COMPELLED, Week 3

Compelled to Sacrifice

If you asked me what I love most about going to church, my answer would be WORSHIP!

What I would mean by that, is that I love worshipping God with God’s people!  I LOVE singing along with the Worship Band at the top of my lungs! I love raising my hands in the air and moving my body to the beat. Dare I even say, I Love Dancing if the spirit moves me! I love hearing God’s word of Truth spoken, I love hearing His Word read, I love the opportunity to give back a small portion of what God has graciously given to me. I love encouraging others, sharing with others…I LOVE IT ALL!

I once had someone say that they didn’t like to blend their going to a concert with their worship experience at church! WHAT?

I do not understand the concept of going to a concert and feeling free to jump, dance, scream and sing along, while not feeling the same freedom spiritually during worship at church? In fact, dare I say, feeling greater freedom in church as you worship the One who has set you free!

Man is the one who has built the walls in-between, not God! Man is the one who puts up barriers and creates rules and regulations, not God! If I am going to look silly, feel free, and raise my hands to anyone, let it be in church and to God!

No where on my list of what I love most about church is the word SACRIFICE! Sacrifice is not the first thing we think about when we think about God and our experience with Him. The word Sacrifice, does not promote a warm and fuzzy feeling and does not cause a smile to spread across our face.

The word SACRIFICE, can actually cause the opposite reaction.

By definition, SACRIFICE is the “surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having higher or more pressing claim.”

By definition we are giving something up or actually getting rid of it totally by destroying it!

I believe that what God wants from us is to willingly give our lives to Him, sacrificially, and compel others to the same way of life!

In the book of Romans it says not to copy the behavior and customs of the world we live in, but to sacrifice that way of living, for God’s way of living. When we do this, God transforms our lives and we become a new person. One who lives his/her life as a “LIVING SACRIFICE,” which is good, pleasing and perfect!

The irony is that God tells us that this is “truly the way to worship Him.”

Romans 12:1 says, 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy SACRIFICE  – the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.”

I am called to be a living sacrifice that compels others to know my Savior by the way I live my life. I am to live that life differently than the world around me. I am to not copy the behaviors and practices around me. I am to be transformed in the way I think by filling my mind with God’s TRUTH!

TRUTH BOMB

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My life of sacrifice can compel others to The Savior.

When my mind, heart and spirit are filled with the Truth of God’s Word, I am transformed into living a life that copies Jesus and not the behaviors and customs of this world.

That kind of lifestyle is contagious and compels others to follow.

Speak Truth Love

COMPELLED, WEEK 2

WHAT COMPELLS YOU?

If we are going to live lives that are “compelling”, then the first question we must ask ourselves is; “What Compells us?”

If we stick to the definition of compelling that we are using for this series then the question must be asked and answered according to this….

“To have a powerful and irresistible effect, to influence, to draw near.”

According to this definition, what compels you?

Embarrassingly enough I am “compelled” to cupcakes at times. The decadent icing on top of the moist, delectable cake is at times irresistible to my tastebuds. More than that, the power they can have over me to falsely sooth my sorrowful disposition, compels me more times than not to eat them!

As silly as that example was, on a more serious and important note, I am also compelled to read the Word of God for I know what it has done for me before! It is also a powerful and influential tool in my life.

I do not know what your answers to this question are, but I do know that there is no shortage of compulsions in this world we live in. Eating, drinking, spending, gambling, gaming, just to name a few!

Truly, we were created with a nature to be compelled and to compel others. The question we must face is, Is our compulsion compelling ourselves toward God, or repelling ourselves away from God?

So again, I ask, “What compels you?”

In II Corinthians 5:14-15, we read what should compel us, and WHY!

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for ALL, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”                                                                                                          II Corinthians 5:1415

I do not know about you, but at times in my life this is easy, and at times in my life this is very hard!

There are some days when my first thought is to run to my Bible, open it’s pages, soak in it’s wisdom, and pour my heart out to God in prayer.

There are other days when all I want to do is sit and eat cupcakes!

The COMPELLING part is what balances me, and keeps the two in proportion!

Truth Bomb

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In order to be compelling, I must learn to be compelled toward God and His Word!

This is something I must do each and everyday!

There is no better practice I know to develop this discipline than FASTING!

Spiritual fasting is all about giving up something to focus on God! To instead of reaching for that cupcake, or cup of coffee, or diet coke, or program, or phone call with a friend, or retail therapy, or…..you fill in the blank, I reach for God. I open His word, I say a prayer to Him and I develop a compelling nature to spend time with Him alone.

While there are many scriptures on fasting and many books written on how to fast, and why you should fast, my favorite is the example set by Jesus Himself…

After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.”  Matthew 4:2

I am not telling you to fast from all food for 40 days and nights. What I am saying is that, if Jesus knew that fasting was important, then so should as well.

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 13, marks 40 days until Easter! Forty days until we celebrate the most important day on the world’s calendar. The resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! If you would like to practice exercising your spiritual muscle, then you could join me in a 40 day Fast.  We will begin tomorrow and end on Easter Sunday!

A fast can be anything at all that you choose to give up for a time, commit that time to God, pray to Him and read His word.

It is wonderful to have a book or specific scriptures that you can read each day to help you through. I am using the book by Mark Batterson, ‘Draw the Circle.’ It is 40 days of testimonials to God and scripture. It makes it perfect for a 40 day fast.

You can find another book, or read through a book of the Bible. Daniel is a great book for fasting since Daniel himself sets a great example for us in this discipline.

Remember, fasting is not a diet! It does not even have to involve food at all. It is for the sole purpose to sacrifice something in order to draw our attention to God!

Just imagine how compelling we may become as we draw closer to the One who compels us to Himself!

Speak Truth Love

 

COMPELLED

Today Friends it is a new month and I am COMPELLED to write on thoughts of being COMPELLED!

I was recently at a Women’s Conference where the powerful speaker used the word, “COMPELLED,” to encourage us to have the kind of faith that compels others to follow us.

I was impacted greatly by this thought, and frankly, I was convicted! It forced me to ask myself the question, “Does my faith, AKA, my life, compel anyone to be drawn to it and follow it?”

It has been over two weeks since that conviction was spoken to me and I have wrestled with this question ever since.

I believe that we are living in a culture that threatens to be ‘Post Christian.’ We claim to believe in Jesus, yet the rate of depression and anxiety in our culture is rising at an alarming rate. Do we really TRUST Him? When others see the way we deal with sadness and anxiousness, does it cause them to follow our example or simply fall into the status quo right alongside of us?  Does the look on our face differ from the looks on the faces around us? Do we have the “joy of the Lord” in us, even when our circumstances are anything but “happy?”

When the unexpected trial or tragedy hits us, do we fall to our knees and throw our hands up in the air, or do we call our posse and add to the grumbling and complaining?

Woe is me friends, because I must admit that too often I fall into the “cultural mode” of dealing with my life. Instead of compelling others to emulate my life actions and follow Jesus, I am repelling them away from Him.

As convicting as I feel to compel others to Jesus through my life’s actions, I am even more alarmed at the fact that my misguided actions can repel them!

For the purpose of this series we are going to use my favorite dictionary definition of COMPEL…

“To have a powerful and irresistible effect, to influence, to draw near.”

The flip side of this powerful definition is to REPEL…

“To push away or repulse, to drive off.”

Friends, the only way I see it is that we do one or the other. Our lives, unless lived in isolation, have the power to COMPEL or REPEL!

I know the task is daunting! It is too big for us to take on. The beauty of a life lived for God is that we don’t have to take it on ourselves. It is through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that people are drawn to Jesus. We just have to shine the light that directs them to Him!

How often have you sang the children’s song, ‘This Little Light of Mine?’ Has it ever convicted you to let that light shine? The simple words are truly profound!

“This Little Light of Mine, I’m going to let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.”

How do we let our little light shine? By living our lives the way God tells us to.

His Word, The Bible, is a LOVE Letter to us that is full of instruction and guidance.

The first thing we should be compelled to do in order to compel others is to PRAY!

I do not mean to just PRAY when you are desperate and need something, although that is a very good time to pray, but I mean PRAY DAILY, ALL THE TIME as a usual practice.

Look at what Jesus did,

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him.”                                                                                  Luke 22:39

The words that strike me first and foremost are, “AS USUAL!”

It was His HABIT! It was as normal or as usual for Jesus, as brushing His teeth, combing His hair, eating His breakfast or drinking His first cup of whatever warm beverage was available to Him.

This was a USUAL practice for Jesus. It was what He did DAILY and ALL OF THE TIME!

When we encounter Jesus facing the most difficult time of His life, we find Him PRAYING to His heavenly Father as USUAL!

The first practice of living a life that COMPELS and does not REPEL others, is to PRAY!

TRUTH BOMB

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Making prayer the first response to anything, instead of a cry of desperation is a vital step to living a COMPELLING life.

Prayer should be as habitual as your morning cup of coffee!

Whether your preference is hot tea, hot water or like mine, that dark, rich caffeinated deliciousness called coffee, PRAYER needs to be as habitual and USUAL for us as taking that first sip and drinking it down!

If we are going to be True Lights for God that shine and help save this culture from becoming “post-christian,” we must live lives that COMPEL others to God!

COMPELLED TO PRAY IS STEP ONE!

Speak Truth Love

LOVE IS FROM GOD

If you know God, then you are loved! It does not depend on a feeling or a holiday or the reaction of others. You are LOVED because you belong to God. You are His child! God has a purpose for you, a plan for you and a desire that you love Him more and love others more.

This is the last week of February. The final week in our month on LOVE. If you are a professed “Lover” of this month of LOVE, or a professed “Hater” of this month of LOVE, it really does not matter.

You can get warm and fuzzy feelings at the mention of the word ‘Valentine’s Day,’ or chills can run up and down your spine at the first sight of those red and pink hearts appearing. The TRUTH is, LOVE is a gift from God and February presents us with the opportunity to share it in abundance!

My hope for all of us is that we grab onto this miraculous LOVE that is unconditional and FREE! That we allow it to become a part of our DNA, and that we live in it and live it out. That we are hope-filled and encouraged by it, and that we give it out to all those we come in contact with.

God’s love is a HOPE that does not disappoint my friends! It will never leave you or forsake you! It will not demand anything from you. It will only fill you up to overflowing! It will get you though your darkest of nights, and rejoice alongside you in your happiest of days. It will persevere with you through the struggles, and give you the wisdom to tackle any problem you face. It will comfort and heal you when you are hurt, wounded or devastated. It will also, throw you the biggest congratulatory party every time you succeed! It will sustain and support you through each and every day of your life. It is nothing this earth can manufacture, duplicate or even understand. It is the supernatural LOVE of GOD that comes to us through the gift of His Holy Spirit!

And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His LOVE into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”          Romans 5:5

The world will marvel at this steadfast, resilient, matchless Love that is demonstrated through your life. It will marvel at the staying power it produces within you. It will be drawn to it in you as you live it out and compel others to desire it!

Look at the way the Life Application Bible in the NLT describes it:

And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God LOVES us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His LOVE!”                                                               Romans 5:5

God has filled us to overflowing with HIS LOVE!  Now it is up to us!

Will our lives look like dry, lifeless sponges, desperately needed to be filled with water?

Or, will they look like cascading, endless waterfalls that overflow with the Living Water that has filled them?

TRUTH BOMB

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God’s love fills our hearts to overflowing through His Holy Spirit.

May you overflow this week friends!

Speak Truth Love

LOVE COMES FROM GOD

If LOVE comes from God, and if we LOVE God and know God, then why can it be so difficult to feel loved or love others at times?

We either find ourselves post ‘Valentine’s Day,’ with the feeling of ‘elation’ because we felt the love from those in our lives on that day, or we feel ‘deflated’, because we did not “feel the love.”

Could the answer be that we love God and we want His love for us, while at the same time we are loving the world?  I am not placing any accusation on anyone else but myself, but I believe that the question deserves to be asked.

I can only speak for myself on this subject. I know that for me, I always set myself up for the possibility of feeling “deflated,” because I put feeling and emotion into showing love to my friends and family, and that can too easily, set me up for disappointment and ultimate deflation!

There are people in this world that are true gifts from God. They encourage us, they build us up and they love us for who we are, and they make us feel loved much of the time.

But, let’s get real, they are only human!  

They are going to let us down, they are bound to disappoint. They are going to have good days and bad days, and they are at times going to act down right selfish. After all, they are only human. They will leave us at times feeling “Deflated,” not loved.

How do I know this is true? How can I write this truth and say it to you? Because I am human! As much as I love my family and friends, and NEVER want to deflate them, I do.

As much as my desire is to pour love and encouragement into my family and friends and make them “elated,” the truth is, I am only human and much of the time I let them down.

As great as my desire is to love God first and love others next, I too often allow the world to get mixed up in it! I am human, and I need the supernatural love of God to be my primary source of love. Then and only then, will I feel truly loved and have that love inside of me to give away to others!

Then and only then is when we will truly LOVE others!

The Word of God speaks to this TRUTH.

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The type of LOVE the world offers will never satisfy what we truly long for. Neither will it produce the kind of LOVE we are to demonstrate to others!

Only the Love of God can do that!

TRUTH BOMB

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When we love the world we cannot love others with the love of God.

Don’t give up on Valentine’s Day friends, or on the LOVE month of February. Just draw from the only source of True Love so that you can give it out freely and unconditionally to others. Ask God to help you sift through the miscommunication the world gives us concerning LOVE, and read God’s Love Letter to you! Let Him Love you through it, and transform you by it!

Speak Truth Love

LOVE COMES FROM GOD

Valentine’s Day is just two days away! 

Now, that is no newsflash. You have seen the hearts and candy and cards, not to mention the flowers, for over a month now in every commercial building.

Now, I realize that there are Lovers and there are Haters of Valentine’s Day. There are movies made about ‘Anti-Valentine’s’ Day, where sweethearts have been burned and they band together to trash and smash anything VALENTINES. While it may be comical to watch, there is a profound and deep message lying under the surface.

I happen to be one of those disgusting Valentine’s Day Lovers! I have loved Valentine’s Day for as long as I can remember. I loved buying or making my valentine’s to take to my classmates at school. I loved hanging up the valentine decorations we would make in elementary school. I loved building our Valentine Mailboxes that would hold the cards my friends would place in them. I loved receiving those chalk tasting ‘conversation hearts,’ not because I was going to eat them, but because I couldn’t wait to read the messages they held.

I loved the Valentine parties at school when I was younger, but most of all, I loved that my Mom always made Valentine’s Day special for me and my sisters! She made us a special breakfast on Valentines Morning. She sent us to school with a Valentine treat in our lunch. She made sure we had special valentine cards and candy to hand out to our friends and something ‘valentine esc” to wear to school on that special day. This spoke the most highly to me since I was the oldest and knew that financially this was near impossible for her. She never let on to us that it was difficult. She always found a way to show us she loved us! By doing that for me, she allowed me to then show love to my friends.

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As I grew and took on those responsibilities for myself, it was her example that encouraged me to love my children the same way. While finances have never been “flowing abundantly” in our home, loving each other and others was a priority.

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My mother’s demonstration of love was pure and came from her heart. Her love for us and others was not something she had to work at, it came naturally. She still loves us and gives to us sacrificially. She is in the beginnings of alzheimer’s. While it is excruciatingly painful for my sister’s and I to watch her lose the ability to do daily tasks that used to come so easily to her, we are blessed and encouraged to see her loving heart still in action.

We recently picked my Mom up to take her to dinner. We had my two grand babies with us. My Mom pulled out two Sees Candy bags from her purse. Each bag was sealed with stickers and written on with, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! LOVE, G.G. and PAPA!

The writing was wobbly at best, and she would have normally used beautifully crafted valentine gift bags. However, placed inside of each bag was a single chocolate heart, one each for her great-grandchildren. I let my grand babies enjoy those chocolate hearts from G.G., and saved those Sees bags for myself!

While the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s ravishes my mother’s frail body, it cannot steal her heart!!

My mother spent the main years of her life LOVING others and demonstrating that LOVE in ACTION. She has passed down that legacy to all those she loved so well!

I could not help but remember and sing the song that my grandmother, her mom who taught her to LOVE OTHERS WELL, taught my sister’s and I when we were very young.

It comes from the book of first John….

Beloved, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, BECAUSE GOD IS LOVE!”                 I John 4:78

Love is in us if we know God! It is up to us to chose to demonstrate that love or hold on to hurt.

Not all of us have had a loving mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, siblings, or friends. Some of us bear scars of deep hurt and rejection. But My Dear Friends, the Love of God is GREATER!

Truth Bomb

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When we love others we demonstrate the love of God.

We all have the power of God’s Love in us! When we take that powerful love and love others, we are showing the Love of God.

You are LOVED Dear Friend, by me on this Valentine’s Day and most of all by the author of LOVE, God Himself!

Happy Love Day!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

The month of February has begun! You can have one of two reactions to that…

“Yippee, it’s February and hearts and flowers are everywhere!”

OR

“It’s February, are the hearts and flowers gone yet?”

These two reactions are heartfelt and stem from either a heart “in love” or a heart “out of love.”  My only question is, who are you “in love” or “out of love with?”

If your answer to either question is the name of a human being, then watch out, because chances are that when the next February “Hearts and Flowers Day” rolls around, you may have jumped camps, and find yourself with opposite feelings.

FEELINGS: herein lies the root of the problem! If we have bought into the propaganda the world is selling that LOVE comes riding in on a white stallion, dressed in armor, holding a bouquet of red roses and a box of fine chocolates, we WILL be disappointed! 

LOVE is not a feeling, LOVE is an action!

Dear Friends, let us love one another, for LOVE comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not LOVE does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE!”    I John 4:7-8

If we look to any other source for LOVE, we may find the emotional, sentimental feelings based love. But when we look to God and experience His LOVE and strive to give that LOVE to others, we will discover that LOVE is an action.

For God so loved the world, that HE GAVE His one and only Son!”    John 3:16

God LOVED us so much that He did not just tell us He LOVED us, He showed us He LOVED us by acting on that LOVE!

God desired a right relationship with us so much, that He GAVE His precious Son’s life so that we could have that relationship with Him!

During this time of LOVE, hearts, flowers and chocolates, my prayer is to learn to LOVE like God loves.

God tells us that if we LOVE Him, we will LOVE one another.

Truth Bomb

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When we love with actions, we love like God.

I am putting a ‘LOVE CHALLENGE’ out there for this month of February 2019!

I challenge us to not just say to someone, “I LOVE YOU,” but do a loving act for them!

I would LOVE for you to post what you did to LOVE ANOTHER. We can all be encouraged by the LOVE being shared.

Let’s put our LOVE in action for one another!  After all, “practice makes perfect!”

Maybe we could help change the face of February, “The Love Month,” and set a standard of loving one another through our actions. I bet the world would take notice and look to the author of LOVE!

I LOVE all of you for your faithfulness to this blog and to filling the world with God’s LOVE, the TRUTH, not the counterfeit!

Speak Truth Love