Are You Rescuing Flip Flops?

When my children were younger, we were sitting on the pier one cold and windy afternoon when my daughter’s flip flop fell into the chilly lake. My youngest son, who was about five years old, fell into sheer panic. He screamed and cried and demanded that I spring into action to rescue this cheap worn-out flip flop that was slowly floating beyond our grasp. I ran to the house, grabbed a net, and chased the floating flip flop along the shoreline until I captured the shoe and brought it to safety, setting my son’s mind at ease.

That was a lot of work to appease a little boy who couldn’t grasp that the flip flop didn’t need rescuing. To him it was as important as if a small child or pet had fallen into the lake. And if I hadn’t brought the flop to safety, he may have been scarred for life.

Are you chasing after things that don’t matter? Are you working hard to maintain things that aren’t meant to last, or rescuing things that really have no inherent worth? Are you giving your love and attention to help the floating flip flops of this world, or are you helping where it really matters: are you reaching out to minister to people?

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Momentum Monday: Love a Senior Citizen

“‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.'” (Leviticus 19:32)

One of the most neglected segments of our population are our senior citizens. They’re our grandparents, our neighbors, and the ladies who sit near the front pew of our churches. They’re the ones who can truly say, “Been there and done that.” They are the wise and the patient, and sometimes they’re the lonely and forgotten.

Ask God to open your eyes to a senior citizen who needs your love and respect. Take your children with you! And remember that one day, you too will be in this special gray-headed category; treat others the way you want to be treated.

Caught Between Two Fields

I had two children playing on two separate baseball teams on two separate fields at the same time. Fortunately the fields were side-by-side, so what else could I do but position my chair equidistant between the two fences and try to watch both games? I’m sure I looked ridiculous as I sat there, not particularly close to either fence but more like in the middle of the flow of traffic of fans going back and forth to the concession stand, bobbing my head back and forth from one field to the next. And I knew my boys would care greatly about which of them was getting the most attention, so I tried ever-so-hard to make sure I was looking in the direction of whichever son happened to be looking my way for approval at any given moment of the games.

James tells us that a double-minded person is unstable (James 1:8). When we can’t make up our minds about where we’re supposed to be, we’ll likely be nowhere in particular, just sort of hanging out somewhere in the middle. When we can’t decide whom we want to please, we’ll try to please everybody, which will likely only wear us out and disappoint everybody.

We must choose. If we’re for Christ, we must be totally sold out for Jesus and give ourselves to no other. If we resolve to please Him, we accept the fact that pleasing Jesus may result in making others upset or maybe even angry. Single-minded. Totally focused. It will bring stability to your life.

Momentum Monday: Share Your Faith

Here’s four thoughts on sharing your faith today.

It’s good news. When we’ve got good news, we share it. We can’t help ourselves! The best thing possible has happened to us, because we’ve received the promise of God through Jesus Christ. Why is it intimidating to tell others good news? Whether they receive the news or not, it’s not rude to share good news, unless our methods are rude.

It’s the only cure. How cruel to know that others are perishing, know the cure to set them free, and yet keep this information to ourselves. If we believe God’s Word, we know that the lost are in great peril, and we must love them enough to tell them the truth.

It’s why you’re here. We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us (2 Cor. 5:20). God wants to use our voices to reason with the lost because He loves them and He is wooing them with His love. When we share the gospel, we glorify God through our obedience.

It’s about time. How long do people have? They don’t know, and we don’t either. But mankind’s life is a handbreadth (Psalm 39:5), and Jesus is coming again.

Pray right now and ask God to give you opportunity, courage, and words of wisdom to share your faith this week.

For more encouragement on sharing your faith, read Journey to Confidence: Becoming Women of Influential Faith.

Doing the Difficult

God visited a 99-year-old Abraham and told him to do something very, very difficult. Painful, even. God told him to be circumcised, and to circumcise everyone in his household, both family and servant (Gen. 17:10-14). Abraham obeyed that very same day (vv.23-24). Wow.

God instructs us to do things that are sometimes very difficult, and we should obey immediately. But sometimes we delay, and other times we simply don’t obey Him at all because, well, doing that thing would be painful; and we think to ourselves, surely God wouldn’t ask me to do anything that would be painful for me or for my family. But think of Abraham! Then think about his family and his servants who also went under the knife that day.

God began this conversation with Abraham with these words: “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless” (Gen. 17:1). Lord, may we obey you completely, swiftly, and blamelessly.

Momentum Monday: Honor Your Parents

When God issued the Ten Commandments, He was presenting life principles to a nation of people, not just little children. The sixth commandment is to honor our parents.

When we’re young, we’re reminded often to obey the Lord by honoring our parents, and for children that command feels mandatory. When we grow into adulthood and we’re no longer living under our parents’ roof, we must take care to remember that God’s commandment doesn’t suddenly become optional. It takes some extra thoughtfulness and intentionality to honor our mothers and fathers as adults, but the love and respect they receive from their adult children is no less meaningful to them in their twilight years as those times when our chubby little fingers reached up to them when we were wee ones clinging to our mother’s hem.

Make a plan this week to bring honor to your parents. By prayer, ask God to reveal to you what your parents need from you most during this time in their lives.

Perhaps you aren’t able to enjoy a healthy relationship with your parents because of painful situations that have arisen. If you’ll open your heart, God will allow you to find ways to honor your parents. Perhaps it’s through praying for them with love and respect, or choosing not to disparage them in front of others. Ask God to give you wisdom so that you might honor the Lord by honoring your parents.

The Exceedingly Great Reward

“I am…your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

Life has its ebb and flow of goals and rewards, but the overarching theme of life is that God Himself IS the reward. This truth impacts how I approach God. I cherish Him. I think about His goodness. I appreciate His nearness. I become overwhelmed with His glory.

My day looks different when I enter the morning remembering that God is the reward of life. In Christ, I’m already guaranteed a great day! I already have the “Great Reward” in my life to the fullest, and it’s only because He came looking for me.

Momentum Monday: Pray Out Loud

Some of the most powerful prayer times I have ever experienced have been times of praying out loud with my Heavenly Father. I find that praying aloud impacts my prayer life in several ways:

– When I say things out loud to God, I am better able to hear what’s really going on inside of me. I am quickly convicted when my prayers are selfish, and I can detect the fear that lies behind some of my requests. God refines me as He helps me better detect my own sin and weakness.

– When I’m talking out loud to God, I somehow am listening more carefully for God to respond back to me.

– Making my requests known to God through spoken words comforts me because I have a strong sense that I’ve truly cast my burdens upon Him.

– My mind doesn’t wander because I can catch myself when I start to chase rabbits.

Try praying aloud this week. Talk to God intimately and enjoy His presence.

Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17)

Outside the Gate

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. (Hebrews 13:12-14)

In ancient days, the unclean and the outcast were put outside the gate. This was the place of rejection and shame, where those who did not “deserve” to be with the rest of society were  put out of sight. Jesus Christ carried our sin for us, suffering outside the gate. 

Let us now go to be with Jesus outside the camp, out where the ill-respected are sent. Some real ministry can take place outside the gate. We will not demand “our place” in society. Our rightful place is in a heavenly home, so we step outside the protective walls of social order and we walk with dignity toward our suffering Savior. We will gladly bear His reproach as we stand beside Him… outside the gate.

Don’t Look Back

And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. (Hebrews 11:15)

There’s a scene in a movie where an older gentleman is romantically interested in one of his coworkers. As the two finish their conversation and she begins to walk away, he whispers to himself; if she looks back, he says, she’s interested. She walks, and she walks… and then for a brief moment she turns to give him the slightest grin. Yeah, she’s interested. 
In the Christian life, we are always walking away from and walking toward. We’re walking away from sin and toward righteousness. Away from the past and toward God’s future. Away from comfort and toward sacrifice. Are you looking back? If you look back, it’s probably a sign that you’re still interested in what you’re leaving behind. 
Hebrews 11:5 talks about the faithful pilgrims of the Old Testament. If they had given it much thought they may have been tempted to look back, but they kept their eyes focused straight ahead. What about you? Don’t look back.