THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF OUR LIVES

Scott and Me Mountain hike

The Greatest Adventure Of Our Lives

My husband, Scott and I recently took up hiking. We started on a whim last summer. With our kids now young adults, we were looking for something to do together that would also keep us in shape. Scott loves adventure, spontaneity, and sports. I love routine, planned adventure (if that’s even a thing!) and jogging.

Hiking has been a bridge to our gaps. That is until Scott attempts to venture off the trail. You see, I like the trail. The trail satisfies the “planner” in me. The trail feels safe. The trial has been traveled. My adventurous man loves to go where few have traveled. He likes to climb up rocks, and trees.

I holler at his back as he hoists himself higher and higher. “Scaling rocks is not part of the trail. I am not a billy goat!”

He laughs and keeps on climbing. He reaches the top of a jagged peak and hollers down to me.

“Babe, you’ve got to see this!”

I crane my neck. He looks the size of an ant way up there. I shake my head violently to make sure he sees. “No, I don’t!”

He begins to climb down. I take a few steps back. Then a few more. I know what’s next. He’s going to try and get me to climb those jagged rocks! Now I begin to pray. Maybe you’re laughing too, but this man of mine is well known for his many injuries throughout the years. I have a problem with cuts, bumps and bruises while trying to enjoy nature. As I pray, I hear God’s still small voice in my spirit (1 Kings 19: 11-13).

I’m a God of adventure.

What? Oh, Lord.  I like safe and comfortable. And I thought you are a God of peace. This is not peace. This is scary!

Daughter, My perfect love casts out fear. I want to make your life a glorious adventure in which we travel together. I know how ambivalent your heart is to all of this. You long for the adventure that an abandoned life to Me can be, and yet at the same time, change frightens you. You feel safe and comfortable when things are predictable. In this way, you feel you have things under control. You are addicted to comfort, and control. I want you to break free and discover the adventures I have for you! That is when you will truly have peace—when you trust Me to be in control.

The greatest adventure of our lives is knowing God intimately and abundantly. God dearly wants each person to discover how wide and long and high and deep His love is for us (Ephesians 3:17-18). That kind of love can be overwhelming and even frightening. It takes faith and trust. I believe this is why many people, even Christians, choose to limit their knowledge of God. The more we know Him, the more we risk the possibility of being taken from our comfort zones. And how very sad this is. We have settled for mediocrity because it feels comfortable. All the while, we still battle fear. God wants so much more for us!

I get the feeling God is going to teach me many more lessons as Scott and I traverse our trails (or lack of trails!). But for now, I will ponder today’s lesson and I hope you will too: God is a God of adventure. He wants to break us free from mediocrity.

Scott stands with his hand extended, looking down at me with a smile. I take a deep breath, wipe a tear from my eye and take hold of Scott’s hand as God takes hold of my heart. Goodbye, comfort zone!

It’s time for an adventure!


Is God whispering to you to give up your addiction to comfort and control that results in mediocrity?

 

This post is linked to:
http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1165
http://www.create-with-joy.com/2016/06/inspire-me-monday-week-234.html
http://www.leahadams.org/the-loft-link-up-pot-luck-6/

 

 

DO YOU LIKE BROWNIES?

Do You Like Brownies? https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/06/24/do-you-like-brownies/

Dad’s Brownies

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go to the theater to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the internet, he denied their request.

“Aw dad, why not?” they complained. “It’s rated PG-13, and we’re both older than thirteen!”

Dad replied: “Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality, which is something that God hates, as being normal and acceptable behavior.”

“But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That’s what our friends who’ve seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It’s based on a true story, and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the Christian movie review websites say that!”

“My answer is ‘no,’ and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion.”

The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, “Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he’s going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all.”
The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Then their father said,

“Before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love you both so much.”

The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening.

“That is why I’ve made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I’ve made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic. The best organic flour. The best free-range eggs. The best organic sugar. Premium vanilla and chocolate.”

The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad’s long speech.

“But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from our own back yard. But you needn’t worry, because I only added the tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me know what you think.”

“Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat?”

“Why? The portion I added was so small. Just a teaspoonful. You won’t even taste it.”

“Come on, dad, just tell us what that ingredient is.”

“Don’t worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients.”

“Dad!”

“Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is organic…dog poop.”
Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror.

“DAD! Why did you do that? You’ve tortured us by making us smell those brownies cooking for the last half hour, and now you tell us that you added dog poop! We can’t eat these brownies!”

“Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won’t hurt you. It’s been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won’t even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!”

“No, Dad…NEVER!”

“And that is the same reason I won’t allow you to go watch that movie. You won’t tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?


Today’s challenge:

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16

Most of us like the first part of the sentence—scripture inspired by God that teaches us what is true. But the second part—make us realize what is wrong—we begin to put on the brakes. And that second sentence, well, we don’t really like so much at all. We don’t like looking at our wrongs. In fact, we’d rather hide those little sins (dog poop). Yes, we’ve become masters at hiding our “crap” in with good ingredients (chocolate). You know, good ingredients like, going to church, giving to the needy, etc. etc. The stuff people see on the outside. At least that’s what we hope. But here’s the truth. People know we have crap. How do they know? Because we are all human. And all humans sin and have the tendency to hide it. (for more on this subject, see: https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/05/30/stop-lying-to-yourself/)

Satan knows this strategy too. He realizes he cannot tempt us with dog poop brownies. No, he must hide the poop in with things that are sweet. But just like the teenagers in the story, we’ve allowed ourselves to be deceived by the dangers of allowing a little sin here or there into our lives.

We are living in times where the Word is being twisted and taken out of context in order to allow us freedom to justify sinful behavior. This is another way Satan uses God’s good ingredients and mixes in a little of his own. Our heavenly Dad’s Brownies contain only the finest ingredients and are not to be substituted! Friends, it’s time to get real.

How To Get Real

Just own it. Own up to ways you’ve comprised God’s best ingredients for poop.

Embrace the truth of God’s word that shows where you’re wrong.

Stop making excuses. You’re not fooling God, and most likely not anyone but yourself.

Untie yourself from things that lead you away from God.

Stay in the Word every day. The Word is a sword that cuts through Satan’s schemes.

As Christians, we are faced with difficult choices—especially in today’s culture. Should I watch this? Should I wear that? Should I say this? Should I agree with that? Should I ignore this? Should I speak up about that?

The answer is the same today as it’s always been: THE BIBLE. We’ll be deceived without it.

Happy Friday! Hope this has given you some food for thought (Psalm 34:8)
In Christ’s love,
Beckie

https://twitter.com/LindseyBeckie/status/746111421545537536

The original author of the brownie story is unknown.
Picture from Pixabay.com

THE TROUBLE WITH AN IDLE MIND

THE TROUBLE WITH AN IDLE MIND-https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/06/21/the-trouble-with-an-idle-mind/

“A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.”  I bet you remember this iconic slogan created by an advertising agency more than four decades ago to promote the United Negro College Fund scholarship program. I bring this up to make two points: our minds are like sponges and should not be taken for granted.

The mind is a gift. What we think about—and don’t think about—is serious business to God. Especially considering the mind can potentially store 100 million thoughts. This is why we must be choosy about what we do with our minds.

I’m sure you’ve heard it stated that we are a culture of overstimulated minds. I agree with this, but I also think we are a culture of extremes when it comes to our minds. We are most likely either overstimulated or on autopilot. You know what I’m talking about. Have you ever been driving and suddenly realize you’re almost home and you don’t even remember getting there? It’s kind of scary, actually.  There could have been an accident.

Our minds are so stimulated these days that we are desperate for respite.

Unfortunately, we don’t give our minds the kind of respite it truly craves. Instead, we allow it to become idle.

Idle : not working, active, or being used. not having any real purpose or value. not having much activity. lacking worth or basis.

Idleness means you have no particular goal in mind and thus you can be easily distracted. I think overstimulation has left us more susceptible to distraction. Sin is an easy distraction that begins in the mind. You don’t have to be doing anything or acting out in any way to sin. It comes so naturally that we don’t even realize it’s happening most times.

We tend to let our minds wander, thinking about whatever it wants. Our minds are a haven for sin— tucked back in the innermost parts where no one can see. It’s the perfect spot for those dirty pictures, movies, and past sexual experiences. Or how about those angry, jealous, prejudice, covetous and downright hateful thoughts? All of this can be going on while we engage in conversation, do our jobs, drive our cars, and tuck our children in bed at night.  

If the mind is a battlefield, an idle mind is the devil’s playground. It’s easy to allow ourselves to believe we aren’t in control of what we think since thoughts tend to fly in and out all day long—even while we sleep. But the truth is, we can have more control over our thoughts than we give credit to.

How To Control Your Thoughts

In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul challenges us to renew our minds. In Philippians 4:8, Paul also tells us the types of things to fix our minds upon. Second Corinthians 10:5 says to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  Romans 8:6 says, “letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to light and peace.” And finally,  as Christ-followers the Bible tells us we have “the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

So, a Christian IS, in fact, able to control his/her thoughts through the power of the Holy Spirit! Allowing our minds to become idle means it’s not under Christ’s authority. This is why the Bible warns us to “stay alert” (Ephesians 6:18) and to fix our minds on godly things” (Philippians 4:8, Isaiah 26:3).

The Trouble With Idle Thoughts

The Bible gives us many disastrous results of a mind not fixed on godliness. But King David’s example is heartbreaking (2 Samuel 11). It all starts when David abandons his purpose by staying home from war. He allows his mind to become idle, leaving him open to temptation which eventually turns to sin when he takes another man’s wife. The sins continue to mount when the woman, Bathsheba, becomes pregnant. David tries to cover up the sin with deception. He then murders Bathsheba’s husband. Eventually, his many sins are exposed but the consequences were far-reaching. Not only does the baby die, but eventually his own sons rebel against him.

Indeed, the mind is a terrible thing to waste. So, let’s not waste it by allowing dangerous idle thoughts to have control. We’ve got the power to take charge of our thought life by living in submission to Christ. And prayer is the best place to begin.


Prayer: Father God, I don’t want my sinful nature to control my thoughts. I realize that idle thoughts can easily lead to sin. Your Words says if I allow the Spirit to control of my mind it leads to light and peace. I take captive thoughts like_______(fill in the blank) and bring them into submission to Christ Jesus right now. When sinful thoughts come in, I will continue to submit them to you and then fix my mind on Your promises and things that are good and worthy of praise.

 

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” 

This post is linked to:

http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1152