THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

It was mentioned the other night that I’m a ‘tough love, tell it like it is, honest sister’. Which, first off-wasn’t the first time I’d heard that, and second-I don’t deny.
My sisters and brothers joke..wait, “joke”…about how if they want the ‘petting’ or to hear what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, they won’t come to me. But, if they want the truth and sometimes a good kick in the rear, I’m your girl.

Not that there’s not love and hugs involved. I’m all about love. I love to love on people. I love to encourage others. I love to motivate and inspire and challenge others. But, I think truth is truth and right is right and wrong is wrong. (note: not that I don’t screw that up!)
As a Christian, that truth, right and wrong should stem from what God tells us in His Word, not what we form as opinions or the world sees as acceptable.

Often these things get confused because people are only hearing or seeing what they want to hear or see.
Often the importance of truth is dismissed because it’s inconvenient or unsettling.
Often the importance of what’s right and wrong according to God is avoided because it’s against OUR desires and control.

When it comes to truth and morals according to God’s Word, there are no “different interpretations”. It’s clear. We are the ones that choose to read it the way we see fit with whatever is going on.

I think of Jesus as a ‘tough love when necessary’ guy.
Here’s only 3 examples that jump to my head…

1. Jesus calls Peter to walk to Him on the water…Peter did…lost focus and started to fall in. Jesus didn’t say, “It’s ok! No worries, buddy, I gotcha! Woo, how freaky was that, huh?!  Walking on water and stuff!”  No, He said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”

2. Jesus told His friends, “You (Peter) will deny Me three times.” Don’t dismiss the weight of that! Think about it. You’re sitting around your best friends and not only tell them that one of them is going to totally ‘stab you in the back’, but point the guy out that will!
A ‘softy’ could have said, “Gosh, I hope this goes according to plan. Y’all make sure you stay focused and have my back. If by chance one of you don’t, I totally understand. There’s a lot of pressure right now, I get it.” (“Oh, and by the way….if one of you is the one that brings the dudes that are going to kill me, TO me, well….”)

3. And how about when He goes into the temple and has a good ole tantrum, flipping tables and chairs because they’re gambling and selling?
Now, I know when I’m angry and having a tantrum, I don’t speak calmly…so, my visual is Jesus using his ‘angry voice’, “This place isn’t for the crap you’re doing! My house is for prayer!” (paraphrased, I haven’t found the word ‘crap’ in the bible..which makes me sad, it’s one of my favorite words.)
Not, “Gosh, y’all…you should really probably not be doing this stuff here. Dad is going to be so mad!”

I think a lot of times things are sugar-coated, when a good ole honesty-kick is necessary. And, I think it takes some discernment and/or wisdom to determine when to say, what. Sometimes that person coming to you just needs a hug. So, shut up and hug them. Sometimes they need the truth in a gentle way, and sometimes they need it in a table flippin’-chair turnin’ kind of way. But, however it’s needed…the truth is needed in this confused world.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (Colossians 3:9)

(Stacie Lewis)

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SHARE YOUR FOOD

You know those times in life where you wonder, “how am I going to get through this day…or this week?” Where the only goal you have in mind of is to be able to say, “I don’t know how I GOT through this day…or this week.”

As women, we tend to put so much on our plates. When our plates are full, we just keep stacking higher and higher…because, we can handle it, right? We certainly think we can. And then the breaking point hits. The ‘food’ on our plates topples over, causing the tears and feelings of failure and being overwhelmed, and more of a mess to clean up.

Imagine how much less chaotic our lives would be if we limited the ‘food’ on our plates. After all, there are plenty of other plates that could use some extra!

Galatians 6:2 tells us to ‘share each others burdens’. I think often we think of this verse with emotions in mind. Sadness, grief, troubles, etc.. I think it also refers to our plates. An over-stacked plate can be a burden. Can I get an amen?!

My first thought when all of this was coming to me was, “when we see an over-stacked plate in a restaurant (you know, the literal kind), we think ‘glutton’.” But, if we’re honest, that’s not even the case these days, is it? An over-stacked is ‘normal’.
But, it’s not meant to be normal. We’ve normalized the abnormal.

I see two ways out of this overloaded plate…
1. Give some ‘food’ to Jesus. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus is willing to lessen your plate.  You just have to go to Him.  Maybe you can’t get things off of your plate immediately.  He can also ‘yoke up’ with you and help you out.  That’s just how awesome He is!
2. Offer some of that ‘food’ to a fellow brother or sister. God doesn’t want us hoarding the ‘food’! He wants us to share. We each have a unique purpose, which means my plate is no more important than your plate.

I think the overconfident human part of us tends to forget that Christ took all of our burdens on all by Himself. Because, He could. He’s God. He can handle it. We’re not Christ. (That shouldn’t be a newsflash, but I think sometimes it is.) We’re just weak flesh with a mixture of overconfidence and insecurities. (Funny how that makes sense, right?) We can’t do it all on our own.
This is a lesson I continually work on in my life. Being a very independent woman, add a dash of OCD, and a touch of control in there, and I have a plate that has the ability to topple.

But, you know what? I was born imperfect, I’ll die imperfect. What matters is the time between the two. I am a work in progress! I’m a work in progress because I strive to be like Jesus and know I’ll never…ever…accomplish such a task. I’m a work in progress because I know what God’s Word says and still fail to live it. I’m a work in progress because I know I can’t handle it all on my own, even when I want to, or think I can. I’m a work in progress because Jesus is perfect and I’m not, and He loves me, and I love Him, and He loves YOU, too!
Thank You, Jesus!

(Stacie Lewis)