Identity Crisis: Who am I and what did you do with ME???

There is always much talk of my “rights” and “identity” in the world today.  People claim many rights that are, well… plainly put, just wrong. The right to abortion, the right to marry someone of the same sex, the right to “self-fulfillment”.

We hear the question posed: how do you “identify” yourself?  This determination is often made by your sexuality, race, gender, personality, nationality, family of origin, profession, talent, achievements…the list goes on.

Right now, STOP for a moment and describe yourself. What is in the list that identifies who you are?

NOW, let me pose THIS question:

IF ANY OF THESE WERE TAKEN FROM YOU, WHERE WOULD YOUR IDENTITY COME FROM?

Makes you stop and wonder, right? Good.  I am writing this to provoke you to determine and know with confidence WHO YOU ARE.

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“Ray” grew up playing sports.  At 6’6″ tall, he was your classic “jock”. Predictably, he achieved a scholarship to play basketball at the college level. “Ray” comes from an upper middle class home in a Houston suburb, parents divorced in his early teens, and he lived with his father after that. The affirmation that “Ray” received from his dad always came based on his performance. If he did well on the court, his dad was proud. His identity was founded in what he did and based on the perception/affirmation of others.  Once he became a student at University of Oklahoma, a different world was made available to him and he indulged in gambling, drugs and alcohol.  All of this affected his ability to play sports.  Suddenly, he was not the person that everyone knew him to be.  Now, his identity shifted to “the bookie”, “the pothead”, “the drunk”.

I paint this picture for you to show you that we cannot define ourselves by things that can be stripped away from us in a moment. Circumstances change, injuries happen, the economy fails, we age, and we fail. If I am defined by what I do, then at any given moment my identity will change from champion to loser.

CommittedWe have just begun a new sermon series at Powerhouse Church called “In Christ ~ Discover Your Rights”.  When someone says they are “in Christ”, what does that mean?

If I say that I am IN the pool, that means the pool surrounds me.  If I say that I am IN the house, that means the roof covers me, the walls surround me, etc.  If I am IN my clothes, the clothes cover me.  So…to be IN Christ means that He surrounds me, covers me, and I am decreased. In order to be IN something, I must be smaller than that which I am placing myself into.

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When we identify as a “Christian” we are saying that we are IN Christ.  How does that translate?

As I was listening to our pastor describe “putting on Christ”, these Scriptures flooded my heart and mind:

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He has DRESSED me with salvation and given me a ROBE of righteousness.  The prophet Isaiah compares this to a bride and her wedding day…one of the most monumental days in the life of a woman or man.  There’s more…

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 2.00.45 PMThis verse implies that I have a part in being IN Christ as well as a choice about what I do.  WHAT???  It’s not just saying a prayer, He puts His robe on me and then I’m walking around looking like Him?

Imagine that you are a queen [you ARE!].  You have many visitors and ambassadors from other countries who come to meet with you.  One such visitor asked to wear your crown.  You allow it.  She walks around with the crown on, though she has not been schooled in etiquette, customs, laws, or politics.  Would you allow her to make decisions on your behalf and use your name to exercise authority? Because she is wearing the crown, does that make her an heir to the throne?  No.  In order to be an heir, you must be in covenant with the family.

When we are IN Christ, we are made righteous.  If we choose to “put off” Christ and “put on” the old man, then we become unrighteous.  So many today are seeking individualism and identity by what they do or how they feel.  But IN Christ, we are to walk by FAITH and by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

I would love to hear from you.  Let me know how this post provoked you to IDENTIFY yourself.

Watch Your Mouth Girl: 5 Things I Wish I Didn’t Say

I am the Queen of the Big Mouth…at least I was.  Hey…sanctification is a process!  I am the person who thought that if it was true, then I should say it. I am also the person who believed that I always had all the answers. As I grow and mature and move forward in my walk with Christ [yes…I am a Christian…but don’t let that stop you, read on!], I am learning that I don’t always have the voice that needs to be heard.

Here are FIVE statements I wish I had not ever made, in no particular order [however you’re welcome to rate them]

1.  “YES” [when I wanted to say NO!]

We do not have to participate in EVERYTHING.  It is so easy to say yes and be a people-pleaser.  What happens?  We over-extend ourselves and live a life of chaos.  This is a distraction of the enemy.  He wants to get you so focused on pleasing man that you don’t please God.  He will get you so busy that you are not productive.  You are always late, nothing gets finished, you are completely overwhelmed and then what happens?  You just QUIT!  Don’t let this be you.  Be honest. If the answer is NO, then let it be NO. You do not want to have to go back on your word.  Your word is your bond. Follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.

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2.  “God won’t give you more than you can handle. Suck it up.”

I said this more than once in my immaturity.  Here is what Scripture actually says in 1 Cor 10:13:

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

God’s grace is sufficient.  He gives us MORE than we can handle so that we are dependent on Him and He is glorified in the victory. We allow Him to handle…we are to stand firm on His Word, His Promises.

God's Promises

I love when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Jesus had just been affirmed by The Father.  He is about to begin His ministry.  He has been fasting.  He is weak…and temptation comes. The devil tempts Christ in trying to have Him do something that is contrary to the nature of God. The enemy played on His natural weakness, not accounting for His spiritual strength. What Did Jesus Do? [WDJD]  He gave Him the Word…He fought with His Sword. In temptation, we must do the same.  He shows us a way out…[wisdom]…so that we can endure. His grace is sufficient and His power works best in weakness [2 Cor 12:9].  I have committed Scripture to memory so that when temptation comes, I can battle spiritually.  Praying in tongues is another weapon in my arsenal.  The devil can’t understand this heavenly language.

3.  “I would NEVER _____________”

No matter WHAT you fill in the blank, this is condemnation.  Anytime I use the word ‘never’ or ‘always’ it should only be in reference to Jesus because He is the only perfect One.  These words are drenched in finality and eternity.  I help lead our prolife ministry at Powerhouse Church in Katy, Texas.  We go out to Planned Parenthood at least once a month.  I train volunteers to counsel on the sidewalk.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard them say TO ME “I just don’t understand how a woman could ever have an abortion.”  I DO NOT put these people on the sidewalk. If they would stand and tell me this [I have HAD an abortion] I can’t gauge what will come out of their mouth in front of a fearful, abortion-minded woman.  These words pierce past scar tissue directly to the heart and create new wounds. We must learn to be compassionate and loving, we don’t ever know the battle that someone is waging.

A better way: start with a testimony of a time when you did something really depraved. This evens the ground and breaks the silence. Many times the Holy Spirit places people in front of us because He wants us to testify to His goodness.  It is His goodness that draws men [and women] to repentance.  When we draw a line with ‘never’ and ‘always’ we exclude or isolate.  We separate ourselves from a sinner when we act ‘self-righteous’.  Don’t EVER forget where you came from.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

~ Psalm 40:1-3

This ^ is one of my favorite passages of Scripture and keeps me grounded. I am reminded often that “There but for the grace of God go I.”

4.  ANYTHING…[sometimes I just wish I had said NOTHING]

Listening is a ministry.  [NOT eavesdropping or gossiping] There are so many times when I wish I had just listened and not said a word. If you listen long enough, you will hear the need. I must submit and surrender my judgments, assumptions, prejudices and experiences and ‘get in their boat’. I have found that as the person confesses the hurt or transgression, the Holy Spirit begins to bring to their remembrance the Truth and they are set free without my “assistance”. Just being present and representing Christ is enough sometimes.

5.  NOTHING…[other times I should have spoken up]

I have carried offense because I would not go to a person and tell them the truth. This root of bitterness harmed ME, not the other person. Time does not heal all wounds, JESUS DOES.  Confession comes by way of the mouth, not osmosis.  We must open our mouths and speak about the hurts we carry.  Healing begins because of the exposure. The devil has no power over the transgression once the light shines on it.I have also watched someone fall deeper into depravity because I was more concerned about whether they would be angry with me than what the Holy Spirit was telling me. If we love our neighbor, we will be an example of Christ’s love.  We may not have to SAY anything, but our actions proclaim boldly the Truth that binds us.  IF the moment comes when you do need to speak up, don’t stifle the unction of the Spirit.  Let Him guide you and get out of the way. He is a Wonder-Worker! Words as smooth as velvet have flowed from my lips and I had no idea where they came from because I allowed Him to use me and be a mouthpiece for God and He got ALL the glory…because I am just NOT THAT SWEET 🙂

This list could go on and on and on…until next time, leave me a comment of something that YOU may have said that you only wish you could take back. I would love to hear from you!

2014 Election: Hope Rising

I am encouraged by the results of the 2014 midterm elections.  For the first time in 8 years, the House of Representatives and the Senate are both PROLIFE.  I don’t know about you, but that sparks hope inside of me!

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I voted for the first time in the 2008 presidential election. This was ONE YEAR before I made Jesus Lord of my life.  At that time, I am quite embarassed but will be transparent and tell you that I voted for Barack Obama believing that he would deliver change…and honestly, for an example of just how shallow I was: I was excited that a black man [well…kind of black] was running for president [YES, I can admit it…I was one of THOSE people].  I believed that he could shake things up a bit in Washington.  I believed that he had an ear for the people.  I was really temporally focused and selfish.  I had a career in healthcare [laboratory technology] so that was a big priority in my life.  Many of my patients did not have insurance coverage and it was frustrating to say the least.  Obama made comprehensive health care reform the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.  He promised:

  • To facilitate health care coverage for nearly all Americans [he changed his tune on individual mandates to suit Congress]
  • To provide subsidies for people who cannot afford insurance
  • Implement consumer protections
  • Boost federal funding for prevention and wellness programs,
  • Give tax credits to small businesses that provide their employees with health coverage
  • Implement health information technology systems.

I believed that Barack Obama was going to innoculate the country with HOPE.  Here is one bold faced lie: “If you’ve got health insurance through your employer, you can keep your health insurance, keep your choice of doctor, keep your plan,” Mr. Obama said in his Oct. 15, 2008 debate against McCain. “The only thing we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.”

Looking back…well, just watch for yourself and see how blinded I was.  This is long, however it is well worth the watch if you have time:

I made a lot of excuses for my patients because I made a lot of excuses for myself.  My desire was not to empower them but I simply was enabling them and sympathizing rather than empathizing. TODAY…I stand for righteousness.  I have a biblical worldview and my heart has been transformed.  I stand on two key issues when determining who I vote for: abortion and the sanctity of marriage. I am PROLIFE and I believe that marriage is for a man and a woman.  This determines who I vote for. I have been schooled.

If I could teach one thing to young people or those who may not have ever voted either out of ignorance or complacency, it would be this:

Define what is important to YOU.  Really determine what your convictions are and what you want to stand on.  Make sure it is a firm foundation and not sinking sand.  Some things are constant and others are forever changing.  Make sure you base your decisions on righteousness.

Let me know what is important to you…and what you think of this year’s results.

Let’s Get Naked: 7 Things Your Husband Wants You to Know

Ok…It’s not what you think!!! Did I get your attention?  LOL  I hope so.  I want to share a few things that I have learned about how to be a better wife.  Have you ever just wondered [but didn’t ask] “What does my husband want???”

We can ALL improve, right?  None of us have perfect marriages.  We all argue, we all disagree, we all get irritated, we all have that P word: P-R-I-D-E.

Humility is what is left when we are undressed of pride.  So, let’s get naked.  Here are 7 Things that your husband wants you to know:

1.  You don’t need to be one of the guys.  Release the death grip and let him have his “guy time”.  You don’t have to don the jersey, sight the weapon, or swing the club to spend quality time with your husband.  He likes to date you, not “hang” with you. He doesn’t want you COMPETING with him.  He wants you to COMPLETE him.
2.  He loves the touch of your soft skin and hands because they are in great contrast to the roughness of his.

3.  He likes that you smell like flowers and NOT motor oil or buck lure.

4.  He appreciates that you can’t color analyze the A&M game because it makes him seem like a genius when he does.  So, even if you CAN color analyze the game, DON’T!

5. YES, occasionally you indulge in his world but don’t beat him at his own game, even if you can.  That is disrespectful and it does nothing but deflate him. He wants to be YOUR champion and he cares more about what you think of him than anyone else. Be his cheerleader and let another man in his life be his coach.

6.  Let him be the head of your home and you be the heart.

7.  He wants to be the king of the castle. Don’t usurp his authority.  Don’t undermine him.  YOU are not always right, especially if it causes disagreement, then you are definitely WRONG.  STOP saying it’s him!

My point?  Be a lady.  THAT’S what he wants.  He loves your softness, your tenderness and most of all, he loves being needed. I’ve learned all of this the hard way but I believe it is because God wanted me to share it with YOU.  I was the world’s toughest tomboy, ex- Army soldier, and wanna-be lady boxer [yes, it’s true].  I haven’t lost my personality, but my character has been refined. I am not tupperware; I am fine china.

Christ makes ALL things new and today I am who He created me to be: the helpmate to my husband and I complete him.  I don’t try to compete with him. I despise shopping, having my nails done, pedicures, make up, jewelry, heels and bras [doesn’t everyone??]. I don’t enjoy any of these things and I am not trying to!  However, because I love my husband and he always compliments me when I make a little effort to look good for him, I will get my nails done FOR HIM, put on make up FOR HIM, accessorize with a LITTLE bling FOR HIM.  I don’t do it for YOU [I am not competing with you either] or even for me, but because I love my husband and I want him to have eyes for me.

Remember, your husband chose you.  Don’t forget and never deny the attraction that you have for each other.  He wants YOU and NO ONE else!

This post is meant to challenge us all to be better wives.  Chew on this little quote from genius Albert Einstein:
“We can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”