WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATOR?

What is your motive? What is your purpose? We live in a fallen world motivated by self-help, self-serve, self-made humans. We want what’s best. Best for who? Best of what? Best according to which benchmarks?

Matthew 9 included examples of Jesus’s best. He healed a paralyzed man; ate with tax collectors. He revived a dead girl, made the blind see, gave voice to the mute, exorcised a demonized man.

Jesus used his healing power, motivated by love. However, He was remained under people’s microscopic scrutiny. They questioned His motive behind what they considered madness. People quickly judged Jesus and questioned why He was eager to be compassionate to all.

Their accusations stemmed from blame and self-righteousness: “It’s not fair. They are sinners. At least I don’t do what he does. I’m glad I don’t live like she does.” God agreed. Life’s not fair, but according to who or what?

Scoffers at Jesus’s Cross could be defined as the ultimate discriminators. Jesus didn’t want to be stripped, mocked, whipped, and have spikes driven into His body. He didn’t ask to be left alone on a tree to suffocate. He willingly took the tongue and body lashings to save everyone.

Did people ask God what His motive was for Jesus then? Did they ask God why Jesus received harsh treatment after healing multitudes of sin? God’s motive behind His message is, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

God chose a selfless scapegoat to show mercy. Jesus dried a woman’s blood and later drained His own blood on the Cross. His compassion motivated Him toward passionate love for everyone. Humans judge by justice. God judges by mercy.

Jesus, thank You for Your righteous example to a self-righteous world.

Mercifully,

Christina

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mt. 9:13).

THE LAST WORD

God’s greatest accomplishment is that He always gets the last word. I hesitate to admit defeat or weakness, especially when I’ve packed grandiose plans into my adventure-filled day. I embark on a trail, eager to fulfill my mission. I anticipate a catwalk but sometimes find myself on a skunk chase.

Through my misguided direction, I later see my errors and futile efforts.  When I wake from my skunk hole, I sigh release, “Oh Lord, I followed that skunk trail again and found some stinkin’ thinkin’.” God is there every time, ready to cleanse my stench. I breathe His fresh scent.

Isaiah 55:11 grounds me after an attempted expedition that can reek from self-serving motives. “So shall my word…It shall not return to Me void.” God won’t have His word come back to bite Him in the mouth. He speaks Truth and Truth returns.

Isaiah continues; “But it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” His Truth will accomplish and prosper. God will not be skunked. He holds His creation’s best interest in hand.

I know, or think I know, what I want to achieve, but only God knows creation’s entire story. He speaks it into existence. I miss His voice when I skim past His cues. The world’s voices become my vices. God graciously rolls up His robe sleeves to embrace my stinky body and bathe my spirit in His baptismal font.

God, thank You for Your eternal wins. You allow me to face trials and fight battles. Remind me to face them under Your watch. Alert me to skunks (especially the ones which originally resembled cats). Your word will not return void.

Refreshed in the lily pad of life,

Christina

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the things for which I sent it” (Is. 55:11).

A K-9 CALL

“That’ll separate the men from the boys.” In demanding situations, I often hear that challenge statement.  Compared to boys, men are generally stronger, smarter, more courageous.

I base a person’s strength on their ability to make sound decisions in chaotic circumstances. I consider a resourceful person to be resilient during, and after, unexpected twists. A mature person applies truth and kindness wherever they are, no matter who is around them.

In Exodus 11:7, God differentiates the men from the boys. In Exodus, Egyptians are regarded as boys. Israelites are deemed men. The Israelites have a history of following One Leader while the Egyptians remain in their proverbial sandbox throwing rocks.

God chose a silent dog to represent the Israelites as His people. He said there’d be the worst wailing throughout Egypt, yet no dogs would bark at any person or animal. (I wish I remained as calm as a silent dog when I encounter turmoil).

God used canine response to quietly prepare the Israelites for manhood. While the Egyptian boys are wailing, the Israelite men listen for God’s silent dog whistle to reassure and guide them.

Similarly, in pack behavior, when animals follow their leader, they remain protected. The Israelites survived because they joined forces to depend on God. They became the big dogs. The Egyptians refused the meat God offered His pack, leaving them scrounging for bones. When we fill ourselves with God’s word and follow His lead, we enjoy silent peace when the wolves howl at our door.  

Jesus, I want You to consider me mature, or in the process toward maturity.  I want to be chosen for Your pack. Unleash me from earth’s dogs who bark lies and throw dirt at others. Let me run free in Your protected mission fields.

Aware of your silent signals,

Christina

“But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal. Then you will know the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Ex. 11:7 NIV).

BUY ONE, GIVE ONE

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 4:18 NIV).

Ah yes. The classic chicken and egg dispute. Which came first? Was faith and works the political biblical debate?

In James 4, there’s a discussion between Mosaic Law believers and Christian believers. Both groups believed in something but not the same thing. They argued between faith or works. Which is greater? Which is more important? Which side does God reside?

James’s text offers insight. Mosaic Law required people to follow external rules. Christ’s Liberty Law guides Christians through His spirit. Jesus speaks trust into action, His ultimate buy one, give one offer. He bought our souls on the Cross. God gave His only Son.

As His children, we can’t attain more love, votes, or trust from Him based on what we do. He offers the gift of faith so we can act upon that trust. It’s the Lord’s platform speech. Both parties win when we vote and live by how God promises to lead.

Active trust in God empowers me to quell selfish desires so I can (and hopefully will) become mature. I then get to capitalize on His buy one, get One win. God’s campaign sign points me to faith and action.

Eternally reelected,

Christina

TRUTH BY THE DOZEN

Twelve times. “I write to you.” In the book of 1 John, he states why and for who he writes twelve different times. I appreciate people with a focused mission.

John wrote Truth to caution people against sin. He wrote because sins were forgiven. He wrote because his audience knew Jesus, therefore they knew the Father. John scribed, “Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have heard since the beginning….yet I am writing a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you…(1 John 2:7-8 NIV).

John’s tone indicates urgency. He reassured believers that Jesus forgave their past and Truth lit their future. John taught his listeners about Jesus’ powerful life and purposeful death. This wasn’t up-to-the-minute news for his audience, but John reiterates Jesus’ quest twelve times in five chapters.

In my Journal the Word bible, 1 John 2 headlines a bold-faced title: “Reasons for Writing.” Initially, I snickered at this subheading because as an author, I thought, “Of course. State the obvious, John.” I write to live. For me, writing isn’t a pastime or luxury. It’s a critical practice for my spirit and soul care. Home is wherever my pen and paper reside.

John speaks Truth, written in a black and white contract without the fine print. Jesus’ word is His covenant with believers. He’s sealed it with His blood. Through his writing, John packaged and hand stamped Jesus’ message to all generations.

Grateful for John who forwarded Jesus’ love letter,

Christina

“Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:7-8 NIV).

YODA COMMITS

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, from Star Wars stated this in The Empire Strikes Back movie.

Yoda taught Luke Skywalker to focus on the present, to commit himself to win or lose. Luke needed to choose between the light or dark side. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The light and dark side of Luke’s mind battled between maturity and immaturity.

Matthew 17:8 reflected a similar scenario between Jesus and three disciples. In His metaphoric documentary, The Transfiguration, they’re on a mountain when Jesus revealed Himself in an out-of-this-world appearance. “When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

Matthew 17:2 explained how God got the disciples’ attention. “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” (Clearly, Jesus’ mom Mary used powerful laundry detergent on His robes).

The disciples were at a crucial peak in their walk with Jesus. He allowed them to see the Light. They returned to the mountain’s foothills and it they needed to decide what they’d do.  Follow Jesus or follow self?

It’s physically impossible to stand behind ourselves and be able to follow in our own footsteps. We need wise guides when we are caught between belief and unbelief. Freewill allows us to accept or deny. Practice light or practice dark, but success won’t emerge from attempting both.

A mom taught her children about prayer when they worried about monsters under their bed. She said, “If you’re going to pray, don’t worry. But if you’re going to worry, don’t pray.”

Yoda. Matthew. Wise moms (and dads). A confirmation triangle. I commit to practice God’s angle.

Leaping boldly from mountain streams,

Christina

“But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only” (Matthew 17:7-8).

MARCH MADNESS

Word Count: 298

I applied my heart to now, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness (Eccl. 7:25 NKJV).

March. Men’s basketball fans associate this month with March Madness, NCAA’s Division tournament of 68 teams in seven rounds shooting for a national championship.

From a bleacher view, I see how our world represents a proverbial game of madness. Opposing teams. Two head coaches. High-priced junk food. Noisy crowds, whistles, beat-the clock paces. It’s difficult to feature one or two key players when fans, a band, mascots, cheerleaders, and vendors holler for attention.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 calls a time-out. This scriptural playbook says, “I concentrated with all my might, studying and exploring and seeking wisdom–the meaning of life. I also wanted to identify evil and stupidity, foolishness and craziness.”

I support teams. I embrace partnerships in my writing, speaking and life coaching businesses, but I question how much sweat equity is worth an extended madness season. Is the media hype worth the acclaimed build toward some untouchable platform? Do I desperately throw half-court shots to beat an invisible clock? Nobody’s birth certificate has an end-of-game time.

Blow the whistle. Time to pivot. Will I accept torn muscles to compete in overtime? What else gets starved when I’ve come to think that I need to frequently share, fuel my newsfeed, and create fresh content? I recognize this madness approach is not how I’m designed to run life’s race.

I’ve slowly discovered that publicity fast-breaks aren’t a healthy daily practice. I can stay at the top of my game and allow others to carry the ball. It’s ok to sit on the bench sometimes. Well-executed layups can make shots. I gain victory when I position my Head Coach at center court.

What about you? What part of your life represents March Madness? What game changes will you make to become your MVP?

Running a race to end in Eternal overtime,

Christina

I concentrated with all my might, studying and exploring and seeking wisdom-the meaning of life. I also wanted to identify evil and stupidity, foolishness and craziness (Eccl. 7:75 MSG).

THE LAST “COURAGE PROJECT” POST

Happy Views Day!

I chose to practice courage and since August, I’ve shared weekly posts on the FROG Blog. These insights are more personal to me than telling you what I had for dinner.

Today is my final “Courage Project” post. I have enormous acts of bravery facing me over the next few weeks. I’ll leave those unpublished.

I’ll continue writing my FROG Blogs in 500-words or less. Your support, insights and feedback are gold. Thank you!

Here goes….

Favorite gift cards: Dollar Tree, Bath & Body Works, Wal-Mart, Amazon, U.S. Postal Service. (I can never have enough postage stamps.)

READERS! What about you? If you had unlimited gift cards to a business, which one(s) would make your top 3 list?

Bravely leaping into new waters, Christina

YOU CAN RAISE THE DEAD

I don’t have money. I have a house to maintain. I don’t have a car or education. I don’t have time.

I can’t because…I’ve used these rationales (read: excuses). When I accept current weakness to inhibit movement, I hinder strength. Sometimes I don’t have the instant resources, but I disqualify myself when I allow circumstances to direct my future course.

“Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). That passage shrinks my obstructions. “Lord, what can I do?” What do I have to offer?

Heal the sick. We’re all ill or injured. In a world of 7.9 billion people, I have abundant prospects. I can offer my ears, freely given by God, to listen to the wounded or disheartened.

Raise the dead. I need encouragement. So do others. I can smile often or acknowledge someone’s positive action. I can wish someone an upbeat greeting. I may raise a spirit through my freewill actions.

Cleanse those with leprosy. Connect with the under-served. Make intentional eye contact with the ostracized. Support someone who the world considers an underdog.

Drive out demons. Begin with myself. Think truth, speak truth, act truth. Shuttle out unbelief. Ask God to be my Driver.

Statistics prove how word of mouth impacts someone. I can use my words, freely given, to build good witness.

Jesus, thank You for Your resources. Let my actions freely refresh and diminish life’s hurdles.

Seeking a strong finish,

Christina

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Mt. 10:8).

FLYING COURAGE

Happy Views Day and Happy St. Patrick’s Week!

Here’s my weekly fact you may or may not know about me:

First destination I flew: Sterling, Colorado. I met a childhood pen pal for the first time after exchanging letters for 11 years.

Readers! What about you? What is your most memorable trip and what makes that stand out?

Soaring above the lily pad on the FROG Blog,

Christina