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There’s a “I” in Him

As a mom of former college baseball and softball players, I have heard the saying “there is no “I” in team” more times than I can count. In other words, one player is not to work alone, but rather work together with others to achieve a certain goal. Today I am drawn to the word “Him”, as in Christ. Yes, there is an “I” in that word but I am not just talking about the “I” in the spelling of Him.

As a woman, a wife, and a mother, who walks her life out with Christ, I can truly say; there’s an “I” in Him. Me, myself, and I are in Him and He is in me. We are a team and He is my captain. It is “I” in Him and “Him” in me that makes all things possible. Christ said it himself in Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Because I think like a baseball/softball mom, let me put it to you this way. Life can feel like a ball game. It may 5435255_mseem like you are at the bottom of the 9th, stuck on 3rd with 2 outs and you’re ready to give up. But it is at that moment that He steps up to the plate and knocks one out of the park. Christ is the only one I would ever want batting at that point in the game. I know that the things of this world sometimes leave me stranded on third but Christ will always bring me home. Never has He left me standing alone on the field of life and I will never stop giving Him praise.

Today I pray that you, too, are the “I” in Him and that He is in you. I pray that you will step behind Christ as your Team Captain and let Him call the plays. I also pray that you will let Him be your strength whatever life brings your way.

I hope that knowing you can also be the “I” in Him brings you peace during even the hardest of times.   What are you waiting for? The words of the song “Centerfield” by John Fogerty say it perfectly…“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play”. Be the “I” in Him!

 

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Keeping Christ in Christmas

Originally written for Living Better 50 Magazine.

It was a snowy December day when I found myself walking in a very slippery Fred Meyer Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 4.57.50 PMparking lot. As I approached my car, I saw a couple who looked to be in their 80’s or 90’s. The husband was trying to push the cart through the snow and help his wife who was very frail. Watching them made me think of my grandparents who I missed deeply. Carefully I walked toward them extending my arm to the woman to help her keep her balance.

When we reached their car she hugged me, and for a moment, it felt like my grandma had given me a hug. While her husband put the bags in the trunk I helped her into the car and told her that the hug she had given me blessed me because I missed my grandma. She took my hand, looked into my eyes and said, “You are my angel and God sent you to me today.” I wished them a “Merry Christmas”, closed the car door, and returned the shopping cart with teary eyes and a heart filled with joy.

In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season don’t forget that you are a witness for Christ. That day I was in a big hurry to get a lot of things done. I very easily could have ignored that couple and moved along to the next thing on my long list of to-do’s. I wonder how many times I have missed a chance to show kindness toward others because I was in too much of a hurry to stop and share the love of the man who laid down his life for me. Maybe you are also missing opportunities.

Every year it seems as though Christ gets pushed out of Christmas more and more. We must make a point of not getting so “wrapped” up in holiday parties, baking, and gift shopping that we forget the reason we are celebrating Christmas. Let’s not get so caught up in finding the perfect decorating ideas on Pinterest that we “Pinterest Jesus” right out of the season.

This holiday season take time each day to look for ways to be the hands and feet of Christ. I can almost guarantee someone will cross your path that needs a helping hand. Just a short five-minute interaction changed my perspective greatly, it might change yours too. Six years later I am still filled with joy when I think of that sweet couple I helped in that snowy parking lot.

Show grace to the tired clerk or grumpy shopper. Think of the grace Christ has shown you. Rather than snap at the driver who cut you off, have a heart full of forgiveness and say a prayer that they would slow down. How many times has Christ forgiven you? As you wrap a gift say a prayer for the person who will receive it. Prayer can work wonders in the hardest of hearts.

In the simplest of actions you can keep the love of Christ alive this holiday season. After all, it really is about Him.

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Branded in Christ

Originally posted for Living Better 50 Magazine.

While driving home the other day, I saw a man walking toward his house with a pile of mail tucked under his arm. In his hands was an envelope he had hastily torn open to see what movie Netflix sent him.

At 60 mph I knew he was opening a Netflix envelope because Netflix has done such a good job in branding their product. That red envelope with its white border is all I needed to see to know what it was.

Branding is such a huge part of any marketing plan. To brand something in the business sense means, “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal .” –(businessdictionary.com)

12087060_904002133010441_1719917624654712051_oSeeing that man on my drive home got me to thinking, how am I “branding” myself as a believer in Christ? I have been covered, branded, and marked by the forgiveness, mercy and grace of Christ but is that what people see when they look at me? For that matter, is it what they see when they look at you?

My stomach is sick and there is a pain in my heart as I type this because I am saddened by the stigma the word “Christian” has in our society. Let’s say God was a businessman. His children, the “Christians” as we like to call ourselves, are the product he is trying to market and brand. How well do you think we have hit the mark in creating a unique name and image for Christ? What image is being left in the minds and hearts of those who do not know God? If “branding” is a means to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers I think we have missed the mark. Christ is love. He is mercy and He is grace. That is the brand or the image we should be projecting yet many who call themselves “Christians” project hatred in their judgmental ways. Great branding attracts and retains loyal customers. I think we are falling short in that area. In many ways I think we are driving people from our churches rather than into them.

The term “Christian” has such a negative image these days. It is not the kind of branding I want to represent me. I want the mark of His love, His grace, and His mercy to be what people see. At 60 mph, I knew that man was opening a Netflix envelope and from a distance, I want people to see His joy in me. I want to be so well branded in the love of Christ that people will want to know more about what is inside of me. My prayer is that you will want the same thing. Companies spend big bucks getting the perfect branding to represent who they are and what they have to offer. Christ gave his life for us. It cost him everything and he has marked us with His love and forgiveness. We have been branded, because we are sealed in the forgiveness of His blood. That is what we need to be sharing with the world.

Before you slide into your name brand jeans, lace up your Nike shoes, grab your iPhone and your Starbucks coffee, clothe yourself in Christ because it’s the most important brand name you will ever wear.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 (NLT)

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Don’t hold back

11722370_865600210183967_6957533867493068254_oBy Kim Chaffin, The Midlife Domestic Goddess

Originally Living Better 50 Magazine

Growing up we spent a lot of time at our family cabin in Priest Lake, Idaho. My great-grandfather had a vision of a place where generations in the future could come and relax. Since 1947, our family has been enjoying my great grandfather’s cabin. At times there have been four generations there.

My dad’s mom, “Honey” was famous for saying, “F H B”… Family Hold Back. That simply meant, we have extra people we did not plan for this meal and we need to be sure our guests leave satisfied. FHB was perfect in those situations but when it comes to the family of God, FHB is the opposite of what God wants for us.

As the body of Christ, the children of God, we cannot be holding anything back. God sent His son for ALL of us, not just a select group. Every one of us is called to be a disciple. All of us were called to pray, encourage, and live a life that reflects the love of Christ. I wish I knew why so many people go through life keeping their faith hidden. We should not be embarrassed to call ourselves believers or Christians. So what if someone thinks you are weird because you believe?

We need to be more concerned with what God thinks of us than what someone else thinks of us. The family of God cannot be in FHB mode so we avoid hearing the term “freak” or having someone say, “You are a Christian?” with a tone full of disdain. So what if you take some ridicule for your beliefs? Christ was spit on and ridiculed, and crucified so you could be forgiven and have eternal life with Him.

God held nothing back. He gave his only son. Jesus gave his very own life. He did it of His own accord not because God told Him to do it. Jesus says it clearly in John 10:17-18 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. (NIV)

I read a medical description of what Christ went through during His crucifixion and the pain was beyond anything I could imagine. Jesus willingly went through that pain and held nothing back because He loved us. There is such an abundance of love in what was done for us and we are guaranteed that it will never run out. My question is…if His love will never run out then why in the world, as the family of God, are we holding back?

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, hold nothing back. Live for Christ. Live for God. If company comes over for dinner then by all means FHB and let your guests go home full from a good meal. During dinner pour out abundantly the love of Christ on them and don’t hold back, there’s plenty for everyone.

Kim Chaffin is the creator of Heartfelt Ramblings of a Midlife Domestic Goddess ®. She is also a monthly contributor for the Whatever Girls Ministry and for Living Better 50 Magazine.  If you are interested in having her speak at your next event please see the speaking link in the menu of the blog.  You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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The Heart of a Father

Today’s guest post is by Barbara Hollace.

Barb-headshot14-2.76170342_stdYesterday (Sunday) Pastor Alice’s message was about “The Heart of the Father” – our heavenly Father and God’s love for us… so amazing the depth of His love for you and me.

This morning I experienced a visual demonstration of the heart of the Father. My friend Sharon and I were on our Monday morning walk in Mirabeau Park and as usual we were walking, talking, and praying while keeping our eyes open for what God had in store for us.

We had been in the park for less than five minutes when we saw two very small chipmunks (3 inch body plus the tail) running over tree limbs on a tree that had been struck by lightning a couple of weeks ago. They ran and stopped and then chased each other some more until they ran out of sight. We moved on.

Along the way we pointed out rabbits and magpies and other small birds darting here and there, we hadn’t gotten to the part of the trail where the quail and butterflies and baby dragonflies hang out. On the trail we caught a glimpse of the ‘regulars’ (walkers and bikers) and then many others who decided to take the opportunity to enjoy this second day of summer.

As we approached a turn in the road where the river is closer to the path, our silence was broken by Sharon’s voice, “Is that a rabbit in the fence?” I looked to my right and saw a rolled wire fence with 2 inch x 3 inch openings. There was a rabbit stuck in the fence. The front part of him had made it through but the back end and his legs were still on our side of the fence but his feet were not touching the ground.

My stomach dropped. “Sharon, it doesn’t look like he’s moving.” My greatest fear was that the rabbit was dead.

Sharon replied, “No, I just saw it move.” I could see that he was moving a bit. Likely trying to figure out how he could make it out.

I climbed up the small incline off the trail to where the rabbit was stuck, talking to him as I came up the hill. Speaking words of peace and that we wanted to help him. As I got closer to the fence, I could see how stuck he really was and the wire near his right leg was ‘cutting’ into his leg.

“Sharon, he’s really stuck.” At that moment I knew that if we couldn’t help him get free, he would die right there before our eyes. My tears began to flow as I felt helpless. A cell phone and keys and driver’s license and a $5.00 bill weren’t going to save him. I had no tools that would help this rabbit.

I reached out to the rabbit to see if there was any way we could get him free and the rabbit cried out in pain and distress. My heart was breaking. Without the right tools, any attempt by us would only cause more pain.

Sharon from the path below said, “We need to find someone who has some wire cutters to get him free.”

There was a house close by so Sharon volunteered to go get some help while I stayed to tend to the rabbit and watch and pray and speak calming words to this frightened creature. If he tried to fight the fence and get loose, he would only injure himself more.

Sharon walked down the fence line and then jumped over the fence that was about 5 feet high. Wow, was I ever glad I had such an athletic friend! She walked over to the house and I waited and watched the rabbit and prayed. His body shook from shock and fear. Inside, I wasn’t doing much better.

I reassured him that help was on the way and watched his rapid breathing. I saw Sharon keep on going past the house running down a driveway… the first place must have been a dead end. I watched and I prayed. I was afraid we didn’t have much time left since I didn’t know how long he had been caught in the fence. The rabbit shivered less and less. I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I moved from one side of him to the other to see if his eyes were tracking with me. I needed to see some sign of life… some movement to know that we were not too late.

What seemed like a long time… but likely wasn’t, I saw Sharon coming back down the driveway with a man in his early 30s wearing a blue t-shirt, they were intent on their mission. As I saw them coming, I told the rabbit, “Help is on the way, they’re almost here.” Once more the rabbit tried to get free and then stopped.

Both of them vaulted over the fence and came to join me near the rabbit. Sharon introduced us, “Adam, this is my friend, Barb. Barb, this is Adam.” I greeted him with a smile of thanksgiving. I noticed he had wire cutters in his hand… yay! I’m not sure what his t-shirt really said, but I saw the word “Courageous” maybe it actually said ‘Cougars’, honestly, I don’t know. But God showed me “Courageous”.

Adam moved toward the fence with a calm manner like someone who cared about our friend in distress and also knew his way around fencing. He examined the situation and the rabbit was not afraid. He stayed where he was and Adam began making some strategic cuts. With one last clip and a gentle push on the rabbit’s foot, the rabbit was free. The rabbit jumped away from the fence and ran for freedom without a limp, as if the spot where the wire had cut into him did not hurt.

“I’m free! I’m free! Praise God, I’m free.” That’s the message I heard in my spirit. By this time, tears of joy were flowing down my face. God had sent help to save one of his beloved creatures. Adam turned to leave without fanfare. Sharon shook his hand and thanked him and Adam wished us well on the rest of our walk. I had no words, only tears. My heart was full and overflowing in that moment with the heart of the Father.

Sharon and I walked back down the incline to the trail below. We stood there for a moment and cried and held each other in a hug. What had we just witnessed? What had God called us to be a part of? We did not know. But we knew that God was there.

As we resumed our walk, we cried and prayed asking God what had just happened. I knew that we had witnessed the very truth Pastor Alice spoke of yesterday… the love of God the Father for us. The rabbit would have died without our help. Sometimes we are that rabbit. We are ‘stuck’ because we tried to go somewhere we did not belong and did not fit.

But it was more than that, we saw the problem and we wanted to help but we didn’t have the right tools to solve the problem. We too needed to ask for help, a willing soul who would help us to free the rabbit not someone with a cold heart that saw it just as the way nature works, some live and some die.

And God sent “Adam” – the irony of his name was not lost on us. Who else but God would send a willing soul to answer the distress call of a stranger? And he just happened to have wire cutters coupled with a heart of compassion for a wounded rabbit? Only God.

Three strangers came together to save a life… all of us were touched by the experience and I believe that the rabbit lives on. The Heart of the Father… my heart broke as I saw that rabbit stuck in the fence and knew that I might see him die if we didn’t get help. How much more does my heart break for my fellow-man who doesn’t know the Lord? May God break my heart for what breaks His. His heart breaks for people who are ‘stuck’ in life situations that will result in death unless they are set free and so should mine. I cannot do it alone and neither can you.

The empty fence was where the rabbit was set free. The empty cross is where Christ set us free. May the love of the Father live on through us. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. (If you would like to hear the message about “The Heart of the Father” (6/21/15) you can listen to the replay at www.spokanedreamcenter.org)

Barbara Hollace is not only a beautiful writer, she is also an amazing editor. For more information on Barbara go to www.barbarahollace.com

 

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Christ-Our Life!

10514645_10153047532657119_6672864205718947858_nBy Ken McNaughton, Fire Chaplain

Colossians 3:3-4 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

These two scriptures are crucial to understanding the state of the Church today.  The gospel being widely preached today proclaims, ‘Come to Jesus and He will give you a better, more abundant life’.  Many of you right now are agreeing with that statement seeing nothing wrong in its content.  Jesus did NOT come to give us a better life!  Jesus came to BE OUR LIFE!  This may seem like semantics to some of you, but it is in fact a deadly shift that has taken place in the Church.

Being a Christian today is more about embracing a certain kind of lifestyle rather than Christ being our LIFE.  Consider a newborn baby.  It is full of life, hungry, needy and ready to start learning and growing.  However, it has no thoughts of lifestyle patterns to ‘live’ by and keep up appearances.  All it is concerned with is crying out for the nurturing that only the One Who gave it LIFE can offer.  Its dependency upon the parent is ALL it knows and understands.  Listen carefully to these plain and direct words spoken by Jesus:

Matthew 18:2-4  “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Do you see and hear what He is really saying?  He says we have to be just like that little child, completely dependent upon Him for everything!  Today people have made Jesus part of their lifestyles fitting Him in where they have time for Him.  As long as they give Him a portion of their time, talents and treasure they are perceived as godly.  Jesus didn’t die so that we might ‘fit Him into our schedule’ for one or two days a week.  He didn’t shed His precious blood for a few of our dollars to help the Church make it through this difficult time!  He didn’t endure the ridicule of becoming flesh and blood so that we might one day make Him part of our weekly routine and lifestyles!  He came to be our LIFE!  The real gospel calls every man and woman to lay down their lives, crucify their fleshly desires and lifestyles, die to self and through the power of the Holy Spirit be raised to newness of LIFE IN CHRIST!  Anything less than this kind of commitment will fall short of the glory of God.

Are you committed to seeing our nation return to the proclamation of the real gospel one heart at a time, one church at a time, one home at a time, one preacher at a time?  This is not supposed to be a lifestyle change for us, but rather a commitment for LIFE.  Lifestyle changes can change as easily as one changes their diet year after year.  We are called and created to be different!  When a baby is born it is given a name that stays with it their entire life.  We, too, are given a NAME that is written in the Lamb’s book of LIFE when we choose to receive Christ as our LIFE.  As Christians, Christ is not part of our lives, He IS OUR LIFE!

If you find that you have somehow walked away from Christ being your LIFE and have made Him just part of your lifestyle, then call out to Him right now asking Him for mercy and forgiveness.  He is ever ready to live and move and have His being in you, but you must completely surrender ALL, not AL – most.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Remember, God never intended for us to make Christ “part” of our life. He wants us to surrender our life – to Him.

Serving the REAL Chief,

Ken McNaughton, Fire Chaplain, Spokane County Chaplaincy

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Check your burdens at the cross

Tonight was her Christmas party – an elegant ballroom party, it was a dream come true. The last two months at this job made her feel like her past was finally behind her. The dress and shoes she had borrowed fit her perfectly. However, as she slipped on her tattered winter coat, feelings of sadness and shame came over her.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 11.31.31 AMUpon arriving at the party, she noticed a coat check. What would they think when they saw her dirty coat? She turned away and rolled her coat over her arm. Inside out, no one would see the stains from her past life. The coat told the story of many wild nights partying and waking up in drug houses and hotel rooms that were rented by the hour. Past memories followed her to the food table.

Walking around the room, she carried the coat and balanced her plate of delicious looking hors d’oeuvres. Every few minutes she would try to shift her coat to the other arm without spilling her food.  It was a burden to carry her coat but it was nothing compared to the burden she carried in her heart. The mistakes of her past were so heavy but she just couldn’t let them go.

The guy from accounting was on his way over to her and she had nowhere to run and hide. He was probably going to ask her to church again. Like any church would want her, she thought. Besides, he was an accountant and he would have a heyday tallying up all her mistakes. He reached out and said, “Let me check that coat for you, it looks like a burden.”

As he took the coat from her, he noticed the stains. Here comes judgment, she thought. But instead he looked at her with the most amazing kindness and said, “This coat looks like it has known its share of heartache. It reminds me of my life before Christ. I dragged my shame around with me wherever I went. It kept me from enjoying life. One day I found myself wanting to end it all, but something pulled at my heart. Before I realized what I was doing, I walked into a church. I guess I wanted to see if God was real. I opened a Bible and I will never forget what I read. ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ It was at that moment I realized I could leave my burdens with Christ. Finally, I had found rest and peace.”

There was no judgment in his eyes. Instead, there was a joy that seemed so different from anything she had ever seen. He walked away with her coat and she stood there for a moment thinking about how good it felt to no longer be carrying it. With tear-filled eyes, she wondered if there was any truth in what he said. Could she find rest and peace too? Right there, in the middle the party, she said, “God, if you are real, can you give me rest? I am tired and I hurt so badly carrying all my mistakes. I want to live my life differently. Can you take my burdens and give me rest?” In that moment, she found peace that she had never felt before.

Today Christ wants to give you rest. If you are carrying burdens that are weighing you down, Christ is waiting to take them from you. He wants you to check your burdens at the cross and enjoy a life free of shame. You simply need to ask Him. He is not concerned about how you word it – it doesn’t have to be fancy. He is looking at your heart. You can hand Him whatever it is you are carrying around with you and He will take it no matter how ugly it may be.

I recently talked with a man who had just given his life to Christ and in our conversation I told him, “Whatever you gave to Christ, you have been forgiven for all of it. Do not go back and pick it up. It was checked at the cross and it no longer belongs to you.” The same is true for you when you check your burdens at the cross. They are no longer your burdens to carry. Please don’t wait another minute. A simple prayer is all it takes.

 

Originally posted at Living Better 50 magazineLB50ContributorSQ

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Like a moth to the moon

Originally written for Living Better 50 magazine.

Have you ever noticed the number of moths and other bugs that gravitate to your porch light? One flick of Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 8.58.31 PMthe switch and your porch light becomes a beacon in the night – just like Motel 6. Moths are attracted to the light because they think it’s the moon. Instead, they end up being confused and tired while flying around your light.

Moths use the light of the moon to navigate at night, and sadly, they often get pulled off course by a false moon (the front porch light). Moths are not the only creatures that are guided by the light. There is one true light that has been given to us as human beings, Jesus Christ. Sadly, many of us get pulled off course by the false lights of the world. Many may never even know that there is one true light to guide them; instead, they remain alone in the darkness.

My prayer is that God will use me as His instrument to touch the hearts of those around me. Out of the darkness, may I be a beacon of light, a light that people will be drawn to because Christ shines so brightly in me. My heart’s cry is to share His love in a way that turns the hearts of the broken, those trapped in darkness, to freedom in the light.

Today I pray that you, too, will want to be used to help lead others out of the darkness. Look around you. Who in your life is off course? Who is going through life wasting away like a moth that is drawn to a false moon? Moths will move from one false moon to the next until they die. How many people are we going to watch do the same as they bounce from one lie to another?

LB50ContributorSQMoths show us that false light leads to death. Be a beacon of light for those who are in darkness, direct them to the true light of Christ because in Him is salvation.

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Beautiful: My Story

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Thank you to “Photos by Heather”

By Taler Ray

Photo Credit: “Photos by Heather”

We all long to feel beautiful and somehow those 9 letters are the epitome of worth to most women around the world. Have you ever thought about how important in essence the word beautiful is? This word either empowers or destroys. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, we probably all have and if we are honest we base our level beauty and worth by what culture says. Today we have social media, magazines, commercials etc. to thank for “idols” that clearly and visually, state clearly how little our hearts and passions matter.  Because to the world we are how we look the definition of who we are depends on it.  But friends….”beautiful” really isn’t an adjective that supports the noun. Being beautiful is a verb.

Beauty by social standard has destroyed and woman’s heart and I am a victim. 

Unknown-5Yes, I finally said it. I have been a victim of society and the media when it comes to feeling beautiful, but not until recently did I realize how deep these influences have affected my heart. For so many years I have tried to pretend I knew what it felt like to love myself, to feel completely confident and pretty-but I was so very wrong. My standards of beauty have been skewed by the world and the devil. He is always seeking to destroy. I have struggled with my weight and outer body image my whole life, but didn’t address it. Instead I allowed the devil to capitalize on my insecurities but worse was the denial that covered them.

I neglected the aching in my heart to feel beautiful and shoved my insecurity to the depths of my soul, hoping no one would ever find it

But, Jesus did. He found & revealed them. Jesus dug out my deepest insecurities and put them on display. Ultimately, he showed me that I failed to realize that my struggle with being beautiful was keeping me from being the truest version he created. I had been lying to myself for years, but lie I will no more.

Being pre-diabetic since high school, I have never really been healthy. Loosing weight was hard, no matter how healthy I ate. Returning from my first year of college heavier and more in denial than ever I was headed for type 2 diabetes which is hereditary. I knew that I had to make a change, but I just felt trapped in these chains of self-pity, guilt and frustration. I started baby steps and took the advice of my dear friend Claire and started approaching exercise totally different. As an act of worship. It was during one of my runs in early May that I finally surrendered my burden of self-image to Jesus. I surrendered the lies that Satan and culture. My chains were broken and set free through Jesus.

Being broken is not fun, and I am slowly beginning to be made “WHOLE” in the Lord. For so many years I had failed to understand that my body is a temple and when I neglect it, I neglect my relationship with Jesus. Following him means I must also honor my body; for it I do not I am dishonoring the Holy Spirit whom dwells within me. I’m learning that only when I surrender my flesh can I begin to be shaped into something new.  The new that is revealed through God’s glory and grace.

I love the message version of 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 which says

“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

As I close I can admit that for so long I let my insecurities and society define me as unworthy of being a beautiful creation. But through the convictions, trials and triumph I can hear the Creator whisper to me, saying:

Beloved, you are my masterpiece.”Unknown-3

Choose to live life as a beautiful verb because we are not called to let others define our worth. We are called to live as he has defined us: beloved. 

In Christ Jesus,

Taler Ray

To read more of Taler’s awesome posts you can go to a New Adventure Each Day.  God has his hand on this young lady and I look forward to having her back again to share her wisdom.

Thank you to “Photos by Heather”  or on Facebook

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Photo Bomb

Just the other night I was taking some family photos of all the cousins as we celebrated the 4th of DSC_5170July.  My son saw the perfect opportunity to photo bomb one of the pictures.  He jumped in behind a few of his cousins and his sister with a funny look on his face.  As they sat smiling for the camera he stood behind them with a goofy look on his face  and messed up the photo.

The enemy loves nothing more than to “Photo Bomb” the picture God has for our lives…..

Yes I just said “Photo Bomb”.

Picture it. There is a beautiful backdrop of God’s creation, and in the photo you are looking at Jesus. His love for you radiates and you are filled with joy as you stand in the presence of your Savior. Then comes the Photo Bomb! The enemy jumps in behind Jesus pointing a finger at Him and whispering to you, “Don’t trust Him. It is all a lie. He must not love you. If he did love you that bad thing would not have happened”. It only takes a moment for the enemy to photo bomb and distort the beautiful picture God has for our lives.

When the enemy jumps in and tries to distort the picture we need to remember what the living and breathing word of God says. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

We live in a broken world. As the saying goes, bad things happen to good people. God doesn’t sit back waiting for the perfect time to bring harm to us. The enemy however, wants nothing more than to cause us to believe it is God that we can’t trust. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8,9 (NIV)

In the photo bomb, the enemy raises his ugly head from behind Jesus because he cannot get in front of Him. We need to remember that. The enemy has been put in his place; he has no power. He is like the annoying guy that is jumping up and down behind the reporter just so he can get his picture on TV. I don’t know about you but I always laugh at that guy. No matter how hard he tries to get in front of Christ he can’t. Christ will stand between the two of you. You can count on that. Also, you have been given the authority to tell him to back off. On more than 1 occasion I have said, “In the name of Jesus get away from me. You are not welcome here”. When you claim the authority you have been given by God you can photo shop him out of the picture.

Never be afraid to tell the enemy to take a hike when he rears his ugly head and photo bombs God’s picture for your life.

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