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Spring!


I love spring!


The flowers start to pop up out of the ground and show their heads as if peeking to see if it’s time. And then overnight. Boom. They are in full bloom. But each one in its on own time.


Yesterday it was the daffodils. Today it's the tulips.


This is always a sweet reminder of God who makes all things new. In His time, when it’s most fit to be done.


God put eternity in our hearts, but we can’t see the whole scope of His plan. We don’t always see it, or understand it. But if you know God, you know it will be beautiful.


So it was on Calvary. On a cross. For the sins of the world. When all seemed lost. The One they had been waiting for to bring life, died!


But the plan was established from the very beginning. A redeemer. A restorer of life.


Jesus!


And the only way to accomplish the plan was for an innocent, unblemished lamb to die. Blood shed. Poured out for the sins of many.


To us, life can sometimes seem to have zero purpose, very sporadic with no real forethought. Just random acts. But "beautiful" is the way God intended everything to be.


This is the gospel. The GOOD NEWS!


Through suffering we have hope. In death there is life. Through Jesus we are restored!


All of the tensions we experience in life are producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. We can’t see what He is doing from the beginning to the end, but we can know it’s beautiful! Even the hard and messy is beautiful in its time.


Even wildfires and hurricanes are beautiful in their time. It is a natural process of tension bringing beauty.


Go ahead, google it. Google "benefits of a wild fire or hurricane."

Here are a few of the benefits I found.


FOREST FIRE:

  • encourages growth

  • clears out the dead trees and brush

  • return nutrients to the soil

HURRICANE:

  • Provide global heat balance

  • Break up bacteria and red tide

  • Replenish nutrients to plant life


The cross is the same way. It is God's way of replenishing and bringing new life. We can find these benefits in the Bible.


Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.


Through Jesus' death and resurrection we are forgiven, healed, redeemed, crowned, renewed!


The perfect picture of beauty from ashes!


Going through a rough patch?


Be encouraged!


Everything beautiful in its time!







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I started laughing to myself the other day because someone in my Bible Study shared exactly what I was feeling (and probably everyone else in the group).

She shared how she had been feeling socially awkward lately. She went on to say how she felt like she didn’t even know how to act in public anymore.

It was like an “ah ha“ moment for me. "That’s it!! I am socially awkward!!!"


I have been feeling the same way. I share too much, not enough, the wrong things, I go too deep, and then other times I feel like it’s an outer body experience not knowing what in the world I just said....I think to myself, “That doesn’t even make sense, why did you say that?!?”


I had another “ah ha” moment last night while I was watching The Shawshank Redemption. If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it. It’s one of my favorites. This particular scene was the part where Red (Morgan Freeman) was reflecting on Brooks’ inability to make it out in the real world once he was a free man. Brooks had been incarcerated for 50 years when he was finally released into civilization but he couldn’t make it because he had become, what Red called, “institutionalized.”


Institutionalized is when someone becomes apathetic and dependent after a long period in an institution.

Red said it best in the movie, “These walls are funny. First you hate ’em. Then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.”


Quarantine, isolation, social distancing can all lead to an institutionalized mentality. Especially if you are working from home and the four walls are all you see. For me, I have spent more time than I personally would like to at home. It's not that I don't like my home. I do! I love my home! But my extroverted self is struggling. And now my extroverted self is struggling in a whole new way because anytime my extroverted self finally gets outside these walls I start feeling uncivilized and, well, just plain awkward!


Someone said it is because we have muscle memory and when we no longer do a certain activity, we forget how to function when that activity comes up again.


Although there is truth to muscle memory, the information we retain about repeated activities is actually stored in the brain. The mind is a powerful thing. Your thoughts are a powerful thing. So we need to tend to it.


So here are a few things to help train your brain.


Renew your mind.

There are many verses in the Bible reiterating this command...be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2), have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), set your mind on things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5). Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).


There is a battle going on for your mind so be careful with idle time. Anytime Satan gets the chance he will try his hardest to make you feel unworthy and devalued. These are lies from the enemy. See them for what they are and replace them with truth of who God says you are. The world needs you. You have been gifted with talents and gifts that only you can contribute to making this world a better place. Train your brain to identify the lies and replace it with truth!


Rest in Christ.

It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be changed people. We can not do this on our own nor were we meant to. This is the Good News! Christ came to bring light and life and rest. We don't need to perform. We are fully accepted in Him. And the more we get to know Him the more we want to make much of Him. More of Him in the world and less of me.


Re-engage

Talk! Talk to someone (preferably in person). The only way we will avoid those embarrassing moments is if we are practicing getting out in the world an engaging. This is what we were created for. We are meant to continue what God started by contributing to society and create image-bearers. We can still socialize in a very respectful and safe way. We need each other. Don't give up getting together.


Repeat

Repetition is key. The more you do it, the more it becomes part of your very nature. A habit is defined as a way of behaving that is repeated so often it no longer involves conscious thought. Let's create healthy spiritual habits of getting into the Word, knowing truth, and then going out into the world and being a light in the darkness.


Don't become institutionalized. This is not God's will for you. Christ came to set you free. Renew, Rest, Re-engage, Repeat!








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Fear of the future is a real thing. I googled it. It is called "Chronophobia" which is the fear of time.


Who knew?


People with chronophobia are afraid of passing time because they fear their time on earth is limited.


Ummmmm, hello, it is!


Those who suffer most with chronophobia are those in prison, the elderly, as well as those who have been diagnose with a terminal illness. They feel that time moves too fast keeping them from accomplishing their purpose on earth.


The truth is, many of us are probably experiencing symptoms of chronophobia (fear of time/future) because of the effects of Covid-19. This novel virus has interrupted everyone's life in some way or another reeking havoc on our physical and mental well-being with things like quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, lockdown, economic shutdown, and empty shelves at the grocery store (like toilet paper, which makes zero sense).


Add to that all the political hub bub that is bombarding the TV and internet (I mean some people have really lost their marbles). All of this can start making your head spin and cause you to physically and mentally shut down and basically give up on life. When you can't figure out what is going on, "what if's" attack causing you to be paralyzed with fear.


News Flash! This is exactly what Satan wants you to feel. His tactics have not changed from the beginning of time when he deceived Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He wants you to doubt God's goodness by distorting the truth and ultimately sabotaging the good work God has planned for you to do.


Now, more than ever, we need to know God, his authority, his power to protect his people, and his plan to complete the good work. Don't let a pandemic keep you from moving forward in life.


Here are some steps to help you enjoy today!


Do the work God has prepared for you to do.

Don't shrink back from your dream. Yes, it may need to be tweaked a bit, but don't let Satan get in your head. God desires to use your very gifts and talents in society to reveal His glory. Your life matters. What you do matters. Don't let Satan tell you any different. Use every situation to see the need in the world around you and then meet that need with the resources God has given you. Nothing changes. You have something to offer the world to make it better.


For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10


Number your days.

Yes, we all have a limited amount of days here on earth. The truth is, our bodies are decaying day by day. Don't let Satan scare you with "your days are limited" tactics. That is nothing new. You already knew that. Now go live life for today. Do you want to make a difference? Get after it. Do you want to enjoy God's beauty? Go on a vacation.


Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

- Psalm 90:12


Make the best use of your time.

There is nothing worse than going through life and wishing you had done things differently. Some of us will say that about this pandemic. When we look back, we will say, "oh man, why didn't I take advantage of a slower pace when I had it?"


There is something very key here that we must understand. Time is important! What you do with your time is even more important. Having a plan is essential. Without a vision the people perish. Why? Zero vision/plan produces inactivity. Inactivity is idle time. Idle time is the devils playground. And this is where Satan will start to get in your head and cause you to doubt God, yourself, and the work God has prepared for you.


Be very careful, then , how you live--not as unwise but as wise,

making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.

- Ephesians 5:15-16


Remember God is in control.

Make no mistake. Satan knows God's power and authority. He knows his own time here on earth is limited. Why else do you think he is using "fear of time" to distract you from the good work God has called you to do? He fears the same thing. He has limited time to cause you to doubt God, distort the truth, and cause division.


Take the story of the demon possessed shepherds in Matthew 28. The demons saw God, knew God, and knew His authority to judge and cast them into everlasting punishment.

So they ask to be cast into a herd of pigs. If Satan were in control wouldn't you think he would have had the power to say the word himself and be cast into the pigs. Or how about just do it if you are so powerful, Satan! But he understood that God's word trumps and triumphs every time. God is the One with the authority!


"What do you want with us," Son of God?" they shouted.

"Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"

---

The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out,

send us into the herd of pigs."

-Matthew 8:29,31


Focus on Heaven

Death here on earth is not the end. I remember when I was little I would try to imagine eternity in a grave. That was a was very scary thought... to think that after we die we would just lay in a grave for ever and ever and ever. No more life as we know it. But this is not what the Bible teaches about eternity. Reality is, there is life after death. It is either in heaven or hell. Those are the two options...God or Satan.


God does not intend to harm you but to prosper you and give you a hope and a future. Everything we experience now is intended to prepare us for the future. And our ultimate future is completely restored and redeemed the way it was intended to be.


But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and

a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

- 2 Peter 3:13


Satan's plan, however, is to completely derail all the good things God has planned for you with doubt, distortion, and division. He is waging war, spreading lies and fear among the saints hoping they will waver and shrink back from making God known and making the world a better place, and enjoying all that God has created.


Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for he who promised is faithful.

- Hebrews 10:23


Don't let a pandemic and the things surrounding it cause you to loose focus on the life God has called you to.


Don't be deceived. Know truth. And the truth will set you free!



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