When I was 11 years old, we moved to a new town. I was the new kid in Mrs. Roberts sixth-grade class. From the very first day of school, I was a target. One day, I walked onto the bus and sensed something was up. All at once, all the kids moved to the edge of their seats. But the bus-driver could not take off until I was seated. So seat by seat, row by row, I passed the laughing
boys and girls. Nobody would move in nor move over. Then someone stood up and yelled, “back of the bus, fungus face!” That year was full of tough moments like that and no doubt, it was a long year. I don’t know why, specifically, God allowed those things to happen–but as an adult, I have a general idea. Those years were birthing in me a piece of my character I would carry forever: a relentless desire to protect people I love and help people who are helpless. As Good Friday and Easter Sunday approaches…I will celebrate you, Jesus…for protecting your kids and helping the helpless. And I will say thank you, for creating in me a desire to do the same.
In the movie, The Passion of the Christ, the closing scenes are around the empty tomb. Why would a powerful movie end with something seemingly empty? Actually, “empty” can be a powerful thing. Consider these… -the empty Grand Canyon -our empty lungs we depend on to live -an empty womb after a human has birthed from it -the empty US Airways plane after ALL were rescued from it on the the Hudson River And the most powerful example…the empty tomb Jesus walked out of. It’s not a story, a theory, a disillusion. It’s not even a religion. The empty tomb of Jesus is a reality.
Three days after the tomb held Jesus body, it held no body! My whole life hinges on that empty tomb. If Jesus had not resurrected, He would not be God. He would not be who He said He was. But He IS. He IS risen. He IS alive. He IS Lord. If you follow Jesus, be renewed by the empty tomb – Jesus who rose from the tomb has the power to raise you from any tomb of trial. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus, consider this empty tomb–if you feel nudged to change that, email or call me, let’s talk!
Today I thought about the things I unknowingly say that are so erroneous it’s not even funny. Here are four and here’s your assignment: if you catch me saying any of these, slap me. Ok, that’s another erroneous saying. Don’t slap me, but do call me out!
1) “I’m Starving” No, I’m not starving. Children who walk all day with their mommies to a feeding station to share a small bowl of rice are starving. I’m not starving.
2) “I’m Dying” No, I’m not dying. People in hospice are dying. People on death-row are dying. I need to be thankful every day I wake up, living.
3) “It’s Hopeless” It is never, never, never, never, never, never hopeless with Jesus. Jesus isn’t hopeless, he is hopeFULL. So if he’s in my heart, there’s no hopelessness in my circumstance.
4) “Worst Thing Ever” Nothing I have been through has literally been the worst-thing-ever. Hell is the worst thing ever. And since I am not going there, things can get worse, but they’re never going to stay that way. If God’s in it, God and I will get through it.
In Acts, the bible teaches us that Lydia, ‘…was a worshiper of the Lord God…after she and her family were baptized; she kept on begging us, “If you think I really do have faith in the Lord, come stay in my home.’ Finally, we accepted her invitation.” Lydia was an inviter? What? YES! Look at the text, after she accepted Christ, after she got baptized, she kept BEGGING these guys: TAKE my invitation! And they accepted! At some point, someone invited you to your church (or Church by the Glades). This week, as we head toward the Church’s BIGGEST weekend of the year, who can you invite? How can we be like Lydia–so pumped that we just GOTTA invite someone? YOU might be the SOLE catalyst between them and Jesus Christ. Recently, DJ and I were going through a drive thru, when I handed the cashier a CBG invite and she reluctantly took it. As we drove away, DJ said, “Mom, why do you keep inviting people even if they probably won’t go?” I said, “DJ, because one time, someone invited me and I didn’t want to go. Yet, reluctantly I went. And went again. And then it wasn’t reluctant any more. It was life-changing.” Friend, if Jesus has changed your life, let Him use you to invite someone to church this Easter, so He can change theirs.
I get it…not everybody loves Easter as much as I do. On Twitter, I’ve actually had the opportunity to “network” with a handful of atheists who pay no attention to this day. But here’s what I’d say to them, (if they’d ever give me the chance) (which they probably won’t) 1) If you ever get a chance, check out one of these books. Then, if you do, let’s have a Starbucks afterward…my treat! “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell 2) Please don’t think all Christians are like the ones that have given you reason to not like us. I’d like to make a sales-pitch that some of us work very hard to be like Jesus–who was pretty awesome at treating people with respect, dignity and love. 3) Lastly, if you wanna help build your case on why not to celebrate Easter, don’t watch my church’s service, online (cbglades.com) on April 20. If you do, enter at your own risk. It might change your mind.
Back in 2000, after I was released from the state psych ward, I was hypersensitive to mental labels. One time, I even left a room in tears when someone stereotyped “crazy.” That was then. This is now. Words like “crazy” don’t offend me any more. Hear me, if you struggle with mental affliction, it is not a laughing matter. It’s serious and needs treatment. But I do take it seriously and I have received treatment and I’m at peace with lighting MY mental load by jumping in on its slang. In short, it has helped me laugh a little more, it’s helped me make conversation with others not-so-awkward. It’s helped me–help others–understand mental illness better. If the world only knows words like “crazy,” then if I can use “crazy” to describe myself AND AT THE SAME TIME use that to educate them. Paul said, “I am not bound to obey anyone…yet I have freely and happily become a servant of any and all so that I can win them to Christ.“ I hope this encourages someone today.
Jealousy isn’t one of those “sexy” sins. I am more likely to go up to someone and say, “Hey, I’ve been impatient with you,” or “Hey, I’ve struggled to trust you.” But rare is the day I go up to someone and say, “Hey, I’m jealous of you.” It’s just one of those secret-sins that we don’t like to confess and we masquearade in the names of “insecurity” or “poor self image.” But if we call it what it is….it is ugly and it is a sin and it has no place in your heart or mine. We are better than that! Here is a formula I’ve used to help me attack, jealousy, head-on: 1) Show myself the TRUTH about jealousy: Proverbs 27:4, “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” James 4:2, “You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” And 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.” 2) Confess my jealousy to God, He died on the cross for this sin! 3) Pray God help me STOP jealous ideas BEFORE they become full-on thoughts (Romans 12:2) and 4) Intentionally pray and cheer for the one I am jealous of. I hope this helps someone today.
Recently, I read about the time Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. I learned something great about Jesus, poor about myself. Jesus often loved, solo. When he knelt down to do the lowly, the dirty, he often did by himself. He didn’t have to. He chose to. Love is a choice. Jesus could have asked one of his disciples to wash his feet. He could have asked the disciples to help him wash their feet. But Jesus ok to love, solo. I wonder if I’ve missed opportunities to love because I didn’t have the humility (or the nerve) to love, solo. It’s human nature to run in packs. Girls don’t even go to the bathroom, solo. Then Jesus did something else solo. He didn’t have anyone take his place, and He didn’t ask others to join him. He suffered and died on a cross, solo. I think some of the most loving acts are loving when no one else will. What do we get out of it? Sometimes, nothing. A few years ago, my husband didn’t align with a group when they casted me aside. It cost Raul a lot to love me, solo. Love does that. The bible says “Greater LOVE has no MAN (not cliques, entourages or even teams) than this, than he lay down his life for a friend.” Sometimes, love means going solo. But know this, you’re never more like Jesus than when you do.
The boys and I were curious why Mom Duck built her nest where she did. As you can see, she built her nest beside bouganveillas. Every time she returned to her nest, she had to endure the pangs of their thorns. But we concluded that she was probably willing to endure the thorns to have the safety this particular spot provided. The boys and I talked about coming home eventually to Mom Duck and her fuzzy babies. We talked about putting bread outside so Mom Duck could be the hero with a tasty treat. But one afternoon, to our aghast, an animal had gotten to her babies. All the eggs were on the ground, split open. The next day, I saw her in our driveway and I’d be a liar if I didn’t tell you I felt bad. Mom Duck sacrificed and suffered for the sake of her babies and an enemy snatched them away. For me, this was a reminder that Christ did this for me. He sacrificed and suffered for my sake, and for several years, the enemy tried to snatch me away. But my life wasn’t done, so what the enemy tried to snatch away, God got back! If you have drifted far from God, I hope you know you are NOT forever snatched away. You can always come back. God hopes you will. Come home. God is standing at the door, waiting for you. That’s what love does. I hope this encourages someone today.
A few years ago, I realized: if I please people, I will displease people. If I please God, I will please God. You see, God was meant to be pleased, but to please anything BUT God brings: 1) displeasure to people 2) disappointment to God 3) discouragement to ourselves. Did you know the Apostle Paul used to be a people pleaser? In Galatians 1:10, he said, “I am not trying to please people. I want to please God. Do you think I am trying to please people? If I were doing that, I would not be a servant of Christ.” This has two great implications for any of us who are! 1) Paul used to be a people pleaser, so he gets us 2) Paul no longer was a people pleaser, so there’s hope for us. When I can find an example of someone in the bible who walked through what I’ve walked through, I am SO encouraged! When I did research on this verse, in the KJV translation it uses the word “yet” in this verse, implying that he used to be a people pleaser, but he was no more. Before Christ, Paul pleased people. They wanted him to persecute people? He did. They wanted him to stone people? He did. They wanted him to bully people? He did. But then Paul accepted Christ. And now he was at a precipice. Because he could not serve two masters. And Paul chose one. Jesus. He would transition from people pleaser to Jesus pleaser. And if he could—that only meant one thing—I could. And you can too! If you want 3 practical things I do to handle people-pleasing, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org