Your Choice

Satan has no power except what we give him. When offense comes, and it will, we can either empower it by focusing on and reacting to the offense and the offender, or we can completely strip the offense of its power by overlooking it through eyes of grace and forgiveness. The same way Christ views our daily offenses.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live bound by people and circumstances. I have a life to live and lives to touch. And so do you. Let’s live in freedom. Let’s refuse to be enslaved to people and events any longer. Let’s refuse to give them power over us. Galatians 5:1 NIV tells us that freedom is God’s desire for us: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Jesus Christ laid His life down for you and for me so we could be free. He set us free from the penalty of sin that leads to eternal separation from God. He has set us free to live life to the fullest—no matter where we live! (John 10:10)

So, “stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1, emphasis added). It is our own daily choice whether we are free or whether we are yoked to some event, person, or emotion. It’s like God is saying to us: “Stand firm my child! Don’t be moved by anything or anyone. Instead, stay focused on Me. Trust Me to defend you, to fight your battles, and to make right what is wrong. The moment you take situations into your hands is the moment you take them out of My hands and diffuse My power to work in your life. Fear, self-pity, anger, bitterness, jealousy—none of these things are from Me. So let them go, lest they destroy you. Clinging to them is like clinging to a sinking ship. Ultimately, you will be destroyed. Give the offense and offender to Me and keep moving forward!”


Clear Strategy

It Doesn’t Take Much

Last week I had the privilege of working with cadets from Camp Blanding through our In His Wakes Water Sports Outreach. During the two days we were on base, we ministered to the hearts and souls of 200 teenagers who are enrolled in the Florida Youth Challenge Academy. As always, they ministered to our hearts as well.
At every IHW event it is common to meet people who for some reason or another, refuse to join in the water-sports activities. It breaks my heart because I know they are missing out on what could very well be the most incredible day of their life. Last week I encountered one such person. It was a teenage girl. I couldn’t help but notice that she had isolated herself from the rest of the group and was hanging back by the trees.
I walked over to the young girl and immediately noticed the tears in her eyes. I had already seen her have several conversations with her sergeants and could sense that she was not having a good day.
“Is there anything I can do to help your day become a little better?” I asked.
She shook her head no and then under her breath she whispered, “It’s stupid.”
“What’s stupid?” I asked her.
“My bathing suit didn’t pass inspection. If I want to go in the water, I have to go in my clothes. I don’t want to swim in my clothes.” she explained. “I had another suit but I let a girl borrow it since she didn’t have one. I don’t want to ask for it back and ruin her day.”
“Well,” I said, “that’s an easy fix. It just so happens that I have a bathing suit in my car that doesn’t fit me. Last time I wore it, my husband asked me if I was wearing my daughter’s suit! That comment ruined me from ever wearing it in public again. I don’t even know why I brought it to this event…it must have been just for you!”
She was hesitant at first, but with a little reassuring, she accepted my offer. Within moments, this teen was on the water having the time of her life.
There was another girl hanging back as well, this time due to fear. Although I had some success moving her out of her comfort zone, it wasn’t until her sergeant said she’d go out on the water with her that she rose up from her chair and got behind the boat on a tube.
This sergeant climbed aboard the tube completely decked out in her military issued wear. It was awesome! Girls were lined up on the bank to ride with her. They had such a great time together.
It hit me as I watched this sergeant bumping along in the water with these girls: it doesn’t take a whole lot to change the course of someone’s day. For the first girl, all it took was for me to give up my too-small-for-my-forty-five-year-old-butt bathing suit. For the second girl, it took a sergeant being willing to climb on a tube in her clothes and have some fun. As a result, both girls left with smiles on their faces and joy in their heart. 
On the flip side, the girls were willing to receive the small blessings we offered.  If they had been resistant, then they would have been robbing not only themselves of the blessings, but also robbing myself and the sergeant the opportunity to bless them.  Blessings are a two-way street.
All around us there are people who’s whole day could change if we would just take notice and be willing to give a little of ourselves. And in the process, we too are blessed.
Attached is a picture from this event. This particular shot was taken as 13 girls waited to be baptized before going back to their barracks. What a perfect ending to a perfect day!