Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Today, we continue tracing the footsteps of Jesus, as Monday morning he returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. (Matthew 21:18-22)Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine, living faith is more than just outward religiosity. True faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt sales people.

He began flipping over their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Matthew 21:12-17New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[c]?”

And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

 Read more here- Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.

What I learned today…Jesus showed us His temper when He was frustrated with the people in the temple. I love that He did that. It helps when I feel righteous anger!
AND I need to make sure my house and temple stay holy, asking God to test MY heart in all I do.

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Teenage Tantrums

Do you have wise people around you? Do you listen to them?

One of the wise people around me said something in a short 5 minute conversation that made me sad, mad and glad.

I was talking about a tough week I had had with one of my teens. His reply was, “Huh. It is great to watch God having you go through this with one of your kids right now, as you are going through the same thing with God.”

Sad – Oh, NO! I do tend to get upset and say, “God, what are you doing?! Don’t you know what will make me happy?” And then wait fairly impatiently for God to do what I want Him too.

Mad – WHAT?!?! I don’t throw tantrums like that! Well, okay, maybe I do. BUT I trust God’s path for me, don’t I? I push and talk to God about what I want, but I do lean on His direction.

Glad – I do. I do lean on God as He moves me through situations that will grow and stretch me. I don’t mind being uncomfortable for HIM.

As it stands, I’m glad someone pointed out the similarities. It helped me remember that God, my Father, has His hands full with me. I do go to Him with my fears and worries, and though it might take me awhile sometimes, I do walk the path He is putting in front of me.

What I learned today…I feel a change is coming. I don’t know what it is, but I know who is directing it. Whether I like it or not, the whole point of my life is to do what God is asking me to do…and pray I like it. 🙂

Seminary Starts Back Up Today

I am one who THIRSTS for knowledge. I love learning from others, hearing opinions, reading how others have made things work, or how they haven’t. I rarely feel “filled” to the brim with all I would like to know. The only time I truly feel like my brain will explode is when I read the Bible. There is so much to learn.

Each time I read it, I learn something completely new, or it reminds me of something I have forgotten. Even if it’s a verse I have read 100 times, I’ll get something new from it and once again be in awe of how I see something new, depending on the season I’m in.

All of that being said, I am not built for being educated in a traditional way. It is very frustrating for me to have to cross t’s and dot i’s as I’m built for a fast, fluid and flexible mentality. There are a LOT of you who are built for education and that is FANTASTIC. I am just not one of them.

As I jump in to this next class on the Old Testament, I hope to be able to share with you all that God is showing me. Not because I HAVE to be in the class, but because I am choosing to.

Would LOVE your prayers!

What I learned today…it is OKAY for me to not like school. Some people aren’t built to.

You Need a Plan for Your Life

I just finished a weekend with my first Life Planner. You might wonder why I decided to take the time and money to spend on getting a Life Planner as it’s a lot of what I do in my job. My goal in doing it was to affirm and confirm my current trajectory.

As I battle with consistently feeling inadequate in life, it was just amazing to me to see the way God made me laid out on 19 separate HUGE pages, lined across the walls.

My facilitator was wonderful. She shared my joys and pains as we walked through my life realizing that the first part of my life was used to build my strengths, the second part of my life (so far) was in me using and really owning my strengths, and this latest part of my life is in relying on God’s strengths.

There were a couple of difficult parts for me. They weren’t difficult because they were a surprise, but difficult actually speaking them out loud. I am GREAT at pointing out the amazing ways others are created, but it’s difficult for me to “promote” myself and it was a weekend of doing just that.

If you have the chance, I would HIGHLY suggest either heading to your closest Purpose Driven Church and taking CLASS 301 then meeting with a SHAPE Guide or contacting a Life Planner (I used a facilitator from The Paterson Center) to help you realize who YOU are built to be.

What I learned today… God has me on an intentional path and is giving me the skills to continue to be able to help more and more people realize their value and motivate them to be mobilized in to action!!

Social Media and Jesus

I’ll never forget my first time…the first time I started to act like a Jesus follower on social media. Before that point, my posts generally contained a cuss word or what bordered on being a cuss word. Most pointed to crude humor, alcohol, sex or all three.

It’s who I was. I wanted everyone to see I was fun, edgy, had money, had friends, still looked good, etc…

Then something changed. Me. I started to learn more about the Bible and the way God wants me to behave and slowly but surely, I started to change my behavior.

As I grew in my relationship with God, I started to drink less, party less and read more. I was filling more of my time with people who were on the same spiritual journey with me. During this period, I remember going down to the beach for an all day party/bbq/bonfire.

When it started to get a bit later, and the alcohol started REALLY flowing, I said it was time to leave. We wanted to get to church in time. You would have thought I had said I was going to board a spaceship with my family. The incredulous looks we received were priceless. As we said our goodbyes, it was a bit awkward. Not on our part, but our friends could NOT believe that we were leaving a fun party with THEM to go to CHURCH!!!

As we got in the car, I started laughing with my husband. There was a time, not to long before that point, where we would have made fun of someone leaving a party to head to church. How LAME.

We had changed. Our priorities had changed. We still liked to hang out with our friends, but one of the values we have is to make sure we attend services on the weekends. When we don’t, we can feel the loss throughout our week!

That evening’s service included Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.”

After seeing the reactions of my friends at the beach, I realized my social media life wasn’t reflecting the changes going on in my life. They were shocked that I’d stop and go to church, which meant I wasn’t representing the changes going on in my life for all to see.

I wanted to make sure I started publicly acknowledging Jesus. The easiest way for me to do that was on all of my social media channels. It might sound like no big deal to you, but to post something “Christian-y” was BIG for me.

As soon as I did it, I didn’t get disowned by friends. There were a couple of snarky comments (remember, I had changed a LOT by then), but the biggest response was others were excited for me, and thankful to see me standing up for what I believed in.

It has snowballed from there! I have never seen my self as much of an evangelist, but the amount of emails I have gotten since I took that leap of faith and started posting about my walk with Jesus, has been remarkable! Everything from, “I started going to church because of your posts”, to “I never read the Bible before, but the verses you post have made me start” and “I am getting baptized today and I want you to be there because your posts have changed my life”.

WHAT?!?!?!? Me? My posts on Social Media? Have done all that?!?!?! Generally I just post verses that I need to hear in that moment. I post encouragements that I need. I don’t post to impress or sway, I post when I am learning or God speaks to me through something I am reading.

What would it look like for you to post less “crude” and more about your walk with Jesus?

What would it look like to post an encouraging picture instead of one that would make your Grandma blush?

Who do you think you are connected to, that would change knowing you aren’t the perfect picture that you have been sharing on your pages?

Governments change, countries rise and fall…the church remains. Why waste time posting about something that won’t stand the test of time?

Why not spend your time fighting for JESUS? He is ETERNAL!

What would it look like to take over a media outlet with positive, inspiring, Biblical ways to live life?

It. Would. Be. Awesome.

What I learned today…We can all influence others by living our lives authentically. We all have a story, it takes huevos to share them, but if it means helping one more meet Jesus, we need to DO IT!!!!

I Am Fat

I am. I get it. Now, some will say, I’m not fat as they are bigger and others will say, yep, you are because they are much thinner.

In the past, I had gained weight with the kiddos and then lost it right away. It was easy as I was a VERY vain person, plus I saw the benefits of feeling healthy after exercising and eating right.

Now, to my “issues” I am working on. Back when I was thin…was before I started working at a church. I have actually gained over 55 lbs in the last 4 years. Why?

What I have been working on is realizing it’s because of my brokenness. In the world, to get ahead you either had to be a “wench” or “loose” to get anywhere. (I am being creative with my wording). I was an absolute wench, and I’d use my sexuality to get what I wanted.

Starting at a church, I thought I didn’t want to be noticed in any way. I started to observe that bigger people are over-looked and under-estimated. It’s true! Kind of like the different ways people treat you when you are driving a new Mercedes vs a 1994 Taurus. I realized recently, that I have been adding the pounds, to hide any part of the old me that could come through. I am now a MUCH nicer person, so no one could say I was succeeding because of my “wenchi-ness”, and with weight on, not to mention working at a church, no one could say I was using sensuality.

This is not an okay way to live! I realized as I looked in the mirror, enough is enough. I don’t even know what I’ll look like with less weight now. It’s been 4 years! Will I have more wrinkles? Probably. Will I be saggy? Probably. (Sorry, TMI). That doesn’t mean I should continue on this unhealthy path.

I am tired. At this point I can’t keep up with my boys. That SUCKS.

What I learned today…I need to start getting back in to a healthier lifestyle. I need to pray about my insecurities and get help. I need to remember, I have a God who loves me unconditionally. A God who is guarding and guiding me. I have a husband that has loved me through thick and thin (get it? BWHAHAHAHAH) and will be with me regardless.

What I learned today is I need to start to get back on track, today. Not next week. Today.

Will it be easy? No. Somehow I feel like I have aged more in the last 4 years than in the last 10 years! I miss looking in the mirror and liking what I see. I have let myself go in so many ways. I can’t wait to see how God can help me with this! I am putting it in to His hands.

 

Not the Lord’s Prayer!

I grew up hating the Lord’s prayer. Why? Because whenever something bad would happen, I would be told, “God says to forgive” “You HAVE to forgive, we say it in our prayers”. Regardless of how I felt about being hurt or taken advantage of, I was constantly reminded of the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive others” Matthew 6:12.

When I heard our Pastor was going to teach on the Lord’s prayer, years ago, I didn’t want to go to service. Though I had told God I would go to every weekend service, I didn’t want to go, just to be made to feel bad that I didn’t forgive people that had been hurting me as a child.

Of course, I went. And God did what God does…He showed me something new in the Lord’s prayer. Well, I learned a lot that is new, but what changed my trajectory, was hearing someone say the verses out loud to me. Read Matthew 6:12 now…

“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”

What does it say BEFORE it talks about forgiving others?

Forgive US OUR sins. CRAP! All the years I spent not loving this prayer, pointing fingers at others, holding on to resentment, anger and hate. All the years spent VERY angry that God wanted me to forgive, when I didn’t want to…

Jesus, in this prayer, taught us to ask for forgiveness first. Man, He has always worked overtime forgiving me for all I have done. I had not been a great person. I was the prodigal daughter out to please myself in the world for a long period of time. Here God was, speaking to me through this prayer. Telling me to remember that I have a lot of baggage on my shoulders that I should be working on, not worrying about pointing fingers at people who have wronged me.

Think of the verse Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

I started praying….God, I am so very sorry for all I have done. I know I have made HUGE sins against you. I know in my heart you can forgive me right away, but please help heal my mind. Help me grasp on to the truth that you already knew what I’d do and have already forgiven me because you love me so much. Thank you for sending your Son to pay for all of my sins. God, help me work on myself more. Help me learn to be as forgiving as you. I love you and trust you.

I now absolutely love the Lord’s prayer. I encourage you to read Matthew 6 and see what God has to say about someone you haven’t forgiven. And start praying.

Matthew 6

What I learned today…To remember to recite the Lord’s Prayer and be thankful Jesus came to be and example and teach us how to live.

Article On Me Being Mean

I wanted to share an article that was written by one of the amazing women on my team, who I was VERY strong with.

Check out what she wrote…

Iron sharpens iron – http://wp.me/p75LYu-2F

What I learned from it…Trust God even when it is uncomfortable.

Memory Makers

Excited to see what adventures await our family today. The hardest part of making memories with your family? Making plans and being flexible.

You have to make plans to make memories. Even if some of your family whines. KEEP GOING with your plan. 99% of the time they will enjoy themselves and maybe find something new that they like.

Some of the time the plans will change. That is okay too. Don’t let any hiccups in your plan get you down, just make changes. I know that is easy to say, but for some of you very hard to do. Personally, I shivered as I wrote the word plan down as I work best on the “fly”.

If you are a planner, get involved with the plans. Make sure your input is heard. Don’t just look for direction from others, if you need a plan.

If you are a spontaneous person, remember others aren’t. Sometimes our family members can get grumpy at a change in the plan. Understand they are built that way. They are not anti what you are doing, it just takes them awhile to catch up with the change in plans.

As a person who loves spontaneity, who married the plan-iest planner alive, I get frustration. What I have learned is to WAY over plan. Have lots of ideas with cost, time it will take to complete, directions, etc… all on a list on an app like Wunderlist or Evernote. Then share it with your spouse. They’ll know some of the ideas you are thinking about and be able to speak in to them.

If you have a plan laid out and something occurs to change it, remember that it might frustrate your planner. Take that in to consideration and be understanding.

Once you get to the point of understanding how your spouse is, if you have kids, you’ll start to see the similarities in your kids and be able to work with them too. If you know your spouse gets grumpy without eating, chances are one of your kids will too.

Now go make some memories!!! It doesn’t matter what you do today, just do something!!! Even if it’s visiting your local park. Make it happen. It might sound corny, but who cares!!

What I learned today…prepare, prepare, prepare and then be very understanding. We are all built different and when you feel irritated by someone you love 9 out of 10 times it’s just because you think differently. Not wrong or right, just different.

 

 

I CANNOT BE SORRY for Who I Am

We know, from past posts, I battle the feeling of being inadequate a LOT. Sadly, I didn’t battle this in such a life altering way until I joined the church. Within the church, I started feeling like I wasn’t enough. I don’t have a memory that retains Bible verses as quick as others that can recite the whole Bible from memory. I don’t have the theological PhDs that others have. (I didn’t even finish college!) I could go on and on.

Thankfully, God didn’t call me for all of that. He would have given me a better memory if He wanted to.  He could have given me the drive to get a great education if He wanted to. Now, to be fair, I am in seminary as I do believe being educated regarding the Bible is very important. That way I am not going only off my interpretation of the Bible and/or what others tell me, but truly digging in to it and hearing a variety of opinions.

Another battle I face is being born a leader. You might think that is a super sexy role, so why would I think it was a battle? Outside of the church, it wasn’t hard. I could use my skills and they were celebrated and affirmed consistently. Within the church it is different. Well, within the churches I know about, it might be different at yours.

I came in to our church knowing that there was never a ladder to climb. We do not have female pastors. Fine. Our church does not have a female elder. Fine. All of that is absolutely fine. I knew what I was walking in to. I took a position that used my skill set and I absolutely love. I know I will upset some of you, but I do believe that men should be the lead pastors in the church. I also believe, leading the church on the team of leaders, a woman is NEEDED. When women make up over 1/2 the church, their voices must be represented at all “tables”. Not to push the “women” thing, but to work side by side like we were built to do. To help each other and promote GOD through it all. The challenge I have found when working with both men AND women in the church is when I use my gift of leadership. Now remember, I did not ask to be a leader. It’s a gift GOD gave me. In John 15:16 we read “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” This is a hard life! Being a “good” Christian is HARD. I don’t think I would’ve chosen to walk in to the craziness it is. But GOD chose me for it. I trust Him.

I battle knowing that He gave me this gift, while others who want it so bad, and strive for it, and educate themselves to become better skilled at it…don’t. We can say that about a lot of gifts. If you have the gift of organization, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way. If you have the gift of teaching, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way….I could go on and on. YOU have a gift the rest of us yearn for. The battle is knowing that God created us all perfectly to do what HE has for us. Though we might want another gift, if we didn’t have the one we uniquely have, there would be an absence in the world.

Romans 8:28-31 says –

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

SO GOOD!!!! Let’s lean on this Biblical truth when we doubt, or battle opposition!

I like what J. Oswald Chambers has to say about it in his book Spiritual Leadership Principles of Excellence for Every Believer.

“I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group buy by the almighty appointment of God.”

We need to be confident as Christians in the gifts He has given us. An even BIGGER step would be to not only be confident in it, but to celebrate others gifts as well. To those who have the gifts we don’t have, celebrate them! And we all need to continuously vow to do our best to enhance and improve the gifts we have been given. It’s not a use it or lose it situation, but it is like a muscle that you have, but can get SO MUCH STRONGER the more you work on it.

What I learned today…I have SO much to say on this subject, I should learn to write more short and sweet blogs.