On Trophy Wives and Victory

I have discovered something this week.

I am a trophy wife. And you may be too.

Now, to those of you who know what I look like, stop laughing. And, no, it has nothing to do with my husband, or anything like that. And no, I didn’t gold-plate myself this week.

According to Google, a trophy is

“1.a cup or other, decorative object awarded as a prize for a victory or success.
2. The weapons and other spoils of a defeated army set up as a memorial of victory.”

I fit both definitions.

For the first, Jesus died for me, specifically, along with everyone else. (Which makes us the Bride of Christ) He went through all the horror of an imaginable death (I’m sorry, but Passion of the Christ doesn’t come close to the reality of it), plus whatever He went through while dead before raising back to life, plus the humility of encaging Himself, the hugeness of God, into a human frame, for me and for us all. We are the prize He fought for, the award He gains for His success on accomplishing and overcoming faithfully. Does that mean we are only decorative objects that He hangs on the walls of heaven like a bunch of shields or sit around in heaven eating chocolate cupcakes and looking pretty like it’s the playboy mansion? No- I believe strongly that we are meant to work, to choose to become, or remain, a dust free trophy, instead of one that just sits around. (This does not mean I believe we can earn anything. That is a totally different subject. When we chose Christ, we are saved “made into the trophy”, which we can do nothing to make ourselves into, but it’s our responsibility to attempt to attain, through Christ Whom we cannot do anything without, holiness, or a “dust-free” exterior.)

This brings me to the second part of the definition to being a trophy – the defeated army part. I am also that, and constantly trying to become more of that. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly fighting in my mind and body to overcome all my junk, to maintain my focus on Christ and what He says about me, regardless of the thoughts in my head or the people around me or the mirror that tells me that I can never be a prized trophy. It is a moment by moment choice, a sacrifice to choose to be defeated by Him and still know that I can stand, humble and strong before Him. Part of this trophy part is for us, too. When we look back on our life or our day, we can see where God has taken us and the victories He’s brought us through- we have a memorial of victory.

Allelujah Lord!!! Thank You for who You make us to be!

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On a Surprising Find and Running Whales through Colanders

I have been struggling what to write in this blog. It seems there’s a hundred things bound up in my heart, with all the words trying to come out at once but none actually succeeding, like a hundred whales trying to swim through a pasta sieve. And then, I heard this pastor speaking while I was driving my car and flipping through the channels. And he says everything that my heart is crying out for, desiring to know, to give, to understand, to put into words. Especially after the 9 minute marker, or the last 7 minutes, if you are in that much of a hurry.

Seeking Only God’s Approval (pt2)

I highly encourage you to take about 30 minutes to listen to this, especially if you seek help and encouragement on “how to die to yourself daily, live for Christ and develop a passion to reach the lost and dying.”

On Maturity and Exploding Sharks

Let me start off with that this blog is not meant to be condemning, but merely something I think is very important, for myself if no one else, and something to think about. You may do with it as you desire.

There are many different images that get associated with the Christian life- a warrior, clad in shiny armor; a fruitful branch, covered in grapes; a victorious army rising up to oppose the darkness; a quiet, peaceful bride awaiting her redeemer, etc. While these are all awesome, here’s my question. Are we really ready?
Are we really walking in a life that prepares us to be these things? Are we these things?

Or do we just think we are?

As American Christians, we have access to a vast amount of learning from those who have studied before us, as well as churches everywhere. We have the freedom to talk about Jesus everywhere, to have deep discussions about Christ in our small groups, to read books from generations of Christians. We have the ability to read the Bible in freedom, and, many of us have multiples of them, while even having a part of a page of one is both a priceless treasure and a death sentence is many countries.
This kind of freedom, this access to knowledge and the writings of the past is unprecedented in history. There has never been a time like this.

So, what are we doing with it?

Are we maturing as Christians, getting up, fighting, learning, clothing ourselves in the armor God provides and becoming a great, fruitful vine? Or are we taking all this stuff for granted and living off of the anointing of the pastor who spoke in church last Sunday, or the book we read two years ago? And, even more, are we relying on that preacher’s sermon or bestselling book or website to feed us, instead of praying, reading the Bible for ourselves, searching for the truth for ourselves, as God leads us?

All those things are great, but, if we are not letting it change our lives, if we are building what we think we believe or know around the latest big name (or no name) person or thing, what happens when something gets messed up and the person or author has an affair or embezzles a bunch of money or murders someone or simply says something we don’t agree with?

That castle we built our faith on crumbles.

We must make sure that our foundation is Jesus and Jesus alone.

And, (the main point I am trying to get to in a very long way {sorry}), we must mature.

American Christians have access to so much in the way of spiritual development, but we are, as a whole, taking these great wonderful things and watering them down because we do not think we can understand them. Like a Korean landscaper I worked with this weekend who talked about how he has a horrible time teaching many American kids how to rake leaves, because they just seem unable to learn how to do it well.

I’ve felt very much these past several weeks, and particularly this one, that God is saying that the time for being immature is over. The time for maturing is growing short! We must grow up quickly! We cannot afford the time to sit on the simplest little doctrine point and argue about it or not understand it. We cannot afford to doubt and question god anymore. How can we be that great army we like to sing about in church if we cannot follow the Leader? And we cannot follow Him if we are questioning Him about why He says this or that or wants us to do this or that. A disorganized army will not stand. We must know His Voice, and our faith must go deep. We must learn humility, to humble ourselves with Him as our Director, our Ruler.

We must couple the knowledge we have with love. We are drowning in knowledge, but do not have enough love. If I know that every person has a unique tongue print and that orcas kill sharks by making them literally explode (both true, by the way…), what’s the point of just this random knowledge? It needs to affect my life. Not sure how either of those could, but those were the first random facts that popped up in Google….

We cultivate love by choice. By choosing to serve others, by choosing to see God in others, by choosing to glorify God with our lives, instead of glorifying ourselves.

Help us to mature quickly, Lord, so that You do not find us unprepared when You return! The world in melting down, falling apart, and only Your kingdom will stand! Help us to go deeper, to not be shallow, and to love You more, even when it’s unpopular, even when it hurts. Help us to value what we have and to seek more of You. Don’t let us sit still while the world around us burns, taking comfort in Your return, but being unaffected by what is going on around us!!! Forgive us for being like Nero, God. Forgive us.
Give us a heart for the hurting, the lost. Compel us to minister to them, to be humbled because You humbled Yourself for us. Let us cleave to You, not the world, and teach us how to bear more fruit for You. Mature us quickly, Lord, so that we can serve You better, for a greater part of our earthly lives. Amen.

Of Boxing Rings and Enduring

(Continuing my blog from Hope City. I apologize for the lack of blog the last few weeks- I’ve been battling an illness)
This week at Hope City has been very hard for many different reasons. Hence, all week God has been speaking to me about comfort- how He is the One who holds us up, strengthens us. But, he doesn’t just give us a pat on the back, say a few encouraging words, then tell us to get back in the game. God isn’t a boxing coach that stays on the sidelines. He gets into the ring with us, and stands with us and moves our arms and gives us the strength to fight, to continue.
He comforts and protects us. When everything is chaotic and the bell is about to ring and we’re wanting to give up, and all we can see is our failure to win, He whispers in our ear, “Hey, it’s ok. I’m here. I’ll help you. Trust Me. And, even if you do lose, I’m still here. I still love you.”

I still love you.

No matter what you’ve done in your past. Even if that past is 2 seconds ago. Or right now.

Or now.

He loves you.

And He shows us the truth, if we will take the time to listen, to see. If we will slow down, step back from the distractions and the fight.

Yes, there IS time to step back. To find that peaceful place deep inside where He dwells inside, where He speaks and sings over you what and who you are to Him.

So much boils down to our identity. How we see ourselves shapes the way we live our lives. Always. And the truth is, whether you are a Christian or not, you are loved by God, so much so that He gave up His Son, the only thing he could give, to have a relationship with you and buy you back from the slavery to sin you’d sold yourself into…..
….
Even though He already technically owned us by right-of-creation.

God bought what He already owned.
(oh, God, how You love me. My heart groans under the weight of that knowledge)

So that He could have a relationship with you. So that he could prove to you once and for all that you are endlessly valuable to Him.

So, therefore, we never fight alone. So keep fighting for Him! Keep pressing more into His heart- there is so much He desires for you! He just wants for you to know Him like He knows you- to follow Him because He is the only way to a fulfilled, true life.

He is Lord, and with Him, we are victorious, more than conquerors- we are overcomers!