There are times when I look back, not so far back to places that I see clearly the victory that God has done in my life, but looking back to places where I have been weak. Times that I have talked harshly to the people I love, times when I have totally messed up worship leading, times when I play all the wrong notes while playing in the band are the moments where I do not see the victory, only the failure.
Today, this verse is a blatant reminder for me to forget those past mistakes and trust in the grace and forgiveness of a God who loves so deeply that he sent His only son to be the remedy for my sin, a God who can take my blunders and mask them by the power of the Holy Spirit and use them for His glory. Today, I am reminded to forget what is behind and move forward to what lies ahead. And what lies ahead is good in Jesus Christ.
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Today, won't you stand with me as we press on toward the goal, the wonderful prize that God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus?
Whatever tempts you to peak backwards, lay it down at the foot of the cross…daily. I pray that whatever it may be, that it would be would lighter each day until you are able to forget it with ease.
Blessings, brothers & sisters!
I love you in the Lord,
Because the daily temps are well into the 100's here in Phoenix, AZ where I live, my hiking schedule in the summer has my alarm going off at 4:30 am so that I can be on the trail by 5am. Three days during the week, I meet a friend at the trail head so I have to be on time, but then there are days like today....
Today, the alarm went off, no one was waiting for me and I hit the snooze button about four times before I mustered enough energy to get out of bed. Finally, around 5:30am, I got up, got moving and was on the trail at 6am.
But, at 6am, the sun had already risen and the air was quickly heating up so the hike was more intense and more taxing on my body as I made my way through the winding trials and steadily (and sometimes rapidly) climbed the mountain. How I wished I had gotten up an hour earlier, but at that point it was too late and I had to power through the ascent.
Regardless of my prior relationship with the snooze button, I was moving, but the delay just made what I had to do a bit more difficult and a bit more dehydrating. Which leads me to this question...
Do you ever feel like you're hitting the snooze button? You know, the snooze button of life? As I reflected on this, I know there are times and areas in my life that I do. I think about the plans that I have to reach out to my neighbor, to call that friend I haven't talked to in a while, the songs I want to write, the people I want to help, the places I want to volunteer and the areas I want to serve. Yet, what do I find myself doing? You guessed it, hitting the snooze button and telling myself "I will do it later, I just need a few more minutes (which sometimes turns into months) before I get up and go."
The reality is the longer we hit life's snooze button, the more likely the alarm is to get stuck and soon it just stops going off at all. The nudging to move is silenced from neglect. Oh, that we would respond quickly when the alarm goes off, the alarm in our spirit that propels us to love, to serve, to respond and to move SO THAT others will know the love of Christ before He returns.
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming. Joel 2:1-3
I pray that what was learned today will remind us of the urgency of the call and I hope that the bee sting I got on top of the mountain this morning, that I am convinced I would not have gotten if I would have been there an hour earlier, will remind me to get up when the alarm goes off.
This article originally appeared on Deliberate Women (deliberateowmen.org) July 3, 2015
written by, Mia Koehne
“Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it!” Have you ever heard that or some variation of this sentiment before, or better yet has anyone ever said that to you? I don't really have a problem with "taking it", but please don’t fact check this with my husband. In my defense, I only use the pouty lip as a tool of self expression and creativity, not weakness.
I’ve learned over the years though life experiences (and the music industry) to grow a pretty thick skin and not take critique and opinions too personally. As a friend once said to me “let it roll, like water off the back of a duck.” So when things come at me, I repeat the words “water off the back of a duck, water off the back of the duck” and then I tend to waddle on.
What I do have a more difficult time with is this “You can take it, but you can’t dish it out!” This reversal of the old saying in my life is referring to GRACE.
I can take all the grace people are willing to give, but when it comes to extending that grace to others when they repeatedly irritate me, repeatedly say the rudest things and continually get under my skin, finding the grace in those situations tends to come a bit more slowly. Those are the times when I need to dig a little deeper and dish out what has so generously been served to me.
Do I do this perfectly every time? No, but ironically that’s when I need His grace even more in order to extend it. It’s a never ending cycle. Dish it up and serve it out.
Are you anything like me? Do you struggle to show grace to the people that need it most. Not the ones where it comes easily, but to the ones that challenge you, push your buttons, take more than they give….you know, the ones that down right get on your LAST nerve?
The reality is that there are times when I am THAT person. There are times when YOU are that person too. In those times, I am glad that people chose to show me grace so that I could learn to show grace to others.
May I challenge you today, to serve grace. Set it out on a beautiful platter and enjoy the feast. Your preparation of this main course may just teach someone else how to cook, how to dish it out and how to take it in
Lately, (and mostly because it's summer in Phoenix and if you are not up early, it's way to hot to be outside) I have been fascinated by the sunrise. Aside from the beauty of it, I love the beautiful picture that it paints in our lives. It is a picture of second chances, a picture of newness, a picture that reminds us of God's faithfulness to do a new thing.
I'm not sure what time the sun rises where you are, but can I encourage you to rise early one day, drive to a place where there are no obstructions and just breath it in. Take in all that the sunrise, the new light, the new day, the faithfulness of God has to offer.
I think you will be blessed.
I pray that the newness of each day would be an encouragement to you in all that you go through in life.
Enjoy a few of my sunrise moments and feel free to share some of yours!
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
"Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun."
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
"His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.
His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand,
Aside from being a wife, mother, singer, songwriter, traveling worship leader, speaker, writer, and newspaper editor, I have another job. My official title is Business and Community Relations Director. It's a fitting title as I love building relationships and I love the organization, Extreme Faith Productions, that I get to work with.
One of the biggest events that we do is this week! It's called ELEVATE and it's a three day music festival in Prescott Valley, AZ, with some of the top artists and bands in the Christian Music Industry. It's a blast and extremely exhausting. As part of the planning team, this event can also test the limits of one's patience.
This past week I came across a powerful quote on one of my favorite social media platforms,Twitter, and it has been running through my head like a tape recorder. And honestly, the playback feature on these words have made me a much nicer person to be around.
If you are struggling to be patient with others this week (or anytime in the near future) may I share these words with you.
"Patience means adjusting my speed to someone else's pace.
It's another way to show God's love to another."
I have found that when I want to move faster with the vendors and businesses that I am dealing with frustration subsides when I simply slow myself down and adjust my pace. When we walk at the same pace it is miraculous how in-time we are and how well we communicate. That's the pace where harmony happens.
May you hear the sweet melody of patience this day, the harmony as you slow your speed to another's pace. And through it, may you show God's love in simple and magnificent ways.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12
If you know me fairly well, one thing you've found out is that I am anti-Hallmark Holidays and anti-made up holidays. I'm not a fan of Valentines day in the respect that people are made to feel like they "have to" buy cards, presents and chocolate. I love my Mom and always call her on Mothers Day, but I have no desire for people to go out and spend money on me to tell me they love me. I already know they do.
So, when June 8th rolled around and my friend sent me a very celebratory text message telling me that it was National Best Friends Day, I thought to myself "ok", but then I started to reflect on the friendships God has weaved into my life. So many.
Then it happened, I got all Verklempt and started posting pictures of those gals that were my lifelong BFF's (Best Friends Forever).
But here's the thing, I call many people friends. Friends because God has in someway connected me with them. I call you who read this, friend, as we are connected through words, hearts and prayers. I have several dear friends who I have spent countless hours with, struggled with and rejoiced with. Then I have a very small group of friends that have been so instrumental in my life that I truly do call them my Best Friends Forever, my BFF's.
Ironically these are also the women that I see the least amount of time, have the fewest selfies with, live the farthest from and talk to less than most. Yet, these are the women who love me and whom I love through time and distance. These are the women, that when we get together after MONTHS/YEARS of not seeing each other, do not miss a beat. These are the women who know they are loved by me and the women I know love me, NO MATTER WHAT!
My sweet friend Margaret, who I lived next-door to since I was six weeks old has never left my side. She has been there through it all. Loved me even when I was crazy off my rocker. It has been the sweetest of friendships that has spanned my entire life.
My precious high-school friends Ellen and Lori are the two girls who took me in when I abandoned my regular lunch-room table (high-school drama) and loved me. Two girls that pretty much taught me most of what I know about music and ministry. Above that, they both lived life with me during those crazy High-school years and beyond.
So in honor or this completely sappy made up holiday, I encourage you to reflect on the friendships you have been given...life long, or simply so deep it feels like you have know each other forever (I could list several more like that.)
Take time to pray for these special people or that special person in your life, that God would continue to guard your relationship and bless it for the years to come.