Traveling Light

Mac finished up the Series called “Baggage Claim” at church this past Sunday.  The sermon was on “Traveling Light” emotionally and spiritually.  (I, of course, like to physically travel light as well).  It was a good reminder that we really need to let things go in order to live our lives to the fullest.  If we don’t, we are weighted down with all the “junk” we are carrying around.

He gave us four steps to “Traveling Light”:

1.  Eliminate all unnecessary weight.  (Forgiveness)  Forgiving those that have hurt or wounded us.  Letting go of the hurt.  When we do not forgive others it hurts us more than anyone else.

2.  Carry our own bags.  (Personal Responsibility)  Taking responsibility for our own actions and NOT blaming others.  Learn from your mistakes and move forward, but do not get stuck in blaming others for all that has happened in your life.  This is YOUR life.  Blaming others gets you nowhere emotionally and definitely not spiritually.  God knows the truth and He is just waiting for you to take ownership of your own actions.

3.  Help someone with their baggage.  (Comfort)  Use your past and your “baggage” to help someone else in a similar situation.  Let go of your baggage so you can help someone else carry theirs.  God allows us to go through things so that we can help others in the same situations.  Use your past mistakes for good in someone else’s life.

4. Choose your traveling companions very wisely.  (Community)  Be careful who you do life with.  Always be there to help those in need, but be cautious of those that  you consider your closest friends.  You want those that are closest to you to be on the same page as you are, to have the same values and priorities.  You want those people to lift you up and help you to grow, not weight you down. 

“Above all else, guard your heart,  for it is the wellspring of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

God never intended for us to carry our burdens around.  He knows we’ll have hard times and sadness, but He is here to help us anytime we need Him.  He wants us to go through our feelings, take them to Him and then let go and keep going.  Keep pressing on and moving forward.   Drop the heavy burdens and carry God’s love and grace with you daily.   Allow Him to work in your heart and to work through you in helping others.  Let go of the junk (physically, emotionally and spiritually).  Do not let anything weigh you down in life so that you have the energy, the time and the space to serve others and further God’s Kingdom.  Allow God to use your “baggage” for good and travel light.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

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Move by MercyMe

MercyMe is one of my favorite Christian bands.  My husband took me to see them last fall and I only gained a greater appreciation for them.  Here is an acoustic version of one of their new songs called “Move”.  I’m loving this song.  It’s a toe-tapper.

Click HERE to watch the video from the Tangle site.

Can Anybody Hear Me?

This is the newest song by Meredith Andrews called “Can Anybody Hear Me?”  She is one of the newer Christian artists and I love her voice.  This is a very powerful song and I think we can all relate to it.  We have all probably experienced this at some point.   My favorite line  is ” I will trust in You, even in the moments I can’t find you, and I will hold on to Your promises of love You’ve never failed before”  I know I’ve felt that way many times.

Below the video are the lyrics  and another video with Meredith talking about the story behind this song.  Enjoy!

I’m staring at these empty walls
Wondering when You’ll visit me again
When will You come?
If there is anything at all
Coming in between our love
Please show me, ‘cuz I am barely hanging on

Can anybody hear me?
The silence is deafening
Why do You feel so far away?
When I know You’re here with me
But I just need faith to see
Nothing can separate me from Your love

Believing what I can’t see
Has never come naturally to me
And I’ve got questions
But I am certain of a Love
Strong enough to hold me when I’m doubting
You’ll never let go of my hand

Can anybody hear me?
The silence is deafening
Why do You feel so far away?
When I know You’re here with me
But I just need faith to see
Nothing can separate me from Your love

I will trust in You, even in the moments
I can’t find you, and I will hold on to
Your promises of love
You’ve never failed before

I know You can hear me
When the silence is deafening
Even though You seem far away
And I know You’re here with me
But I just need faith to see
Nothing can separate me from Your love

Accountability

Accountability is so important in our walks as Christians.  We must be held accountable first to God, then to each other and to ourselves.  Sometimes the truth is hard to hear and hard to say, but it’s still the truth and God encourages us to always live within the truth and the light.  Bring all things into the light so that they may be revealed and brought out of the darkness where sin dwells.  The Bible actually tells us that we have an obligation to hold each other accountable for our actions.  This is especially true when we see that  a fellow believer is acting in a way that does not reflect God’s will.

“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell”  Psalm 43:3

We all need others to hold us accountable.  We need fellow believers to encourage us and to correct us in love.  Without that accountability we will never grow and move forward in God’s plan for our lives. 

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”   Proverbs 12:15

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”  Colossians 3:16

“Whoever says to the guilty, ‘you are innocent’—peoples will curse him and nations denounce him. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them.”  Proverbs 24:24-25

We also must be accountable to ourselves.  We need to be able to take a look at our own lives and what we do and say and make changes as needed.  We need to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, and not fall into blaming others.  God will hold all of us accountable for our own actions and there will be no room for blaming others.  Only we can account for what we have said and done in our lives.  To grow we must look at our lives and face the areas we need to work on, the sooner we do that the better our lives will be and the more God will bless our actions.  We cannot hide anything from God, He knows our hearts.

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  Romans 14:12

Baggage Claim

“Baggage Claim” is the name of our current message series at church.  Our pastor, Mac, started the series off this past Sunday. 

What a great message for anyone.  We all have baggage.  He listed out the types of baggage:

1.  Hurts and wounds.  Those things that others have done or said to you that have hurt you.
2.  Bitterness – not engaging in forgiveness.
3.  Circumstances – these are things that are nobody’s fault including yours.
4.  Family – what our family looks like and how the relationships work within them.
5.  Failures – moral  or mistakes

Mac then went into a discussion of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  He referred to Joseph as the “Biblical Baggage Holder”.  Jacob had a lot of things going for him in his life, and a lot of them fell into many of the categories above.  However, he did not let his baggage label him or rule him.  He actually allowed God to use his baggage for good.  If you are not familiar with the story, you should read Genesis 37-50.

The moral of the story is that no matter what our baggage is, we need to allow God to use it for good.  Don’t turn away from it necessarily, but definitely turn it over to God.   He can then use it to help others and to heal you. 

I have some baggage in my life that I am not necessarily proud of, but I’ve worked through it with God by my side, and I’ve given it over to Him.  He has begun to use it for good and I’m amazed by that.  Something that can seem so heavy as you carry it around day-to-day can be lifted to God, in turn, lightening your load and helping others.   God can do amazing things with your baggage.

He also allowed you to go through those trials and mistakes for a reason.  So that he could use you in a certain way.  Your baggage is part of you and it has made you who you are, and remember God loves you just as you are……baggage and all!

Letters To God

I just watched the trailer for this movie and I want to go see it with my family.  It looks really good and has a great story.  If you haven’t heard about it, take a look at the trailer.

Click HERE to go to the “Letters To God” website.

From the website you can also go to the “Share the Hope” tab and write a letter to God and/or read what others have written.   You can also watch the “Behind the Scenes” video.  There is also a narrative description of what the movie is about.

The song they play during the trailer is called “Hope Now” and it’s by Addison Road.  I love this song.  Below is the video for this song.

Thankful Thursday

In honor of Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for something a little different today.  I have really been wanting to get healthier lately.  I recently had my check-up and my cholesterol was a little bit over what it should be.  Not a huge deal, but I was surprised because I’ve never had anything like that before.  Also, my scale recently showed me a number that I’ve never seen before.  Yikes!  So…I’m really trying to become healthier in what I choose to eat.  I’m incorporating more fruits and vegetables, and glasses of water, etc.  I’m also watching the cholesterol and fat content of what I eat as well as trying to exercise daily.

So what am I thankful for?  I’m thankful for the fact that the only thing between me and a healthy lifestyle is myself.  That’s it.  I can do this all on my own.  I do not have to join a health club, because I can walk and run in my neighborhood.  I do not have to pay anybody for their advice, because I know what needs to be done.  I do not have to wait for anything at all.  I do not have to save up money, hope for the best or even leave it up to God.  I am definitely asking Him for His help, but ultimately it’s all within my own abilities.

I’m thankful that I have all the resources available to me to make healthy changes to my lifestyle for good.   Most importantly I have the freedom and the will to do it.

I recently added an app to my phone that helps me keep track of where I am each day.  You can input all of your meals and it helps you with the calorie content.  You can also track how many glasses of water you have had and your exercise for the day.  It has weight loss plans that help you personalize how many calories to eat each day to lose the weight you want to lose.  I love it.  It also gives you your totals for the day.  For instance it lists out how much fiber you had total for the day, how much cholesterol, etc.  It also gives you that information individually by food.  It’s pretty helpful and all I have to do is make good choices and keep track of them.

Here is the website where you can check out the internet version:

MyNetDiary

I feel good and I’m so thankful for the temple God has given me and that it is my choice to take care of it.  All I have to do is choose to do so.

Living in God’s Economy

It is so easy to get caught up in living within man’s economy.   That can be stressful though.  God never intended for us to be stressed out about money, so why are we? 

Click HERE for a great article on the Crown Financial website about this subject.

The main thing to remember is that we should be honoring God with all we do, not money.  If your life revolves around money, then there may be a problem.  We are to live for God and He is our master, not money.  We also need to trust God with our money.  He is the reason you have any in the first place.

My husband and I have been trusting God completely with our tithe.  During these uncertain times it isn’t always easy to write that 10% check to the church, however we do it joyfully.  Why?  Because we want to honor God.  We trust Him completely to provide for us and it is a form of worship.  He brought my husband’s job to him and He allows us to have all of the money that we have.  It all comes from Him.

These past few months we have been tithing our full 10% on gross income and God has been blessing us left and right.  We just keep trusting and He keeps blessing us.  It is amazing.  So amazing that I’ve started journaling it so we will NEVER forget what God has done for us.

He asks us to test him on this in Malachi 3:10-12.  Here is how it reads: 

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

He’s serious on this.  Test him and see.  We did and I’m amazed every single day.

Be The Light

We had a great Easter weekend this past weekend.   On Friday night we attended a free Good Friday celebration at the Long Center here in Austin.  It was called “For The City” and 5 churches (including ours) put it together.  It included the worship bands from each of the churches along with the pastors.   The evening included a lot of great inspiring music and 4 shortened, but still powerful, sermons.  The main theme was that we need to be good examples of Christians in our city and to serve others.  We need to be different for Christ and do all things for the glory of God.

We were reminded of what Jesus did for us on the cross and that we need to be living our lives for him, not for the world.  We, as Christians, need to be loving and kind to those around us.  We need to reach out and help as many people as we can.  We need to be the light in a dark world.

The only way we can do that is to allow Jesus to live through us, and the only way that can happen is if we die to self.  We must die the slow death to self to allow Jesus to take up full residence in our hearts and to live out his will through us. 

What can I do today to be a light in this world?  That should be the question I ask myself every morning when I wake up.

He Chose The Nails

In honor of Easter I wanted to post this video that I love!  I saw it for the first time a few years ago, but I never tire of watching it.  You may have already seen it.  However, even if you have it will be a great reminder.  It is from Max Lucado who has written a book by the same name.

We need to take our attention off of chocolate eggs and bunnies and remember why we are celebrating this very special holiday. (Click on the link below to watch this video)

He Chose The Nails

Have a very Happy Easter and remember…..He CHOSE the nails for you and for me.  What a gift!