Taco Dip

Genesis 4:7 
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

My father in law, hands down, makes the best taco dip in the whole world. It’s so deliciously scrumptious, my mouth starts watering just thinking about it. He made some a few weeks ago for a baby shower and after the shower I put the leftover dip in the fridge to snack on.

And snack on it I did.

Every chance I could get, I would sneak off to the kitchen, grab a handful of tortilla chips, and dig into that dip. In fact, I think every time my husband saw me last week, I was munching on that dip. Eating that taco dip was the first thing I thought about when I got home.

I just kept wanting more and more of it and I couldn’t help myself because it tasted so good.  It quickly became an obsession.

Sin can be like that taco dip. First you taste just a little bit and then, in the blink of an eye, you can’t stop. It quickly becomes something you want to try more and more of. Soon, it’s the first thing you think about and, eventually, the only thing you think about.

In Genesis, God tells Cain that sin is crouching at his door if he does not do what is right

He tells him Sin desires to have him but he must rule over it.

I’m grateful that taco dip ran out by the end of the week. Sometimes we aren’t that lucky with our sin. Sometimes we have to throw that dip out well ahead of time. Sometimes we have to not even open it up.

We must rule over our sin in whatever way we can think of.  We must put on the full armor of God to help us turn away from it.

Because it is always crouching. It’s always lurking.

It’s always ready to be opened.

Muddy Shoes

When my boys were younger, one of their favorite books was this adorable, silly book called Pete the Cat. In the story, Pete, gets a brand new pair of shiny white tennis shoes and can’t wait to show them off. He flaunts around singing about his new shoes and is just as happy as can be. Life is just grand. But then Pete steps in a pile of strawberries and his beautiful white shoes turn red. While some would say they are ruined, Pete decides to take a different outlook. So what does he do? Well, instead of singing about his super cool white shoes, he decides to now sing about his awesome new red shoes. And when it happens a few more times, Pete keeps on singing about every other new color too. Pete doesn’t let the strawberries, or even the mud he later steps in, get him down. He’s going to embrace his new shoes, whatever color they are, regardless of whatever kind of mess he’s stepped in, and keep on walking and singing anyway.

When I began my walk, I noticed  things in my life that once had such great importance and held such great meaning, just weren’t as big of a deal anymore.  Your priorities shift when you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. You now look at the world  differently. and it’s so much brighter and clearer than before. So while I still do step in the mud quite a bit, the joy I have in my heart allows me to keep on singing anyway.

The world is so beautiful when you begin looking at it through the eyes of Jesus Christ.

Muddy shoes and all.

He’s Everywhere

I am not allowed to share Jesus with my students in the public schools.  We can’t really speak about Him for fear of reprimand or even the threat of losing our jobs. Sometimes I feel badly even talking about Him to coworkers because, as I’ve heard time and time before, there is no need for religion in a public school.

Yet, it’s testing season and  I know Jesus’s name is being spoken throughout  schools everywhere. It’s a faintly sound, whispered by sweet souls before they start their tests, hoping and praying that He will be with them throughout, calming their precious nerves and easing their fears.

But even if Jesus’s name is not spoken loudly, and only through the soft murmurings or in the heads of children who know Him, He is still in the school. His presence is felt throughout it. During testing season and beyond.

He’s in the sacrifices of our teachers, as they selflessly serve their students every single day. He’s in the lunches they buy for their kids who forget their own, the warm smiles that greet them every morning, the long hours spent grading papers, and the sleepless nights  spent worrying about each and every one of them.

He is in the kindness of  students who can’t ever give enough hugs, enough love, enough praise. Students whose eyes light up every time they see their favorite teacher. Students who write sticky notes and make banners that encourage each other to do well. Students who yell “Good luck” to a nervous friend as he prepares to take his test.

Encouragement. Kindness. Sacrifice. It’s all Jesus. He’s everywhere.

Even when we think He’s not allowed to be.

 

Six Signs of a True Sister (Or Brother too!) in Christ

  1. She is available at a moments notice to pray, cry, laugh, or just be still with. You don’t even have to ask. She is ready and willing to come to your house, to the hospital, or even to the jail cell to be with you.
  2. She always bring food. Always. And she knows just what you like too whether it’s cupcakes,  Little Cesar’s pizza or Chic Fila. She doesn’t even have to ask.
  3. She prays for you when you need it and sometimes even when you don’t think you need it. She just knows.
  4. Your problems are her problems too. Her heart physically hurts alongside your own heart. She is here to bear your burdens and take them on as her own.
  5. She holds you accountable. She won’t tell you it’s OK if it’s not OK. She won’t let you run away from your problems either. She might have to be the salt in your world sometimes.  She might even have to turn you around in a completely different direction. But she does so with the love of Christ in her heart.
  6. She loves the Lord with all of her being.  Her love radiates to others and she makes you want to love Him just as much. She makes you want to be a better person, a better friend, and a better Christian.

Have one of these? Have more than one? Consider them precious gifts from the Lord and thank Him for your blessings. Hold on to them tightly. Don’t let them go, remembering to love each other as He has loved you.

 

For there is no greater type of love.

Romans 1:12  That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Coming Home

Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Unless you have been living in a hole then you have heard about the new Wegman’s opening today in Midlothian. I’m not knocking it. I’m really not. I want to go try out their cookie bar too. The inside looks absolutely beautiful. It doesn’t even look like a grocery store. I’m assuming that’s what Wegman’s is going for. An experience that transforms the lackluster chore that grocery shopping is and makes people come out in droves.

There were actually traffic jams trying to get into the parking lot of the Wegman’s this morning. Can you imagine traffic jams of people trying to get into the church parking lot? People so excited about spending time with Our Father that it caused traffic to back up?

I just wish people would get as excited about worshiping Jesus as they are about the newest Richmond grocery store.

I was one of those people for the longest time. Trust me, my husband had to drag my butt to church. I would think of any excuse I could think of. I had a long week. I was tired. I just wanted to be alone.

But spending time with Jesus should never feel like a chore.  Spending time with Jesus should be what we want to do all of the time.

Every single day.

In the church. And outside of the church.

You just have to let Jesus take over.

Once Jesus changes you from the inside out, then spending time with Him becomes way better than anything else you want to do. You need it. You crave it. You want to worship Him as much as possible.

And spending time with other believers doesn’t feel like a duty.

It feels like coming home.

Rain

Psalm 107:29 He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.

The rain keeps on coming. Over and over again, not wanting to let up. I think we are all a little tired of looking out the window, longing for sunnier days, wondering when Noah is going to show up in his ark.

Lately, a few dear friends have been going through days and days of non-stop  rain in their own lives. The sun may peak its head out for a brief moment, only to hide back behind the dark clouds again in an instant.

It’s hard to look for blessings when you have your head down and  your back against the wind. You wonder why God is putting you through so much and doesn’t seem to be letting up? How can He keep doing this to you over and over again?

That’s when I’m thankful for the windshield wipers and for the umbrellas in my life. Sure, the rain might keep on pouring, but I have wipers that keep on trying to clear the way for me. I have umbrellas that protect me from the worst of it. They won’t let me get bogged down by the water. They won’t let me veer off course.

It’s in these times that I am so thankful for scripture, for prayer, for Sisters and Brothers in Christ, and for a Holy Spirit who help to clear the way while protecting me from the heaviest parts of the storm.

As Christians, we are called to endure this life with a joyful and Christ-filled heart.  It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s incredibly hard at times.

And we may not ever know why things happen the way that they do.

Yet, we must take comfort in knowing that we are not alone. We can use what He provides to help us through the hardest parts. We just need to pause and remember who is carrying our umbrella.

God has got us covered.

He will never leave you out in the storm alone.

 

 

Little Flies

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Ugh flies. I can’t stand it when they sneak their way into the house. They buzz all around, as they annoyingly  flutter around from one thing to another.  You swat at them over and over again and, no matter how many times you try, you just can’t seem to stop them.

Lately, negative thoughts have been sneaking their way into my brain like those horrid little pests. And just like with the flies, no matter how many times I swat at them to go away, they just keep coming back.

Feelings of inadequacy seem to be what The Devil likes to use in my head the most. He loves to set up shop in my brain and tell me over and over again that I’m not good enough or  smart enough to ever accomplish my goals.  He flutters around in my thoughts, whispering in my ear, telling me I will never achieve what I want to achieve.

Negative thoughts have no place in our heads, especially when The Holy Spirit has already made Himself at home in our soul. Whether it be insecurity, jealousy, bitterness, or hate; we shouldn’t allow Him to be a part of of all that negative thinking. Instead, as Paul reminds us in Philippians, we must replace our thoughts with a more pure and noble type of thinking.

No one wants to hear a fly buzzing around all day and we don’t want our Lord to hear the buzzing of our negative thoughts either. When those pesky buggers come into our mind, we need to swat them out; replacing them with the power of His mighty Word instead.

His armor is always the best defense.