power.

This morning in the book of John, I read the following statement; “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12) It was the word power which caught my attention.

The bible uses the word power 263 times. Not obliviously all in the same context, but I honestly think regardless of the how, use of the word in general is worth taking note of.

Growing up, it was often made reference to how weak many Christians are. I was taught that they were people of prayer but no action. That those who followed Christ were often victims and that they didn’t contribute to societal change and support in the manner in which they should. As a woman of faith now approaching 50, nearly 25 years after choosing to follow Jesus, I can confidently say that those criticisms were absolutely incorrect.

There is no greater force than that of a praying woman.

Medical books tout its power in success rates of survival from cancer. Inspirational and motivational speakers sing its praise from the podium. Even the book of Proverbs reminds us quite literally, that attitude and what we speak from our lips makes all the difference in this world – individually as well as corporately.

If our words clearly matter, how much more do our prayers move when cried out to an active and living God?

When we, my dear faithful ones, choose words of life, healing and power as we pray out loud, we also stir up our desire to take action upon those prayers. When we speak life over our rough patch, we are encouraged to keep going. As we pray for healing over a sick friend, we are reminded to check in on them and are motivated to take them a meal. As we elevate the authority of God over war and poverty, we not only lend support to those in the fray, but are given revelation of our own personal responsibility to contribute in more practical ways.

Prayer works because it inspires, moves, and changes not only our perspective and of those around us, but it literally moves the heart and hand of God.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. – Proverbs 18:21

Even in the day to day, it takes power to stand. To face this world with hope. To stand under the weight of condemnation from family or accusation from those who don’t know God’s love. To hold our tongue in the wake of someone’s cruel words or to choose grace when loved ones who don’t understand our faith walk away. Even to stay the course to that which we are called; knowing that the necessary changes might move us away from what we have grown accustomed to.

The words we choose to frame our lives will also define them.

It is never too late for a course correction. There is a new opportunity every moment of every day to begin to speak hope, faith, destiny, and power, over your life. If God gives us the power to even believe in Him in the first place, how much more will He be faithful to empower us to walk out the life He has designed for us.

You, my friend, have the power. Use it.

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training ground

When my oldest was born, we had a large entertainment center in our living room. Beneath the television were two shelves, with the upper one hosting picture frames and a few knick knacks, and the lowest offering assorted baskets for toys. As my baby grew, every night I would put his toys away in the baskets and he began to help. By the time he was one, the nightly routine was for him to return what he had played with to their rightful place.

And, it was clearly understood that the upper shelf was for mom – off limits.

Now, as with any parenting scenario, there were some voices that communicated some doubt with regards to my decision making and some grumbling that it didn’t seem fair to put something within reach that he was not allowed to touch. It was “cruel.” And yet, still others praised his behavior when we were in public spaces or homes which were not child-proof.

Won’t there always be spaces he is not allowed??

Our homes are training grounds to prepare our children for real life. In order for our precious babies to eventually enter successfully into the world prepared to assimilate and effectively contribute to society, it’s important that they are taught to navigate some situations instinctively.

“We look with our eyes, not our hands.” “Sharing is important.” “We submit/prefer one another as a way of honoring one another.” “Treat other people as you would like to be treated.” “Are the words/tone you are choosing helping or hurting the situation?”

To expect our children to one day be empathetic, considerate, responsible humans simply by osmosis is absurd, and yet many choose to navigate parenting from this vantage point because we fear rejection and don’t want to disappoint our kids or make things hard for them. The end result, however, is that as adults, our children often suffer from a complete inability to confidently (and triumphantly) face challenges and obstacles and end up experiencing far more pain, discomfort and disillusionment than they ever would have had they been trained effectively.

In the bible there are over 230 passages on wisdom – the Lord will give wisdom and direction freely to those who actively pursue (James 1:5). Whatever you perceive you lack, trust that God has already put inside you what you need to develop into, and walk as, the person He designed you to. Whether it be church, wise counsel, godly parenting books or coaching, there are myriad resources to encourage you and to help guide you in this journey.

Matthew 23:23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Be encouraged today that the effort you put into your children now will reap a bountiful harvest later – you are the parent God designed to raise up your littles to be the people He designed them to be!

a little higher

Traveling out of state today, my flight was quite lengthy so I brought along some reading to break up my naps, computer time and seat climbing in a desperate attempt to gracefully get to the ladies room from the window seat. Today’s selection is “Killing Reagan” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.

Honestly, riveting.

Born in 1971 with a Seattle police officer as a father, and tensions high at school for many years, I grew up with plethora information (probably a little too much!) and personal experience pertaining to the tensions in this country, and worldwide, during the 70’s. Top it off with the Cold War and I am not surprised my specialist told me my brain is fried from being in a chronic state of fight or flight for decades. In the middle of it all, though, was the bright light in my dad’s eyes; President Ronald Reagan.

Naturally, as I read of his early exploits as a womanizer and not always nice-guy persona, it’s an interesting spin on the sainthood he enjoyed in our small world, but the idea that someone so revered and so very successful in so many ways, was also so broken, is comforting.

Encouraging, even.

What I have found so enlightening so far is the greatly desired influence of the various socialist and communist groups in his earlier years upon our Hollywood elite. And, how quickly they jumped from one bandwagon to the next. There were literal riots and violent attacks against those who opposed these groups, and all I can think of is how quickly our favorite-famous-dazzling friends of today are not only once again trying to sway and influence culture on a grander scale than entertainers should be given the authority to, but also the ease at which so very many, the glittery and plain alike, follows the wind wherever it seems to blow.

God’s people are not called to such frivolity – our minds, hearts, thoughts and emotions are to be secured in the truth of God. In His Word. To be moved to and fro by what is trendy or emotional without weighing against the principles of faith is not only a disservice us, but sets everyone up around us for failure. Our families, communities, even our spiritual legacy, can be greatly affected by our decision to not be anchored in truth and align our words and actions with what He calls us to. There will be times in which we are challenged to confront our own limited points of view, or personal preferences, but just as in everything else woven into a life of faith, an eternal perspective must always rise above the whim of we the sight-limited, and submitted to the will and plan of God.

Don’t forget to take a moment, and take it a little higher.