my favorite comedians is Tim Hawkins, and I'm going to give you several videos below to watch. 

Unplug....and LAUGH....It really is the best medicine!

Posted on September 7, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Fight Again

Mental Terrorism. It’s the only way I can describe mental issues such as OCD, panic attacks, and severe depression. You are going about your otherwise regular life when— *BAM!*—unwanted terrorizing images, accompanied by extremely negative feelings go off like a bomb inside your mind and body.

Posted on August 23, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Be MUNDANE

Mundane. Today’s culture strives to be many things. Fastest. Coolest. Sexiest. Newest. But never, ever mundane. Death before anything boring, or tedious, or God forbid, looooooong-terrrrrmmmmm. That’s just not the way we do things anymore...But this attitude is counterfeit for the true beauty of life.

Posted on August 9, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Be Anonymous

True Confession: I am a Kudos Junkie. 

Probably too much, I like it when people notice when I’ve done a good job…whether it’s a major project, like planning a production or writing a novel, or a minor project, like cleaning the fridge or having a good hair day. If someone acknowledges my effort or work, I seem to walk an inch taller. It’s to the point that if no one says anything, I begin to think that maybe I did a poor job, or the project wasn’t excellent (and I’m embarrassed to admit this), but I can even get in my head that maybe the people connected to that endeavor are disappointed or upset with me. I know. I need help. 

Posted on August 4, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Pack Light

Speaking of not knowing how to fit everything in…can we talk packing? There is much to consider, including a strictly enforced baggage weight limit. Paris is dressier, so shorts and sneakers will not do. Temps can be hot in the day and chilly at night, so layers and options are needed. And have I ever mentioned my compulsion to have multiple shoes options? Let’s just say, packing light and me are in a fight right now, and we need some serious counseling. 

Posted on July 26, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Look Stupid

"I am pregnant!" I said, showing off my new ability to speak French to my fluent friend. I was so proud of myself…until she busted up laughing. My bubble of pride quickly deflated, making that annoying tooting sound. Instead of stating after a delicious meal, “I’m so full!” I had mistakenly announced I was having a baby. Nice. Time to go back to my audio lessons.

Posted on July 13, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.

F365: Fearless to Live in FREEDOM

241 years ago, in the sweltering Philadelphia heat, over 50 men from the American colonies fearlessly debated an idea. But this idea was a double-edged sword. While it promised hope and a future where anything would be possible, dreadfulness and solemnity hung in the air because its fulfillment would not come without a great price.

Posted on July 2, 2017 and filed under Fearless 365.