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stew

Life is a process of trading one thing for another. We’re all given a certain amount of time and ability which we exchange to gain other things, such as money, food, shelter, relationships, leisure, and pleasure.

We also can trade our identity – who we really are – who God says we are – for other things and if you turn to Genesis 25:29-34 we can read about a shocking exchange between Esau and Jacob that illustrates the danger of trading away who we are.

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a])31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

 

This has to be the worst negotiation in history.  Esau’s birthright meant that not only would he get DOUBLE inheritance but it would mean that he would become head of the family and all the benefits that brings.  It is the door to wealth and prestige.  It is the key to future opportunities and provision.  It was designed to be an incredible blessing for his life and his family, onwards even past his lifetime down the generations.

And he swaps it, he exchanges it for a bowl of lentil stew.

I’m sure you’re all thinking what I’m thinking.  How dumb can you be and still breathe?  What was he thinking?

The reality was that he wasn’t thinking.  He was just doing.  Just living.  Just breathing.  Verse 34 says Esau despised his birthright. This verse reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.  He lived for the here and now. “Who needs a birthright?” he thought. “After all, I may be dead tomorrow. What I need now is a good meal. What good is a birthright if I starve to death?”

His birthright should have been something he valued and protected and lived in the reality of – instead Esau trades it away for a bowl of lentil stew.

We point fingers and scorn Esau.  We shake our heads dismayed at the choice he has made.

But we all like Esau have gone astray and we have all played the trade game and exchanged our identity for lesser things.  We have all traded things that we should value in our lives for things that are of the same value as lentil stew.

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identity.pngMan does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

 

We live by the Word of God, by what God says.

 

Your identity is purely what God says about you.  Who he says you are is who you are.

 

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

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At HKC Youth this term we’ve been looking at the behind the scenes stuff – the spiritual stuff that goes on behind the scenes in our life, how that affects here and now, what we can see, how we feel, how we act, and how we are not victims but how God has given us tools to equip and empower us for any situation.

A couple of weeks ago one of our awesome youth leaders did a phenomenal message about the armour of God – who can remember the different parts of armour?

One of the parts that especially challenged me and made me go mmmmm was when he wrote on each nerf bullet a tactic or strategy that the enemy uses to mess with our minds.

Shame.

Fear.

Insecurity.

Guilt.

Hate.

And he shot them out of his nerf gun at his brother who was wearing his helmet of salvation and had his shield of faith up and the bullets just bounced off and were deflected.

Our shield of faith is made up of all the truth we know about God.

He is good.

He is for us.

He is powerful.

He gives us peace.

He heals us.

He is at work to make all things good.

When the enemy fires a lie at us, fires a dart at us, his aim is that it will hit us, penetrate us, wound us – kill steal and destroy us.  That we’ll get hit and then we’ll buy the lie and it becomes the way we think.

But faith identifies the lie and replaces it with the truth of the Word of God.

Jesus did this when the devil tempted him in the desert after he was baptized.  The devil would say “so if you think you’re the son of God do this or do that” and Jesus would hold up his shield of faith and say “it is written in the word of God” and the lie would just bounce off.

There is power in declaring who God is.  Regardless of our circumstances, regardless of what it looks like, God is faithful, He is good, He is mighty to save. When we declare Who God is, our circumstances have to bow to the truth.

But sometimes we have our own lies.  We have our own issues that fight against God.

The war is within us.  My will vs God’s will.  My ways vs God’s way.

There are things that I don’t want to do, that I end up doing.

There are things that I want to do, but I don’t do them.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride,  and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,  humility, kindness, , empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought meh?

Ever taken personally someones mean words, taken them to heart, made them a truth?

Have you ever felt like you were not ________________ enough (you can fill in the blank)?

Let me tell your heart this – You are enough.   You are worthy.

Today, look in the mirror and speak the truth that comes from God.

That you are loved.

Called.

Chosen.

That before you were born God purposed you, on purpose, with purpose.

You are His.

You have worth.

Let His truth speak to your heart.

Perception

“Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.”
-Brennan Manning

 

The mystery of true acceptance is that God welcomes us, and embraces who we are – mess and all.  He embraces our flaws – no wait, He goes one step further and COVERS our flaws with the blood of Jesus.  He transforms us day by day to become the best version we can be, transformed by love, transformed by His peace, transformed by trust.

We can be real, authentic, ourselves.  Because this is who God has made us to be.

We are crafted by God.

Valued.

The price paid for us was the precious blood of Jesus.

Live in that reality.

 

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Would who she was really be enough? There was no magic to help her this time. This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take—to be seen as we truly are //  Cinderella 2015

I am sure we have all taken a moment to ask ourselves this same question.

Are we enough?

Really?

Can I be myself?

Will I be enough?

Cinderella knew that her worth was not in her gown or fairness of face, but that her worth was in her heart, her character.  She had courage and kindness and THIS defined her.

She would not be defined by the names her stepsisters or stepmother called her.  She removed the power from their labels and walked in the power of her own identity.

With dignity and presence she appeared before her prince.  Loving him as he was, and being loved for herself.

Life is not a fairy tale though.  Yes there are princes, and sometimes nemesis, trials and tipping points that feel magical.  But we have to walk with that same Cinderella sense, to take the risk, to be who we truly are.

Who are you truly?  Will you risk and be that person?

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“It’s a beautiful moment when somebody wakes up to this reality, when they realize God created them so other people could enjoy them, not just endure them.” Donald Miller

 

Scary Close is the first book I read this year.

It’s tagline is “Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy.”  It is a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving. It is a story about knocking down old walls to create a healthy mind, a strong family, and a satisfying career.

It is a scary read.  It is a beautiful read.

At the end of it I felt a bit naked and exposed.  I felt a stronger call to be more authentic and to rediscover who I really am and to be that.  Not that I’ve been hiding, but that there was more to be and that I am a work in progress.  God is at work in each one of us, we are His masterpiece, created on purpose with a purpose.

It challenged me to be more vulnerable and to love more, to not be afraid of who perhaps I really am.

“It costs personal fear to be authentic but the reward is integrity, and by that I mean a soul fully integrated, no difference between his act and his actual person. Having integrity is about being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside, and if we don’t have integrity, life becomes exhausting.”  

I ended the year feeling really stretched and somewhat peopled out, and I look at that as a symptom of something, something a little bit undefined at this stage, but it means something.

My “one word” for the year is REDISCOVER and Scary Close was the beginning of that journey, that rediscovery.  It made me ask myself questions that I dont know answers too, or even that there were questions to ask.

“I LIKE WHAT THE DANCER MARTHA GRAHAM ONCE said, that each of us is unique and if we didn’t exist something in the world would have been lost. I wonder, then, why we are so quick to conform—and what the world has lost because we have. William Blake said about Jesus that he was “all virtue and acted from impulse, not from rules.” If we are to be like him, aren’t we to speak and move and do, to act upon the world and take new ground from the forces that work against our unique genius and beauty? What if part of God’s message to the world was you? The true and real you?”

So, hello 2016.

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water

“How heavy is this glass of water?”

“The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

“The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water.  Insecurity.  Shame.  Fear.   Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

One of the reasons that we’re tackling this topic is so that break down the walls that divide us and put barriers up – that prevent us from having deeper, amazing relationships.

We need to put the glass down.

You are not meant to carry your shame.  You are not meant to live in fear.  You are not meant to live in insecurity.

Insecurity isn’t a sin, it’s a place for God to fill.

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Hey, you!

You’re beautiful.  Strong.  Loved.  Chosen.

Yes,  you are.

With all the flaws, quirks and bad hair days… you’re still beautiful, strong, loved and chosen.

Nothing could turn God away from loving you.

Remember this always.

When you feel like giving up, when its too hard, when you’ve had enough…. remember this.

You are beautiful, strong, loved, chosen.

When you hit the wall and face the storm.  Remember.

Nothing can change how God feels about you.

Embrace His grace.

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I went to bed the other night with a list of comparisons running through my head.

I’ve written on comparison before.  It steals your joy and rips you off.  It’s a brutal attack.

It is a trap.

Even as I re-read the words I have penned previously my heart begins to argue.

Yeah, but.

Yeah, but.

Yeah, no buts.

It’s unfair to us because it limits God’s plan for our lives. Comparison says to God, ‘I want to limit Your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.’

But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring. Joyce Meyer

It’s unfair to place limitations on myself based on my comparison to someone else.  It’s unfair to what God wants to do to and in and through my life based on the shadow someone else casts.  I am not called to fill someone else’s shoes, I am called to walk worthy the call of God for MY LIFE.

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received Ephesians 4:1

I charge you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12

God has uniquely wired and gifted each one of us.  He has created us on purpose with purpose.

Each person has their own purpose and their own aspects that God will work through to complete the good work He has begun, in our lives, in those we lead, in those we reach.

When I compare my life, my calling, my reach, I fence in what God can do.

I shrink back, into myself, and take my eyes off the great power that God has placed within me.  I look down, at my limitations I entrap myself, instead of remembering I am just a jar of clay so that the all surpassing power be shown to be of God.

When I compare my life to others something inside of my slumps.

God would have us instead keep our heart encouraged in His love and grace, in His power and His faithfulness.

Comparison robs us of that joy, encouragement and the experience of living by faith.

To silence the comparison I remind myself of these 2 things:
1.  I am called.  On purpose, with purpose.

2.  I am created.  On purpose, with purpose.

I am growing.  I am learning.  I am stretching.  But in all of those things I am completely His and complete in Him.

What helps you beat the comparison trap?

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