Monthly Archives: January 2018

Goody Goody Two-Shoes

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Okay.

So, the last few weeks went by slowly AND quickly. A lot was done, tears shed, confusion, and pain. There was also happiness, forgiveness and newness.

Something stood out to me though, as I gazed into the mirror of introspection: that the quest for complete perfection and high expectations is not worth the pain.

It is a crippling mindset that robs you from joy and experiencing life on a day by day basis. It can even rob you of your blessing – that might not always come as you want it to look like. You want your blessing to be perfect, a blessing that makes complete sense to you and acceptable to everyone around you. A blessing that makes you feel comfortable and safe.

But what if your blessing was dressed up as something completely different. Something you never expected? What if it was to show you just how much you are loved and cherished despite feeling as if it is unattainable? What if that blessing was something you never thought you could accomplish but, despite it being beyond your capabilities, God breathed life into it and made it reality? What if you can finally enjoy life without worrying about everything, all the time?

What if you can worship God without fear? To run to God and cling to him even when you fall short? Holding onto Him for dear life and trusting that He will keep you, guide you, fix you and heal you?

Because if you turn away, what else will you live for? Love requires bravery. It forces you to open up and take a risk to give and receive something that has the potential to:

  1. Hurt you
  2. Confuse you

God doesn’t always answer my prayers the way I want him to and that left me feeling really upset and confused. I threw a fit asking God why me and why now and why this? I wanted to hide from God because I thought He failed me.

I wonder if this is how the Jews of Jesus’ time felt, waiting for the messiah to come and save them from earthly oppression. However, they had their own interpretation of scripture and God had his own divine will. We can try as much as we want to control the events of our lives and personally interpret God’s plan for our lives but God’s Will prevails.

If Esther was a modern day Christian, other believers and even her well meaning Pastor would tell her : “Sweet Esther, don’t marry the King, because gurl, he ain’t saved.” Not knowing that sweet Esther was called to be queen so that she could prevent a Jewish genocide. She needed to marry the King to access his status and to demonstrate the power of God in a very meek and humble way.

Nothing in life is cookie cutter, one-size fits all and I’m sick of trying to be the “Good Little Christian Girl”. It’s something all Christians face at one point in their journey.

Jesus died so we can be free. This freedom has become cliche. Free from what? Yes, free from sin. But what God truly wants is not a religious set of puppets that crosses every “I” and dots every “T”, knows all the church lingo and scripture, can debate, lay hands on the sick, cast out demons and speak in tongues.

God wants those with a heart for Him. A heart turned to Him. Hearts that will cry out to Him in every circumstance: good and bad. A heart that acknowledges Him, like David. David cried out to God in good times and bad. David was by no means perfect but he remained true to Himself.

Jesus saved us from the system of religion, the bondage of perfectionism, the opinions of humans, and gave us freedom to worship, love, and to be at peace with one another.

I am tired, aren’t you? I’m tired of all the pressure, internally and externally, to be more than what I am today. I can only do what I can do today but my hope is that as I continue on this journey with God, that I will grow closer to him.

My goal is no longer to simply be a Christian, but to be a daughter of God: to sit at his feet like Mary and listen.

Why the title?

Well, I was stumped. I didn’t know what to call this post so I whispered a little prayer and instantly felt to name it goody two-shoes.

Laughs

Bold right? Imagine that. Well guess what? GOOD! Honesty is the beginning of deliverance. Never be ashamed of what God can deliver you from.

I had to google search the term because it’s been years since I last heard it. A goody two- shoes in simple terms is a people-pleaser and God cannot use or connect with one.

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Sanctification Is A Slow Process

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Photo by Marcelo Silva on Unsplash

Sanctification is a slow process. You don’t just wake up one day and all your bad habits are gone. That’s why there is this concept called the “renewing of your mind”. We are also encouraged to guard our hearts. The parable of the sower – the good soil – waits patiently, diligently working on the seed that was planted, until it grew big and strong and produced good fruit.

What made that good soil different from the others was perseverance. Nothing stopped them. Healthy trees need pruning. Healthy trees still get bugs on them. Healthy trees still need maintenance, and a sick tree can be made healthy again, when tended to.

On this journey towards sanctification : DO NOT GIVE UP. Heart break, disappointment, confusion or even sin, cling to Jesus! Sanctification is a life long process of pruning. The goal is to make us more Christ-like – producing the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT- bearing good fruit. The goal of this fruit is to be loving and kind to those around us, just like He is to us.

Quick Glossary:

Pruning– trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.

Vinedresser– a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.

John 15(NKJV) 1-17

The True Vine

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.

Let me break this down for you: First we must know that we serve a Loving God. All my problems flow from a belief of an unloving, unfair God. Here, Jesus tells us to abide in God’s love. Once we take our eyes off of our loving savior, like Peter, we begin to sink.

Second, abiding in the Greek – G3306- menō means –

  1. to remain, abide

    1. in reference to place

      1. to sojourn, tarry

      2. not to depart

        1. to continue to be present

        2. to be held, kept, continually

    2. in reference to time

      1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure

        1. of persons, to survive, live

    3. in reference to state or condition

      1. to remain as one, not to become another or different

  2. to wait for, await one

Therefore, never give up on God or your salvation! Sanctification is a long process of pruning with the goal of love. Your requirements are to stand under the grace of God and to obey Christ’s command of loving one another. When you abide or stay close to Christ, renewing your mind with his word and letting His Spirit work in you; you become loving, kind, patient etc. Evil things that once gave you pleasure and satisfaction, no longer do.

Don’t give up. God loves you with all your faults, sins and preconceived notions. He will hold up a mirror to your face and show you what’s in your heart. At first it will be painful, you will be kicking and screaming. You will question God, get angry with people, sin and be tempted to leave the faith, but don’t. Hold on tight to Christ, even when you do not feel joy in your heart. God is faithful to comfort you, expose you and heal you where you are. The reward is renewed strength, peace and ultimately joy- that is your strength. Pain and hardships humbles us, softens us and makes us compassionate towards others.

God Bless,

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