Wringing It Out Hurts

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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. 1 Peter 5:10

Have you ever found yourself hating how much it hurts to wring something out that doesn’t belong inside of you? I’m talking about all the stuff that comes at us and then “fills” us in ways that make us feel polluted, tainted, and just plain…changed.

Yes, it’s the stuff that comes from the outside in, but tries to fake us out ~ trick us into believing it is what we are really made of. It takes up residence inside of us and makes us feel it is who we really are inside. It wants to become us. It declares dictatorship and “convert or die.” It’s gotten in – on the inside – and it seems to be taking over. It makes itself comfortable, and creates a panic of sorts about the prospect of the wringing it would take to eradicate it completely.

But this is all a lie.

I’ve experienced this in many ways and on many levels, friends. I’m sure you have too. Every time it happens, I find myself buying in somewhat to the false truth it portends. I find myself thinking “this is what makes me up as a person” or “this is just who I am, I guess” even though I know that it is false. I find myself fearing the wringing process that will be necessary if I wish to continue to fight – to live in truth and love, and all of the discomfort that entails.

  • Sickness or poor health ravaging our bodies – taking over and wreaking havoc from what seems to be the inside out.
  • Sin – bitterness, lack of love, self-reliance, idols – filling up the crevices of our hearts and minds and threatening to spread and take over. Sneaking in – stealing – enveloping and overtaking.
  • The Busy ~ the movement through this life, all the errands, responsibilities, things to check off our list (even when done so under the guise of good intentions and motivations). The busy which threatens to make up the whole, or the majority of our existence.  Severing time to soak up grace, love, time spent with Jesus and others – our loved ones – our dears – becoming us instead of being an outpouring of what God has laid in front of us this day and this day alone.
  • Weariness- the constant uphill battle it seems to be in order to just “make it” through the hardship parts this life involves.

Getting inside. Taking up space. Making its best effort to define us, to own us. From the inside out. And it breeds when  left alone. It breeds.

There’s no room for that, friends. There’s no room to allow darkness to take up residence and take over. This is because Jesus lives there.  Jesus lives inside. Jesus fills us with His light, His love, His truth, His compassion, grace, and mercy. He is the inside. And sometimes, He must wring out the darkness and the ugly and the evil.

Yes, wringing hurts, but it’s necessary at times. Even with the divine molding and twisting that our Savior lovingly performs in our lives (when we move out of the way and brace ourselves for the pain that is good for us), some residue of dark can still remain – especially if it’s due to sickness. But the more wringing we allow Him to do, the more we are reminded that He is what defines us. He is cleaning the crevices for us on a daily basis if we come to Him and ask Him to do His work inside.

He defines us on the inside, even when what’s coming from the outside threatens us. He reigns, friends. He reigns!

Moving the ugly to the outside – daily – well, it hurts. But it’s necessary as long as we walk in these fleshly bodies.  It’s necessary as long as the enemy tries to sabotage us.  It’s necessary if we wish to grow, be pruned, yield fruit. The cup of ugly and pain may not be removed from us, but there is triumph there, nonetheless, if we live and walk in the light of Christ Jesus. HE IS OUR KING!

Wringing: It’s a necessary grace that’s painful to receive, but rewarding beyond what we could ever imagine.

I want to be a beautiful vine filled with lush and lovely fruit that screams Jesus! I’m all-too-aware that doesn’t come easy, friends. The worms try to come inside. The toxins try to pollute. But I always have to remind myself: They are coming from the outside in. And they will meet a formidable enemy upon entry. The light and endless and glorious power of the Lord Jesus Christ!

  • He says: “She is mine.”
  • He says: “You don’t belong here and you will not be keeping her.”
  • He says: “She knows the truth, and I am that truth – not you.”
  • He declares: “Your “power” is temporary, and just an illusion – I will make certain she knows this without question.”

And when the worms and the poison threaten to take up residence permanently, our Jesus will wring us out in His own divine and all-knowing way. One day He will decide it’s the time that we go home to live with Him forever – outside of this cocoon that has become polluted. It will be the day that the wringing has become enough. It will be the day that HE decides it is time  for us to break out…truly break out of the cocoon that we have struggled to protect and wring out – struggled to make last for so very long.

That day ~ it will be the day that our Savior deems to be the day of all days for us ~ the day in which it is finally time to fly. It is the day that this vessel has been deemed to no longer be fit for a King.

Oh what a day! But until then, the wringing – the glorious and pain-filled wringing – it must continue.

There is a beauty I can’t even put into words to be found in the grace that Jesus bestows upon us as He wrings out the ugly trying to come inside and define us. There is a mercy that is severe and seemingly twisted, yet a gift to be treasured all at the same time. He knows our plight – He knows our suffering. And He will make all things work together (truly, He will) for our GOOD.

Thanks be to HIM. The hurt is well worth it.

In this I trust. Completely.

Romans 12:2   Allow God to transform you. He will mold you and renew your mind as He changes your way of thinking. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Then you will always be able to decide what God’s will for you which is good, pleasing, and perfect.

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Neither Please Nor Appease!

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Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23

I think I was either born a people-pleaser, or I became one very quickly after I entered this world. For a very long time, the world told me that was just “who I am” and that I should embrace it and be true to myself. I can see why – it benefits quite a few people to have a lot of people pleasers around them.

But does it benefit that person or their relationship with God? Does it really even benefit those they are seeking to please or appease? 

Everyone is different when it comes to their makeup – their motivations and intentions can vary at different times and in regard to different things. So make no mistake: I am not suggesting that serving or encouraging others is always rooted in something self-serving instead.

But I have found myself many times over the years struggling with what you might call a checks and balances of sorts, in regard to whether I am encouraging someone because of true and right motives that would bring glory to God, or stepping over the line back into self-driven people pleasing behavior. It’s another fine line that I struggle with, friends. I have lots of those.

I still haven’t figured out if my people-pleasing tendencies came from one thing that was the driving force behind my need to please others, or a multitude of things. I may never really pinpoint that. I can say, however, much of it has seemed to have been due to a mixture of things – and over time, they became scary and dangerous things.

They drove me into a place of need and reliance – slavery to the wrong thing, really. I still go there sometimes.

It can be dangerous to my relationship and reliance upon God ~ and Him alone.

It’s detrimental when I cross that line to my own family and close friends.

It is most certainly and undoubtedly, dangerous to myself. Health-wise, emotional-wise, and spiritually too.

But I have learned so much and grown so much ever since God opened my eyes to this problem area in my life. The greatest thing I have learned is that I will always have to turn to him in this area….”balance” is not a reality in my life when it comes to this. I always run the risk of crossing back over that line, and I have to do heart checks with the Lord over this constantly. It is a battle I cannot wage alone.

A couple of gifts I feel the Lord has given me surround discernment, and a particular and  unique brand of encouragement for others through an understanding that comes out of that discerning nature. Most who are very discerning have empathy for others, or at the very least, truly can put themselves in the shoes of others when picking up on feelings and root causes and in turn, trying to be there for those folks.

This can be a blessing, and at times, can seem like a curse. 

What I have come to believe, is that any blessing or gift from God can become something that is not glorifying to Him if we aren’t cautious to keep turning it back over to Him. Again and again and again. We taint things when we take the reins.

“Remember where your place is, Annie. Remember who gave you these gifts. Remember who they are for. And remember who comes first.”

He, in contrast, cleanses. We have only to surrender.

The easy way out would be to either use the gift for self and just go with it, or turn our backs on it entirely. Neither of those are the way Jesus does things in and through us if we are truly following after Him and His will.

I have been really moved to study the life of Jesus in a focused way over the last couple of months, and I expect this to be a central point my attention will be given to for quite some time to come. When checking on things, I am going to the words that Jesus Himself spoke. I am also looking at how He lived his life while here on earth.

We always think we are doing that – as true followers after Jesus (looking at His life). But I feel the Lord is guiding me to really take a hard and intent look….really focused!

And truly FOLLOW.

Imagine myself being there – watching Him.

Following Him.

Observing and learning from Him.

Asking for help to become more like Him.

And there’s no easy way in our out when it comes to that. It’s hard. We cannot do it in our own power. 

Jesus is the ultimate giver – the One who made the greatest sacrifice of all. But Jesus was not a people pleaser. I am learning much about how He might have me use the gifts he has given me in a more glorifying way – one in which I can still seek to understand others and be there for them, yet not take away from caring for myself and what I am called to do to protect my relationship with the Father and my family.

I can’t say it enough: this is a monumental task, and one I cannot do alone.

I have prayed for and taken steps in this area with God for a long time, dear friends. I do not feel called in any way to stop encouraging others. I DO feel called to figure out how to take care of myself, and retreat for daily replenishment and time with the Father before I get burned out. And I want to spend quality time with Him. I struggle to do that in my day to day life.

That’s what Jesus did, and that’s what I need to do. This girl doesn’t know how. This girl is weak. This girl struggles in so many ways.

Thank God for His strength and power and wisdom. Thank God!

I will be writing several times over the next few posts about what I am learning in this area. The first, is the need to set boundaries – particularly the ones that are really, really hard to set. You know…the ones that people like me have ingrained in our hearts and minds that end up translating to what we think or fear is “selfish” but aren’t really selfish at all. The ones that cause conflict, or the uncomfortable feelings of letting other people down.

I have found that it is me – ME – who needs to be “okay with that” – so much more than others around me.

I have to work with the Lord on getting myself off the hook in the areas that are holding me back from the freedom He wants me to have where I feel he is calling me to be ON the hook.

Oh, what a long road it seems in front of me in this area that is certainly not new to me – what a long journey. I am so grateful He is there with me – guiding me – reeling me back in when I veer too far off the road.

This brings out the ugly in anyone, I can assure you. But that ugly will eventually be replaced with beauty, revitalization, a different kind of joy and peace, and effectiveness.

Bring it on.

Step 1: Basic Needs – I have already started this process and I must say, my husband has been a great help to me. Unfortunately, I waited far too long and burned completely out before I sought help. So this is a major process that isn’t going to happen overnight. Then, I have to learn what the new boundaries will be – once I am healed. That will be another process.

Jesus never apologized for taking care of himself so that he would avoid burnout and serving more than one master. He never apologized for seeking prayer, support, time away with the Father, rest, and striving for a pace of life that is glorifying to the Father (and far more effective than one entailed with rushing and running all the time).

If you, like me, have a great sense of responsibility, but tend to put taking care of yourself on the back burner, it is a disservice to God, and I welcome you to join me.  Habits are hard to break – for the person trying to change and for those around them who have gotten used to the way things were.

But with God’s help – we can do this. 

We can do this and still encourage others in the name of Jesus – we just have to find new ways to do so.

We will draw closer to God as we replenish and the fruit of what he brings about will just naturally flow from us, rather than being a burden and over-exertion.

God may teach others about some areas in which He’d like to see them grow as a result of the changes our own lives are creating in their own.

The beautiful and divine balance of truth AND love will be much easier to be seen if we take care of ourselves and others in the name of Jesus!

I can’t wait to hear what you are learning as well as what you may be struggling with as you seek His grace in your own endeavors.

Do you find yourself not liking the pace you are keeping in life? Do you feel like a slave to something that shouldn’t have such a grip on you? Are you finding yourself at war within regarding all of your priorities and responsibilities? Do you cry out to God and ask Him to fix it? Have you shared with Him that you want to get better and live life the way Jesus did? What are you willing to surrender to him in order to let him help you today? What can we do today to take care of ourselves better and our relationship with Christ so we can actually truly be there for others instead of simply pleasing them?

Won’t you join me, friends? Won’t you join me in the beautiful process of allowing Christ to set our priorities in line with HIS? Let’s take the first step into this aspect of freedom we have in Him together, shall we?

 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13

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When Wonder Becomes Wonderful!

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I wonder what it’s like?
To see all of us fight
After all He’s done for us
Walking in darkness versus light?

I wonder what it’s like?
Remaining patient for so long
Giving time for hearts to change
Hoping to Him, we’ll sing our song.

I wonder what it’s like?
Just longing to talk and meet
With His children who are stubborn
Running away, not toward his feet.

I wonder what it’s like?
To know some will not come home
Longing for them to choose Him
Waiting for all, and not just some.

I wonder what it will be like?
That glorious day He comes
To take us to his bosom
Because of Christ and all he’s done.

I wonder what it will be like?
To bow down right at His throne
Able to gaze upon His face
In our real and forever home?

I wonder what it will be like?
Forever light and no more sin
Basking in His love and glory
No longer mortal, flesh-bound men.

He tells us what it’s like
We don’t have to be scared
For there is plenty of room for us
The mansions He has prepared.

John 14:2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

I’m so excited for that day
When I’ll no longer have to wonder
Just when He’s coming for us.
What a marvelous hope! Such awe and wonder!

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It’s Not About What I CAN See, Anyway!

 

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For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

The other day I shared how shattered my heart gets at times ~ especially lately. The way it twists and turns and then sinks to the pit of my stomach is becoming all-too-familiar of a feeling when I look upon the headlines, immerse myself (rather than glaze over) in the agony others in our world are facing, and continue to watch things as they seem to keep unraveling in this world we live in.

I shared with you my feelings about the bubbles we find ourselves nesting in at times – the ones that provide a false sense of comfort, peace, love, and even joy. I shared my hatred of the bubble, yet the equal disdain I feel when I am faced with the discomfort our present reality offers upon popping it and moving to the outside of the falsity of that womb-like environment.

But a friend reminded me of something extremely important, that I don’t think I emphasized enough in my last post.

Here it is:

It’s easy to find ourselves ~ in the endeavor not to live in the bubble ~ in the commitment to keep our eyes wide open to seeing and discerning the truth rather than operating under the illusions offered by “feelings” ~ to start looking at the world and what’s going on (the evil, the ugly, the dark) for what it is, but forget that our focus needs to be on Jesus and the way that HE looks upon the world.

Jesus and His victory.

The victory we already have in Jesus.

JESUS.

HIS power. HIS grace.

HIS comfort, peace and joy.

And yes….seeing sin and evil for what it is comes with that as well. But we always need to emphasize that He’s already won the battle ~ many just don’t realize it yet.

We must emphasize that He has won!

You know, the death of my mother helps me….even today… to see that being grief-stricken and rocked to the core by all that seems wrong, unfair, or filled with sorrow can be met with a peace and a joy that surpasses all of that. Yes, we CAN feel terrible, be in agony, pain, at the end of all that seems even humane, while SIMULTANEOUSLY knowing the joy and peace and comfort of a God who knows the end of the story.

Our God – He has written the ending of the story already!

And He’s here with us through it all.

I walked around filled with a grief and a dark pain after mama died that I can’t fully express in words. At the very same time, I was filled with the love and hope and peace of Jesus. I had His joy to sustain me. I may not have been laughing – but I had his joy. Until you’ve experienced that, it’s hard to fully grasp it. But that’s the stuff of life, friends. THAT is the kind of stuff only Jesus can provide us with to sustain us and make us thrive. Regardless of circumstances, this is how “our rock” carries us, molds, us, teaches us, and conforms us into HIS likeness, not that of the world.

I’m all for laughter and happiness. But if I had to choose, I’d take that Jesus joy any day over all of that other stuff. Sometimes, we get to have both, and that’s a special blessing for a time. But these days ~ these recent days in which I find myself sad about the heartache out there…sad about the struggles and the pure evil – these days, the joy of Jesus is what sustains me.

He delivers us from darkness. How would we know that if we never experienced the cold and the black in the first place?
He comforts us when nothing else can – when we feel we can’t put one foot in front of the other or stand a minute longer of the torment.
He loves us in the midst of the truth – all of it – the good truth, the ugly and hard truth – the edges of utter despair.

And he lifts us up – on wings like eagles, friends.

He lifts us UP.

I haven’t found the secret yet, if there even is one, of how to stay out of the bubble and look at what is happening around me (and even in my own little dark crevices of my sinful heart) – as to how to do so without ever slipping into the abyss of gloom and doom. Sometimes my toe crosses over that line and God faithfully draws me back in to Himself.

He knows just when to pull me back, and I learn something beautiful in that process every time.

This is the stuff we can’t see with our eyes.

Jesus. Faith in Him.

His divine intervention.

His love – His triumph over the grave. His grace and His mercy.

But I beg anyone to try to even think about convincing me that we can’t know it – that we can’t feel it in the most deep way (in the Spirit).

That goes beyond any feelings I could ever experience in this world. It goes beyond any knowledge my finite mind could ever grasp. It is the truth and love of God all permeating every aspect of my being that screams at me “Now you really have your eyes wide open!!!”

It’s when I close my eyes and look for HIM that I really get true sight. You could poke my eyes out, take away my sense of smell, feeling, even hearing. But nothing can take away my communion with Jesus Christ.

Not ever.

So as I find myself wanting to shut my eyes, I will remember. I will remember what my friends Heather and Chuck both reminded me not to forget:

That I am to speak the truth in love the way God leads me to do, and that we are meant to look for Jesus in everything (even if we have to close our eyes to see him better).

It’s Jesus who holds the power. The enemy will do his best to knock us down, but he will not prevail. It may seem that way at times, and yes, this will make us sad. But we are already conquerors in Christ.

This girl is continuing to open her eyes when she’s supposed to, and close them and look for Jesus when that’s what He calls her to do and she’s getting distracting or pulled off of His path.

I just pray for the wisdom to know the difference. I pray for none of us to be deceived, and even if we are, that the Lord will pull us back. He uses friends to help us with that, you know. He gave us the Holy Spirit to whisper and nudge us when we go astray.

May we all stand firm in the knowledge that He has us in the palm of His hand. If you really listen and really seek Him, you’ll know you’re there (and you won’t need to be able to “see” a single thing to know it).

Thanks Chuck. Thanks Heather. I love you both ~

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

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I Want to Shut My Eyes

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This last couple of weeks I have been struggling – deep, deep heart struggle. I can’t stand what I am seeing in the world, my friends. It wrecks my heart to the core. The cynics say many things that make my heart hurt even worse.

**Suffering has gone on in the world for millenia – why does this bother you so much more than other stuff?
**It’s none of our business – we need to stop meddling.
**What about our people here in our own country? Things are just as bad here and we don’t seem so sad about that.

I get it…what the cynics say. I understand the thought process. And that crushes my heart, because it is so very deceitful. They are being deceived with such thinking – I know, I have been there. I still find myself there at times.

See, it’s not either/or when it comes to this kind of stuff, friends ~ Our conviction about the sin and suffering we see in the world is not limited to either/or.

It’s ALL OF IT.

It’s the increase of it. It’s the callousness of it. It’s the intensity and frequency of it. It’s the in-your-face aspect of it. It’s the almost celebratory “look at what I can get away with” of it all – and most of all – it’s the shutting of our eyes to protect ourselves part of it that gets my stomach turning and twisted in knots. It’s not the horrible photos. It’s not that at all. It’s the facing – the IN YOUR FACE facing up to the truth and reality and the way that we coldly stand back and do nothing (not even really pray that much) of it that makes me feel sick. Yet we get our panties in a bunch if the Starbucks guy looks at us sideways (must be because I’m gay, a Christian, a democrat, or whatever) junk that we focus upon instead!

Yes, it’s always been present – evil and twisted sin. Yes, it’s part of the human sin nature – cruelty, lies, murder, terror, and apathy. But I see it increasing. And no – it’s not only due to the fact that we have practically real-time news flashes at our fingertips. It’s an overall change in the way sin is see in our world coupled with the increase in intensity that is present.

I feel it in my soul. I know it is real…this change. Satan knows the end is near and he’s ramping up his games.

Matthew 24:12 ~ Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

We are cold – indifferent – consumed with something as stupid as the fact that our neighbor looked at us funny and we think that spells discrimination. Simultaneously, we turn a blind eye to the really wicked stuff that’s going on around us all in the name of “mind your own business.” It’s crap. All of that justification we provide for ourselves so we don’t have to act…care….be deeply disturbed.

We don’t want to burst the bubble or anything like that, do we?

I’m sick about it. That bubble is such a liar. It makes us feel warm and protected. But nothing real gets inside. So it’s all false – all deceit. All an illusion. It’s a scheme of the devil, there’s no other way to explain it!

It is inside of these bubbles that our love will grow cold. But we won’t even know it’s happening, because we feel so warm and pretty. And lest you think I am spewing judgement out upon the world without looking hard at my little self, you are mistaken.

How did I title this blog post? It’s the opposite of the title of the entire blog. I titled my entire blog site Eyes Wide Open for a reason – a personal reason, friends. It’s because I like the bubble vision too much. I like it very much to close my eyes (and my heart) to the reality of what is going on, whether it’s something horrific in the world or something even worse inside of my own heart. So I put myself on the hook by naming it that way. I am on the hook with Jesus to let Him search my heart and open my eyes (heart) to the truth….even when it’s very, very ugly.

See…he does great things when we are willing to take a look at the ugly along with Him. If we are willing to see it, let it twist our stomachs up for a moment, let it pierce our hearts and prod us and twist us until we wonder if we will ever “feel” comfort again, we get to then turn it over to Him and experience true comfort and peace. That is not the stuff of feelings at all, a lot of the time – rather it is this God thing that surpasses mere feelings. It is better.

But the flesh still battles hard. It battles for the feelings part of it all – it wants comfort. It likes the bubble.

I want to shut my eyes to what I see growing increasingly wicked by the day in our world because it reminds me of just how dark our human hearts can be if we turn away from the Lord. I want to shut my eyes and not be reminded of the horrible things that man can do to one another when he seeks his own way instead of following afer Jesus. I want to shut my eyes when I can’t do anything much to help others that are suffering unimaginable things at the hands of the evil one. I want to crawl in my bubble and shut my eyes. Seal them. Hibernate in my own little happy world.

And this last couple of weeks, I find myself unable to do that. And that is GOOD. It’s a bad feeling kind of good to have my eyes wide open lately.

Matthew 24: 6-8 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Do not be troubled? I don’t know what the original greek or hebrew word for that translates to, but I don’t think it means what it would to us today at first glance, because later Jesus says “these are the beginning of sorrows.”

I think Jesus means that we can have confidence in the FACE OF THESE SORROWS that He IS going to come back and all of this evil will be put to an end. It will be done, over, finished forever. He has already paid the price for us on the cross. That part is already finished if we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. But we will get to go home and live with Him one day in a place where there is no evil. We will be in a place where feelings meet truth and it is a whole new way of living. The real life begins in this place.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

In the meantime, morbid as many may think that I am, I am not going to shut my eyes. I am going to look in the face of the evil that is happening and remember Jesus’ words to us. “This is the beginning of sorrows.”

Only He can heal.

While we stare in the face of love growing cold, do we stand strong and firm and rooted in the love of Jesus anyway? What is it today that may be stopping you from loving others as He first loved us? Are you afraid to come out of the bubble for fear of being troubled? Are you turning to Him in the midst of the sorrows and allowing His peace, His comfort, His joy to weigh heavier than the light and airy feel-good stuff the bubble provides? Do you want to shut your eyes to something today that you know you are supposed to see, even if it’s ugly, life changing, and scary? You are not alone, friend. You are NOT alone.

He tells us to watch many times – there’s a reason for that, my friends. Please watch. Look and watch for Jesus in all that you do. It may seem sometimes like all you see is evil in the world as you open your eyes and peer outside the bubble. But do not be deceived. God is at work. Do not be deceived into being lulled to sleep. Watch for Him, friends. Find Him where you are and watch for His return. I highly urge you to immerse yourself in Jesus’ own words about watching for His return. To me, if Christ Himself emphasizes something over and over again, it warrants considering it and pondering it and immersing ourselves in it deeply. You can find what Jesus says about this in many places, but Matthew 24 is a great place to start.

Study it…ponder it. Look with a discerning eye as to what Jesus is saying. Don’t be the virgin with the lamp that ran out of oil. Don’t be the servant who partied at home while waiting for His master to return. Be ready. He is coming.

And I must say, if I make some people angry or uncomfortable with this brazen blog post today, please know I speak only out of love. It can’t be all hearts and flowers when it comes to getting our attention fixed upon Christ in the midst of a very distracting and very cold world. It just can’t. This is my attempt at helping us to remain vigilant and STAY AWAKE. I feel Jesus urging me to become even more bold for Him. So, if I made you uncomfortable today, I think that’s a good thing. Please send me a note in the comments below if you feel you need to talk more with me. I will get your contact information and we can chat.

Our pastor reminded us last night of something very significant: The Bible ends with an exclamation point. Embedded within that – all wrapped up in the end of God’s word – is this:

He is coming back soon and we are to look forward to it.

To do that, we must watch.

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, “surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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