American Idle

American Idle

I’m not going to talk about Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Paula Abdul, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Harry Connick Jr., Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Lionel Rickie, Kara DioGuardi, or Steven Tyler in this blog. If that’s why you’re reading – sorry, you can return to whatever you were doing before you landed here. What I am going to talk about is what I believe is capturing the hearts and souls of so many Americans, just like American Idol did in the beginning of the show. (No, I don’t think that many Americans are ‘Idol’ fans as they were when the show began.)

“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”                                               2 Thessalonians 3:6

The word “idle” there is actually ‘disorderly’ in the King James Version and is not talking about laziness (although, Americans as a whole tend to be a bit lazier than other nations). The Greek word here is ataktōs, from ‘a’ and ‘tassō’: and means unarranged. ‘A’  denotes union, and tassō, in right alignment or assignment. [Sorry for the Greek lesson, but bear with me so you get the whole lesson.] So, we are told to not hang out with those that are not in right alignment with God and His assignment to us.

“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you…For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”                                                                                2 Thessalonians 3:8, 10

Yep, there it is, the admonishment to not be idle. However, you have to understand right alignment as a Christian to understand what idleness looks like. So, do you know what the assignment of God looks like in your life?

Believe that Jesus died for my sins and accept Him as my Lord

Attend church and fellowship with other believers

Pay God’s tithe (1/10th – not less) to the church to support the spreading of the Gospel

Well, those are all commandments from God and the way of salvation is definitely (and singularly) the first one. However, what I’m talking about is the great commission:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”                                                                     Mark 16:15-16

Are you going to those in your ‘world’ and spreading the gospel or are you being idle? Let me paint a picture or two of what idle looks like:

– – You spend more time on Facebook than in the Word

– – You spend more time on your couch than the couch of someone in your life that you can influence for the good

– – Your checking account has more withdrawals for fast food, clothes, or entertainment than for the Kingdom of God (which can be your tithes, offerings, supporting a missionary/mission, sponsoring a child or taking care of a widow.)

– – You sleep in on Sunday more often than you attend church

– – Your idea of praying only happens at dinner time and sounds something like this, ‘Dear Lord, thank you for this food. Bless it to the nourishment of our bodies. Amen.”

Here’s the deal – The Creator of all things, King of all kings, and God (yeah, all you superhero fanatics, He’s the real deal, not just on screen) – HE gave you an assignment when you professed your belief in His plan (to send His only begotten Son into our world to save us from eternal damnation, pain, and loneliness in hell when we die). Was what Jesus went through not enough?

passion-of-the-christ-640x404 *The Passion of the Christ*

Americans today know more about their favorite tv or movie stars than they do about the man, and part of the Godhead, who gave up glory to come to earth, suffer, and take on Himself every sin, pain, and disease, so that we could be reconciled to God, the Father. We, as a nation, complain when we have to get up to change the channel on the television or when the Wi-Fi where we are spending our ‘hard-earned’ cash isn’t “fast enough” for us.

Really, America?

Who’s your idol?

If we don’t put God first in our lives – and you can tell by what holds your attention the most, what you spend the most time doing, and makes the biggest dent in your paycheck – then we have idols in our lives and are being idle with our time. Wake up, America. We are instructed to be imitators of Jesus and He asked His earthly parents why they were looking for Him (when they continued on their journey and realized He wasn’t with them) and said, “I must be about My Father’s business.”     *

Are you about God’s business or are you being idle?

If you’ve recently read devastating news on the Internet or seen a story on the news that disturbs you, your reaction should be prayer. When friends or family face trials and are looking for answers and support, do they call on you to intercede on their behalf? Are you tired of hearing the disgusting things Americans are doing to each other?

When you gave your life to God, you probably were all-in, but soon found yourself more like those watching American Idol – a fan. You go to church occasionally and cheer – like  fan. You hear about a miracle that has taken place and you offer up a “woot woot!” – like  a fan. Something supernatural happens in your life and you acknowledge that it had to be God – the one and only God. Even demons believe and know that, but knowing about and knowing is the difference between a fan and a follower.

James 2 19

Jesus doesn’t need fans, He needs followers – those who will walk as He walked on this earth; those who are about their Father’s business; those who are not American Idle, but Jesus Followers.

Which are you?

  *  Luke 2:49

 

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I’m an Obnoxious Zebra

I was driving down the road going 40 (the speed limit), the pouring rain was limiting visibility, and a Ford Mustang was hugging my tail way too close for my comfort. I knew he was probably trying to push me to go faster (as is the norm for my life), but that’s just not who I am.

We passed the next intersection and, as expected, he zipped passed me on the right. (I’m not sure why he hadn’t used that lane to pass me before.)

 

And then I saw the blue lights and heard the siren.

Now, there was a time in my life when I would have immediately looked at my speedometer, my body temperature would have risen in fear, and I would have begun the internal beating up on myself. That’s just not who I am anymore, though. You see, I’m an obnoxious zebra.
Zebra-PNG-Clipart

Zebras are black and white, and so am I. There is no gray area in my opinion when it comes to doing right versus wrong.

When the law says something, I’m following the law. So, when the speed limit is 40, I’m doing 40, and that usually creates quite a few annoyed drivers when they get stuck behind me on the road. The lights weren’t for me, they were for the Mustang.

Here’s the thing: when you are following the rules, there’s no concern when the sirens sound. The same can be said for Christians who are following God’s law.

I have no fear about my afterlife because I have believed in my heart and confessed Jesus as my Lord. (Romans 10:9) For more than the past twenty years, I also haven’t worried about my family’s finances because we tithe. (Malachi 3:10) Finally, anxiety doesn’t have a chance at crippling me because I know that even when the worst happens according to my limited view of my life, everything is still working for my good. (Romans 8:28)

In the beginning of my walk with God, I became very legalistic- caring more about what I was or wasn’t doing instead of walking in love of God and people. So, there must be balance. That doesn’t mean that there’s gray area, it means that you don’t judge others (Matthew 7:1) and you don’t allow rules to dictate your actions, but love.

Now I live my life studying God’s Word to know His law so I can keep my black and white stripes, but at the same time learning how Jesus kept the law, but also walked in love towards everyone. My focus is not on keeping the law, but loving God and others, and naturally keeping the law takes place.

Think of it like this: I know the speed limits were put in place to make the roads safer for those driving, those walking or biking, and those in that area. So, when I choose to go faster than the number posted, I’m not loving those around me, nor am I loving myself. A better plan is to get out the door sooner so I don’t have to make up time on the road.

I realize this is an unpopular subject because, let’s face it, we all want what we want and many of us don’t want to be patient. However, slow down (on the road and in life) and see if it doesn’t bring you more peace.

If you don’t have peace about what will happen when you die, send me a message here. You don’t have to live your life worried about sirens or hell.

 

The Rear view Mirror is Not for Makeup Application

makeup rearview mirror

Have you ever been at a stoplight and the person in front of you turns their rear-view mirror so they can touch up their makeup? Their time is not impeccable, the light turns green, and you’re counting down to honk them back to reality.

Let’s face it – rear-view mirrors were not created for make-up application; they were so you can see what is behind you. Regardless, you’ll still find people pulling and pushing the mirror in different directions to apply mascara, admire their just-done coiffure, or check themselves out (we see you, guys!)

The reason the rear-view mirror is so small in comparison to the windshield is because we should pay more attention to what is in front of us than what is behind us. Well, I’m going to challenge that a little today, but I’m not talking about in our car.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  Isaiah 43:18

Do you know why we’re not supposed to dwell on the past? Because the past most people are dwelling on is sin, regrets, or shame. There is a healthy reason to look back, though, and that is reflecting on the goodness and faithfulness of God in our lives.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and she was exhausted because her dog woke her up quite early. I had posted the following Scripture in Scriptures – One a day on Facebook and she expressed that she could use some help feeling her youth being renewed.

P103 5

I knew she was joking, but here’s the thing – Psalms 103 talks about all the benefits of the children of God. This is one of them, but we have to apply God’s Word (promises) to our life. So, I suggested reflecting on God’s goodness in her life and then she’ll feel that renewal. Her response is what prompted me to write this blog, “Isn’t that interesting how reflecting changes you? That’s the only time I need to look in the past!”

Reflecting does change you – for the good or the bad – and you get to choose the reflecting you do. Martin Luther said, ‘You cannot prevent birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest.’  So, here is what I suggest:

Forget the sins you’ve confessed

Forget the hurts others have given

Forget the things you didn’t do, didn’t say, didn’t accomplish; then go out and make the right decision to act the next time.

Forget the things you are currently worrying about – because you can’t change them anyway

Forget the relationships that didn’t last  – If they were/are meant to be in your life, they would/will be

Remember the times God has forgiven you

Remember the hurts avoided because God stepped in

Remember the things that God did, God said, and God helped you accomplish

Remember how God said He would never leave you nor forsake you

Remember how it felt when you gave your life to Him and He welcomed you to His family

Remember when you were running late, then while driving to where you were headed, you came upon a terrible car accident that could have involved you

Remember the friend who just happened to show up at that particular time when you really needed someone and they said, “I just felt like I was supposed to come by.”

Remember the way you got the job when you didn’t qualify                                              -or when you didn’t get the job and found out eight months later the company went bankrupt

Remember all the times you didn’t think you’d make it through, but here you are, and you know it was only because God helped you get here.

Remember that

you are loved

you are accepted

you are a child of the King

You are more than a conqueror

and you are His.

 

It’s good to look back – if you’re recollecting God’s goodness. Let Him renew your youth like the eagle’s today by meditating on all He has / is / and will do in your life.

 

Waterboarding My Friends

“I’m pretty sure she’s waterboarding her,” my co-worked told others about me regarding how I was helping another co-worker and dear friend of mine lose weight.

water splash

My friend was seen by this co-worker walking in to work with a gallon jug of water and her lunch. (I guess if it’s coffee in a Yeti, drinking more than a 16 oz. bottle of water looks strange to people.) Drinking water helps with weight loss in multiple ways. It increases your metabolism, aids in digestion, and helps you feel full so you don’t snack all day. (I find it funny that the same people who think my pushing more water on people I help with their weight-loss journey are the same ones that eat plastic-wrapped snacks and take-out for lunch.)

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It’s Exhausting Being God

There is so much to do when you’re God. All. The. Time.

You have a gazillion people to love, no matter how annoying, petty, cruel, or unloving they can be (not are, because ‘are’ is definitive, but people are changeable). You must see the best of everyone at all times and look past their faults – or how they ignore you, or insult you, or talk about you. You must forgive. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

There are daily tasks that must be accomplished.

People to call to encourage, to check on, to just call so they know you’re thinking about them. Do little things, send little gifts their way, or drop notes to them so they know you didn’t forget about them.

You have a world to try and clean up, even though you know it’s only going to get messy again while you’re cleaning it up (not even wait till you’re finished, which you never really do finish because the world is a dirty place and there’s not enough bleach made to freshen up some of this filth.)

It’s exhausting being God.

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Let Me Help You Lose Some Weight

To say this year has been stressful, busy, and hard on my body is an understatement. My HBOO went through chemo, my workload quadrupled, and I suffered an injury in February that brought an abrupt end to my 100-miles-a-month running goal for the year. To say I’ve put on some weight is… wrong, as well. I actually lost weight due to stress-induced stomach issues that kidnapped my appetite and, when I was hungry, made me nauseated.

scale

However, one thing I do know about is how to lose weight. I have helped quite a few people lose weight (even two who lost over 100 pounds each!), have lost weight and got in shape myself, and could provide you with all kinds of diet tips, the activity schedule I recommend, and my tips on getting more sleep, but that’s not actually what this post is about.

See, I lived “strong” through my husband’s cancer diagnosis and treatment – I didn’t turn to food, as I would have years ago – and I maintained unreasonable peace both during that time and a huge increase in my workload at my job (that’s what happens when you acquire multiple companies, but don’t increase those supporting the work.) But when “Cancer Free” arrived on my doorstep, it brought with it an uninvited guest named ‘Performance.’ Continue reading