What Do You Weigh?

shutterstock_60419377I went into the garage tonight to do laundry. As I pushed the button to start the washer something caught my eye.  It was the scale. I walk right by it everyday. Sometimes I don’t even notice it. Sometimes I see it and look the other way and then hurry inside. Other times, I look right at it, curl my lip, and kind of make a low snarling sound. Tonight, I looked at it and it seemed to be taunting me.  I dared myself to get on it.  At first I giggled at the mere thought of putting even one foot on that stupid cube that has determined my emotional well-being for so much of my life. (Stupid box.) 

I closed the washer and took a step toward the door.  But, the closer I got to the scale the more I thought I might actually step on it.  After a couple of more steps, I was standing right next to it. Then, before I could stop myself my right foot was firmly planted on it, then my left foot, then right before my eyes the numbers started rising.  Once it registered my…ahem…weight… I had to squint my eyes to see the number. Surely it was wrong! My heart started beating really fast as I squinted my eyes tighter and tighter to be sure I was reading that middle number correctly.  It was the highest number I’ve ever seen on a scale that held me. (Outside of pregnancy, but even then, I stop looking after a certain point.) “Jesus” I said. “I need you to remind me of who you say I am. Like, right NOW.” 
 
I walked inside and sat down here at my computer to start editing pictures. But, before I started I picked up my phone and opened my Bible app to Romans 8. I’ve been hanging out in Romans 8 for the past few days.  I’ve only been reading a couple of verses at a time so that I can really mull over them and let them sink in. Today was the day to read v. 5.  But, after reading a few key words, (measuring, muscle, exercise) I couldn’t stop there. I had to keep reading.  As I read, I knew God had something to say and it wasn’t a read-between-the-lines situation this time.  Tonight, the words that normally seem like a great message delivered by Paul, became a direct response to my request, “Jesus…. I need you.” 
 
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s! Romans 8:5-11
 
Ok, so…if you “focus on God” you will eventually know where your identity lies or better, Who you belong to. You experience life on God’s terms. “God’s terms” means healing, power, acceptance, shameless, FREE, authority, revelation. It’s the life Jesus had. God’s terms.
 
I remember when I was healthy.  I remember when being in His presence and gaining a better understanding of communion was more important than eating food that brings death. 
 
I am “delivered from the dead life…” 
 
I “experience life on God’s terms…”
 
I am ALIVE in CHRIST!
Written by Crissy Terrell

Girl Power

shutterstock_16227564855,000,000 abortions have occurred in America since 1973…. 55,000,000 women whose lives have been affected. Where was the help they needed when they were faced with this impossible decision? Is it possible that it was hidden in the hearts of other women? Is it possible that if women loved and supported one another in a unity that was unbreakable regardless of the situation or circumstance her sister, friend, neighbor, enemy or stranger found herself in, that she might have found help? Is it possible that if we laid down our competitiveness and judgments and instead loved each other unconditionally and taught our daughters to do the same, we would have a society that was healthy and redeemed? Call me a dreamer but I would like to see this in my lifetime… I want to see women rise up and take their place… not against something but for love.

We are called to be unified as women who relentlessly love one another regardless of the situation or circumstance. It is time now, to band together. A new sisterhood- all over the world…. Racial and economic division- no more, competition- no more, comparison- no more, jealousy- no more, fighting for the attention of men- no more, tearing each other down- no more. We will be women who rise up, take our places, love our God, respect and honor our men while cherishing and depositing life into our children. We will be women who do not demand respect but give honor. We will be women who love with arms wide open, especially when it hurts because we are confident in the One who has done the same for us. We will give love because it’s been given to us and we give it to those who do not have it to give, without expectation of repayment. We will wear our crowns of royalty with an understanding of the price that has been paid for them. We look on others with kindness. We will be a band of sisters who say no to division, strife and poverty of spirit. We will raise our daughters up to love one another and our sons to cherish our daughters. We will stand guard at the entry of our homes and we will say NO to the influences that contradict what we stand for. We will refuse to be fed the lie that we have to “sell” the image of our bodies to be considered beautiful for beauty radiates from within us. The bride of Christ is awakening and the women of the bride are getting up from their slumber. The sleep is being washed from our eyes and we are seeing clearly- who we are and whose we are.  Women are being redeemed from all that has been stolen from us and we will NEVER be the same again! It is time for us to shed the lie that our enemy is each other and pick up the truth that our purpose is to band together as a strong, beautiful example of what love really looks like. I am believing for a generation of women to rise up and take their place in their realm of influence… we all have one, those within our reach… our circle. We will choose to start the fire of love within those around us and we will fan the flame by not giving up when it gets hard. When we truly love one another, we will cultivate and shape our current generation and generations to come for an influence of love that will be unstoppable. This is girl power.

Written by Kylee Washington

Abraham’s Promise

shutterstock_127992746As a little girl I remember in Sunday School singing the song Father Abraham had many sons…I am one of them and so are you… so lets just praise the Lord… during the song we would make motions and movements with our arms and legs up and down as we sang the words left arm, right arm, chin up… Reenactments of those days with my little wee friends began to replay in my mind this morning.

I opened my bible to Romans 4 and clearly see the words Trusting God as the heading of this entire chapter. Revelation and insight is given as the truth is soaking in. Read along some of the highlights of Romans 4 MSG. The story we are given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.

If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God…an act of God he had embraced with his whole life.

That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him.

This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.

God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

We are sons and daughters of the promise! Now, that is something to dance and sing about! After reading this passage and the song was so fresh on my heart; I began to reflect how all of us, as numerous as the stars in the sky, are a part of one big family. An Embrace Family.

We all have a unique & special part to play! As we trust God to show us and reveal His plans to us. He will align our steps with His as He intricately designs and fashions our lives together.

This is what is speaking loud and clear at this moment..

But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift. {Romans 4:4-5 MSG}

May I say a prayer over you.

God, I praise you and thank you for your sons and daughters. Bless them immensely. You have fashioned them together with so much purpose. May they be able to embrace the purpose you have given them. In the vastness of who you are will you reveal yourself to them as they trust you to do what only you can do! We are family and as we are joined together, linking arms together, connected and united for your Kingdom Purpose, you will bring Heaven on Earth to fulfill your desires. A sheer gift.

Written by Salina Duffy

 

Peace Feathers

shutterstock_134538623For the past year or more I have been loving anything having to do with birds; bird houses, bird cages, and bird feathers. And, hundreds of sparrows have taken up residency in my yard.

Last Saturday, I was driving down the road and I passed a familiar business. It’s an old house with about 100 bird fountains and other yard art (flamingos) that cover every square foot of the front yard. There is a sign facing the street that has two words. The first time I glanced at the sign, I thought it said, “water feathers”. My mind wondered briefly about what water feathers might look like. I thought about pulling over to check them out. Then, just before passing, I realized the sign said, “water features”. That was disappointing.

As I drove, I continued to think about water feathers. I imagined a white feather that glistened in the sunshine.  Then I saw a different feather. This one was a pale peach color and glistened slightly less than the first one. It was really beautiful. Then, I heard these words, “peace feathers”. I knew it was the Holy Spirit but I didn’t know what He meant. I felt in my spirit that the blanks would be filled in later. After arriving at my destination I didn’t think much about it again.

Then it was Sunday. At church, James Robison was the guest speaker. He spoke about the Body of Christ. He said, “Don’t just be in church, BE the church.” It’s so easy to get in a routine. The day to day gets away from you. You tell your friends things like, “We should get together soon.” But, before you know it, life happens and Wednesday becomes September and a year passes and you never get together. That family in need is too far away. Your Bible is collecting dust. “Praying” becomes a word you type in Facebook comments. And church becomes another part of your schedule rather than who you ARE!

After church, I was driving to the store. I thought about Jesus and his actual human body. His body here on earth was made up of cells and molecules, just like ours. Then, I had a vision of his spiritual body here on earth. His spiritual body is made of us, THE CHURCH. I had a vision of people gathering together and forming Christ’s body, just like cells and molecules.

I asked The Lord to give me another picture of the Body of Christ and I saw PEACE FEATHERS. They fell into a big fluffy pile of glistening, peach feathers. Then, I heard these words, “A soft place to land.”

We, the body, are called to be a soft place to land! We are not called to help people fit a mold or help them understand how wrong they are. When someone is tired from trying to do life on their own, they should see the church as a soft place to find rest, Grace, forgiveness, wisdom, truth, prayer, and LOVE!

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

Written by Crissy Terrell