Category Archives: Encouragement & Teaching

When Fear Makes You Want to Turn Back

“He [Moses] was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:38-39

At some point in life, everyone struggles with something that makes them a less than best version of themselves. This can be a lot of different things – drugs, alcohol, food addiction, pornography, eating disorders, unhealthy relationships, and unhealthy emotions are just a few examples. Whatever it is, God always offers us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), and points us down the path of healing and restoration. A path that offers forgiveness and transformational change.

But change is hard and, at times, downright scary. We can’t always see to the other side of it, and that makes us question our ability to keep going. We see an example of this with the Israelites when Moses lead them out of Egypt – out of the slavery that held them in bondage for four hundred years. For generations, the Israelites cried out to God to free them from under the hands of the Pharaohs. When God finally did, the transition was difficult and scary. The unknown path ahead of them drove fear into their hearts. So much fear, that it says in their hearts, they “turned back to Egypt.” They were afraid of what God would ask them to endure, so they thought it would be easier to just go back into slavery.

Fear of the unknown is a powerful enemy to our hope, and can cause us to turn and walk away from the path that would have healed us, and we go back to the comfort of what we knew. That familiar path may seem easier, but it only leads to death. Often times, a slow and painful one.

Tired One, I have been in this place. I can tell you from experience that once you know the truth, going back presents a more miserable and heart wrenching alternative than any unknown you may be facing. 

There is an old song by Sara Groves called Painting Pictures of Egypt. I remember the first time I heard the song. I was driving in my car, wrestling with what felt like a war over my purpose. The enemy was whispering lies about how much God was asking of me, and how easy it would be to let someone else do it and slip invisibly back into my comfortable existence. I turned up the music to drown out the enemy and the words of Sarah’s song pierced my heart:

“I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacks.
The future feels so hard and I wanna go back.
But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned.
Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.”

When what lies ahead suddenly feels like too much, we sometimes look back on our past with blind nostalgia. We paint pictures of our Egypt, conveniently leaving out the pieces that caused us the most pain. 

Loved One, what is your Egypt? What do you search the sands for when life breaks you? Is it not your Father in heaven who loves you more passionately and more endlessly than all the grains of His sand? You only need to have the faith of a mustard seed to believe His promises that are yours. Allow His transformation to hold you and teach you a truth that will never again fit into that past life. 

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” Jeremiah 6:16

Be blessed,
C.K.

Let it Go

Have you ever played tug of war? Opposing teams pull at opposite ends of the rope until one team is dragged across the center line. The key phrase here is opposing teams.

When we try to maintain control over something we should be leaving to God, we are pulling on the opposite end of that rope. God is stronger and will pull us over the centerline, but we are making the situation harder, and take longer than it needs to.

Let it go. Stop trying to control it. Stop trying to force it or fight God for it. Let it go, and let God do what is best. He has this in His very capable hands.

Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Be blessed,
C.K.

Forsaken

Paula sat down on the edge of her bed, gripping the envelope. Her heart raced and her fingers shook as she flipped it over and ran her thumb under the flap to expose the letter inside. She let the envelope fall to the floor as she pulled out the single sheet of paper, neatly folded in three parts. She could just make out the cursive writing that shown through to the unwritten side.

It’s from her. It has to be from her. She got my letter the agency sent and she’s responding!

Paula had spent years looking for her birth mom. The months she spent waiting for a response to her letter were finally worth it. In a moment, she would read her letter, and they would finally be able to meet and start the relationship she had only dreamed of as a child. She had waited so many years for this moment. Paula took a deep breath and tried quieting all the thoughts swirling in her mind as she gingerly opened the letter, an excited smile forming on her face. After a moment, her smile faded and her shoulders dropped as the tears welling in her eyes rolled down her cheeks and onto the paper.

There would be no joyful reunion. No cookouts forging new paths. No heart-felt tear-jerking embrace that would bring Paula the acceptance she so desperately desired. There was only more rejection.

She doesn’t want to meet me or my kids? Even now, she doesn’t want me. She never has.

Paula let the letter slide out of her hands and drift onto the floor next to the envelope. She stared down at both, fixing her gaze on the corner of the envelope which should have contained a return address, but didn’t.

***

I had asked my readers for blog topics, and there was one in particular that really tugged at my heart strings. It was about dealing with rejection from a parent or family member. I can tell you from personal experience, there is nothing quite so painful as facing abandonment from someone who is supposed to love you, but doesn’t. Whether that person physically or emotionally abandons you, both leave wounds so deep, that there’s great risk of infection, and even death. 

The death I speak of is not physical, but emotional. And the kind of infection that causes it is the kind that grows in your mind and heart as a result of the pain that rejection causes. It damages your filter and can cause you to see yourself in an unhealthy light. It can also make you to see others in an unhealthy light.

If you have been the unfortunate recipient of a deep rejection – a parent or sibling rejecting you, a divorce, a hate crime, a lost job, or your child closing the door on you – then I want to offer you a new letter. Not like the one our fictional character, Paula, had in her hands, but something better.

One that has a return address.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

This might be a commonly known Scripture, but it’s also a deeply personal message. A love letter from God to you. For God so loved the world. He isn’t talking about the dirt or the trees or the sky. He is talking about you. You are His love, and He loves you so deeply, He sent His only child to face torture and death, so a way could be made to spend eternity together. He pursues you no matter where you go (Psalm 139:7-8). He leaves the ninety-nine other sheep to look for you when you’re lost (Matthew 18:10-14). The depth of God’s feelings for us is unfathomable. We can’t possibly wrap our heads around the unconditional qualities of His love and acceptance.

You might be hurting as a result of experiencing rejection, but consider the source. People are flawed and they will always disappoint on some level. The closer they are to you, the more it will hurt. But that hurt has a silver lining. To every ying is a yang, and to every example of imperfect relationships is the proof of love – the consistent, trustworthy, and all-consuming love of God.

Don’t focus on what is behind. Keep your focus forward. You need not look any farther to find the One who not only wants you, but loves you… exactly as you are. No strings. No conditions. Just His love. Of course, there is so much more available when we choose to love Him back. He gives us all an invitation to abide in Him (John 15:4), find rest (Matthew 11:28), and learn from Him (Mark 1:17). Best of all, is the invitation to spend eternity in His loving presence (John 3:16). An eternity where rejection leaves no wounds and acceptance is the sweet perfume of Heaven.

Cherished One, I pray you can feel the loving arms of Jesus wrap tightly around you as you drink in love letters from the King of kings. Forgive those who reject, and allow God’s love letters to heal your heart and give you hope of what is real for you today, and what is to come. He will be with you always, to the ends of the earth (Mark 13:27, Psalm 98:3).

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Be blessed,
C.K.

Looking Beyond

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can You get this living water?’” John 4:10-11

Despite this woman’s ignorance to the truth Jesus was trying to share with her, she recognized the well was deep. How soon she would find out just how deep. Let’s explore a little further for some interesting and healing lessons on perspective we can apply to our own lives.

We should first understand the significance of the woman being Samaritan and Jesus being a Jew. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. It was rather scandalous for Jesus to ask this woman for a drink, because Jews held a belief that Samaritans were unclean, and they themselves become ceremonially unclean if they used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan. However, our Jesus knew better. He wasn’t interested in judging her for her lineage. He was interested in healing her heart and bringing her into the Kingdom, where the only label she will have is “Loved.” 

The first perspective is about whose eyes we are seeing through. Jesus doesn’t view people the way the world does. In Jesus’ eyes, He sees only the heart of someone and what can be. Of course He’s aware of our past and present but, with the power of God at work in our hearts, that doesn’t dictate our future. This is vitally important, so lean in a little.

You are not your sin.

You are not your past bad choices. You’re not even your present bad choices. When God looks at you, He sees only who you are in Him. He sees the potential He knit within you when you were in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Can you receive mercy and see yourself in this light? Can you show mercy and see others around you in this light? It’s not always easy, but we all make mistakes, and Jesus tells us we will all be judged in the same way we choose to judge others – that the same measure we use will be measured to us (Matthew 7:1-2). Today seems like a good day to start looking at people a little differently, doesn’t it?

Our second perspective has to do with how we inventory our resources. In the Scripture above, the woman told Jesus He had nothing to draw the water out with. Just like the Samaritan women, we look at our own situations and believe God can’t or won’t help us because the answer we seek requires something we don’t have. Our perspective needs to change to account for two things. The first is the answer we want may not be the answer God knows is best. The second is He has what we can’t see. God has everything and anything at His disposal the moment He needs it. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t be there in His perfect timing.

This leads us to our third perspective. What we see may not always be what we’re getting. If you take anything away from this reading, I pray it’s this. When the Samaritan woman asked about the living water, she understood this to be water used to quench her physical thirst. What she was unaware of in that moment, was that it wasn’t the well water He wanted to give her, but the gift of salvation. I wonder how often we’re handed something from God, only to miss the deeper and more meaningful picture.

When Jesus told her what her current life’s condition was, He didn’t condemn her. He gave her hope and the assurance of a new life in Him. He was more concerned about who she could be than who she was. The expression Jesus used to describe the “welling up” of eternal life is a vigorous one. Commentaries say it has a meaning like “leaping up.” Jesus was speaking of vigorous, abundant life. The life he offered to this Samaritan woman is the same life He offers to you and me.

Look beyond the things right in front of you to see the bigger picture. Seek out understanding and a greater wisdom for the things of this world God uses to teach you about the things of His Kingdom.

Interesting factoid: The well mentioned in the Scripture above is commonly referred to as Jacob’s well. It’s located in Shechem, a city in ancient Israel, north of Judea. Christian sources as early as the fourth century mention a well in this area that was over 100 feet deep. In 1935, there was a well cleaned out, believed to be this very well, and it did, in fact, go down 138 feet.

Be blessed,
C.K.

See

“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’” Joshua 6:1-5

Wait. Stop. Go back and read that again and see if you can find what’s strange about this passage. C’mon. Humor me.

What did you see? I’ll give you a hint. It actually starts with the word, “see.”

First, a little context. God is talking to Joshua, as they are preparing to end their forty-year hiatus in the dessert, and exchange their manna for milk and honey. They are within eye shot of the promised land, but they have a big problem. Jericho was surrounded by a mighty stone wall. This wall was between twelve to seventeen feet high, and five to six feet thick. No joke. In addition, there were guards all over this wall. In order to enter the promised land, they had to conquer Jericho and its stone fortress.

The story is fairly well known. God tells Joshua he and his men are to march once around the city, each day, for six days. On the seventh day, they are to march around it seven times. At the end of the seventh round, they are to give a loud shout. That’s when God, by His own mighty hand, brought the wall down and gave the Israelites victory over Jericho.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this story and, equally, how many times I went right past a message so exciting, it has my heart racing this morning. God’s Word is truly alive.

When God spoke to Joshua, it would have made sense had God gave him instructions and waited for the dance in the end zone before confirming victory. But that’s not what He did. God said, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands…” before it happened.

Whoa. Do you need a second to process that? I sure do.

Scripture tells us God’s Word never returns void.

“…so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

Whether that’s His words given to us in the Bible, or those things He speaks to us using the still, small voice, if He spoke it, it will come to pass and accomplish whatever He set out for it to do. Really take this in with me for a second. God, in all His perfection, omnipotence, and control can, with complete confidence and authority, claim the victory before it happens.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

It’s simple, really. It’s already done. It’s already known to God. It’s like the movie He made but we haven’t watched yet. He knows every moment of every person’s life. Even the ones that haven’t happened yet. He can proclaim the victory to Joshua before they even start marching because He’s already seen it happen.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me a supernatural comfort I don’t quite know how to even put into words. It also raises a very important feeling in me. Trust.

Here’s the bottom line. If God has spoken something to your heart, believe Him. He’s already seen it play out, and what He says will never return void to Him. Go ahead and do your end zone dance before you march around the city. What a fantastic act of faith and worship your dancing will be… no matter how bad the person next to you thinks it is 🙂

Be blessed,
C.K.

Facing Away

“Then He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.’’” (Luke 19:45-46)

Last week, we learned that when we allow things that aren’t pleasing to God into our hearts, we’re allowing them into the very temple God created as a Holy dwelling, meant only for Him. It’s important for God to hold the most important place in our hearts, but it’s also important to understand how compromising that affects our character.

As I was writing last week, I felt God asking me to go back to the passages and seek moredeeply. I put my Mac aside, pulled up my Bible app, and began reading over the passages. I had already pored over several times, but I knew He was telling me to look again, which made me kind of excited, and built an expectation. As always, He did not disappoint.

Allow me, Dear One, to ask a question that I would like you to think about for a few minutes before reading any further. Do you find it at all interesting that what Jesus used in this very important lesson, to represent the thieves in our hearts, were people who were selling items?

It’s about compromise. It’s about placing a price on what can’t be bought, and selling ourselves for earthly gain, rather than Kingdom gain. Every time you compromise any portion of your convictions, you’re selling yourself to the enemy, who comes only to steal, kill and destroy you (John 10:10). The motivations of the people in the marketplace were centered around what they could gain personally, and about what they could take from others.

What God’s showing me is that these people were quite literally and spiritually facing away from the temple. God desires us to seek His face and be filled with His spiritual blessings.

At the end of the day, it won’t be about what we can take from others, but what we can giveto others.

How do we drive out the thieves in our temples and put God back in His rightful place? It’s a choice to make your heart His Throne room. If you do, this space can’t be shared with anything short of Holy. Anything less would be an insult to His Spirit which dwells in everyone who calls Him Savior.

Ask God to show you anything that might be competing in this space with Him. Once He shows you, get rid of it without hesitation, and He’ll fill that space with more of His glory. You’ll never long for what He asked you to give up, and only marvel at how you never knew how badly you wanted what He replaced it with. 

*Please note, there will be no new blog next week, 8/10, as I will be on vacation. We all need a little rest now and then.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Thieves in the Temple

“Then He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.’’” Luke 19:45-46

There are so many beautiful teachings and parallels that are buried within God’s Word, just waiting to be uncovered. Jesus often used parables when teaching the crowds to explain things that had a much deeper meaning. On the surface, what we read is a very practical application of living the life and exhibiting the behaviors God is asking of us. However, at the heart of these applications is usually a treasure much more valuable and life breathing. We only need to dig past the surface to find it. God plainly tells us if we seek Him, we’ll find Him (Proverbs 8:17).

In Luke 19:28-44, we read of the Triumphal Entry. This is the point in Jesus’ ministry when He enters Jerusalem, openly affirming He is the Messiah. Up until this point, Jesus allowed His actions to dictate what others knew and believed of Him. But now, it was time for a much bigger plan to unfold, at the beginning of which, was making known His true identity in God. He knew proclaiming Himself as the Messiah would anger the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, ultimately putting the plan of His very death into motion.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He wept over it. He prophesied there would come a time when their enemies would build an embankment around them and their children to completely destroy them. His heart was grieved because He knew they wouldn’t recognize God Himself was coming to them to save them. It was then Jesus entered the temple area and saw the people using it as a market place to sell and make money. Jesus was furious over the desecration of His Father’s house and, in righteous anger, began driving the sellers out of the temple.

Pause with me here, for we’re about to uncover our parallel. On the surface, we can easily relate to the reasons Jesus may have been angered by what was happening in His Father’s house. It was intended as a place of prayer and intimacy with God, not a marketplace filled with greed and ill intentions. However, I think there’s more here. Jesus was protecting the integrity of a physical location, but I think we can use this as an example of the need to protect the integrity of our hearts. We need to overturn the thieves we place within our hearts that rob God of our intimacy with Him.

God desires to be the very center of our being. The Word tells us Christ dwells in our hearts, and that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). As imperfect people who sin, we allow desecration of the temple, today, by allowing idols that are not of God to steal precious priority within our hearts. Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He gave Moses the command that we shall have no other gods before Him. When we hold things precious that don’t give glory to God, we’re allowing things into our hearts that take on the very nature of what Jesus drove out of the temple thousands of years ago.

Is there anything in your life that would make Jesus angry enough to want to overturn it?

I hope you’re encouraged to examine your heart and drive out the things competing with your heart for God. I sure am. This has to do with more than just our time with God, but the character He desires to build within us. 

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Be blessed,
C.K.

B Cells

I sometimes feel envious of those in the medical profession, who have had the opportunity to study the amazing complexities of our bodies in gross detail. Gross is probably a good word to use because all that study involves seeing and touching all the stuff on the inside. I guess someone has to carry that burden, and thank the Lord it isn’t me.

What I’m most enamored by, are all the amazing examples God has given us through those complexities, about who He is and how He works. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of those examples. B cells. I’ll ask all my medical friends in advance for their mercy as I oversimplify this, and hope we can all exchange the gory details for the spirit of the message.

When your body is fighting an illness, it’s fighting something called antigens, which are foreign molecules that don’t belong in your body. When an intruder is detected, your body’s alarm system goes off and sends special cells that fight those antigens. Some release enzymes that kill the foreign objects. Some turn on the body’s immune system and trigger our B cells to make antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to the antigens, rendering them useless. The picture that comes to my mind is someone jumping on the back of an intruder, wrapping their hands around their eyes, and watching the chaos ensue. I imagine the intruder stumbling around, trying to figure out what’s going on, until they find themselves crashing into a wall and falling onto the floor. The antibody sits on the intruder until help shows up and halls him off to jail.

I allowed myself some interpretational liberty there, but I think you get the point.

That whole process is amazing in and of itself, but here’s something even more fascinating. Those B cells have memory. That’s right. Memory. That means they now recognize that intruder and, if he ever comes back, they know more about him, and how to fight him off.

The difficult things we go through in life can be a lot like this process. We get hit with foreign objects we don’t understand at first. Things that threaten our spiritual health. The Holy Spirit is like the cells that trigger and turn on our spiritual immune system, and our faith is like those B cells that fight against the attack. The antibody? Jesus, of course. No attack is pleasant, but once we walk through it, we learn and grow and equip ourselves to not only recognize, but fight it off quicker the next time.

Sometimes the most inspiring part of getting through a disease is not the healing itself, but what’s happening inside of you during the good fight.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world, but He also told us not to be discouraged, because He’s already overcome them. I believe part of that story of overcoming isn’t just about overcoming illness – physical or spiritual. It’s about how you are overcoming amidst the pain of the journey, and that is what is truly inspiring.

Today’s writing was inspired by a couple I recently met, and I was deeply moved by their story. They took the terrible intruder, called Cancer, and turned it into a story of hope. Every day, since that journey began, they put out a Facebook post, “C the Good,” where they list all the ways God is good, and all the good things coming out of their trial. What an inspiration. They are vulnerably inviting people into the midst of their pain and turning it into hope for themselves and others.

Chose to be a lantern amidst your storm. Chose to be light to those around you. Be a beacon they can see and follow. In doing so, you’ll build your own spiritual immunity, and be more equipped to call on Jesus to calm the storms that come your way more quickly.

Be blessed,
C.K.

So You Tried to Speed Up Change, You Say?

It started with a simple idea. It always starts out as simple. Until you actually do it. Sometimes, you’re lucky and everything works out the way you saw it in your mind. Other times, it’s like watching your favorite ceramic mug fall off the counter, and you’re too far away to catch it. You simply have to watch it hit the floor and smash into pieces.

This bit of drama brought to you by the midlife crisis my hair seems to be having. My simple idea? Get a pixie haircut. “It will be fun,” they said. “It will look great on you,” they said.

My favorite mug lay shattered on the ground in a bazillion pieces.

I know I’m being dramatic, but that’s kind of how I felt for at least three solid minutes.  As a side note, I mean no disrespect or chiding to the woman who cuts my hair. I think she did a most excellent job, and nailed the picture I gave her to base the cut on. So after I stared dejectedly in the mirror for a couple of minutes, I gave myself a pep talk that hair grows, and it would all be okay in three to six months. Three to six months. That’s a long time. I needed a new plan, and a new plan is exactly what I came up with. I waited almost eight excruciating weeks for it to grow out a bit, and then I decided I was going to color it all. Platinum white. It would look spectacular. It would look so spectacular, I would no longer notice how much more I look like my brother. I would just be enamored by my cool hair color.

I made that appointment for Thursday. It was going to be fantastic. I could feel it. I’m not exactly sure what chemicals are used to lighten hair, but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of hydrochloric acid and sulfur acid. Maybe a touch of gasoline. My scalp was on fire. But as my daughter used to say when she was in high school, “Beauty for pain.” I guess she was right.

After two rounds of the acid-like treatment, we learned the hard way that my hair is stubborn, and doesn’t like to lighten. So instead of the platinum white picture of perfection, I now had Ronald McDonald yellow hair with some white highlights.

I needed another plan.

I acquired something called a purple mask, which is a thick, purple cream you put into shampooed hair. You let it sit on your hair for five to ten minutes and then rinse it out. It’s supposed to tame the brassy/yellow color and restore it to platinum white. I packed it with the things I was taking to the boat this weekend, and headed to Door County. This morning, after my shower, I used the purple people eater cream, as directed, and busied myself for approximately seven and a half minutes. During which time, one of the marina dockhands stopped by with a question.

[look askance]

A few minutes after that embarrassing moment, Siri kindly told me it was time to rinse it out. I did so with optimism, and then ran to the mirror. I wanted to say abracadabra, presto change-o, but there were other words that made it out first. Now, instead of yellow hair with white highlights, I had yellow hair with purple highlights. No pictures this weekend, please.

One of the things I appreciate about God, besides His sense of humor, is His ability to show Himself in all the things around us. Hair is no exception. Here’s the moral of this story.

Sometimes, you just need to let your hair grow. Things happen in life that aren’t always pleasant, and we can’t fast forward our way through them. Sometimes, we just need to be patient within our present circumstances, while God is growing the things we are praying for. Trying to interfere and speed up the natural process can make the situation worse than before. And using purple people eater cream may only make you want to hide more. I should know.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

Trust in God’s plan, and be patient. Just let your hair grow. 

Be blessed,
C.K.

Count the Cost

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28

When counting the cost of something, that may be our time, money, conveniences, etc. To live a life for Christ demands the sum of these. It’s all our material possessions, emotional comforts and physical well-being tossed onto the proverbial table. In our Scripture above, His analogy of building a tower is simple – Christ is not demanding anything of us. He simply instructs us to take inventory of what a life of service and discipleship will require, to ensure we can finish the job.

Imagine a road. Imagine its long and winding path, sheltered and encased by the branches of majestic trees, whose roots are deep with life. You are ready. Your eye is on the finish. With each step along the narrow path you’re drawn more forward by the longing in your spirit for the Greatness you know lies ahead at your destination. Along the way, you pick up weary travelers, lifeless in spirit. You tell them of this Greatness – that which can breathe life into them again, heal their wounds and satisfy any hunger. More and more follow. You assure them, where you’re going, there is plenty of room for all (John 14:2).

The journey is long and the bottoms of your shoes become worn. The night falls steadily, along with the hope that sparked your first steps. Your pace ceases as you find yourself staring dejectedly at the unexpected mountain before you. There is no way around this mountain. Only over it. To take such a journey of strength will require a lightened load and the use of your hands for climbing. This means abandoning all your possessions for the sake of the climb. Disillusionment creeps in as you are taunted by your own ill-preparedness. Fear tells you to turn around. In that moment, you’re faced with a choice that will impact not only your own life, but the lives of so many others.

In your weakness and fear, you turn. When you do, you are face to face with all the weary travelers who are following you, uncertain of why you stopped. As you pass through the sea of searching faces, your actions of retreat make words unnecessary. The travelers who were once filled with hope are now standing in silence, gazing back and forth between their retreating leader and the mountain before them. The cloaks of dejectedness and disillusionment are passed through the crowd as the vision of Greatness you spoke of fades with every step backwards you take. For many, hurt turns to anger and bitterness for leading them so far for nothing. They leave the path, never to return (2 Peter 2:21). Others ridicule you. For others, they continue to follow you, turning back to the place that took the life within them and made them weary in the first place.

But there is one. There is one who remains staring at the mountain. He takes his time to think about the journey and all it will require. When weighed against the reward of the Greatness that waits on the other side, there is no hesitation in his spirit (Isaiah 6:8). He gathers those who are still found motionless in the confusion and calls out to those who have already turned around to see if any will follow with him. They leave any unnecessary thing and, together, begin the climb.

Which one will you be?

Be blessed,
C.K.