When Conviction Comes Calling

When Conviction Comes Calling

There he was, standing in front of me. Old and worn-looking. Cold and digging through the garbage.

And there I was, walking into Wal-Mart to get myself a coffee for the drive home.

As I passed him, conviction struck me, telling me to get him something to eat, when I stopped to get my coffee. 

Yet, despite the strong conviction I knew I felt, I sat for what seemed like an eternity trying to reason it away. 

By the time I finally bought the hamburgers for him and got outside, he was nowhere to be seen, and I felt the pit in my stomach grow as I realized I lost the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To show him the unconditional love he probably so desperately wishes for. 

So, I started my drive home. The conviction burning into my mind, and thus, leading me to make myself-and God- a promise; that if ever I felt conviction like that again, I’ll act on it without a moment of hesitation.

As I drove home, I thought to myself how I’ve always said that I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I’ve sang the Casting Crowns song as if it were an anthem, and yet, when presented with the opportunity to be just that, I run the other way. I hide. I try to reason it away with thoughts like “well, maybe he’s not actually homeless…” 

As the night has progressed, God has used this as a learning opportunity-to learn about his grace and to learn how to extend that same grace to myself, because I’ve sure been beating myself up with guilt-which is why I’m still up at 11:43 PM writing…guilt does some pretty intense things to a person and their mind.

As I’ve sat tying to reconcile with my inaction, I tried to put some worship music on to calm my mind and help me get to sleep, but every song that came on was about being the hands and feet of Christ and letting my light shine…which only made my thoughts swirl all the more fierce. 

As the Sunday School song  “This Little Light of Mine” came on, a thought came to my mind; How often do we ask God to use us; to let us be his hands and feet, and then, when presented with the opportunity, we try to reason it away or let fear overrule our convictions?

How many songs do we sing in church asking God to use us with lyrics like;

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

-Oceans, Hillsong

And,

“Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me”
-I Surrender, Hillsong
We sing the songs as anthems, but when we don’t actually live them out, they become empty and meaningless; just words on a screen that make us feel good inside.

This is my prayer, that I will never let doubt get in the way of taking action upon a conviction as strong as that which I felt today.

And I pray, that after reading this, my story of conviction, that God will convict your heart of the same thing.

This world doesn’t need doubt or people without conviction, this world needs people who will take action upon their conviction and stand up and help the least of these-just as Jesus called us to.

Signiture

 

What does Real Love Look Like?

What does Real Love Look Like-

“We just have to show them love. That’s all we’re supposed to do…love one another.” 

That’s all I seem to see or hear anymore. The “Love Gospel” seems to be a very popular topic to be praught in churches as of late. 

And, I mean, why not? After all, our countries are so broken up and everyone seems to be fighting each other… People just need to love each other… right?

Yes, the Bible does say that the greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as your self.” 

However, I think…no…wait… I know that the “cotton candy, sugar coated, squishy-feely” kind of love that is so often talked about isn’t the kind of love that the Bible talks about.

“What do you mean, Kristen? Love is…love…”

Just stay with me and let me explain.

Culture has taught us so much that to reprimand someone for their wrong behavior isn’t love, instead it’s intolerance. That just because it’s wrong for you, doesn’t make it wrong for me. Society has told us that to really love someone is to accept everything they do… The worst part? This is something that even many churches are buying into.

But this is completely opposite of what the Bible says;

“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”                  2 Timothy 4:2

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path…” Galatians 6:1

Yes, it does say that we are to correct each other with gentleness, but we are to correct each other nonetheless.

Why do you think we have the Bible? To read stories of many victories to feel good? 

On the contrary.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (Emphasis Added)

For so long, we have heard that to reprimand is to hate. And even worse, we have accepted it. 

Rather than going to the Bible to find out what it says, we’ve allowed what culture and society have said seep into our churches and into our hearts and accepted it as truth…despite the fact that it is so, obviously not the truth.

Here’s a hard pill to swallow straight from the Bible:

To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.” Proverbs 12:1 (Emphasis Added)

Another Translation puts the same verse this way;

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” (Emphasis Added)

Without correction, we are ignorant and don’t actually know the truth about anything.

Correction is necessary for physical, mental and spiritual growth.

Without correction quote

Society is full of people who hate being corrected. When they are, they become angry and lash out. Unfortunately, these last couple of years, we are seeing this occur more and more.

Whether it’s politics, economics, major league sports (and/or their players), there are so many groups of people lashing out in anger-including in the church.

I think that it’s time that Christians need to really dig deep and relearn what real love is and what exactly it’s supposed to look like.

 

Until Next Week!

Signiture

Christ-Inspired Time Management

Christ-Inspired Time Management
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
As I start to transition into a new chapter of life, I am also having to learn how to juggle things and donate the proper amount of time to each responsibility/activity requires for it to be successful.
 
I give all my attention to one thing and ignore all the rest, or I try to focus on everything all at once, and really make no progress because I’m leap-frogging from one thing to another to another.
 
I’ve thought “How on earth am I going to keep on top of so many things all at once?”
 
In fact, I’ve even given thought to giving up one thing or another so that I can donate more time to the most important undertakings that are coming up, and in it all, I’ve realized a few things people do when it comes to having a lot to juggle:
 
1) People take on too many projects just for the sake of being able to “brag” about how busy we are.
 
We have made it so that society looks at being overly busy and having too much on one plate is like wearing a badge of honor. Like, the more exhausted and sleep-deprived, the better, because then you can say that you truly “have a life”. Quite frankly, it’s a pretty twisted way of living life.
 
Living life to the fullest doesn’t mean having your life so full that you can’t actually stop to enjoy it. Living life to the fullest means being full of joy, wonder, love and excitement in even the little things like sitting outside on a warm night watching the stars twinkle. It means truly being present in the moment-not overwhelmed by what’s in the future or exhausted from the guilt over the past.
life to the fullest
 
2) We forget to let God into the everyday mundane tasks.
 
We need to re-learn to ask God to help us set up a plausible schedule of what needs our attention that day.
 
Sometimes, he might lead us to take more time relaxing or, sometimes, he might lead us to do 3 hours of homework and only an hour of laundry–or vice versa.
 
We need to remember to let God into our every day lives, because he might have someone for us to reach out to and display his love to through the time he sets out for us to do our daily activities in.
 
3) We neglect our Spiritual Growth
 
How many of you wake up in the morning, and right from the very start have to go-go-go? And then, by the end of the day, you’re so tired from all the running to do this and that and the other thing, that you don’t want to do anything besides flop in bed? And then, come the next day, you start the whole thing over again.
 
And then, once you finally have that coveted day off, you want to do nothing but sit around in your pajamas binge-watching Netflix.
 
Most people would probably just brush it off by saying, “Well, that’s life”.
 
But, I don’t think that life is supposed to be so full that we completely neglect our spiritual growth.
 
Without spiritual growth, we won’t ever know God in the full intimacy that he desires to bring us into.
What it comes down to, as I am learning, is that people need to learn not to fill our days so full and that we need to learn what the important things in our life are. 
Here’s a bit of timely advice from the book of Ephesians;
“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:16-17
 
Make the most of every opportunity and understand what the Lord wants you to do! 
Each day, what God has for you might look different than the day before-sometimes it might be more mundane than others, but he always has a reason for why he has you doing something (even if it is just for your own personal health or growth).
What are some things that you have learned from having to juggle several different activities in your life? I’d love to hear!
Signiture

How Far are You Willing to Go to See Jesus?

How Far to See Jesus-

“He tries to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going that way.” -Luke 19:3-4

The story of Zacchaeus is one of the better known Bible stories. It’s one that we are taught right from childhood. Shoot, there was even a song we sang about him. I can still remember it to this day;

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see…”

As I was recently reading this story in my Bible study time, it struck me in a way that it really hasn’t done before.

Zacchaeus, was desperate to see Jesus. Not just the regular kind of desperate, but the “I’ll do anything” kind of desperate…

So desperate that he, not only climbed a tree, but he “ran ahead of the crowd and then climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus.

Never mind talking to him, Zacchaeus was desperate just to lay his eyes upon this man called Jesus. He expected nothing more and would accept nothing less.

As I was reading this, a thought struck me, “How far am I willing to go just to look at Jesus. Forget talking to him…Am I willing to get out of my comfort zone and make a spectacle of myself just to look at him for a moment?”

I can only imagine the crowd he had to push through, the eyes watching him in puzzlement as he sprinted to the tree ahead of everyone and then proceeding to climb it. I’m sure there were at least a few whispers about his unusual behavior.

And yet, I think that it was because of the dedication and desperation he showed that made Jesus notice him and decide that he “must be a guest” in his home. (Luke 19:5)

How far are we, as Christians, willing to go to see Jesus with no expectation of anything else? Not only that, but how far are we willing to go so that others would get to see him?

How far are Christians, willing to go to see Jesus

People in the North American Church have become so complacent and apathetic and would rather just sit in comfort rather than get out of their comfort zones and make what others might call a “spectacle”. 

I believe that North America has come to the point where a spectacle might be the only thing that catches the eyes of people. 

Why?

Because culture has become so enamored with literally parading around their immorality and sin and putting it on display for all the world to see.

We need to be like Zacchaeus and be willing to get out of our comfort zone and run ahead of the crowd and climb the proverbial tree so that Jesus’ love and grace will be put on display-which is exactly what happened when he spoke to Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and tax collectors had the reputation or being dishonest and being thieves, yet he-the lowest of the low in  society’s eyes- was the one whom Jesus singled out. Which, in turn, put His love on display for all to see.

So, I ask you this, how far are you willing to go to see Jesus? And how far are you willing to go so that others can see his love through your pursuit of seeking him?

XoXo,

~Kristen~