By nature…

Ephesians 2:3 says that we are all “by nature children of wrath.” If we are all “by nature children of wrath,” it can only be because we are all by nature sinners — for God does not direct His wrath towards those who are not guilty. God did not create the human race sinful, but upright. But we fell into sin and became sinful due to the sin of Adam.

Yes, you very well may have been born this way BUT you certainly were not born again this way.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7

Put on your new nature, created to be like God- Holy, righteous and true. Ephesians 4:24

My heart aches for anyone who is being told that the sin they were born with is not only unredeemable (or redeemed by a false notion) but it is also their identity. Isn’t that exactly what the enemy wants us to believe?

Jesus overcame the world. Jesus overcame your sin and he rose again to be sure that you had the power to overcome it on this side of heaven.

I pray truth and freedom for you all today💕

Freedom from the familiar and worldly

 

“There is FREEDOM to be found in letting go of the familiar, worldly ways of measuring a human life.”

I found this quote by Soren Kierkegaard, an amazing thinker of the 19th century and it is rocking my world!

How easy is it for us to measure ourselves and others based on what is familiar to us in this world?!

Well, once in Christ, we are no longer of this world. When we look to the specific spiritual gifts that we have been given by the Holy Spirit, there is where we find the measure of our life.

In 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 it tells us of the different gifts the Holy Spirit gives to us. I encourage you to read the word of God, find out what your spiritual gifts are and operate in the freedom of those gifts.

HAPPY FREEDOM FRIDAY!

living in free will vs. living in freedom

For weeks I have been wrestling with my self about whether or not I am loving others well. Loving them the way Jesus loves them. I have been wrestling with why I feel so strongly about certain things and if those feelings are righteous or are they condemning. The word that the Lord had began answering me with is Freedom. Freedom?

This past weekend my husband and I spent the night in Downtown Nashville for his birthday. Saturday morning we went to a breakfast place called Another broken egg. We each ordered a cup of coffee and when they were delivered to us they cam in the most fabulous coffee cup I had ever seen at a breakfast restaurant. Each cup was a different color. Pryor’s was a cool dark brown and tan mix and mine was ivory and purple. They were the perfect little size and looked hand crafted and hand spun. They were seriously so cool. I began looking around the restaurant and realized everyone’s coffee cup was  a different color and each one was more beautiful than the next. In my humanness, I leaneIMG_1330d over to Pryor and said I love these coffee cups. Do you think I could put one in my purse and take it home? In other words, can I steel it? Pryor confirmed how cool the coffee cups were and said, Babe, if you want one that bad I’m sure they sell them. I’ll buy it for you. And so he did.

Just the night before Pryor and I had been talking about how every sin is created equal. I was adamant about it. He is a great questions asker and no matter what he asked me I stood my ground about every person being equally guilty because of our sin and equally saved because of Jesus. So a few days after my coffee cup humanness we were on the couch and Pryor asked me, If you really think that every sin is equal than why would you even consider stealing that coffee cup? I thought about it for a bit and realized I wasn’t really worried about stealing the coffee cup because I knew my salvation was secure in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. I felt yucky admitting that but it was true.

So, think with me a bit here… If I would have stolen that coffee cup out of my free will to do so my salvation would have been safe at hand because of my faith in Jesus Christ as my savior but naturally (because this is what sin does) a little piece of my heart would have become bound by my transgression. I would have had a little bit of shame, maybe guilt about it and the enemy could have used it to trick me. That certainly is not freedom.  Since I didn’t steal  it, I am free. I am light hearted and my conscience is clear.

Now I know that this coffee cup thing could seem a little silly but As I’ve wrapped my head around my answer I have realized that my answer is the reason so many people are living without the full freedom of the resurrection of Christ. In fact (though this is not actually happening) I feel like the Lord is screaming at me, This is it! The resurrection is it!  Its as if we have accepted the covering of our sins by Jesus’ blood but have rejected the Freedom of His resurrection!

Just yesterday I saw a social media post of a woman who is a very influential speaker and writer and a can I just tell you something about her. She is fabulous! She is gorgeous, talented, kind, loving and everything she wears I wish I had in my closet. One thing that concerns me though is her perspective on freedom. Her post was speaking on how she was so thankful for the people who came before her so that she now is afforded the FREEDOM to stand on stage , love her wife, hold her had and live out load with her in FREEDOM. As I read her post this question stirred in me. Is she living in free will or is she living in freedom?

The safety net of Jesus’ blood can deceive us (this actually has nothing to do with Jesus but is of the enemy)

into living in free will and not in true freedom. We are completely innocent form sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Let me say that again, We are completely innocent from sin because of our faith in Jesus Christ. We can easily live a wonderful life safe in our free will because of the blood Jesus shed for us but why would we stay there? It is in the resurrection that our FREEDOM is born. When we accept Jesus and live only in our free will we are living half the gospel. The Resurrection is where the freedom comes in. The new life comes in. The old things become new! The dead become alive.

I have so much jumping around in my head about this I could go on forever but I have too many kids for all that. One could be coloring on the walls somewhere at this point. I will leave you with this.

Where in your life are you living in your free will but you think it’s freedom? Do you know the resurrection freedom?  Real freedom? Biblical freedom? Godly freedom? Righteous freedom? God fearing, holy, righteous and true freedom?

Fun side note: I find it hilarious that the café where we ate was called “Another broken egg café” because it reminded me that I am just another broken egg in need of Jesus.

UMC vs. LGBT – even without the sin

Before I begin, Lord thank you for the beautiful creation you have made in each one of us. May the truth of your word stand firm always. May the words I write be full of love, righteousness and truth. Send your healing spirit to all that is unhealthy in this nation. Come soon, Jesus. In your name I pray.

The conversation between the LGBT community and organized religions is always an emotional one. For some time now the Lord has been calling  me to learn about what He says about who we are in Him and the role our bodies play in living a Holy life. In regards to the latest UMC decision on LGBT community we must think objectively in order to make sense of it. There are a few questions we have to ask ourselves before we say the UMC was right or wrong in their decision. The two questions the church was facing are:

  1. Should gay and lesbian pastors be ordained in the UM church?

2.  Should same-sex couples be able to be married in the UM church?

What we need to ask is:

How would the UM church go about making these decisions?

Just as any other organization, they have set “core values” that the elders or leaders of the church refer to in making decisions for the future of their congregation. Again, just as in any other organization they have set requirements that candidates must  meet in order to be qualified for a leadership position. It is important to note that the United Methodist church was founded on biblical truths and values.  The two questions that the UM church had to answer were rooted in this one question….

Is being involved in a gay relationship a sin? 

Lets look at Romans 1:24-27.

So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.

That is why God abandoned then to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other  men and as a result suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.

I chose this scripture (though there are many) to reference because it gives such a good description of how God feels about sexual immorality. Now sexual immorality is not only a description of gay sex. All of us who participate in sexual relations that are not as God intended are guilty of sexual immorality. I myself have a past full of sexual immorality and this is why this subject is so dear to my heart. Seeing people freed of being involved in or free of  being full of shame because of their involvement in sexual sin has become a passion of mine. I want to mention that this verse is from the New testament. I often hear things like, ‘Oh, only the old testament talks about homosexuality and its very vague. ” That simply isn’t the truth but we wont go into all of that now. Take some time to search your bible for what the Lord says about this, on your own.

Based on this verse alone ( again, though there are many) the biblical answer to this question is Yes. This yes is reason enough for the UM’s ruling but..

*Let’s take the sin out of it…

Taking sin off the table,  every organization , no matter the their denomination or function, is founded on “Core Values” . When I opened the Dance project I had to complete an exhaustive application to become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. When the process began I was frustrated by the redundancy of the  questions, What is your mission statement? How will you execute your mission? What is your vision? How will you execute your vision? Who will serve on your board of directors? What will their role be in maintaining the integrity of your vision? After completing the application I found myself appreciative through the years of those in depth questions because they gave me a firm foundation to lean into as I made decisions for the future of Dance Project.

If an organization is looking to hire someone to teach “A” and after the interview process the organization realizes that that candidate does not feel they should teach “A” but will teach “B”, it would make sense that they aren’t the right fit for the position because the core values of that particular company ( and the task at hand) will not be upheld in this persons teaching.

What’s our logical takeaway?

I think it is safe to say that a man or woman who is participating in a same sex relationship believes that this is morally acceptable and if asked they would condone their behavior.  I also think it is safe to say that a man or woman who wants to be married as a same sex couple are choosing this because they feel their is nothing morally wrong with their decision. The UM church’s teaching’s are based on the biblical foundation that participating in homosexual behavior is not natural to God’s intentions of sexual relationship. To ordain a priest who is participating in a gay relationship or who is living a gay lifestyle simply does not fit into the foundational values that the church was founded on.  The UMC was founded on the biblical belief that God intended marriage to be between a man and woman. To marry a same sex couple simply does not fit into the foundational values that the church was founded on. Based on these simple facts, the UM church would be correct in their ruling to deny same sex marriage participation and the ordainment of a man or woman living a homosexual lifestyle. The United Methodist church is a Christian organization, formed on biblical values, it is not strange or hateful or selfish for their ruling to reflect their foundational values.

With all of this said,

*I have seen posts slashing the United Methodist Church. Saying they have “kicked God out of church”. “Doubled-down its opposition”, they are “desperate defenders of their own relevance.” These are all bogus! It’s disheartening to me that the public speaker who said these things is heard by hundreds of thousands of men and women. I challenge the one who posted these things to ask those questions of themselves. Who’s the real “defender of their own relevance”? It seems to me that the United Methodist Church has acted as a TRUE defender of the word of God.

*There is no sin greater than the other. We are ALL in need of Jesus’ covering.  Jesus’ blood has washed us all white as snow. I pray you seek Him always.

 

“This was for you”

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in an auditorium chair, the lights around me were dark and the stage lights in front of me shone bright like a beacon from above. My mom and I had gone to see a friend’s dance recital. I was no more than 5 years old. As I left the auditorium that day I knew I was a dancer. I could imagine myself on that stage, shining exactly like the girls I had just watched.

There was a dance program that came to my elementary school every Friday after school. My mom signed  me up. Through the years those Fridays turned into Monday through Thursday classes at a studio and being the helper at that Friday after school program. I was dancing everyday and I loved it.

The truth of the matter though, was that I had to work really hard. I was not naturally a good dancer.  My legs were awkwardly long, my turn out was dismal,and I essentially had two left feet. I was determined to keep at it though because I had never loved anything more.

Fast forward to a few nights ago…  I had just finished taking a dance fitness class. As I came up from drinking out of the water fountain a woman said to me, ” I had so much fun watching you in class. You looked like you were having a blast. You literally smiled to whole time.” I thanked her and confirmed the fun I had just had. I began getting my things from the cubbies and another woman came up to me and said, ” I loved watching you today. You looked like you were having so much fun.” At this point I began to wonder if I had just tuned out everyone in that class. I thanked the woman and said, ” I just really love to dance.” As the words flowed from my mouth my heart leapt with joy and (it felt like) my entire dance career played through  my head up until this moment and in the same instance the Lord softly said, “This was for you”.

The gift of dance began for me out of love. My earliest memories of dancing go as far back as my daddy holding me in his arms swaying to his favorite songs in our living room and having a blast  dancing with my cousins at wedding receptions. Then it became dance classes, then college, then audition after audition. Hearing no more than yes71b45dc7a10b08e9ed1df7502d66b68d. After opening a dance studio it became about proof of progress. Why should we support your cause? Prove to us its worth it. The Lord then began nudging me to close the studio. Now God was saying no? But then, “This was for you”. In those words the Lord was saying to me, The love of dance that I knit in you was always intended for you. It was always supposed to be the thing that brought you joy. The vehicle to drive you from place to place until you arrived to me. I’m giving it back to you. You can just love it again. You don’t have to prove a thing.

 

Phew….What a gift. What a precious, humbling, peace giving gift..

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (psalm 37:4)

Through the years my love for dance became the need to prove that I was good enough. The Lord would not stand for that. His faithfulness stood true once again.

What is the desire of your heart? Do you think the Lord would agree with you? I encourage you to ask him. He is eager to answer.

I pray you are doing what you love today!

The “son” will burn away the fog.

Babysitter arrives and I’m off. As I pull out of the driveway I can hardly see a thing in front of me, the fog is so thick. I think to myself how familiar this fog feels. Not in the natural but in the spiritual. In the past several weeks I have heard one bad news after the other. News of people I love losing their life, losing someone they love, fearing for their children’s future and hearts being broken. Seeing the fog this morning illustrated how my heart has been feeling.  Knowing that the Lord is faithful but unable to see the other sidOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe of these broken hearts.

Crap, I forgot my wallet (true story) ! I turn around, back to the house, grab my wallet. Alright lets do this all over again.

As I venture back down the road the fog is still just as thick as before but I have to search for my sunglasses because the sun is fiercely bright. As I put on my sunglasses I think to myself, how odd is it I am putting  sunglasses on in the fog. I instantly remember the voice of a news caster saying the other day, ” The sun will burn that fog right up.” Hmmm.

You guys know where I’m going with this don’t you? How sweet is our God!

I arrive at the coffee shop, open up my bible and am lead to 1 Corinthians 13. The entire chapter is amazing but listen to this…

13:12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it wont be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright. We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us.

Praise the Lord!

I mean, I don’t even know what to say after reading that. My heart is fluttering from the Holy Spirit’s sweet answers to the cries of my heart. To the cries of all of our hearts. I know this is true for all of us. We will see clearly and until then, let us LOVE.

The sun is brighter than the fog

The Lord is faithful

There is light on the other side

Merry Foggy Christmas ya’ll!!

Equal parts sure

It’s been 1 year today since The Dance Project closed. Parts of my heart still ache from missing it but equal parts are sure that the Lord is moving. I long for the day when more than equal parts will be sure. Some of you may be missing a person during this season.

I want to encourage you today. Whether Less or equal or more of your heart is sure than the other, You are wrapped in His unfailing faithfulness.

Psalm 136

” I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper so I will have no fear.” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

When my Avery was sick as a baby this scripture took hold and carried me through years of illness. In fact, it is the premise if this entire blog. Recently Avery had a surgery to help correct some damage that occurred during one of several severe infections she endured. In all things this surgery was a testament to the Lord’s faithfulness. It was a long time coming. A long, painful, anxious time coming. The morning of the surgery my heart was so full of so many emotions. I couldn’t put it into words. I wanted to though. I felt this desire to shout from the roof tops how good our God is but I couldn’t find the words. I asked, Lord what would you have me say?

During the surgery I went to the cafeteria to wait. I grabbed a sandwich and an extra lIMG_9632arge coffee and sat myself down. I pulled out my bible with the intention of going straight to Hebrews 13 (of course). As I was flipping through the pages I had some sort of brain laps and could not find Hebrews for the life of me. As I’m flipping back and forth I hear a man’s voice say “Can I help you find something?”. I look behind me and see the humblest of men, sweeping up the crumbs of the last people who sat at the table behind me. In a soft, stuttering voice he said “I know where everything is in that book. It’s my favorite book to read.” This man was so precious and it was NOT a coincidence that he landed in the cafeteria that morning. (Isn’t it so cool. All I did was open the bible and God used it.) We spoke for a very long time and after a pause in our conversation he said, “Psalm 136. It’s my favorite. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. ” And there they were. The words I was looking for.

That scripture was alive and true more on that day than ever in my life. I was in the midst of God’s faithfulness to heal. His faithfulness to provide. His faithfulness to speak. His faithfulness to endure.

In Psalm 136 the phrase “His faithful love endures forever” is written 26 times! Of course it is. This truth is so important for us to remember. May we all write this on our hearts and keep it in the front of our  minds.

My new friend’s name from the hospital is Melvin. Please pray for Melvin. I had to run in the middle of our conversation when the doctor paged that the surgery was over and couldn’t find him again after.

-move the feelings

The orgin of the word emotion derives from the French word esmotion, derived on the model of movoir: motion, from esmovoir: to set in motion, move the feelings. In Latin the word is ēmovēre; move, motion.

To move the feelings…

Over the past several months Pryor and I have talked about how it’s been hard leaving the ones we love. We’ve talked about how its been surprisingly hard to open ourselves up to new people and our new place. So, the other day I mentioned to him I felt like God had brought us into a “desert season”. He quickly chuckled at me and said, “what are you talking about? Look at us and how far we’ve come? I’m the closest to God I’ve ever been in my life.”
I felt two things in that moment. 1. Complete joy that my husband, after many spiritual ups and downs, feels closer to God than ever in his life!! Pure Joy
2. an immediate heaviness because I realized I’m in this “desert” ALONE.
And low and behold, as our conversation continued (because God is so good like this) Pryor said something to me that gave me a clear vision of what this desert season is all about for me. He said, “Babe, I watch you tell anyone who will listen about God’s grace and forgiveness for them but then you hold yourself to some other standard. If grace is real why aren’t you accepting it for yourself?” Ouch.
And there it is, this feeling of a desert I’m having is way deeper and older than a recent move. This is years of holding onto guilt, shame, and fear that the Lord wants to dig up and out.
Emotional Desert. This is where I am. I see God’s hand in it.
I hope this helps others.

road covered with sand
Photo by antas singh on Pexels.com

But Lord, I said I was thirsty?

A friend of mine posted this picture during her vacation last week. Isn’t it breathtaking?

As soon as I saw it it reminded me of a feeling I’ve been having for a while now. A feeling that though all things are well with my soul and my future is full of God’s promises, the dry places of my heart are being hunted by the redeemer and there is a desert approaching.

I have felt thirsty for a while now. Longing to know more of the Lord. Longing to feel closer to Him. Praying He would take my life and do what He wants with it. His answer to my prayers has been follow me there, to the desert. But Lord, I’m thirsty? There’s not water in the desert. How will I survive?

About a week ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Allison Allen the author of the new book “Thirsty for more”. I asked her if she felt like this new book was less universal than her first book “Shine” (which sets the tone for stepping into the role God has for you). To my surprise she said, “I actually think Thirsty for more is more universal. You can have a desert season in many areas of your life. Relationships, the work place, your marriage, etc.” This statement has had me reeling all week. I hadn’t thought of having “patches” of desert seasons in your life before. Everything in your life doesn’t have to be falling apart to have places in your life that are dry and in need of healing. Then, of course, I’m like ok Lord, bring it on. Open my eyes to the desert places….. and he abliged🤪.

With all of this being said, I am so looking forward to diving into Allison’s new book “Thirsty for more”. How lucky am I (are we) to have this tool to help navigate through my (our) desert places. I urge you to consider taking a journey into the desert.

I would love to hear from you!!! Are there desert places you are navigating through? How can I pray for you?

Order “Thirsty for more” HERE👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻