Opinions Are Like…

Posted September 26, 2017 by nessalynn77
Categories: Uncategorized

I’ve had a few experiences recently that have caused me to question something I’ve always accepted as true.  I love these moments that challenge my notions and why I feel the way I feel on certain subjects.

The idea that everyone has to have an opinion on every topic all the time sounds about right, especially since most of us are inclined to share our opinions on a wide range of subjects at any given moment.  But is it mandatory or necessary to even have (let alone share) an opinion all of the time?

We live in a world full of information, much of it delivered in a way that is intended to be inflammatory and invoke a response.  We also live in a world that rushes EVERYTHING often leaving me feeling compelled to respond even if I am not sure of all of the facts.  We watch video clips that spark outrage with no context, we read quotes attributed to well-known figures and make judgments about them, not even knowing if the source is reliable.  Sometimes I hear that still small voice saying, “Be patient, don’t rush to judgment”, but the pressure to respond, take a side or give an up or down vote is tremendous.  This is especially true if the argument or information is coming from someone you love and/or admire.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced a friend or loved one who is super excited about something they believe in, and as they explain it to you and search your face for excitement, support, validation etc., you feel the pressure mounting to give a positive response.  Or maybe you feel a responsibility to tell them the truth as you see it.  I would even go as far as to say that we’ve all been the one eagerly searching for that validation from someone whose opinion we value.

But let’s take a breath and roll it all back for a second.  It is the right of every person to FORM their own view of the world.  Often, forming that view is not instantaneous, but is rather a process over a period of time taken to gather all of the information.  It is also the right of every person to decide if the subject at hand is even worth taking that time and gathering that information.

I said all that to say, it is perfectly fine to withhold any commentary at all, or to say at any time, “I don’t have an opinion”, or “I don’t have an opinion to share at this time.”  I’m starting to see that becoming comfortable with this God given right and exercising it is wisdom operating at a very high level.  It is patience; it is discipline; it is wisdom.  Conversely, it is also all of those things to be able to respect another person who for their own reasons decides not to give an opinion or take a side, even when you are looking for that support or validation.

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him

– Proverbs 18:13

It can be very difficult and even troubling to withstand the pressure to take a side or give a premature judgment, as sometimes relationships seem to hang in the balance.  But it is much better to take the time to know all of the facts, or to accept that you don’t know all the facts, than to realize after the fact you have judged wrongly and rashly.   It’s shameful to have to backtrack from your own rash opinion, and doubly embarrassing to realize that you incorrectly held someone else’s opinion just because of who they are and not at all based on the merit of the issue itself.

I can think of no faster way to become irrelevant than to be exposed as a parrot of someone else’s thoughts and ideas with no true grasp of the actual situation at hand, and no true passion one way or the other.  It is harmful to yourself and your impact on the world around you to devalue your own ability to process information and reach your own conclusion.  There’s only one of you in the world, and we are deprived of YOU, if what you share is not really YOU but THEM.

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Lawlessness, the Intro

Posted August 27, 2017 by nessalynn77
Categories: Uncategorized

The Queen Life

Lawlessness is a “big picture concept” with many smaller and individual affects and effects. The Bible speaks about lawless behavior and the man of lawlessness. Here is a synopsis, as our intro to the concept.

jomar-thomas-271602 Photo by Jomar Thomas, Unsplash.com

#1: TO ACT OUT LAWLESSNESS, we become slaves to unbounded behavior. Lawlessness leads to more lawlessness. We completely give ourselves over to the disregard and disrespect of law, rule, and boundary. We live without bounds; anything goes. (See Romans 6:19 ESV)

#2: THE INTENTION OF THE LAW IS TOWARD: the lawless and disobedient, the ungodly and sinners, the unholy and profane, those who strike their parents, murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the Gospel. (See 1 Timothy 1:9-11 ESV) 

#3: THE LAW IS GOOD if one uses it lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8 ESV). If…

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Grace: Don’t Waste the Space

Posted January 30, 2017 by nessalynn77
Categories: Inspirational Thoughts, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

“What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid…” -Romans 6:1, 2a

Grace is oddly a much debated topic amongst believers.  It’s a simple but powerful and unique concept on which our salvation solidly rests. Without it, none of us would escape eternal damnation.  Such a small word contains in it the gospel of Jesus Christ and the great love of God for each an every one of us.

It’s no wonder we sometimes struggle to understand and explain this grace.  It is so different from any other earthly experience. Given so freely and extended so broadly, it leaves the average person looking for the strings attached.  Owing a debt that we could not pay, and at a time when we were least deserving, God extended his Love, sacrificed His only Son, bringing forgiveness, peace, and a brand new life, to anyone who simply accepts Him. That’s a lot to take in, and it’s only the beginning!  This grace flows constantly and continually to us as we live out the journey of understanding and fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.

So, in effect, grace is what allows us to get back on course with God, restoring a relationship that was severed by our sin.  Headed for certain death, grace performs a life-saving rescue operation and gives us clarity and access to get back to our rightful place and purpose– the purpose for which God created us and placed us on this earth at this particular time.  As if that is not amazing enough, it is grace that then gives us the awareness and opportunity to make the needed corrections to stay on course.

Think about it… the mistakes, bad decisions and outright detours from God’s plan that I’ve made since walking with Jesus, have without a doubt racked up enough repercussions and penalties to bury me so far under that I could never get back on track. Even after my best efforts, I haven’t done enough to deserve or earn the life that God desires and intends for me.

Enter his extraordinary grace!  Imagine embarking on the journey of a lifetime, finally understanding your direction and purpose and excited about your destination, only to miss a turn due to a momentary distraction, or make the wrong turn and end up lost in unfamiliar and dangerous territory.  Imagine being headed straight for  a steep cliff, unable to see the danger ahead because of the darkness all around.

God’s grace is so free and so abundant, that time after time as we so treacherously stray from the clear path He has laid before us, He affords us a safe space to turn around– a break in life’s traffic to get back on course.  His mercy holds back what we deserve and his grace gives us enough space to get back on course.  Because of the sheer abundance of grace, it is easy to take these opportunities for granted.  We often envision a God who exists only to rescue us from what we continually run back to.  But grace serves a crucial purpose that is far from indulging us in our weaknesses.  It does not exist to enable us to continue running from God and his will for our lives.  Instead, grace gives us opportunities that we would not otherwise have– a space that we couldn’t create or figure out on or own– because God loves us and wants us to experience a life so suited to who we are that only our Creator and Designer would know how to orchestrate such a perfect fit.

The moments of clarity where we can see that need to make changes, and the times we know without a doubt that we should have been harmed or destroyed by our choices, but instead escaped unscathed, these are the spaces created by grace.  They are openings in the narrow road headed in the wrong direction that give us enough space to turn around.  They are breaks in the constant traffic of life pushing us further away from our true course that allow us to stop and think about our position and direction, and where the road we are on is ultimately leading.

Don’t waste the space.  God is gracious and loving.  All of his warnings and every opportunity is a chance to avoid arriving at the wrong destination, one that he knows is ultimately destruction.

Thy Kingdom Come…

Posted June 26, 2015 by nessalynn77
Categories: Uncategorized

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17:20, 21

Today’s world is all about production, and maybe it was always that way.  People are drawn to commotion, fanfare, unusual display… be it good or bad, if there is something to see, people will flock to see it.  So our media is on a never ending quest to shock and surprise us, sometimes twisting a “nothing” story into an attention-grabbing headline, just to incite a response from readers, listeners or viewers who are hungry for the next big scandal or debate.  In this type of society, what is often lost is real substance and truth.  Seldom do you find a product, organization, or even a person that is as advertised.  All of the emphasis is placed on drawing us in, so much so that I’m not sure we are even disappointed any more when the actual content is empty and not fulfilling.  We just continue our search for the next “big thing”, and so spend our lives searching.

It’s no wonder that same mindset comes into play when dealing with God and his promises.  Instead of looking for substance and the practicality of the principles outlined in the word of God, we are drawn to the big production.  Smoke and mirrors, pomp and circumstance, the bigger the production the more authentic we believe it to be.  Jesus warned against this deception.  When asked about the coming of his kingdom, Jesus was always careful to point out that it wouldn’t be according to our natural expectations.  His first coming in such lowly fashion was a foreshadowing that God is not into the things that we are into.  We are awed by presentation, while God is all about actual truth and substance.  Since the fig leaves sewn together in the Garden of Eden, man has focused on extravagant outward covering to hide the shame of what we truly lack and long for.

Jesus warned us not to be fooled by the sleight of hand that is a good, enticing production.  A sure sign of the kingdom of God is that it requires no marketing strategies or catchy enticements… No neon signs or corny commercials, because unlike anything else ever, the kingdom of God delivers exactly what it promises.  There is no person or personality to chase after other than the King himself.  No running from place to place to see or hear the next big thing on a promise that this one will be life-changing.

“…Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”

Luke17:37b

I’m always amazed at Jesus’ ability to reveal the simple truths.  In the midst of a frantic search, Jesus points out principles and doctrines that were there all along, but are so simple that they are hidden in plain sight.  The people of that time were also hung up on presentation and were looking for a kingdom that fit their traditional description of what a kingdom should be.  Today we look for the successful trappings of what ministry, salvation, and evangelism “should” be.  People tell us on television, social media and contrived video clips that they have the kingdom of God and can connect you to it, if you connect to them.  All of this ultimately proves to be empty and void of fulfillment.

The truth is simple.  In the wild, you can tell that there is food or a “body” to be feasted upon by the gathering of the birds in that place.  The kingdom of God is where ever God’s presence is welcomed, his preeminence reverenced, and his commandments obeyed.  There you will find his body, there you will find truth and substance that your soul longs for, there you will find a direct connection to him.  He longs to build his kingdom in us, if we forsake the facade of what we think it looks like, and embrace who he is and the principles he established in his Holy Word.   It is then that we become the kingdom of God on earth, and every one who encounters us has an encounter with the kingdom, not another “christian” promising the kingdom… but then and there they stumble upon a portal by which they themselves can enter and the kingdom can be built in them.  What a peace and a privilege to carry the kingdom of God in you!

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done…

There is None Like You, God. (Morning Worship)

Posted January 31, 2015 by nessalynn77
Categories: Inspirational Thoughts, Worship

Tags: , , , , , , ,

There IS none like you, God.

No one exists that can come close to your majesty and power, your greatness exceeds everyone and everything.  You excel above all others in goodness, in knowledge, in mercy, in might… in every way.  All goodness that exists comes from you, along with all provision, we are who and what we are because you allow us to be so.  There IS none like you.

There is NONE like you, God.

Not in heaven above, or the earth beneath, not under the earth or anywhere in space.  Absolutely none can occupy the place and postiion that belongs to you alone.  You alone are worthy of glory, honor and praise.  No one else can compare.  There is NONE like you.

There is none LIKE you, God.

Many idols have been erected with lofty goals of likening themselves to you, but none can do the things that you do.  None can hear and answer prayer, or be everywhere present at one time.  None can save and give everlasting life like you give.  Their peace is destruction, their way is death.  You are the only true and living God.  There is none LIKE you.

There is none like YOU, God.

You are the one who loved me when I couldn’t love myself.  You are there in the darkest hours, in the most shameful or hopeless moments of my life.  You are the one who defines me.  You are the Creator.  You are the one who knows me better than I know myself.  You are the one that has plans to give me hope and a future.  There is none like YOU.

There is none like you, GOD.

YOU ARE GOD.  Father, Jehovah, Elohim, Provider, Sustainer, Strength, Sovereign, Holy, Eternal, Wonderful, Merciful, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Lover of my soul… EVERYTHING.  THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU, GOD!

The Other Side

Posted January 28, 2015 by nessalynn77
Categories: Inspirational Thoughts

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was talking to a friend today about some current adversity in my life and I was a reminded of a truth that has been resonating with me for some time now.  It was a good refresher for me and I thought I’d share.

There have been many times in my life where I have faced situations so stressful or daunting, or that appeared so gloomy that I literally could not imagine myself on the other side.  I couldn’t picture a day where I didn’t have those bad feelings or that anxiety gnawing away in the pit of my stomach.  Whatever the issue was, it felt like it was here to stay.  This piled on more feelings of despair and hopelessness.

After a while, experience taught me something very simple but profound.  I’ve learned on nights like this and through days like this to keep living, because sooner or later each and every time, I found myself on the other side of whatever it was.  Most times it happened suddenly, at a time when I least expected it.  Sometimes I didn’t even realize it until one day I just looked back and that thing, whatever it was, had become a distant memory.  The stinging had stopped, the ominous foreboding feeling was gone, and I… I was still standing!

I found this to be true that no matter how great or small the trial, there comes a day when it’s just over.  I remember encouraging myself in one particularly dark moment, and I was completely lifted by just the thought that God is so mighty, and so in control of everything, that at any given moment the turnaround I sought could manifest.  The last second could tick off the clock and this problem’s stay in my life would have to come to an abrupt end.

On the heels of this realization, came another that was just as helpful.  If God is indeed all powerful, and can indeed turn things around in a moment, the fact that I am dealing with certain things and He has allowed them to stay despite the pain they are causing me, means they must be serving a purpose.  There must be a lesson for me to learn, or something for me to gain by the experience.  As hard as it was to accept, I realized that my time would be better spent embracing the experience, as uncomfortable as it may be, instead of complaining about it.  I learned to allow myself to feel the pain, be grieved, even be angry, but get to the core of why, and what it is about the entire experience that can make me better.  This is a hard truth, and I must say I’m very proud of myself for arriving here.  I understand that it is these very intense, uncomfortable seasons that make and strengthen me, not the happiest or easiest ones.

Be encouraged, the presence of the trial is evidence of purpose, and the intensity of it is evidence that you are closer than you think!

God is Love

Posted January 13, 2015 by nessalynn77
Categories: Inspirational Thoughts

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

Matthew 5:43, 44

As I watched the news of 2,000 Nigerians feared dead in a massacre carried out by Boko Haram, a lot of emotions lingered just beneath the surface.  I tried to brush it off and go about my day, until yesterday when I ran across the pictures of what looked like hundreds of the charred remains left lying everywhere.  I felt a variety of things, but the overwhelming emotions were shock, sadness, fear, and anger.  I thought it was important to feel and to recognize what I was feeling.  I think we lose compassion for others because sometimes things are so bad that it’s hard to see it and feel like you can’t change it, so we opt to just not see it.

I tried to understand how people just like you and me can think nothing of wiping out other regular people who aren’t doing them any harm at all.  I thought about the families torn apart, and how awful things must be right now for those who escaped but are stranded.  They escaped death only to face death again stranded on an island with no food.  I thought about the people burned alive suddenly with no time to even realize what was happening, and those who escaped to the surrounding brush, only to be gunned down.  It is completely overwhelming to think about.

When I thought about the people who did this, I felt a lot of anger, and I prayed that they would be stopped.  I talked to God about what is going on and I cried because I know He has the power to stop it.  But then I was reminded of the scriptures and how persecution like this will happen and continue to happen as the coming of our Lord draws nigh.  Yes, God can stop it, but it plays a part in his plan.  It’s difficult to truly grasp; to take in such suffering and savagery, to see evil on the rampage, and still know that God loves us and is in complete control.  But that’s the simple truth, God is in control.

Having that assurance, my thoughts turned to what God requires of us in the midst of persecution.  Because while Christians are enduring torture and massacre, I struggle to apply God’s principle with simple stuff like offenses.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8, 9

There is an inclination when being unjustly attacked to respond with hate of equal or greater intensity.  Wait… read that again slowly… the natural response when someone is hurting you, is to hurt them.  One more time… the natural, justified, normal way of dealing with the offender is to become what they are.  I struggled to understand the hateful, vengeful being that would indiscriminately kill masses of people and feel justified, but now I see how you or I can become just that.

I still pray that the killing be stopped, and I support military and government taking action to protect innocent lives.  However, I had to take some time to consider the hate that goes along with responding to such things.  Hate is never good, and never beneficial, yet when one has been wronged it’s the go-to driving force in a lot of how we respond.  God’s way is a lot different than ours, he commands us to love.  To a natural human mind it makes absolutely no sense, especially when you’ve been hurt.  But if you really think about it, MLK had it right, love is the only thing that can combat hate.  It’s crazy to think we can improve the situation by increasing the overall level of ill will and decreasing compassion.

I started with Boko Haram, but I’m going to end on a smaller scale, because all of the large scale violence also started on a smaller level just like this.  When I am offended, I must be careful how I respond.  The offender was once the offended, and because the hurt was so great, they chose to respond in kind.  They chose to become what hurt them, but it didn’t stop there.  Once you face your offender by doing to them what they did to you or worse, that becomes part of your arsenal, ready to be used any time you are offended, or perceive that someone is going to offend you.  The more this happens (and it will) you become exactly what you hate.  Or due to feeling powerless to even respond to the offender, all of the hate is suppressed until it is unleashed on someone totally innocent and undeserving.   You don’t want to know how I know.

In the end, I realize that God’s way was right all along.  It’s not the easiest choice to make to forgive, to love, to keep no record of wrongs.  But on all sides of the equation, it leads to he best possible outcome.

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”

Romans 12:21


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