Monday, February 16, 2015

Punching the Devil in the face

There's this song we used to sing when I'd lead worship for the kid's ministry at our church. I have no idea what the official title is, but we called it "Little Boxes." It goes like this:

If I had a little white box
To keep my Jesus in
I'd take him out and kiss His face
and share Him with my friends!

If I had a little black box
To keep the devil in
I'd take him out and punch his face (this part has to be yelled with actions!)
and put him back again!

Now, before you get on me about the theology of keeping Jesus in a box and whatever else, let's move on.... :) The reason I feel the need to write this today is because it seems like the number of Christians afraid to offend others with their beliefs, afraid to take a stand against the devil, afraid to be what God has called them to be is outrageously huge. And, if I may quote that great man of God, Paul, "I am the worst of them all."

The only way I know to speak to this is to speak of my own journey and pray for those of you reading to understand, relate and respond to what God is speaking to us all through what He's doing in my life. So forgive me if this seems self-focused. I do not mean for it to be...it's just that He's doing so much in me in this area I can't believe it's NOT to be shared. Here we go...

Last November I went through a Heart Change Workshop where I was able to confront some of the lies in my life. Lies that had burrowed down into my soul much like a tick burrows in and infects a life - wordlessly, stealthily, continually.

One of those lies I had believed and not known how to fight against is that I only wanted to be on stage because I like being the center of attention; I enjoyed singing in front of crowds because I liked the applause.

This didn't take into account the fact of horrible nerves I got every time I went on stage. It didn't take into account the discomfort I experienced when people would praise me and tell me how much they enjoyed what I did. It also didn't take into consideration my motives for being on stage.

My motives.

Motives.

What are motives, anyway?

Here's what Webster's 1828 online dictionary defines motive as:

MO'TIVE, adjective [See the Noun.] Causing motion; having power to move or tending to move; as a motive argument; motive power.

MO'TIVE, noun
1. That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will. Thus we speak of good motives, and bad motives; strong and weak motives. The motive to continue at rest is ease or satisfaction; the motive to change is uneasiness, or the prospect of good.

2. That which may or ought to incite to action; reason; cause.

3. A mover. [Not in use.]

Here is the 2nd definition from Webster's 1913 online dictionary:

2. That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choise, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object.

By motive, I mean the whole of that which moves, excites, or invites the mind to volition, whether that be one thing singly, or many things conjunctively. J. Edwards.

Finally, as is the case in our modern world, here is the succinct, simplified definition from Webster's 2014 online Dictionary

1motive
  noun mo·tive \ˈmō-tiv,
: a reason for doing something

(pardon my "squirrel!" moment, but if you're a pathological learner it would not be a good idea to start looking up words online for historical definitions and/or origins. ....not that I know any good reason not to, but it will require a great deal of determination to bring yourself back to the task at hand if you do so......jus' sayin'.)

So, back to that lie. It did not take into consideration any of who I am. 
Notice this little graphic I made up to show how a lie works. Notice that first word in the 'L'?

TRUTH

Isn't that the way a lie works? It grabs onto a mustard seed size of truth and plants it, but then it starts chipping away at the branches of the truth to skew and warp what the original motive was. Have you ever heard the phrase, "there's a grain of truth in every lie?" Well, in the lie I believed there certainly was a grain of truth to the lie. 

I DID enjoy being on stage - but not because I liked being the center of attention. 

I enjoyed being on stage because in being there - whether singing or speaking by myself, or dancing and singing with a group or choir - I could see the lives of others being made better. 

HA! TAKE THAT YOU STINKIN' LIE!!! *karate chop to the throat!*

Whew! That felt good! HAHA!

So, let's take the focus off myself (because, really, why do you think I sit behind a computer screen where I can encourage you to be who you were created to be? I really do NOT like being the center of attention. I may like to be noticed (who doesn't?) but I HATE being the center of attention!)

What lie are you believing? Who is telling you  your dreams are about something other than what they are? 

I've worked through my lie stash bit by bit over the past few years. Another lie I believed was that people don't want to hear me sing. This was said by an older sibling innocently frustrated by her little sister who, seriously, did NOT know how to sing quietly and did so All. The. Time. It was not my sister's fault that the enemy took that along with that lie I mentioned above and wove a horrible chain of bondage over my life. I do not blame her nor hold it against her. I can't. She was my older sister and I was the annoying little sister and what she said was not meant to harm or cripple me, it was said because walking across the street to the neighbor's house with a little sister singing some silly song (Probably "Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue") at the top of my lungs was the most embarrassing and annoying thing ever! But the enemy, knowing that God had a plan for me, covered the enjoyable gift of being given a stage to share hope and love with others with a lie. 

So what are you believing? Are you believing any of these:

*You can't shine for Jesus with the horrible past you've had!
*You really think people will believe you when you've lived your whole life covering up who you are?
*You are not worth anyone's time, so why even bother?
*You're beyond help!
*You don't have what it takes to achieve the dream you've held in your heart for years. There are simply too many reasons holding you back and they'll always be there, so just give up.
*By the time you can focus on your own dreams you'll be too old. 

The list can go on. 

and on.

and on. 

and on. 

can't it?

Well, y'know what?

*Maybe you do have a horrible past, but you can still shine for Jesus! I mean, honestly! What better way to show His amazing grace than by acknowledging how He's redeemed you??

*Maybe you have lived your entire life covering up who you really are. How beautiful a life that is no longer needing to hide!

*There may be people who have given up on you, but God never has. For you to have compassion for others who may feel that way, too, and share the truth of God's never-ending, faithful mercy and grace with them is a gift straight from Heaven.

*There may be a whole host of things in your life holding you back. So start by bringing them to the foot of the cross. Lay them down and ask God what He wants you to do with what you have, where you are...right now.

*Grandma Moses didn't put paint to her first canvas until she was in her 80's! Colonel Sanders started to market a little recipe for chicken at the age of 66 and so began the chicken chain now known as KFC. Julia Child didn't start cooking until she was in her 40's and her tv show didn't launch until she was 50. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't write the "Little House on the Prairie" books when she was young. She was well into her 60's before she wrote those sweet volumes of history. You're never too old if God has a dream for you.
There are two songs that come to mind when I think of lies and truth. The first one is a song that kind of became my theme-song during a very hard and dark time in my life. I still sing it today when I'm having that "nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms" kind of day. It's a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Treasure of You." Here are the lyrics, and below I'm sharing the video..

"Treasure Of You"

Excuse me, I couldn't help but notice
That heartsick look in your eyes
You hide it very well, but I've got the same disguise
I know from all you see around you
You feel worth a very small price
So plain and ordinary, but there's a pearl inside

And if you look in the mirror in the light of the truth
You'll see there's really nothing you could say or do
To make you worth more to the One who made you

[Chorus]
Your are a treasure
Worth more than anything under the sun or the moon
God's greatest treasure
Is the treasure of you

The rich man treasures gold and silver
The wise man, his knowledge of truth
Some will hold to memories and some will cling to youth
But the one who carved out the oceans
And painted the stars in the sky
You are His prized creation, the apple of His eye
There's no one else in the world who could take your place
Just the thought of you brings a smile to His face
God loves you with amazing grace

[Chorus]

So take a look in the mirror in the light of the truth
Oh, yes it's true
See there's nothing more you can say or do
God loves the way He created you

[Chorus]

From the T to the R to the E to the A to the S to the U to the R to the E
God made everything and everything He made
More than anything He treasures you and me
Check in in the mirror in the light of the truth
There is nothing you will ever say and nothing you will do
The will ever make God care more than He does for the treasure
God's treasure is you



Those lies? Send them packing! Actually, send them back to the foot of the cross where they belong! The truth is, you are a treasure, and maybe some dreams aren't good for you, but if you've got a dream to share Jesus and His Word with the world it is a dream placed in you by the Very One Who created you! Banish it with the truth of scripture. 

What? You don't know where to look? How about if you start right here with this passage from Isaiah:

Isaiah 43:1-3New Living Translation (NLT)

The Savior of Israel
43 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;

    I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place.

Now go back and read that first verse again. 

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you! I have called you by name; YOU. ARE. MINE."
(emphasis and exclamations mine to send that message home)

Lies have no place in a Christian's life, let alone our soul. 

The other song is my current favorite song. No introductions. All you need to do is crank up those speakers and bask in the glory of the One Who IS Greater!




Spend some time today at the Throne of Grace peeling back the layers of the lies to see what dream it is He has planted for you. ask God to reveal what that grain of truth in your dreams is. If you are planted IN HIM your dream is real and the only reason there are doubts are because the enemy wants to keep you from living out loud for Jesus Christ. He has a great adventure for you and promises are promises and facts are facts! He won't let you go! Burn the ships full of lies and Dive in! For the sake of the call just take another step and trust that our Redeemer is Faithful and True! (excuse me, I've started a Steven Curtis Chapman song title ferris wheel in my mind. I think I'm done now.....)

GO FORTH IN TRUTH, BRAVE WARRIOR OF GOD! 
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