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Why Not Say ‘Yes’?

9 Jan

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, two young church members were going door to door to invite people to visit their services. When they knocked on one door, it was immediately clear the woman who answered was not happy to see them.

She told them in no uncertain terms that she did not want to hear their message, and before they could say anything more, she slammed the door in their faces. To her surprise, however, the door did not close; in fact, it bounced back open.

She tried again, really putting her back into it, and slammed it again with the same result – the door bounced back open.

Convinced these rude young people were sticking their foot in her door, she reared back to give it a slam that would teach them a lesson.

Just then, one of them said quietly: “Ma’am, before you do that again, you really need to move your cat.” [1]

CatStuckInDoor_cropped_LOL

For many years, opportunities knocked on my door and I refused to answer. Even some opportunities I believe came from the Lord.

I was either too afraid to get out of my comfort zone, too afraid of what people might say if I “blew it” or too afraid of failure.

I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t a Bible verse that inspired me to answer those doors. It was a movie. And I didn’t even see the movie.

I read a review about a silly Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man.”

In the 2008 film, based on a book by Danny Wallace, Carrey’s charactera lonely manattended a motivational seminar and heard the speaker tell the audience, “Say ‘yes’ to everything.” The exercise was designed to build self-confidence and greater purpose.

According to the review, Carrey’s character acquired new skills as he continued to say “yes”which leads to a happier life.

For me, a Christian, saying “yes” means a lot more, especially when it involves the Lord. It’s a matter of obedience, regardless of my fears and potential discomfort.

When opportunities come, I still pray for discernment and check to be sure the opportunity doesn’t violate scripture, but then I pray, “Lord, I’m going for this unless you give me a clear ‘no’ or ‘wait.'”

Refusing to walk through doors God prepares for us means we’re willing to settle for the blessings of the past.

God told Israel:

“. . . I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

God, the Creator, may want to do something new in and through us! And He will strengthen us for whatever He calls us to do (Ephesians 3:16).

Canadian author Connie Cavanaugh wrote a book in 2011 that gave me more insight for my new-found “say yes” freedom.

In Following God One Yes at a Time, she wrote (emphasis mine),

“Fear can become a barrier behind which we cower, too afraid to say the next yes. Or fear can be the pathway on which we move forward, one yes at a time, perhaps slowly and painfully, but hand-in-hand with God.

“Every time we choose to believe God and say ‘yes’ with our feet,” Connie said, “a brick comes off the wall fear built and gets placed squarely in front of us to become a stepping-stone that takes us toward fulfillment of God’s dream for us.” (2)

Connie explained the kind of follow-ship that leads to fulfillment of our dreams and God’s will for us. “Following him,” she said, “requires the simple trust and immediate obedience of a child who believes God will make the way to Him simple, immediate and possible.” (3)

I still have so much more to learn about following God, but now I’m eager to say “Yes!”

In fact my focus word for 2015 is “dauntless,” which means “fearless determination.” I’m determined to walk through every door God opens with fearless faith and freedom!

How about you? Are you ready to walk through the doors God opens for you?

Is there a door you’re refusing to walk through right now? If so, what is keeping you from obedience and a fresh adventure with God?

(1) “Prospecting for the Lord,” http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/jokes/christianjokes.html
(2) Connie Cavanaugh, Following God One Yes at a Time (Harvest House Publishers, 2011), pp 150-151.
(3) Cavanaugh, ibid., p. 14.

Opening God’s Gift of Laughter

31 Aug

Mary Poppins visited a hotel and asked the receptionist for room service. She selected Cauliflower Cheese for Silhouette - Mary Poppinsher dinner, and decided to go ahead and order breakfast in bed for the next morning, too ~ a couple of poached eggs.

The next morning, as she checked out, the same receptionist asked her if she slept well.

“Yes, thank you.” Mary replied.

“Food to your liking?” the receptionist asked.

“Well, I have to say that the cauliflower cheese was exceptional. I don’t think I have had better. Shame about the eggs, though,” Mary replied truthfully.

“We are always looking to improve our service and would value your opinion,” the receptionist said. So Mary scribbled a comment into the Guest Comments book as she checked out. Curious, the receptionist picked up the book to read Mary’s comment:

“Supercauliflowercheesebuteggswerequiteatrocious!” (1)

Pam came across a devotional from Crosswalk recently. It was written by Leslie Snyder and titled “Laughter.”  Snyder wrote, “One of our family’s favorite songs is from the musical Mary Poppins. ‘I Love to Laugh‘ is sprinkled with laughter and often begins a contagious wave of the giggles. The lyrics give a bit of insight into this silly gift of laughter:

“When things strike me as funny, I can’t hide it inside
And squeak – as the squeakelers do – I’ve got to let go with a ho-ho-ho… And a ha-ha-ha…too!

“We love to laugh Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh So ev’rybody can hear
The more you laugh The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee The more we’re a merrier we.” (2)

Have you seen that scene?” As Ed Wynn, Dick Van Dyke, and Julie Andrews sang with infectious laughter, I (Dawn) laughed along with them. Who wouldn’t?  There’s nothing like joy and laughter ~ and of all people, Christians should be most joyous.

Over the past year, since the release of our book, LOL with God, I’ve thought about laughter a lot.  I’ve also considered the emotions of Jesus many times. Pam and I noted in our book (on pp. 241-242 ~ “The Last Laugh”), that we thought Jesus wasn’t just “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), but He Jesus' Angerwas flesh and blood (John 1:14). He displayed real human emotions like righteous anger (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 3:5) and sorrow (John 11:33-35).

Jesus felt things just like you and I do, but His emotions (unlike ours so often) were always based in His holy character; and, because of His dual nature, He didn’t see things as we see them.

As the Son of God, He grieved over things that we might miss, like His Jesus weepinganguish over the unbelief of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), or His unusual sense of “joy” that came with eternal perspective. The Bible says, “for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus rejoiced in his impending death because He “saw” the resurrection ahead and what it would mean for you and me!

We wrote in LOL with God, “Jesus, though fully God, was also fully human. He was an extraordinary human, and we think He must have had wonderful moments of laughter as He walked this earth.”

Wise Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 3:3, “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh,” and surely Jesus knew that scripture.

Lazarus & His Sisters

Joy at Lazarus' Resurrection!

I love to imagine the wide swing of emotions He had at the death and resurrection of His friend, Lazarus, all within a short period of time (John 11:1-44). Imagine His pained, sorrowful expression, hearing of Lazarus’ death, perhaps smiling at Martha’s confession of faith (v. 27), being moved with compassion by her sister Mary’s words, weeping over Lazarus (vv. 29-35), and then the joy there must have been in restoring Lazarus to his precious sisters.

Although there is no scripture that is specific in saying Jesus laughed, on several occasions in His ministry He showed that He had a sense of humor when He made funny comparisons. He talked about a splinter versus a beam (Matthew 7:4) and a gnat versus a camel (Matthew 23:24)

Jesus led a purposeful life, and no doubt part of His manifestation of the glory of God was to show the complete joy of a right relationship with the Father and the outworking of His will. For example, Jesus expressed great joy when Continue reading

Tough Mom Love

6 May

What did your mom teach you?

My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION… “Just wait until your father gets home.”

My Mother taught me LOGIC... “If you fall out off that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

My Mother taught me HUMOR… “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

My Mother taught me about JUSTICE… Some day you will have kids . . .

Being a mom is a blessed calling—and sometimes a tough one. Often we moms function on too Stressed Mommylittle sleep and too little in the checkbook. When a mom is under stress, she can sometimes look for ways to escape or numb the stress or pain: TV reality shows, drinking, pain killing medication, too much comfort food,  or we allow the stress to build until it erupts in anger onto our family. None of those options help lower stress, rather, they erode a mother’s life and will actually raise the stress and pain.

Good news!  God has a plan to help us moms out.  He can make us tougher than life and  stronger than whatever our kids might drag in the door (snake, bug or worse ~ a teenage bad attitude!)

Check out a few of the many promises God gives:

  • Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
  • But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
  • The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save . . .  (Zeph 3:17)

This summer, we are running an LOL with God book club so you can have a SONsational summer. Women from all around the world are buying and committing to read the LOL with God devotional from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Click here to order LOL with God devotional or to learn more details so you and your friends can join us. (Sign up for free “Splash of Hope” ~  daily, quick,  and fun encouragements and ideas to help you LOL all summer.)

As a reminder that being a mom might be tough, but God can help us become tougher than life, here is a humorous video called “Tha Muthahood” from Anita Renfroe (who is a regular comedian for both Women of Faith and Good Morning America). Her parody is not a theological statement, rather some comic relief on our road to becoming “One Tough Mother” (a book by Pam’s friend, Julie Barnhill).

Note from Dawn:  Leave a comment about how your mom showed you tough love, and I will randomly pick one person to receive a copy of  One Tough Mother.

Remember, our kids might be strong willed, but our God is stronger! 

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