a Saturday sale and a Saturday prayer

This is just a quick Saturday hello to let you know that my short 4-week Bible study “Life Giver” is on sale this weekend for only 99 cents. Click here to find out more.

prayer

Also, I pray that when all of life’s choices present themselves today, moment by moment, we would have ears that hear and feet that follow the One who loves us most.

Sending virtual hugs.

courage when faced with this world’s suckethness

If you’re looking for light and fluffy, then you may want to click away and find some yummy food blog. No offense taken. But if you’re looking for courage to walk through today because this world is revealing, in some way, it’s broken suckethness, then welcome.

One way God often speaks to me is through repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Like, I hear a sermon and the pastor talks about something that I also study in my quiet time that a friend also says in conversation that I also read on the back of a cereal box. And I’m finally like, “Ohhhhh.”

He did that again this week. And I remember the things He repeats to me by writing them down. Lucky you.

 

immovable

 

I’m not naive. I know that I (and the vast majority of all Americans) have no idea what the world at large means by affliction. Or persecution. But the truth is that Jesus promised affliction and persecution and trouble and tribulation to everyone who follows Him. As always, I’m just here to encourage you.

Jesus promises trouble when He says things that really don’t need much interpretation like, “In this world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33) As long as we walk this planet, we will have trials. Have you seen the trail of martyrs that line the path of Christian history?

Yet junk happens and we say things like, “I can’t believe this is happening!” Because for a few minutes we forget where we live and what He promised. Or maybe because deep down we really want the prosperity gospel to be true.

But even though He promises trials, He also promises peace. Not necessarily external peace — though we like external peace. But rather internal peace — peace that can define us simply because we’re desperately depending on Him.

I think it was Beth Moore that said, “Sometimes God delivers us from the fires of life while other times He delivers us through the fires of life.” Yes, there will be times when God completely takes away the trial. And we pray for and then praise Him for those miraculous interventions.

But I’ve come to learn that the trials of life can actually serve as a gift to my faith if through them I press into my God. It’s then that the world is perplexed. It’s then that I get to really see with my own eyes that when I’m weak, I’m actually strong.

 

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
(1 Corinthians 15:58)

 

So what do we do with all of this? Well, we occupy ourselves with Him. We occupy our minds with His truth. We occupy our souls with prayer. We occupy our hearts with worship. We push deeper and deeper into Him so that when (not if) the fires of life come, we are standing in the power of His might, immovable.

It’s time to get a little serious. We will be afflicted. We will be persecuted. We will face troubles. This side of Jesus coming back, it will happen. But it isn’t hopeless. With God’s word filling us, His Spirit empowering us, and other believers standing courageously with us, we can overcome. Jesus has overcome. Our feet can stand immovable.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How about some old fashioned testifyin’ — how have you seen yourself or someone you love remain immoveable in the face of trial?
 

a word of freedom for (recovering) people-pleasers

Just to set the stage, I’m a Recovering People-Pleaser (RPP). Nice to meet you.

The other day I opened up one of my “go-to” books — you know, a book that you go back to again and again because it always does something for you or in you, like smashing my comfy world into tiny pieces. Yep. The Calvary Road by Roy Hession does that for me. (And it’s free, soooo…)

Anyway, I was re-re-re-reading the first chapter and Hession said, “Every humiliation, everyone who tries and vexes us, is God’s way of breaking us, so that there is a yet deeper channel in us for the life of Christ.” Let that quote sink for a minute.

 

freedom for people-pleasers

 

In other words, every single difficulty in life is yet another chance to crucify self so that the life of Christ can arise in and through us. And that is a gift. And that irritates me. Because I like my self. Or at least my self convinces me I do, like when I insist on my rights or my ways or my views. But Jesus say over and over that to follow Him means we have to die to self.

So yeah, that re-rocked me. But here’s the part that really really flipped me upside down. I was talking to God about this idea of relational difficulties being a gift so that I’m a deeper channel for the life of Christ, and it hit me.

As a people-pleaser — ahem, recovering people-pleaser — every time I try to live up to someone else’s expectations rather than simply flowing in the fulness of God’s Spirit where He leads in the moments, I actually hinder God’s work in that other person. You with me?

If I’m trying to please people by allowing their expectations to guide me rather than allowing God’s Spirit to guide me, then I’m not allowing God to fully use me as He intends in the other person’s life. Because when I “try and vex” them — simply because I’m not living up to their expectations — that’s actually an opportunity God wants to use in their life to free them from their self as well.

Drop. the. mic. Or not…because I have more to say.

This is HUGE for us recovering people-pleasers. Because, two things, (1) you and I can’t please people. We can’t. It isn’t possible. Especially those people in our lives with lofty expectations. And (2) it’s not our job to please people. Even the people we dearly love.

It’s our “job” to love The Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and then, out of the overflow of that love, we love others as He leads. The hard thing for people-pleasers is that loving others as God leads often looks different from loving others as they expect or desire us to love them.

 

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
(Galatians 1:10)

 

A trite example. My kids. My son may think that a proper expression of my love for him would be for me to prepare him something brown and fried for every single meal. Because he basically only wants to eat chicken tenders. And pizza. But I know in my spirit — and my brain — that feeding him those things at every meal isn’t best for him. It wouldn’t be an expression of my love.

That may mean he skips a meal because there’s something green on his plate. Or that may mean he has to be excused from the table for a craptacular attitude. And that may mean that he doesn’t feel my love in those moments. But I do love him. And as his parent it would be foolish for me to try to live up to his expectations.

People-pleasers, we gotta stop. Let’s stop trying to please everyone around us. Because we can’t and it’s not our job. God is all the time doing a work in all of us, and sometimes that includes our desires (or theirs) not being fully met.

Yes, we want to love others and love them well and bend to bless them. But when we cross over into the realm of people-pleasing at the expense of living life being led by the Holy Spirit of God, then we’ll actually get in the way.

God has freedom for us recovering people-pleasers. And freedom comes as we set our eyes on Him rather than on the expectations of other people. He will faithfully lead. And His leading will have eternity in mind.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Any recovering people-pleasers out there? Can I get a witness as to the world-rocking-ness of this truth?
 

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