Here Goes Nothing

I actually have stayed relatively silent on this whole Super Bowl issue but I really feel like I need to say a few things (in love) because this has just been rolling around in my head for DAYS – and when that happens, and it wont go away, then God is asking me to step out of my comfort zone and risk judgment. So here goes:

DISCLAIMER *** The viewpoint expressed below is written by a Jesus following, Bible believing, Born Again, broken, messed up, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, flawed child of the King of all kings ***

As a believer and follower of Christ, I am called to set myself apart from the world. 1 John 2:15-16 (NLT) “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”

So what’s that mean for me, Sheri? Well, I need to exist in this world but that doesn’t mean that I should just let worldly viewpoints creep in and take over. It means that I have to sometimes take a stance that is unpopular by the worlds standards. And in doing so, I may alienate people that would usually call me friend. And while this is a scary concept, I’m also called to speak the truth – in love.

So here’s my *** see disclaimer above *** take on the Super Bowl halftime show. It spoke more to me about how people have compromised their moral choices then it did about empowering women. To have someone scantily clad, pole dancing doesn’t scream to me that they’re asserting their womanhood. It says, they’re demeaning their own gifts and qualities to appeal to the base human emotion – sexual desire. And for me, this does not scream independent womanhood, or humanity.

My belief is that Christians need to make sure that we do not become blinded by the worlds definition of what it means to be a woman, human or more importantly – Christian. You see, if I begin to let the world creep in and define my walk with Christ, and what I will allow in my heart and in my head, then I have ceased going to the Creator for my guidance and have then begun listening to the “created” for my perspective on what I’m supposed to be.

Look, I make mistakes. I’m not perfect. But I am a child of the King. I’m going to try my darndest to act like He wants me to, and not what the way the world wants me to act. I’m going to speak the truth in love, even if it wins me some detractors. I’m going to pray for personal conviction, even if that means I have to humble myself and apologize for wrong I’ve done. I’m going to conduct myself daily as a daughter of the KING! I’m going to take this body I’ve been given and try to make it a better temple for the my Savior and the Spirit – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I will leave you with this

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over these people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in this world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us.” 1 John 4:4-5

Beautiful Simplicity

Oh Father, your depth is astounding.
Oh Lord, your love is abounding.
And yet, in the midst of all of this,
I struggle…

I struggle to see, Your light in me
I struggle to hear, Your voice over the sea
I’ve made a mess of Your loveliness
I confess…

That I spend way more time, with my self
And I place Your Word upon a shelf
I let voices influence my view, and cease studying all about You.
I reset…

My perspective on who You are
that You alone are the shining star.
All truth begins and ends in Your life wrapped up and around Your sacrifice.
I live…

For a truth that is only found in You
in the simplicity of Your Words point of view.
And my life ceases to be all about me
I bow…

Because humanity can’t ever be
greater than Your Beautiful Simplicity

My life won’t see Your eternity
Unless I embrace Your Beautiful Simplicity

You can’t ever shine free
unless we all stop and see Your Beautiful Simplicity

I’m done…
With arguing with myself
I’m done…
With putting you on a shelf
I’m done…
Ignoring Your mercy and grace
I’m done…
I’m done…
I’m done…

Your Beautiful Simplicity loves me more
than any other thing at my door.
And so I cast off my humanity to focus instead of Your sacrifice on that tree
I shout…

From the rooftops what I know to be true
that redeeming love is only found in You.
And so I rest in what You’ve done for me
Because Grace is found in Your Beautiful Simplicity
I’M REDEEMED!!!!

Stop The Sinsanity

Have you noticed recently how Christians seem to be on the “justification” kick? You know, justifying their sin, indifference, hate, anger, attitude, language, disbelief or any other negative behavior? It’s disturbing really.

We’ve seen “influencers” renounce their faith (Example: Joshua Harris who wrote “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”). He has publicly stated that he no longer believes in God and is apologizing for any damage he did while openly and publicly following God. He has also requested that all copies of his books be removed from publication.

Additionally, Hillsong’s Marty Sampson has recently stated that his faith is on “incredibly shaky ground.” (source – https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/todd-starnes-franklin-graham-has-a-warning-for-christian-influencers-renouncing-their-faith)

My simple question is why? Why renounce your faith? Why be shaken when we have a “fortress where I will never be shaken (Psalm 62:2).”

Maybe, just maybe it’s because Christians are pursuing Sinsanity – the term I’m personally using where Christians begin to justify their sin!

I’ve been having some conversations with devout Christians recently who have taken to applying political correctness to the Bible and to their relationship with God. It’s much easier to live in this world if we’re busy trying to conform to the world. But God’s Word clearly states in Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Sin is Sin is Sin. Stop trying to justify your sin, but deal with it directly and honestly. Don’t follow influencers, authors, singers or anyone in this world (including Pastors) follow GOD and His WORD! These alone are infallible. These alone are consistent and honest and true. These alone will never fail, never renounce you, and never be moved.

Let us be believers that are followers and do-ers of the Word. James 1:22-25, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must DO what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that SETS YOU FREE, and if you DO WHAT IT SAYS AND DON’T FORGET WHAT YOU HEARD, then God will bless you for doing it.” (Emphasis is mine)

Dear friends – let us be different. Let us be loving. Let us be in this world, but not of this world. And please, please, please, let us all stop justifying our sin by the world’s definition and start accepting conviction and changing our hearts!

Let us be, “… blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed.” Psalm 119:80

Being Petty is My Jam (NOT)

A few months ago spring arrived. And with that arrival came a torrent of storms and a deluge of water. So much so that our basement flooded, and we cleaned it up, and then it flooded again, and we cleaned it up, and it flooded a 3rd time and we cleaned it up. In the midst of all of this we still had to keep our lawn mowed while threading the needle between storms and the small pond that was forming in our back yard.

We mowed, and our neighbors mowed and then I started to notice something. Our neighbors seemed to be having a passive aggressive feud with the little strip of lawn that belongs to one homeowner vs. the yard that belongs to the other.

IMG_1877

At least twice a week homeowner 2 mows their yard. They’re rather meticulous and seem to take extreme joy in maintaining their yard. Homeowner 1 rarely mows. Maybe once every other week. However, homeowner 2 refuses to mow that little strip of grass and homeowner 1 won’t do it either.

Additionally, homeowner 2 moves their bird feeder over by that little strip at least once a week to ensure that birdseed is falling in homeowner 1’s yard.  Homeowner 3 has now taken to coming over (who lives on the other side of homeowner 1) and periodically mowing that little strip of grass.

I’m not sure what made them fight like this. I’m not sure who started trying to make a “point.” But it really makes me reflect on how this STUPID argument is much like how we handle our relationships, friendships, co-workers, acquaintances and neighbors. We build up a perceived offense in our minds. We cultivate it. We water it. We tend to that offense until it becomes a mass of weeds. Then, we justify our attentiveness to this STUPID strip of grass and weeds and cease to MOW it down and address the underlying issue – our PRIDE.

When we choose not to air out our frustrations and speak honestly to the person we believe has offended us we have allowed our pride to dictate our actions. We have allowed the STUPID strip of grass and weeds to tell us who we are, who we care about, and what’s most important to us.

My neighbors are ridiculous. But honestly, so are all of us that have taken to petty arguments and points instead of pursuing healing and love and mutual respect. I for one, am going to continue mowing my neighbors little strip of grass that touches my yard because in the big scheme of life, it’s not that big of a deal. And in my personal life, I choose to just be me, love others, and not harbor resentment and pursue pettiness. How about you?

RUN – SWC #10

RUN

I don’t like to run. And when I say I don’t like to run I really mean that I despise it. It makes my knees hurt and I just don’t see the point. I’ve often questioned my friends that are runners asking them some of the following questions:

Are you running because

  • There is a bear somewhere and you’re running away?
  • There are zombies somewhere and the apocalypse has finally begun?
  • You saw an ice cream truck and your running to get some good eats?

I mostly ask these questions because I’m sarcastic and again, I don’t understand the point of running. I’m probably the least athletic person you’ll meet. I mean I try to be athletic. I’ve played softball, but I have this habit of tripping whilst running to bases. I’ve played volleyball but I’ve served the ball into the backs of my teammates heads, that was not appreciated for some reason.

Each time I meditate on this passage I’m lead to different aspects that are beautiful. Previously I wrote a blog about the word YET that is contained here in Habakkuk 3:17-19That’s why I find it hilarious that this is my absolutely favorite verse and here it speaks of running. When I spent time meditating I was just drawn to the word RUN. 

Habakkuk was recounting in these verses that even though ALL things may not go as he planned he would still rejoice in the Lord. He would glory in the God of his salvation. And that God would make his feet like deer’s feet so that he could RUN on the high hills.

Here is where I stopped. The terrain that surrounded Habakkuk was rough. It was not easy to traverse, and yet Habakkuk had confidence that God would make his feet surefooted so that he could run on the mountainside.

That is the God I serve. A God that sees the trouble that surrounds me, prepares me to travel the path He has designed and give me the proper sneakers and abilities to run the race He has set before me!

And so I shall run, even if there are no zombies!

Guarded – SWC #8

When I was a teenager I worried about everything. In fact, I worried so much that I would break out in hives all down my legs, on the bottoms of my feet and across the palms of my hands. It was awful and itched so badly. The ones on my feet were really bad because they not only itched but they burned too and made my feet swell which made it difficult to walk.

When these moments happened it was usually because I was bullied, or I had a test, or I felt that a friend was mad at me. I was literally a ball of anxiety. I worried about EVERY SINGLE THING! I just couldn’t take it anymore.

And then the strangest thing happened. I was in High School and I was walking under our 2nd floor walkway and a group of kids yelled at me and called me fat, ugly and another word I won’t repeat. Usually I would just continue walking and emotionally shut down, but I’d finally had enough. I turned around – walked up to the biggest jerk I could see and poked him square in the chest. I then yelled saying, “I’m not UGLY!” The guy was shocked, and then he apologized.

From that day forward I determined deep within my heart that I could not let worry consume my life. I couldn’t let the words of others define how I saw myself and instead needed to let God define me.

Phil 4:4-7 became the cornerstone of that decision! I chose every day, sometimes every minute of every day, to not concern myself with the opinions of others but to only focus on God’s opinion of me. It is in that place of total surrender that God began to heal my brokenness and restore a wholeness I never thought possible.

If you are broken today, if you are struggling with worry or anxiety, just know that Jesus Christ is there to listen to you. He asks that you TELL HIM ABOUT EVERYTHING! Ask him what you need and have full confidence that He will guard your heart and mind as you live IN Christ Jesus.

GUARD

Use the Map – SWC #6

My daughter and I have been on a few road trips. We drove from Ohio to Tennessee to Georgia to South Carolina and then back to Ohio. During this entire voyage my phone or the GPS in my car navigate our journey.

Often, I would miss a turn and hear the inevitable voice say – recalculating. Sometimes my daughter would see the signs before I could and she would help point out the way, but she was 13 so her directions weren’t always helpful or accurate.

And isn’t that the way with our own lives? We see the path before us and we pull out what we assume are appropriate guides only to discover that they can’t do the job.

We reference Google to tell us how to make a restaurant decision, how’s that worked out for you? We go to Web-MD to determine what is medically wrong with us, and it’s always life threatening. We go to YouTube to discover the best way to put on make up, only to discover that you need to spend an arm and a leg to afford all that stuff. We watch the food channel to learn how to cook but all their food seems pretentious.

We are faced with the figurative mountain before us filled with craters of lies, cliffs of destruction and potential avalanches of insults and instead of going to God for guidance we get out our phones and consult social media for advice.

Then we come to Psalm 119:165, “Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.” And that’s really at the heart of what’s going wrong in our lives. We spend all the time to consult everything else and yet we make God the last ONE we talk to. He is the only ONE that has all the answers. He is the only ONE that will give us great peace. And He is the only ONE that will be there for us 24/7, 365 days a year. He won’t ever need to recalculate the best way for us to go, because He already has our path mapped out for us – but only if we LOVE HIS INSTRUCTIONS.

 

GUIDANCE