Thursday, June 23, 2016

Black Holes

A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. The strong gravity occurs because matter has been pressed into a tiny space. This compression can take place at the end of a star's life. Some black holes are a result of dying stars.

Because no light can escape, black holes are invisible. However, space telescopes with special instruments can help find black holes. They can observe the behavior of material and stars that are very close to black holes. (

When some stars die, they collapse in on themselves and create a black hole. 

To me, this is hard to wrap my head around. These black holes suck things into them with such gravitational force, that nothing can ever leave. They're so tightly compacted, that light can't leave. 

Sometimes things happen in life, and we wind up blaming ourselves. We beat ourselves up to the point that we turn in on ourselves. We take all of our anger, frustration, resentment, bitterness, turn it all in on ourselves, and don't let it leave. You might blame yourself for any number of things... Problems with family, your marriage, your job. 

Let me just tell you. When you start turning inward on yourself, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble. You might think you aren't hurting anyone else, but the nature of a star that has collapsed in on itself is to suck the light out of what is around it. 

Black holes form when the star has ran out of fuel. Maybe you are just tired of trying. Maybe you're fed up, and you can't rely on anyone, so you cram all your feelings into yourself. 

If you do not find something to cling to outside of yourself, you will not only destroy yourself, but destroy the lives around you. 

If you don't know God, the creator of this miraculous universe, He is the only one strong enough to keep you from collapsing in on yourself. He is the only thing sturdy enough to cling to when you can physically feel you collapsing in on yourself. You don't need to view Christ as a lifesaver, you need to view him as your life-force. He isn't just there to pull you out of raging waters, He should be the will inside of you telling you to fight and swim. The amazing thing about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is that he is not only your will to live, he's what you cling to when you get to shore, the hands that pull you from the waters, and the EMT himself. God is literally everything you need Him to be. You just have to trust him.

Don't collapse in on yourself. Don't suck the light out of the people around you. Find the strength to reach out and cling to the creator of the universe before you become a black hole. Don't get so far gone that somebody has to break out a telescope to find the real you. 

"Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise." -Hebrews 10:23

"8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;" - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

"The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; he saves those crushed in spirit" -Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sinners Anonymous

There have been several events in the last couple of weeks that have finally driven me to write this very real and very raw blog. The driving force behind this post is a quote from Beth Moore's new book, Audacious:

     God knows exactly how real or pretentious our faith is. But we don't. That's the thing. Neither do the people in our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our social environments, or our spheres of influence. Neither do angels or demonic principalities. God tests us to bring out the real us. He tests us to prove our faithfulness to Him in front of a devil who bets we're fakes. God tests us to prove us genuine to "a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us" (Heb. 12:1). For crying out loud, He tests us to prove us genuine to ourselves, the last ones to usually know. God knows what is inside you. That's the person He's trying to surface. If He's knocking the cover off of you, He's trying to get to the light.

This quote hit me like a ton of well-worded bricks.

It made me actually look at myself. Ew... and what I saw, I hated. 

There was a series of events that led other people to open up to me about their EW factors and that's when this thought blazed across my brain...

we approached our Christian walk as a recovery program instead of a beauty pageant?

Because as it stands right now, Christianity looks more like a beauty pageant every day. We gather in large numbers for a show. We gather to look on a whole lot of fake. There's a lot of makeup, self-tanner, hair spray, and scripted answers. If you grew up in a Southern church, I probably just described your Momma circa 1985... bless her heart. 

What if we ALL recognized that we are sinners. What if we ALL realized that we ALL fall short of the glory of God. What if we ALL actively supported each other in our quest to fight back against our sinful nature? What if we could openly gather and say, "hello, my name is Catherine... and I have a sinful nature."

What if we could gather into a group that wouldn't judge us based on the words and confessions that would fall out of our mouths. What if we could gather into a community of believers where we laid it all out on the table. What if we could say, "hello, my name is Catherine... and I have a sinful nature. I fail daily, but you guys know that. Today was really hard, I wanted to turn to my old habits of ___________." And then... what if we talked about the triggers of our sinful nature: lying, gossiping, pornography, substances, anger, sexual acts, homosexual tendencies. What if talked about the person under the makeup, beneath the hair, behind the scripted answers. Do you not see it all around you? Do you not see the addicts, the anxious, and the adulterous in the pews beside you? 

We are so delusional to think that ANYBODY has it all together. We put on a show.

You may be fooling everyone around you, but Satan is betting his bottom dollar on your fake. 

Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery programs have a 12 step program:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What if we replaced "alcohol" with "sinful nature"?

1. We admitted we were powerless over our sinful nature—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Folks... the first steps here are the first steps in how you become a Christian. Admitting that you're powerless over sin and that a Power greater than yourself is the only thing that can restore you. Then, you make a DECISION to turn your will and your life over to God.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Once you've made the decision, there's got to be follow through. You admit to God that you need Him, and you ready yourself to have Him remove the defects of character. You humble yourself and ask Him to remove your shortcomings. You recognize you can't do this alone. You no longer rely on just you anymore. You've enlisted Him to come aboard and help you wrangle this monster.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

I think it would be awesome if we as Christians kept inventory of the people we hurt as a result of our sinful nature and actually asked them for their forgiveness. Matthew 5:23-24 talks about leaving your offering on the alter if you remember that someone has something against you, and going to fix it before continuing. Promptly admit your shortcomings. We have a hard time doing that as a society.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others of  sinful nature, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Once we realize that our sinful nature hurts others as well as ourselves, we can begin the process of healing. We can't help that we're born sinners. What we can help, is that we can be saved by grace. We can pray for His will for us and carry it out. Once we're working on ourselves, we can gather with others who are also working on themselves... recognizing that this fight against our sinful nature is never ending. 

We're all struggling with something, none of us are perfect, no, not one!

What if we were real and raw. What if we sat down together as a support group, as a body of believers and said, "I'm here for you... spill."

It's not a beauty pageant, but if we own this fight against our sinful nature, we could ALL wind up with crowns. 

My name is Catherine Rhoades... and I have a sinful nature.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ugly Words

Today I was stalking Facebook and came across a post by a very famous Christian Speaker. In the comments section she had left a one word, 4-letter comment. To most of us, we would say that one word, 4-letter comment was a cuss word.

I have a lot of feelings about this so I'm going to share them with you.

My first reaction was, "this woman has THOUSANDS of hungry Christian women looking to her for nourishment, why would she abuse her platform like this?"

The things wrong with that statement, y'all!

Firstly, we shouldn't rely on anybody to feed us spiritually. We should be a hunter-gatherer proficient in our skill, looking into the Word and talking to God to get our sustenance. We should view everyone else as a grocery store. If we're successful in our endeavors, we should view everyone else a s supplement to what we are already trying to do. The grocery store has stuff that's already pre-packaged and ready for us to eat out of the box. It's easy, it's sustaining, but how do you know where it comes from?

I'm about to get deep, so put on your lifejackets and pull up your big-girl panties.

In the microwave society that we live in, we LOVE pre-packaged food. We also apparently like pre-packaged gospel. We don't want to have to do any of the work. We hit the doors of the church on Sundays, and sometimes Wednesdays, but how much hunting down do we do in our spare time? How do you know that what you are being told from the pulpit is truth? Do you really want to put all you know about salvation in the hands of another person?

What if they have another agenda? What if you're being led astray, and you're perfectly content? When was the last time you talked to God without asking him for something?

So, why did this one word bug me so much? At first I was really upset because thousands of people had read this particular thread. Thousands of women took one of two stances on this word: 1)"I'm glad to see that she cusses too" OR 2) "I'm kind of disappointed in her for using that type of language.'

Let's unpack both of those for a minute.

We can make a thousand excuses for cussing. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
  -I wanted to

  -I didn't mean to
  -It adds comedic effect
  -Typing it or saying it is no different than thinking it (or is it?)
  -I'm sure Jesus wanted to cuss
  -It has multiple meanings
  -What makes it a cuss word anyways? It's just a word.

So do any of those things make it right? 

Here's a non-exhaustive list on reasons not to cuss:
  -There are other/better words you can use

  -Would you want your kids saying it?
  -Does it build up? (Oh, but does it tear down?)
  -Does it sound good?
  -There is a stigma about bad words. They just sound bad.

Here's my personal thoughts on it:
I think she could have chosen a better word. People are looking to her for sustenance. Women who genuinely look up to this woman look to her for guidance. Hundreds of women came to her defense with all of the excuses I listed above. They now feel better about themselves cussing because this Godly woman cussed (and yes I do believe she is a woman of God).

Saying, "this person cusses so it's okay if I cuss" is downright dumb. Can I say that? If she had the same following and she jumped off a bridge because it caused her to have a spiritual awakening, would we all follow suit? I WOULD HOPE NOT. Cheese and crackers, people! Let's find some independence.

I promise, I have not always had the prettiest of mouths. My father warned us growing up that integrating cuss words into our vocabulary meant having them around forever. He told us to never pick them up, because we would never be able to put them down again. And wouldn't you know, the man was right. I actively try to watch my language (this is a relatively new adventure). Now when I hear ugly words, they sting my ears a little. It's not easy, I've had to get creative when I step on Legos in the middle of the night, "GREAT GOOGELY MOOGLY HOUND DOG!" I've admittedly said ugly words in my head, God's heard it, but my kids, not so much. I try to keep it contained.

It's an active choice. That's why I was so offended to see her physically type out the word. She chose to put that out there for those thousands of impressionable women. She didn't stub her toe and Facebook magically posted her outburst, it was a choice. A choice that I'm going to have to disagree with.

What this post should really be about is, "have your own mind, do your own thing, do your own research, have a brain that is all your own, don't follow the crowd..." but instead this post is about a baby step you can take, "think about your audience."

You're influencing people everywhere you go. Why? Because people have a really hard time doing their own thing. There are a lot of people jumping off dumb bridges in the world: The bridges of social norms.

Put your feet up... this is going to step on all of our toes:
These socially acceptable bridges are cussing, too much alcohol, sex before marriage, living with someone before marriage, homosexuality, addictions in most of their forms...

Y'all, I'm guilty of so much. I want to be that parent who screams, "DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID THAT I DID." I can talk till I'm blue in the face, but what my kiddos are going to do, is emulate what I do. 

Look at your audience, do you see them ALL around you? In the grocery store, in Walmart, in your own home, on Facebook... people are everywhere.

As Christians, the world is our audience. What we do and what we say are vitally important to our witness. If we look exactly like the world, we aren't doing what we're called to do. We're called to be set apart, to take that narrow road. "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" --Matt. 7:14

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. --1 Corinthians 10:23-24

The gospel is offensive on its own. If you do what the Word says, you'll be swimming upstream, my friend. Everyone will be jumping off the Social Norm Bridge, and you might be left alone.

Are you ready for that?

What's worse, is that the world wants to see us fail in our attempts to swim against the current. They revel in our missteps, but what they don't know, is that we have grace. Grace will pick you up, turn you around, and put you back on the right course. You can count on grace to always have your back when you screw up (just don't use God and grace as a spare tire. Don't abuse the power of grace. Don't take advantage of it like that.)

People are always watching you, what are you going to do about your audience?  Start by being a good example, and make sure you're not taking people off a ledge with you.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cancer Stinks.

I have this habit. At 25 years old, I still can’t decide if I think it’s a good habit, or if it’s even healthy.

My brain turns at like a 1,000 miles an hour and it’s constantly, desperately trying to process and retain everything. Sometimes it just can’t handle it all, and it forces me to eject it all out of my head and out onto paper in words. Words, for me, are what my brain can’t handle holding onto.

Today, my brain is so full, that this poor keyboard underneath my fingertips is about to take one heck of a beating. I literally cannot even comprehend the stuff going on in my life right now.

I have this friend. She’s amazing. She’s incredible. She’s beautiful, talented, and hilariously sassy. She just turned 12. And you know what is garbage? She’s fighting for her 12 year old life in a hospital bed in a children’s hospital because of cancer.

Can we just touch on everything wrong in that sentence? A TWELVE year old fighting cancer. A cancer that is trying everything in its inanimate power to pull the life away from this 12 year old.

Now Children’s hospitals. Isn’t that some garbage right there? Why do we have to have hospitals for little innocents fighting for their lives!? Why is any of this FAIR!? Why do these institutions have to exist? Can’t we all just live to a ripe old age and then get sick and die? Why do these little people, who have never done anything wrong have to suffer because of cancer? Because of disease? Because of nobody’s fault?


I just want to shake someone and say, “HOW DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE A LICK OF SENSE!?”

This is just a little of what is currently imploding inside my head. I can’t wrap my brain around it.

You walk into this children’s hospital and the place looks like Wonderland. It’s fun, there are fish tanks, there are lollipops in the waiting rooms, there are stores with giant stuffed animals, there are super nice nurses and doctors who adore children…. And then there are tiny sick people.

This place is meant to be welcoming to children. It’s meant to put parents at ease. They know their children are going to be well taken care of. But what is really hard to comprehend, is that someone had to design this fun space to be welcoming for children who may not walk back out of its doors. I know they try, and they do the MOST incredible job, but the whole concept is heart wrenching. No. It’s morbid.

My 12 year old friend didn’t do anything to deserve what she is going through. Her family didn’t expect this when they gave birth to her. Nobody does. Nobody asks for catastrophe… it is the unfair, despicable, filth that was brought upon us from the presence of sin. And it stinks.

There is literally no way else to put it. It’s filthy, rotten, detestable, garbage. There it is: Cancer stinks. Kids getting cancer stinks. The fact that children’s hospitals have to exist, stinks.

You hear all of these clichés and perhaps you’ve used them, but you have to use your best, “bless your heart” voice.

“God’s going to get the glory for this”
“If its God’s will…”
“We’re praying for you…”
“This will make you stronger”
“God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle”

We say these things out of the goodness of our hearts, but peaches and cream, people… it still doesn’t make sense!

We say these things in hopes of rationalizing what cannot be comprehended. We use empty words because we literally cannot even begin to understand.

Thank you for trying, really, I know you care…. But let’s be human for like 2 seconds. ALL OF THIS STINKS!

We can say that. We have the right to do that.

We can turn to the Father and we can question him till the cows come home, but the truth of the matter is, we’re never going to fully understand.

We can throw questions at the sky, we can shake our fists, we can scream, cry, rant, hoop ‘n holler, but it’s not going to do a bit of good.

The other day, my kid told me she didn’t like me. Good. Because sometimes I really don’t like her either. But it’s a good thing I love her to death. I love her more than I love my own life.

It is this feeling, of being a mother, that has me weeping over coffee. I cannot even imagine my baby having cancer. It is unfathomable.

We are foolish to think that God doesn’t look at us in the same way. He understands us more than we give Him credit for. He dwelt among us! If He cried, you can bet He laughed, and if He laughed, you can bet He was mad. Actually, there are times I wish I could drive people out of my house with whips too.

Here’s my point. It’s not going to do you a bit of good to sit and get mad at God. He’s got that. You don’t have to tell Him anything. He already knows! What takes strength is to ask Him to reveal to you what on earth is going on.

And if you’re still and if you’re quiet and if you believe that God is who He says He is, then He’ll bring it to the forefront of your mind.

We’re all going to die.

That stinks.

It is not how we leave this world -- it is how we have LIVED in this world.

And you say, “Catherine, what in the tarnation does that even mean!?”

What that means is that from dust we have come, and to dust we will return. It’s up to us to make something of those days in between birth and death.

My friend did that something. She accepted Christ as her savior and when she does pass away, and she will eventually, because we all will, she’ll bask in the Light of our savior and praise His name forever. Which, frankly, sounds amazing and morbid at the same time.

People talk about rejoicing in times of death. But let’s be real, honest, and real honest here: there is NOTHING to rejoice about when a child dies. And if you do, then you’re sick and should seek professional help.

If and when my 12 year old sister in Christ passes, my soul – the part of me that will live forever – will be happy for her, but every ounce of my flesh will miss her beautiful smile.

So let’s review:
Cancer stinks.
Dying stinks.
Clichés stink.
But being mad at God isn’t going to get you anywhere.

That’s not going to help at all, however, getting to know Him a little better, will help a whole lot.

He’s not doing it to be mean and cruel. Jesus loves children. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recount Jesus saying (in one way or another), “Let the Children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

So why would a good God let cancer happen? Why would a good God let children die? Why would a good God let there be children’s hospitals?

He’s not focused on how you leave this world, he’s concerned with how you’re living in it right now.

Death is not perceived as loss to God. God sees death as an opportunity to finally meet you and love on you for the rest of eternity. If you deny God in this world, then guess what? You’ll still get the privilege of meeting your creator, but you’ll be eternally separated from him. And THAT will royally stink.

When children die, they go home to a God who loves them.

When cancer patients die, they meet their maker.

It’s up to all of us to be ready to leave this world one way or another.

Make decisions daily that will determine what will happen when you die… because it WILL happen. You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

SO… what do we do for our friends who are suffering? What do we do for our people who are angry at their circumstances? What do we do to overcome what stinks?

We go through it with them. Not face to face, but shoulder to shoulder. Be present, be understanding, don’t say cliché things when you don’t know what to say. ACTUALLY pray for them. Make them baked goods and be there with and for them. Nothing is going to make it stink any less, but your presence and your prayers will be felt, and that is comforting.

Get through it together, and all those clichés that sound horrible will actually start making sense. You WILL be stronger. It actually IS God’s will (for all of us to die). God SHOULD get the glory because he gave us the Holy Spirit as a comforter because He loves us:

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, but God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirt who has been given to us.” –Romans 3-5.

And on the other side of trials, you do realize that God really doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. Although, that’s not even correct scripture (see 1 Corinthians 10:13 if I just confused you).

Now that I’ve got all that down on paper, I feel better.

Sometimes I just have to work out my feelings.

I hope this has helped you to work through some things as well. I’ve had enough stink. I’m going to get some fresh air. I’d recommend the same for you. They say it’s awfully good for you.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I'm Sorry: For Being a Lukewarm Christian

The person you used to know doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve been a Christian for the last 18 years, and I’ve lived what I thought was a Christian life. I’d talk about going to church and I’d put on a show for our families, but it was all a façade. The person I was didn’t speak like a Christian. I never spoke to my friends about God. Like, at all. I spent most of my days around people who did the same thing… including my husband. We did what we wanted and talked to God at our convenience. We just relied on the fact that he was “always on the line.” We were just swimming around, having a good ‘ol time in a pool of lukewarm water.

Well, here’s what Jesus said about lukewarm water:

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” –Rev 3:15-16

A few months ago, my husband realized he was frolicking in this lukewarm pool, ran out, grabbed a towel, and begged me to join him. I’m a stubborn heifer, stuck in my ways. I thought he was ridiculous. I had been the spiritual leader in our marriage, I had been the one in touch with my spiritual gifts, I thought I had everything together. I got saved at 7 years old, I was practically fireproof, right?


I hung out in my lukewarm pool, totally disgusted by the fact that God had called my husband out of his complacency. I treaded some water in the deep end, wallowing in the fact that I didn’t want to change anything, and that I was alone in that. Changing my life and actually LIVING for Christ would require me to leave the safety of my lukewarm pool. It would require things I wasn’t comfortable with: loss of friends, commitment, rejection, but worst of all, it would require me to admit that I was actually drowning in denial. I hate being wrong.

I watched him grow in his faith. I watched him actually living the way he was supposed to. I watched him be the man God called him to be. I eventually stopped sulking long enough to realize that I needed to drag my hind-end out of that filthy water, clean myself off, and join him. I needed to haul myself out of my lukewarm lifestyle. It was only after I was out of the water that I realized how disgusting my life had been. That lukewarm water had been breeding all kinds of things: complacency, denial, wrong ideals, terrible speech, hatefulness, worldly things. Everything Satan wanted me to think was okay for me to practice as a Christian.

What I had really been doing, is using God as a spare tire. I would run on my own will, and pull out the God card every now and then. What you need to know, is the life I presented you, was a bold-faced lie.

I’ll be held accountable for that one day, but what I want to say is: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry you heard me using foul language, and you thought it was okay to use foul language too.
I’m sorry you heard me talking about people.
I’m sorry you thought it was okay to come to me and talk to me about people.
I’m sorry if you never even knew I was a Christian.
I’m sorry if you modeled your life after me and you thought it was okay.
I’m sorry for not always being the way I am now.
I’m sorry that I didn’t try harder.
I’m sorry that I didn’t use scripture more.
I’m sorry I was a pitiful example of what a Christ-Follower looks like.

So what does a Christ-Follower look like?

A Christ-Follower is someone who actually TRIES every single day to do a little better. It’s someone who fully commits to God’s will. It’s someone who makes a legitimate effort to be more Christ-like. It’s someone who refuses to be complacent.

That’s hard, friends.

It’s a struggle every day. After you’ve made the decision to walk out of that lukewarm mess, Satan will hit you with everything he can to knock you back in. You’ll have to steady yourself every time he throws something at you. It doesn’t get easier, and Satan will try to use that too. It’s hard doing hard things, and that’s discouraging. Don’t let him use that against you. Steady yourself with every step, and you’ll start making progress.

Step out of that lukewarm water, and step into the person God is calling you to be. Stop swimming around in complacency. Quit comparing yourself to everyone around you. “Well, he’s doing it, so it must be okay,” is one of the worst things you can say as a Christian. Get in the word of God and find out for yourself what the Bible says is right and wrong. Don’t rely solely on what man has to say. Read your Bible. Read your Bible. Read your Bible. It’s right there in black and white (and sometimes red). Just READ. You’re reading this right now!


When you read, you’ll find these verses that aren’t talked about a lot:

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ –Zeph. 1:12

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. –1 Cor. 10:12

And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” –1 Pet 4:18

When you actually read scripture, you realize that you’re not supposed to stay in one place spiritually. You’re not supposed to be stagnant. You’re not supposed to be comfortable where you are. If the righteous are scarcely saved, that’s scary. I’m nowhere close to righteous and I certainly don’t claim to be. What I do claim, is that I’m striving for progress. I’m striving daily to follow Christ.

In the book, Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman addresses the fact that most Christians today act more like fans than followers:

“Fans don’t mind him doing a little touch-up work, but Jesus wants complete renovation. Fans come to Jesus thinking tune-up, but Jesus is thinking overhaul. Fans think a little makeup is fine, but Jesus is thinking makeover. Fans think a little decorating is required, but Jesus wants a complete remodel. Fans want Jesus to inspire them, but Jesus wants to interfere with their lives.” –Kyle Idleman

Friends, I am so sorry that I gave you a diluted view of what Christianity looks like. I am sorry I have been a pitiful example of what we are called to be as Christians. I am sorry I never showed you what a real relationship with Christ looks like. The façade we put on was that it’s okay to basically do what we want and still call ourselves Christians. We took advantage of what the world says is, “okay.” We were just like everyone else.

We’re not called to be like everyone else. We’re called to be set-apart:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Rom 12:22

Renew your mind. Step out of the lukewarm water that you have made your home, and step out in faith. God will wrap you up in a warm, secure, towel of grace and love. Don’t think you’re alone. There are others running this race with you. Pass it on:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Pet 4:8

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “this doesn’t apply to me at all,” think again. Stop being stagnant! Being a Christ-FOLLOWER doesn’t mean you say a prayer one time and then you’re done. It means you follow him. It means you make forward progress. It means you move. It means, drag your hind-end out of that disgusting water you call home, and do what God is calling you to do. Do more, do less, do what is right, do whatever needs to be done to make forward progress. Mary Kay Ash always said, “fail forward to success.”

I’m sorry I was such a poor example of what a Christian was, but I’m trying every day to do a little better. I often fail, but I’m failing forward and learning from my mistakes. I’m using what I learned from my past - in my present - to promote my future. Some days are harder than others, but I know God loves me enough to stick with me, and Satan hates that enough to try to make me stumble:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.—1 Pet 5:6-11

I pray that you’ll forgive me for the example I gave you in my past. I hope you’ll see me trying in the present, and I hope you’ll join me in the future. I hope you become as grossed-out as I was with my lukewarm water. I hope you have faith to step out and know that you’re not alone. I hope you know that you’re loved by a God who loved you enough to send his son to die for you.

There is NO way I could give my children up to die for others. There’s just no way. I see that kind of love and I am humbled and slightly ashamed. I’m humbled because he loved me enough to watch his son suffer, which is more than I could ever do. I am ashamed because after all of that, I still treated him like a spare tire. He deserves more than that. He deserves every ounce of me. He deserves every cell that he created. I am honored to be his creation: every cell of me. Every not-lukewarm cell of my being. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trash Day

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” -- 1 Peter 1:13-17

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,
Girding up the loins of your mind

and being sober-minded,
Clear-headed - Wakefulness

set your hope
Confident expectation



the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The grace that will be extended to you when Jesus returns.  

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind and remain clear headed, set your confident expectations COMPLETELY upon the grace that will be extended to you when Jesus returns at the end of time.

14 As obedient children
Relationship, not age (because we’ll talk about the Father later)

, do not be conformed
Molded by

to the passions 

of your former ignorance, 
Here, “ignorance” means the way the gentiles that he is writing to worshiped before they became Christians.

15 but as he
The Lord

who called you is holy
Holy comes from a word that means “to cut off” - to cut yourself off from sin to be separated from sin.

, you also be holy in all your conduct, 
 Every bit of your conduct

16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 
 Lev 11:44 “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because am holy.

As obedient children, Do not be molded by lusts of your old life,  But as Christ was holy, let’s also be set-apart from sin in every bit of our conduct, since it was written even before Christ was born that we should be holy because God is holy.


Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind and remain clear headed, set your confident expectations COMPLETELY upon the grace that will be extended to you when Jesus returns at the end of time.

As obedient children, Do not be molded by lusts of your old life,  But as Christ was holy, let’s also be set-apart from sin in every bit of our conduct, since it was written even before Christ was born that we should be holy because God is holy.

Being a mom is really hard. Some days we want to just take our kids and give them to someone. Sometimes we just want to smother our spouse in his sleep.

We say things to our families and act in ways that don’t show any grace at all. We are uglier to our family than anyone else. Which is sad because they’re the ones we love the most. What is even sadder, is that we don’t show them what holy looks like at all some days.

Peter says to be set-apart from sin in every bit of our conduct. That means how we walk, how we talk, how we raise our kids, how we approach our spouse. How am I supposed to be holy if I can’t even keep the dishes clean?

Today let’s work on girding up the loins of our mind. Let’s brace ourselves for all the junk that Satan is going to throw at us today. Let’s remember the grace that was extended to us, turn around, and extend that same grace to our families.

The number one thing that the Devil wants to use against us is our own past. He wants to reach way back in the vault of our mind and drag out something ugly. He wants us to always remember who we were before we gave our garbage to God.

That garbage in the back of our mind is “former ignorance.” It’s trash, and it needs to stay in the trashcan.

When you give your life to God, he doesn’t remember all the junk you hoarded up before you gave it to him. He cleaned you right up and organized your heart with little labels that say, “I love you.”

Don’t let your old self control your holy self. Just like we want our kids to obey, we need to obey God’s commands. Let’s set good examples today of how we’re moving forward toward holiness and moving away from our nasty pasts and our nasty old habits.

Extend grace to your family today and tell the Devil that your garbage has already been collected, and he doesn't need to keep bringing it up because it is already GONE.

I love you, and I hope this encourages you today J