Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: John 10:10

child hiding in couch

No Vacancy – Fear isn’t Welcome Here

Child hiding in couch

I’ve had to attempt to relearn factoring polynomial quadratic equations. I say attempt because, after watching hours of YouTube videos, I still couldn’t help my son with his math homework. Of course, my not remembering freshman algebra served as fodder to prove his argument that this kind of math isn’t useful. If mom hasn’t had to use polynomial quadric equations since high school, what’s the point? Why should he?

My boys complain the same about history, “Why learn about the past? It isn’t going to help me in the future.” While I can’t make a great case for factoring equations, I wholeheartedly am a proponent of history. Winston Churchill’s adaptation of George Santayana’s quote says it best:

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

My eldest son, along with quadradic equations, is also studying the effects of WWI and the rise of communism. Of course, I geeked out while quizzing him for tests and wanted to know if he saw any similarities between then and now. My wise-for-his-years son says, “Yes, fear.”

It was one of those heart-sinking moments. He was right.

Museum of Victoria Unsplash photo of people watching soliders pass

Fear was a huge proponent for allowing Stalin and also Hitler to come into power. After the massive death tolls and financial costs of WWI, Russia and Germany were left dangling in uncertainty and economic decline. People sought change and relief from their financial worries. In fear, they fell subject to propaganda and skillful orators who appealed to their sense of helplessness. (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC., History.com, Vladimir Lenin, and Encyclopedia Britannica, The Civil War and War Communism.)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

We must stay alert and be vigilant. Fear is a sneaky foe. Phrases like, Do not be afraid and Fear not are written in the Bible approximately 365 times. Whether God had to repeat Himself that many times in order to get through to us or merely to drive home His point, I don’t know, but we might want to take note.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cripple us. I’ve seen Covid-19 turn normal, happy people into paranoid hermits. The longer they remain secluded behind locked doors, the more their fear grows, and the more helpless they become. Fear wants us to lead small lives, but we have a choice whether to listen to the voice of less, the thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, or to listen to the voice of more, Jesus, who came that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). 

I’m not condoning licking microphones or toilet seats like the crazy Coronavirus challenge (an idiotic stunt on the internet to which my boys have alerted me). I’m not even saying take off your masks or gather in groups. We need to be cautious because God wants us to be good stewards of our lives and the lives of others. However, we need to remember we are in a battle. Fear believes God won’t make it right. Fear convinces us to depend upon sources of man-made protection. Fear allows evil to get a foothold as witnessed in history with Stalin and Hitler.

Faith, on the other hand, seeks and trusts God.

Focus on fear, and it will grow.  Focus on God, and faith grows.

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What Do We Live For?

In a 2010 Afghanistan firefight, William “Kyle” Carpenter ran towards a hand grenade to shield another marine, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio, from the blast. The William "Kyle" Carpenter with Medal of Honorimpact cost Kyle his eye and lower jaw. His lung collapsed and many of his bones shattered. He was labeled dead as he arrived at the field hospital and nearly died a second time at Walter Reed Medical Center. Countless surgeries and two and a half years of rehabilitation in a hospital, Kyle lived to be awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. Kyle refuses to let the enemy stop him. He says, in the defense video which can be seen below, “The enemy killed me. I came back, ran a marathon, completed a mud run, and jumped from a plane. I won’t ever quit. I am just getting started,”

This week as we celebrate and honor our veteran’s, I am grateful to Kyle, and every military person who has fought for our great country to maintain our freedom. It is obvious by reading about Kyle and watching his video not only what Kyle is willing to die for, but also what he is willing to live for.

As I sit and type in my cozy room, safe in my warm home, with the sound of birds chirping outside my window instead of mortar fire, Kyle’s story gets me thinking. He was willing to risk his life for our freedom and safety. Jesus said in John 15:13, “No one can have greater love than to give his life for his friends.” Jesus knew this all too well. He paid the ultimate price for all of us. He took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross so that anyone who believes in him can have eternal life (John 3:16).

The question now becomes, what do we live for? Or, better yet who do we live for? We have been given an amazing gift, a second chance. What are we doing with it? Jesus said he came so that we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). Are we living a full life?

And by full, I don’t mean busy. Busyness can be detrimental. I admit I struggle with this. If I have an idle moment, instead of using it to be still and listen for God’s voice, I allow guilt to set in and create trivial tasks to occupy my time. Busyness doesn’t lead to a full life. Leading a life with purpose does.

Wallowing in sadness or hiding behind our fears also doesn’t honor the sacrifice made for us. I don’t mean for us to slap a smile on our faces and fake it til we make it. No, I’m saying turn our focus from inward to outward. God is greater than the pile of unpaid bills, the boss’s hurtful words, or the date that never texted or bothered to call back. Happiness is momentary and fleeting based on an event, but God’s joy is a continuous spring from which we can drink and drink often and whenever needed. By showing God’s joy through our countenance, through our lives, and our actions, we are honoring Jesus’s sacrifice.

Starting today, how can you honor the sacrifice made for you?

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Jack, Queen, and King of spades

Go Ahead and Shoot the Moon

Any chance my husband gets, he will shoot the moon. Shooting the moon is a Jack, Queen, and King of spadesstrategy in the card game of Hearts. If done properly, the person who shoots the moon passes along the 26 points to the other players. If they’re short one card, then they’re stuck, because the person with the lowest points wins the round.

I’ve never successfully done it. I’m a play-it-safe kind of gal. Sometimes, I’m trying harder not to lose than I am to win. My husband calls my method of playing ducking, which only changed my method to a do-anything-to-prevent-my-husband-from-shooting-the-moon strategy.

Walt Disney's DumboDumbo, Disney’s flying elephant, also liked to play it safe. The only way Timothy Q., the circus mouse could convince Dumbo to attempt to fly was to have him hold a magical feather. Yet, the magic wasn’t inside the feather. It was inside of Dumbo. The feather became a blindfold prohibiting Dumbo from seeing what he was truly capable of achieving.

What feather or excuse are we clinging to instead of realizing the potential within ourselves? I like safety, but when does the comfort of playing it safe become an idol of pleasure?

Steven Furtick, Pastor of Elevation Church in NC, did a sermon illustration about being daring for God. When Steven gets to heaven, he wants his guardian angel to be relieved because of how exhausting it was to protect his charge. Like Steven Furtick, I don’t want to get to heaven and have God say, “You did okay, but I had so much more for you if only you’d have been willing to step out in faith.”

God’s will is bold. Noah built a boat, and it had never rained before. David, a small sheepherder boy with a slingshot, defeated a military giant. And, Gideon the least in his family among the weakest clan, who hid from the Midianites in an old winepress to thresh his wheat, defeated the massive Midianite army with a small band of three hundred men.

John 10:10 says, “I came so that you may have life and have it to the full.” Jesus didn’t say a little bit or halfway. He said so that you may have life to the full. You are God’s creation. Live life full. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Choose to be the person you’re meant to be, not merely the person you’ve allowed yourself to become.

Step out in faith. Keep working until God demonstrates the extraordinary. Don’t lean on your own understanding, instead, trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Go head. Make your guardian angel sweat a little.

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