Thursday, April 23, 2015

Brave Enough

Brave. So much meaning in one little word.

Webster’s dictionary defines brave as “feeling or showing no fear : not afraid”.

There are days I’m sure my picture is right there alongside that definition in the dictionary. Other days, not so much.

This morning was one of the latter days. I was out for an early morning run. The sun was just peaking over the horizon. The air was chilly but not uncomfortable. My dogs were all romping in the crispness of the morning. Everything was right with the world!

Well, not everything. I was praying for those held in bondage by human trafficking. Praying for their freedom and deliverance. Asking God to help make His presence very real to them and help them hold on for freedom.

Then the Holy Spirit took over and I was praying for deliverance for their captors and abusers. Those guilty of capitalizing on other people’s mistreatment. People hurting innocence.

Whoa, stop right there!

Why would I want to pray for these people? I didn’t want to. Ok, I will admit I wanted to pray for them but to get what they have coming to them. Punished for their unthinkable acts towards fellow human beings.

I just about stopped running honestly. I was confused and a little repulsed at the thought of praying for deliverance when my frail, little human heart just wanted to take revenge on them.

“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (NLT)

God is still on the throne. He is in control of justice. It’s NOT my job. I have to be brave enough to trust Him with the justice of these people as well.

I don’t believe that means that they shouldn’t have to answer for their crimes in our judicial system. Not at all. It does mean that I will ask for the Lord’s help to be brave enough to pray that these perpetrators will be delivered from the hold evil has on them.

“But there is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord. Isaiah 48:22 (NLT)

It’s SO much easier to pray for those I love or those I know are being hurt by others. To pray for those doing the hurting is just plain tough. But…if we pray for those consumed by evil to be delivered from it we will be acting as true children of God.

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. Matthew 5:43-47 (NLT)

Brave. That is what I choose today. Brave enough to pray without fear for ALL that are effected by human trafficking. Brave enough to trust God that justice will be served for everyone. Brave enough to really believe that good triumphs over evil.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Running for a Reason

Do you ever feel like a little fish in a very big pond? Like the world and its problems are so big that there isn’t anyway one person can make a difference?

The sin in our world can feel so overwhelming. It can feel defeating at times but God wants to work through us to make a difference for HIS kingdom!

I’m training for my first half marathon (13.1 miles) this coming summer. The farthest distance I’ve raced up to this point is a 5k. Needless to say this is a big jump for me. Let me explain something first. I didn’t grow up running, well unless it was on the back of a horse. I used to comment that the only way you’d ever catch me running is if I was fleeing for my life.

For some reason though I decided to give it a try a couple of years ago. It didn’t come naturally to me. To be perfectly honest, it still doesn’t. I’m not fast and it still isn’t effortless. What it is for me though is time alone with God.

I run on cow trails. I live way out in the sticks so other than watching for the occasional snake there is quite a bit of quiet time. I love it!

I’ve been praying about a way for the Lord to use my half marathon training and race for His glory. I want my running to be about more than myself.

Every mile I’m praying for the victims of human trafficking. I’m praying for their freedom and restoration. When the miles get hard and the weather is less than ideal, I will run for those who haven’t been able to yet.

I will lift up those in prayer who work to rescue and restore these victims. Prayers will be said for awareness to be raised and the oppressors to be prosecuted.  

God has put it on my heart to put my money where my mouth is as well. For every training and race mile I run I will put a dollar in a jar. When my race is over in August I will be sending that money to The A21 Campaign to help them fight the injustice of modern day slavery.

God calls us to put our faith into action! Today, in this moment, this my action.

What good is it dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? James 2:14 (NLT)

I invite you to join me in putting feet to our faith. This can look different to each of us, but I encourage you to pray about how God wants you to move.

If you’d like to “join” me on my race I encourage you to send me your email address using the contact form on the right and I will send weekly mile updates from my training and race. You can determine how much money per mile you’d like to put in your jar (or envelope, etc.). After my race you’re welcome to join me in donating to A21 or another organization of your choice.

I would really appreciate your prayers for continued health and mental strength as I train. Thank you!

I love this song Run to Jesus by Francesca Battestelli!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No More Excuses - Just Obey

Obedience can be tough! I know in my head what God calls me to is what is truly best, but it still doesn’t always make it easy.

A couple of years ago, God called me into youth ministry. You want to talk about feeling unqualified. Yikes! I knew there was no way humanly possible I could handle it. The great part was I discovered He never intended for me to handle it on my own. It was amazing to watch his plan unfold and because of my obedience I got to be a part of all of it. Super cool honestly, but still not always easy.

God has also called me to write. I wish that meant it was always easy for me. It’s NOT! Sometimes I feel like a fish floundering out of water.

Then to top it off, I really felt led to sign up for the She Speaks Conference this coming summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited. I’m also scared to death and feeling pretty overwhelmed. I’ve signed up but spent many days coming up with excuses on how next year would be a better option.

As Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray after the Last Supper, he knew what was about to happen to him. Mark 14:33-34 says Jesus “began to be deeply distressed and troubled.” He shared with his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”.

It doesn’t say he was a little put out by the inconvenience of what God was asking him to do. No, he was deeply distressed and overwhelmed with sorrow. There is no way to humanly grasp the sacrifice Jesus was about to make for mankind. Many of whom were still sinners. Still more that would choose to turn their back on what Jesus did for them.

Yet he did it! In that garden he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Matthew 14:35-36 

Jesus knew God was capable of taking the cup of suffering from him. There was never any doubt of that, but Jesus was quick to put his own will in submission to God’s.

In Matthew 14:38 Jesus reminds the disciples, and therefore us, we need to watch and pray so that we won’t fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

My spirit wants to be obedient to the Lord, but my body is continually weak. So what does that mean for us? It means no more excuses!

We must deny our bodies. The only way to do that is to stay in God’s word and continually let the Spirit lead us. We have to make an effort to get quiet and tune into what God is saying to us. God wants to meet us there..

Lord, thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. Help me to deny my own will and seek out your will for my life. No more excuses for me Father. Less of me and more of you. In Jesus Name, amen.