Boots, Diamonds and Denim

 In celebration of our 18 wedding anniversary today, this simple poem is for my wonderful wife, my best friend and most beautiful gift – and to have a little fun with her too 🙂

Since the first day she stole my heart, she has been a sweet dose of southern sunshine – bringing warmth, light and joy into my life. So, how can you tell when you might have found some southern sunshine too?

Well, what she wears might be a clue,
But remember to look beyond those boots, diamonds and denim.
For what exists down deep is where the real “Son” shines through:

Boots: She’s tough enough to tread over the roughest terrain
And put up with you when your mood is a drain.
She’s not afraid to get dirty and is built to last.
But this is no pre-madonna, or diva. She’s bold, with an appeal that comes from what she represents – best in class (Proverbs 31:17).

Diamonds: She’s not easily found.
For this treasure can only be forged over time and not simply lying around.
Her worth is greater than gold and her beauty beyond compare.
How precious she is! So, dig deep –
For she doesn’t thrive among the shallow, or near the junk heap (Proverbs 3:15).

Denim: Reliable comfort that fits like a glove.
She is soft, yet durable – and trustworthy as the Holy dove.
She perseveres through all kinds of weather.
She’s genuine, all-American and oh so true,
But these are only a few of the reasons I’m thankful God brought us together (Proverbs 31:25).

Application: “Rays Of Praise” – Proverbs 31:31
Indeed, it’s not often when a lady like this comes around.
So, care for her gallantly and praise God daily for her love.
For she’s a gift from heaven, whose heart is true,
And looks like a dream in her boots, diamonds and denim too!

C.I.A. Operatives

imageChristians have a mission, purpose and directive handed down by God. Yet, if we aren’t careful, discouragements, doubts, and/or distractions can cause us to detract from our divine duties. Thankfully, God provides the means to keep His C.I.A. operatives operational:

Christ: Without Christ, we are lost. However, since we have Him, we have everything we need to resist temptation, maintain hope and live courageously (Philippians 4:13). However, like any relationship, if we fail to spend consistent time with Him through proactive initiatives like prayer, worship and studying His Word, we inadvertently invite the discouragement, distractions and doubts we distain.

Integrity: When we pursue intimacy with Christ, He thereby sharpens our integrity. As mentioned in earlier posts, the word integrity is derived from the root word, integer, which is a whole number. Thus, integrity is undivided and is representative of wholeness and unity. Therefore, when we are unified with Christ, we are also unified with His priorities, purposes, passions and responsibilities to live the lives of integrity He calls us to (John 17:21).

Action: When we are unified with the purposes of Christ, we can’t help but live lives of action. We are not those that “sit, soak and sour”. Instead, we are those who desire to worship Christ, share fellowships, pursue passionate prayers and go to work as He directs and secures our ways (John 9:4).

Application: “Ego Check” – Luke 18:14
Although the providence of God is over everything and nothing is out of His control, we will not be used fully by God until we are fully surrendered. This is because we can’t see the opportunities He sends our way when we are in the way! Fortunately, God loves us way too much to allow any self-sufficiency to remain – and when we forgo the ego, the opportunities of heaven are invited to flow!

Evidence

imageIf evidence helps prove, or disprove something, it stands to reason the Holy Spirit would provide evidence to the power of Christ to both encourage our walk and promote Himself to others. Some of these ways include:

Faith Growing: Just like an athlete proactively trains to build muscle and maintain optimum performance, we too must enter “God’s gym” to maximize the faith we’ve been given. After-all, how can we assume believing in Jesus is all that is required of us when it is only the beginning? Consider – how many Christians do we know rarely open their Bibles, rarely attend church fellowships and/or rarely give their time, talent, or tithe to any ministry? Clearly, the Holy Spirit desires our faith to grow, but we also play a part (2 Peter 3:18). For like the premier athlete, we too must commit to the work, the sacrifice and the goal with heartfelt determination, void of mediocrity and distraction.

Love Increasing: It’s easy to dismiss those who disagree with us, persecute and despise our faith. As a result, some of us back down from such aggression, while others plunge eagerly into savage war zones. Yet, how many have been won to Christ through reciprocated violence, or passive-aggression? What’s so amazing about our Savior is that He forgave those who viciously crucified Him and willingly entered such violation in obedience to God’s profound love for the “world”. How can we possibly love this way? Clearly, it’s impossible without the power of the Spirit. Therefore, as our faith grows, so does our love. We begin to pray for our enemies, seek to share Christ in all we do, and desire to win souls for the Kingdom, despite their sins – remembering that without Christ, we too were just as vile (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Perseverance Enduring: When I jog, there are days I feel light as a feather, but other times I feel like my feet are shackled with iron. However, I dare not stop. For I know I can finish the race, because I have done so several times before. Likewise, God doesn’t allow anything to come our way He won’t help us finish and overcome. Therefore, do we believe this truth to confidently propel us forward (Hebrews 10:35-36)? If so, our perseverance will endure despite our feelings.

Application: “What Goes In, Must Come Out” Matthew 7:24
If we indulge in cake, cola, cigarettes and candy after every workout, what progress could we possibly make in improving and promoting good health? Likewise, as believers, we must be diligent with what we allow ourselves to absorb in order to mature spiritually. Therefore, we must consistently pursue Biblical truth for every aspect of our life and actively apply it. If we do, God promises we will be wise and the glory of Jesus Christ will radiate in our lives as evidence for all to see.

Searching For Something Substantial

imageThe stock market goes up and then drops down. Jobs come and then they go. Families come together, and unfortunately, some break up. Addictions destroy lives and our stress levels continue to rise. With so many things being uncertain, we all desperately seek for something substantial we can rely on. And although many false substitutes are offered, only Jesus Christ has the power to bring peace amidst all these storms and more:

Introduction: There is always an introduction made, no matter the substance. Whether it be the promise of big money, promotions, or pleasure, the substance being introduced comes with incitements. With Jesus, the attractions are many, including eternal life, internal peace and divinely inspired perspective and purpose. However, the costs are also clear – complete surrender and sacrifice of self (Luke 9:23). This is where many unfortunately veer off. I know this was once true for me. I believed in Jesus and wanted His benefits, but wasn’t ready to make Him my Lord. Thankfully, He graciously wised me up before I self destructed and wasted my divine calling.

Invitation: The realization of complete sacrifice and surrender is simple to understand, but can be hard to do, and as a result, many unfortunately decide not to accept the invitation after the introduction is made. This is also where the false substances begin to reap their success. For in the wake of refusing Christ’s invitation, lay the war torn consequences of lives separated from God. There is no shelter, no refuge, no amount of money, no amount of power that can keep us from the desolation of sin. Only Jesus can do that, and accepting His invitation gives us purpose both in and out of the storms (John 10:10).

Integration: When we accept God’s invitation, we become integrated into His family (Galatians 3:26). We become His children and receive our inheritance from the King of Kings. We also gain clarity in our Divine calling. We realize and accept that all things pass through God and learn to trust that with Him, all things work together for good.

Application: “Multiplicity” – Acts 12:24
As believers, we are entrusted with a precious gift. The gift of Jesus and all He offers. We are also entrusted with the blessed opportunity to share this free gift with all the world. To go forth and multiply the gift, over and over again – bringing the Good News wherever we go and with whomever we encounter. May we never hoard, or hide such a treasure. Rather, let’s rally to the calling and rejoice in the opportunities for multiply fellowships, prayer, praise and proclamations!