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mosaic

Love is one of those words that requires a lot, if not everything from the one giving it. Love is hoped for, depended on, risked and longed for. Love is so strong. There are so many songs and movies that try and capture the essence of love’s power. There will never be enough to say about love. There will never be enough time to capture its essence either.

Love is also conscious. Love requires everything we’ve got.

A couple of years ago, my counselor taught me a principle that has stuck with me. We were talking about commandments in the bible. He told me that we are given commandments because there are things that do not come natural to us. For example, we are not given the commandment to breathe because our body just does that naturally. We do not have to constantly tell our eyes to blink. They just do.

Love is a commandment given by God. Love is something that does not come natural to us.

I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This truth brings a whole new light to the famous verses in Corinthians about love. Love has a list because it’s not natural to do.

Love is a choice.

I am sadly realizing how many people do not choose love any more. There is a lie in our culture that says you don’t have to stay in the hard. You can love whenever and however it suits your needs. Our culture is moving away from the heart of the one who created love. We are moving away from the one who created us to know and share in love. Sadly, our world is running on the fiction of love.

We have reduced love to a fairytale feeling, and the pursuit of happy, not faithful.

The reality of love is that it’s hard work. It does take conscious effort. There are times where love seems to be overflowing and very easy, but for the most part it takes effort. This is where the commandment comes in. God knew that the hard is where our human side comes into play, and that we would need a commandment to keep at it.

Love is no matter what.

Love is all the time and no matter what. Love is committed and faithful no matter what. Love is selfless and sacrificial. Those two words alone require everything I’ve got. Lord knows I am not good at choosing either one.

Love is no matter what because God has proven to love me that way. God has shown me that love is all the time, committed, and faithful. He laid down his life to show me that love is selfless and sacrificial. I can’t believe that love like this applies to me.

What are the challenges of this commandment for you?

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When it comes to believing in Jesus, I have been asking myself several questions.

Through which eyes do I see him?

How far does my belief extend?

Do I look and believe in the ability of the one I follow or do I look at the growing crowd?

Philip and Andrew were two of Jesus’ disciples. They spent days, weeks, and months with Jesus. They had seen countless miraculous signs and wonders. These fellas had personally experienced the hands of their friend healing wounded hearts and broken bodies.

There was one particular day where Jesus performed on miracle that affected  five thousand people.

The day was hot and the sun was beginning to set. Jesus surveyed the growing crowd around him and asked Philip, “where can we buy bread for these people to eat?

Jesus had a way of always asking rhetorical questions. He already knew what he was going to do.

How many times has God asked us questions – invited us into being a part of something great – and we answer logically or without faith.

I have responded to God’s questions so many times with my eyes on my own limits. I even have a tendency to water down what God wants to do through me because I think I’m too small to do it.

God asks us questions already knowing what he is going to do. He just wants us to believe.

Philip and Andrew illustrated both responses in this story. Philip relied on his logic and limits. He looked at the overwhelming number of people and
responded accordingly. Philip thought that it was up to him to do something miraculous and big. Even though he had just spent days being a part of miracles, signs, and wonders. That day he chose his limits.

Andrew responded differently to Jesus’ question. He answered with two key words, “here is.” That is what God wants to hear from his people, “God here is…” Andrew believed beyond his limits and in the one he followed. He was focused on Gods ability.

Andrew lacked the how but he had the who and what.

Andrew placed in Jesus’ hands all that he had to give. He believed beyond himself. When Jesus asked the question, “what can we do to feed these people?” Andrew responded with “I can’t, but you can.

Philip and Andrew had human responses. They were both limited and logical. One responded out of his limits, and the other presented his limits to the only one who could use them.

Which disciple are you most like?

What stops you from presenting all you have to Jesus?

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Right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks watching a group of high school girls hang out. I listen as they talk about their day, and thought, “you know…nothing has really changed about the conversations and topics of high school.”

We are a culture that operates out of created groups. We learn how to “belong” through gravitating towards like-minded people. Every high school has the same social groups now as they did 15 years ago when I was there.

We called our like-minded group of friends our community, but in reality they were cliques. Cliques do not allow room for community.

I watch these girls and laugh because my friends now are so different. My closest friends are made up of a mismatch group of gifts, personalities, fears, looks, and passions. One of my closest friends and I joke all the time that we would not have been friends in high school. Our groups and judgments would not have let that happen.

Community ceases to be community when it becomes a clique.

There is no room for community in a cliques. Cliques are closed to anyone new joining in. Cliques enforce a hierarchy of judgment someone needs to pass in order to be allowed in.

It makes me sad when I see adult cliques in the church. Clique mentality has no room in the community of the church body. We are all made in his image. We are all invited to walk a life journey with the same God.

Look at the disciples.

Some would say that the 12 disciples were a clique. No one else was allowed to be a disciple. But look at the mixed match up of those guys!

The community of disciples consisted of different personalities, passions, interests, looks, temperaments, gifts, strong wills, extroverts, introverts, popular, and the loathed. There was no reason these guys should’ve been doing life together – they didn’t go together. They didn’t make sense.

But isn’t this true community?

Community is made up of all of those who are trying to do life well, and follow after the invitation to do life with Him.

Community takes a chance on people. Community sees and wants the heart. Community is inviting.

What are your thoughts on community?

What makes community for you?

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We are His masterpieces. The Master takes all of our pieces and makes a mural called His glory.

I love photo mosaics. I love looking closely at all of the many little pictures that make up one amazing whole picture.

I love these mosaics because it reminds me that my heart looks like this. My heart is made up of many pieces and stories, but when put together they make up a mural of wholeness.

The Master takes all of my heart’s pieces and molds them together to reveal His glory.

I also like thinking about how all of our hearts and lives fit together to reveal an amazing mural of His heart and glory.

Our broken roads can meet up with the broken roads of others and make a journey.

Our gifts and talents come together and speak of His name.

Our seasons of waiting and wrestling come together and show the picture of His redemption.

We are His pieces that he molds together to reveal the bigger picture of Himself.

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I love traveling. There is so much in it for my heart. I love the map screen that international flights have. I love watching as the red line of my trip gets longer and longer. It is so exciting to see how much distance I have covered.

I think about that, and realize how much I can also get stuck with only looking ahead. I can get stuck wrestling with the road ahead that I forget to look where I have traveled from.

All of our paths have reds lines that reveal the roads we’ve traveled.

There is power in remembering.

Before I took the leap and moved this year, I spent weeks going through old boxes and bins in my attic. I filled bags and bags of old memories and pieces of me.

I both laughed at RE-diculous times in my laugh, and cried at discovering my heart. So many boxes filled with pieces of myself. So many bags filled with glimpses of my gifts, dreams, passions, risks, accomplishments, and foot prints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is power in remembering.

We forget to look back and see the value in the footsteps taken. We can forget to see the good things already done, prayers already answered, life already transformed, and mile markers conquered.

There is power in remembering.

I am always humbled when I read God’s words of remembering in the bible. He says in so many place to remember what he has already done for his people.

God talks about remembering that he freed them from captivity and brought his people out of slavery. He provided food and shelter in the desert. God provided victories in battle, and ushered his people into the promise land.

In Micah, God says, “Remember your journey.” I love that. There is such power in remembering.

Remembering provides hope. Remembering provides wisdom for the steps ahead, and courage to take them. Remembering reminds us that God was, and is, in our everything.

Looking back, What would God tell you to remember?

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Words run deep. How we use them, hear them, see them, and process them effect everything.

Words are powerful.

Words express something every time. Words also reflect deeper meanings.

There are several places in the bible that talk about our hearts and words being connected. In both Matt and Luke, Jesus addresses the condition of our hearts by what comes out of it-our words.

What comes out of our mouths reflects the conditions our hearts.

In Luke, Jesus teaches the people that the heart reflects both the good and the bad of what is stored up in it. Jesus stated, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

My heart is need of some serious inventory check of what is stored up in her. It can be pretty easy to hear what might be going on in someone else’s heart by what they say. however, it is not so easy to hear our own. Our hearts are always saying something. Their hidden meaning is not as hidden as we would like to think.

I am learning that it’s not just our words that reflect our heart’s conditions, but I know my behavior is close to follow those words as well. I act like my heart. It is not always pretty. When my heart is in a bad place, I can see it in my behavior. I call this my “dirty heart” day.

When I am in the midst of a dirt heart day everything seen and heard from me reflects that. I am quick to speak, irrational, jealous, and harsh. I am also more anxious, and more likely to spiral in thought to places of untruth.

Our hearts affect our everything.

Our hearts also affect everyone else around us.

Our hearts are overflowing with emotions, thoughts, beliefs, struggles, and fears. The state our hearts are hard to hide. Our words, expressions, and behavior say it all.

I am not a fan of what mine has been overflowing with lately. I wish my heart was in a better place. I wish my words and behavior were as well.

It’s not just my sleeves that are worn out from all this heart wearing.

The process of confronting our heart’s condition is not comfortable or easy. Sometimes it feels like everything gets worse before better can be recognized. That’s when you know healing is happening.

What is your heart saying?

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I hear people say the phrase, “God told me…” a lot. “God told me to” is often used as an explanation for why people do the things they do and make the decisions they make. Sometimes there are no real words to explain the “why” for you other than, “well, I felt like God was….”

What does God’s voice sound like? What does it really mean when someone uses a phrase like that?

A phrase like that sounds crazy to a person who does not have a relationship with the Lord. Brows become furrowed and and faces contort trying to figure out what that really means.

For those who believe, Jesus stated that “his sheep would know his voice.” So what does God’s voice sound like? How do you know it’s him?

I have three questions I ask myself when it comes to hearing from him. Hopefully they will help you as you learn to hear from him.

How am I wired?

This question has everything to do with our personalities. One key question to answer for yourself is whether or not you are a dominant thinker of feeler? Do you process by facts instead of hearing between the lines?

I am a feeler. I feel deeply about everything. This is also linked to discernment for me. I tend to hear what is not being said more than what is. That means something.  When things feel off that means something for me. God motivates me through emotions of restlessness and frustration. I know our feelings can be deceiving, but they are also telling. I hear God by feeling deeply the stories and characters I am reading about in scripture. I know his voice of grace, because I really know what his grace feels like.

What am I drawn to?

What our hearts and passions are drawn to matter in a huge way. God speaks through the things we love. He has wired us uniquely to do something.

I will never be great at administration at all. I actually hate it! Nothing about that job stirs my heart in anyway. However, get me in a crowd of people talking about hard life topics and truth…I’m IN! That means something. That is vision defining for my life. What we are drawn to means everything. Our passions are his voice in and through us.

How do I receive in my life? What gets into my heart?

How do you hear things like love, truth, and respect? How would you answer the question of knowing your loved? How do you receive?

These are huge questions to recognizing God’s voice in your life. Finding the answers to these questions builds a huge bridge between his voice and your heart.

I am still learning this one about myself. I am not good at receiving. This puts a wall up between God’s voice and my heart. How I answer these questions is making all the difference to knowing him more.

Our personalities are wired uniquely to hear him. Our passions and the drawing of our hearts means so much. How we really receive is huge to hearing from him.

Try out some of these questions and see what happens. Would love to know if you start to hear from him more as you get to know yourself more.  

How do you hear from him? How do you recognize his voice?

(repost)

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