Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3 Keys for Living Well

1. Go after a life of LOVE as if your life depended on it - because it does.

Go after love - literally - let love lead.  Love well and you will undoubtedly live well. But as I've said before fluffy love isn't enough. Love must be strong. It's not always the most comfortable way to live, but it is the most rewarding.

2. Give yourself to the GIFTS God gives you.

God has generously poured out creativity, talent, passion and dreams. You have a unique blend of gifts no one else on the planet has. Give yourself to these gifts. Develop them. Your gifts are meant to be given. Make them great!

3. Let others in on the TRUTH so they can grow and be strong.

Truth will bring freedom and hope to you. You can't keep it to yourself! Why would you want to? The truth you discover is not exclusive. Let others in on it so they can benefit from all you've gained on your journey. 

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim his truth.....when you proclaim his truth in everyday speech, you’re letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience his presence with you.  1 Corinthians 14: 1-3 MSG

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Go Ahead and Cry

It’s okay to cry.

In fact, sometimes a good cry is exactly what we need. 

When studying the chemical composition of tears, Bio-chemist, Dr William Frey, discovered that emotional tears contain protein- based hormones. He didn’t find them in onion chopping tears. Research indicates that through emotional tears, our body is actually cleansing itself of harmful stress hormones.

Tears are evidence of God’s master design.
I’m learning to let them flow.

Last month, my husband and I attended a worship night with 1211, a collection of musicians, song-writers and singers led by Ramy Antoun. It’s an experience like no other. The band and singers are set up in the center of the room and the “congregation” surrounds them. The performance aspect of modern worship is lost in this arrangement and what happens is total immersion.

As a former worship team member, I found myself leaning over and peeking around heads to see who was singing. Who was leading?  I gave up. I don’t need to see to be led. I can listen. I can feel. I can allow God to lead me.

And he led me to tears.
Letting go.

During one song, Ramy pointed out a woman who was available to pray with people. I knew I had to go. I think I’m the only one who did. Her presence was God’s present to me that night, a beautiful gift.

She reminded me of Elijah when he fled to the desert fearing for his life. He collapsed, exhausted from the journey in the shelter of a broom tree. He wanted to give up. He asked God to take him home. But miraculously God provided food and water for Elijah under that tree. In 1 Kings 19:7 an angel wakes him and says, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

Do you ever feel that way?
Like the journey is just too much for you.
I did that night for sure.

I was anxious, stressed and overwhelmed about what lied ahead of me. But God met me that night. 1211 was my broom tree in the desert. They set the table. I pulled up a seat, ate my fill, quenched my thirst and cried my tears.

Yes, I cried - in public.

We’re not talking sweet tender tears, the kind you wipe away with the back of your hand, the kind that evaporate in a second or two.

No, we’re talking multiple tissue tears - mascara melting, nose running, cheek drenching tears.

Karol Ann Moore began to sing I’m Amazed and every word rang true for me in that moment:
You love is stronger than my pain. Your grace is greater than my shame. You pursue me even when I run away. I’m amazed by your amazing grace.

And I am amazed by the gracious, sustaining provision of my Father.
Stress washed away by rivers of tears. I could breathe deeper.
I left lighter, refreshed and strengthened for the road ahead.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Four Steps to Financial Freedom

The borrower is slave to the lender and don't I know it. I've been in that position. Trapped. Chained. Limited by the bondage of debt. It's a miserable existence.

We were not made to live that way. We were made for freedom, for abundance. 

We were created to dream! 

Financial freedom can be yours, and doing the work to get there is the secret to unlocking your dreams.

Make a Plan - Creating a spending plan is the first step toward freedom. Dave Ramsey tells us this is how we tell our money where to go instead of wondering where it went. It can be intimidating but it doesn't have to be difficult. To this day, we use a simple Excel spreadsheet. If you'd like a copy of our sample spending plan, email me: lynnmarie(dot)cherry(at)gmail(dot)com

Work the Plan -The plan won't work unless YOU work it. Schedule a regular time to look at the spending plan, make adjustments, pay bills and balance your checkbook. 

Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;

 play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate. Proverbs 28:19 MSG

Rework the Plan - Life happens. We get busy and it's easy to fall back into old familiar habit patterns. A relapse is only a failure if you refuse to get back up! (Click to Tweet) So get back up and please be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself and work the plan again.

Add the God Factor - A faithful steward will be entrusted with more. When we honor God with our resources, he pours out blessings.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
 with the first fruits of all your increase
then your barns will be filled to overflowing....Proverbs 3:9-10

(Listen, if you want your barn to be filled, you'll need to build the barn. Open up a savings account. Contribute to a 401K. Then imagine that barn overflowing with supernatural provision.)

We do our part and God does what only he can do!
His grace swept away our debt mountain. (More on that here)
His grace brings FREEDOM and with financial freedom comes the freedom to dream big dreams!