Easter: FOCUS!

I was in my quiet time this morning (I am going through the book of Mark right now) and something struck me as we enter Easter weekend. Don't get me wrong, our family will partake in traditions and have a blast celebrating- but I want to check my focus this year! 
[I am in Mark 7]

[Mark 7: 6-23 (NIV) is awesome but specifically vs 6-9]
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!" JESUS CHRIST
This is what inspired me as we enter into the Easter Weekend- are we more concerned with "Traditions": the Easter Dress that our families wear, what goes in their baskets for Easter morning, photo op with the bunny, what we are having for brunch, who we are having brunch with, indulging on whatever it is we may have given up for lent, hunting for eggs, dying eggs, etc.. (all fun traditions!)
OR is our primary focus on the commands of God: Are we pumped that people who have never heard the word of God might step into church on Easter and hear truth? Are we praying that the Word of God would penetrate their hearts (Mark 6:52)? Are we inviting families to join us and hear the great news? Are we praying for our pastors and church staff, for energy and protection? Are we stepping out of our comfort zone to tell someone the good news? Are we extending grace and love to a family member who we have a strained relationship with? Are we serving at church so that someone else might feel welcomed and cared for as they enter? .... Those are the commands of God. I don't want to just honor God with my "lips" or my pretty Easter Dress if you will...I want to honor God by loving others and celebrating the beautiful reason for Easter- Jesus Christ Died for ME and YOU and on the third day he rose from the dead to rule and reign at the right hand of God the Father Almighty! The traditions are fun, but let's have our primary focus be in the commands of God this year! Happy Easter! 
("Up From the Grave" Print From Dear Lillie)


Time for Change!

A common theme in my life has been "change". I am the type of person who naturally likes familiar things and places; I am very cozy in a routine, I LOVE a plan, I adore a small group of trustworthy sisters, my home is my happy place- my nature is not one that loves change! However, God never lets me get cozy for too long... and I am so grateful for that. Some of the hardest times in my life have come because of change, in hindsight, it was because of the change that I experienced GREAT adventure with God. Throughout my life I have learned to be expectant and excited (often through tears) when he brings change to me...because I know great things will come! In my 35 years I have attended 12 schools, lived in 13 cities (I have been the "new girl" many many many awkward times), had 15 jobs- but, Praise God just one husband and three gorgeous (plus 1 in heaven) babies! What I have learned is this- God's plans are ALWAYS better than my plans. His ways are ALWAYS better than my ways. I want to say "yes" to whatever adventure He takes me on. 

[I asked my girl Kelsey Kempin to make this diagram pretty for me- it is something that I just jotted down one day during my quiet time and I am seriously passionate about it. I believe this with all of my heart. It is based on my life experience, studying The Scriptures and witnessing the lives of countless people who both- make bold changes and who remain in the comfort zone- and seeing the fruit on either side]

> Change does not always have to be huge or dramatic- it could be walking across the street to meet someone new outside of your comfort zone. It could be joining a new Bible Study where you do not know one person. It could be walking into a new church when you are scared to tears because it is unfamiliar and intimidating. Or taking your kids to church with an unsupportive husband at home. It could be starting your own business and leaving the comfort of your current job. It could be moving across the country with no job...just faith. Sharing your testimony. Volunteering. Praying out loud. Inviting someone new over. Learning a new skill...
Any step you take outside your comfort zone and in the will of God will lead to your destiny for the Kingdom!

>Sometimes the change is forced- losing a job, graduating from college, etc.. 
   Other times it is an opportunity- stay where I am (comfy cozy) or take a chance on a change. 
     At times, it feels very natural..other times it is scary as HECK! 
...and if you let the FEAR, PRIDE, INSECURITY...keep you from obedience and change- you will not find your God Given destiny- your Jeremiah 29:11. I absolutely believe that. We must take a risk with the Lord. Here is what I know; He is not boring. He is not comfortable. He is not exclusive. He is not predictable. He is not small. HE IS..Mighty, Powerful, Adventurous, Eternal, Provider, King, Creator, Merciful, Healer, Wise. LOVE. His resources are endless and His calling comes with sacrifice..mostly to ourselves and acceptance in this world. We must put on our Eternal Perspective and leave our comfort zone so that we WILL BE mighty for the kingdom of Heaven...Eternity! His will is NOT for us to stay the same...He makes ALL things new..He is in the business of change! 

Take the first step, ONE STEP, outside of your comfort zone. Whatever that is, it starts with one step. He is so sweet how He will baby step us from small obedience to large obedience- ultimately leading us to Destiny. It is in those baby steps that we have the faith built up to take the leaps

How do you know if the change is God's will?
> Does it line up with His Word? i.e. it will not be sinful, it will not be harmful to others, it will not be for your glory- He will get the glory. 
> Wise Counsel: Has anyone who is in the word, filled with His Spirit expressed legitimate concern about the change? If so- don't take that lightly. Likewise, if a wise person endorses the change-don't take that lightly. 
> Prayer: Do you feel at peace about the change or is your spirit a MESS about it? He is the Prince of Peace. Seek him and ask for His peace. If you do not have a peace..wait until you do or ask Him for another plan.
> Is it pleasing to God or to the world? 
> Will you bear fruit? Does it encourage/teach/utilize Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self Control? 

Join me in this girls- lets focus on taking one step out of our comfort zone every day! It will only come with blessings! I fight the urge to nestle in to my little suburban bubble EVERY DAY- it is a battle to step out of that comfort zone- You can do it and so can I! Let's change the world by popping the bubble- shall we?!? 

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