Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm a Liar [A Guest Post by Cara Sexton]

Today I'm excited to have over here @ 'The Voice' Cara Sexton who blogs at Whimsy Smitten (a blog I personally love to read). Bold believer in Christ, wife and mother of three, Cara writes with so much authority you could feel it jump right out of the page and I must say, I love the transparency, authenticity and grace her writing brings with every word. Visit her blog Whimsy Smitten and you can also follow her on twitter @WhimsySmitten

 [Image via Pinterest]

I'm a Christian.

And I'm a liar.

Serious lies. Major. Compulsive.

I say I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind, but I check Facebook each morning before checking into the Word of God to get a fix of what's really most important in my heart.

I say my kids are the most important thing on this earth to me, but I shoo them off of me so I can concentrate on writing an email.

I say I'm for human rights but I shop at big-box stores that support child labor and don't think hard about buying cheap coffee and cheap clothing that exploits the workers involved in the manufacturing process.

I say I write as ministry, to communicate what the Lord puts on my heart, but I have paid advertising on my blog so I can get a little something for my effort.

I say I'm part of the church body, but shy away from serving in ways that aren't "my gift."

I say I'm open-minded and respect all people, but I avoid lengthy discussions with the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons that come to my door. I smile and nod in the name of faith instead of listening and sharing and praying. I speak out against what I don't believe in rather than striving to understand all sides in mutual respect and humanity.

I say I believe in the power of prayer but drive my sick kid to the doctor and fill a prescription before I think to utter a word.

I am increasingly aware of the difference between faith in word and deed. I'm a writer. It's easy for me to wax poetic about the beautiful redemption of Christ but walk through life as though I don't believe it at all.

It's easier to use grace as a bandage to cover over the evil that so easily takes root in my heart, rather than taking a scalpel to it. Scalpels are more painful than bandages, but bandages don't heal the root of infection.

So what can be done?

I can use the scalpel to cut away one lie at a time. I can bring my choices before the Lord and cut out hypocrisy. I can remove advertising from my blog for things that are financially motivated rather than mission-ally motivated. I can pick up my Bible before my laptop, even when I don't feel like it. I can go with less excess to make more humane spending choices. I can listen when I disagree, breathe when I'd rather yell, pray when I'd rather control. It's one small, hard choice after another. It's one uncomfortable step at a time and we don't take the steps to be right but to be holy, to give the world a glimpse at the way He does it. Jesus does not divide; He unites. He does not injure; He heals.

Do I?

Friday, May 25, 2012

iRecommend : Church Clothes by Lecrae [+ Free Album Download]

if You Like: KJ 52, Tedashii, J Cole, Jadakiss, Trip Lee, Busta Rhymes, Timberland and Rick Ross

It's no news that rapper Lecrae been cooking things up in the studio for months. It's done and on this one he decides to give it off free. I have listened to Church Clothes, filled with lots of catchy beats, punchlines and whole truths. Though fans of bouncy pop choruses in rap songs might be a little disappointed on this one but it is a SOLID hip-hop record. Want some new jammings that would make your head go up and down in sync with the car bonnet and your heart? Download 'Church Clothes'  by clicking here


Giving up hope on life is like drowning yourself to keep from getting wet. Life is a war, dont stop fighting. - Lecrae

p.S- You can also follow Lecrae on twitter @lecrae

Monday, May 21, 2012

iRecommend : Love & War by Josh Garrels [+ Free Album Download]

If You Like: Gotye, Mat Kearney, Gungor, Florence + The Machine, Adele, Eminem

Today I'm excited to present to you Josh Garrels, songwriter and maker of beautiful music. Love & War (& The Sea in Between) is his 6th release and it has been described by Christianity Today as  "prophetic, incisive, achingly human, and longingly spiritual,". It has also been tagged as their 2011 Album of The Year. To Download and listen click here.


"Only this moment is Life. The past is memory, the future is imagination." - Ted Dekker

p.S. - Please note that this download is only available for the next forty days. You can also check out the artist (Josh Garrels) on twitter @JoshGarrels

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Difference Between A Wall and A Bridge.

First definitions, this is what they are.
A bridge - a safe structure with boundaries on both sides spanning a river or a place where there is no road e.t.c to give a type of communication across.
A wall - an erection or boundary of brick, stone e.t.c for security or to enclose a space such as a piece of land.
They are both as a result of bricks and stones and they both have some sort of boundaries
Getting Real.
In our relationships when the bricks and stones come rushing through what do we do with them?
We could either build walls or bridges.
A wall would keep the other party totally out and you totally alone, sometimes even from parties apart from the party that has hurt us.
But today I present to you the case of a bridge. I think the starting point is knowing that a bridge is also built, that is it takes cautious effort, that is it is intentional. What do I mean by saying we build bridges?
How We Build Bridges That Stand Strong.
1. Answer the question of purpose even in relationships.
Why this relationship? What are we communicating or do we intend to communicate?
2. Keep the main thing the main thing.
I have seen great connections fizzle out all because of petty things. What ever the essence of the relationship must be kept like a picture before the two parties.
3. Set boundaries. (Even Mother Teresa would have enjoyed some sort of privacy.)
Do you have boundaries in your relationship. Does the other party know your preferences? Or you're just a lifeless mannequin anything-fits?
4. When stones and brick come, you will be tempted to build walls, strengthen the bridge.
I don't mean to sound naïve but I believe there are abusive relationships where a party could be a tormentor and distance is needed. But one thing is always true, for a relationship that had great potential, we can always build on what remain. When hurts come isn't a time to withdraw, it's more of a time to be open to one another, review our preferences, and see the root cause of our problems.
Remember a bridge is a safe structure spanning over rivers, places where there are no roads and sometimes mountains. A wall keeps us in, we are safe for a while but soon we discover we are starving. What are the essential relationships in your life? What would you do to preserve and fight for them? What have you been building with your bricks walls or bridges?
I would love to hear from you.

"Relationships are painful. Relationships are wonderful. We all live in the drama that plays out between these two truths" - Tom Holladay
"Don't build walls when people offend you, build bridges"

Monday, May 14, 2012

'Good': The Great Enemy of 'Great'.

I love sure things, honestly they are like a rock for us when we find ourselves in deep blue seas, a refuge, a fortress, like in [the movie] 'Castway', you know, finding an island when you are lost at sea and that island is your haven. You find a 'home', no more cold nights and you are 'safe'.
But this place termed 'safe', this comfortable good-enough, this haven of ours we suddenly come across when we are desperate and we have prayed and prayed then an answer comes [I have seen] to be the death of many dreams.
We get the job that pays well and affords the basic luxuries and then it must be the devil telling us to try new grounds with a consulting business idea.
We have the children we have longed, fasted and prayed for and it must be the devil telling us not to home school them.
We get that big money and it must be the devil whispering into our ears 'Give it'.
I believe heaven is overflowing with great things for us on earth but our fists are tightly clenched to the good ones we have received.
And our fear - God's eyes aren't big enough to sustain or keep what He's given us.
Remember Isaac, a son for a nation.
Remember Hannah, are you willing to hand over back (in ways beyond your comprehension) the things you have been given by God?
This is a sure thing - The gift God has given us but God is a surer thing. In fact the surest. And if we still have God when everything seems shaky, we have everything.
You have arrived at good, and that's good enough. What about great?
What is God calling you to surrender at an altar like an Isaac?
What is He wooing you in obedience to bring back to His house?
What are you holding with clenched fists that is meant to be handled with open hands?
Cause sometimes friend, the very thing that distracts us from the great destiny God has for us is the good land He brings us through that we choose to settle in.
Today I challenge you, don't let 'good' compel you to settle at 'good', go for 'GREAT'
Question of the day: Looking at your life presently, what are the 'risky' and uncomfortable steps God is calling you to take that in the grand scheme of things is a call into something better and greater? What is He calling you to hold with open hands?

Friday, May 11, 2012


The power of a name is in it's beauty
The beauty of a name is that somehow we are defined and tagged by it knowingly and unknowingly
We are not our names, or are we?

I have had my share of names
Some terrible, they felt like stones every time they were hurled at me
Some horrible, I died each time I was called
And some so good it kept me and caged me from my best.

We are not our names, or are we?
We are not our names but we desperately need a name
Everyone and I say EVERYONE must be called something
Everyone and I insist EVERYONE craves to be called something
But we are here receiving the names thrown at us
Some good, most we detest

'Have you seen the new beautiful girl in English class'
'The buffalo shaped mouth guy had the guts to ask me to step aside on the lunch queue today'
They mutter about what matters to us as we walk the road of life
'You legs are hot'
'You legs are not'
'You are intelligent'
'Are you a dunce?'
We hear as we go

I once sat with little boy for 10 minutes. 'You are so . . . ' I ended up with 'smart'. Cause I saw a depth, so many good things I just had to hang on to that.
'No I'm not' he said and looked into my eyes
'Why do you think you're not' I asked
'They told me so' He said
We both knew 'they' though there was no one around.

'They' are us
We are 'they'
What are you calling the ones around you?
What names are you giving?
Wait, before you think too far for an answer
You made no man
You formed no man
If you want to name any being carved by the hands of God, you must be willing to be the mouth of God.

". . .And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." - Jesus (Revelation 2:17b NLT)

"We must learn to separate our 'who' from our 'do' even if we receive names for what we do."

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Difference Between Faith and Foolishness

John Ortberg (In his book 'If You Want To Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat') placed great emphasis on Peter's statement in Matthew 14 verse 28 'Lord, If it is You command me to come to You on the water'. And I really think the difference between faith and foolishness (or stubbornness or absurdity or whatever name you give it) is OBEDIENCE. Faith isn't just risk-taking, it is obeying (acting on) what God has said to YOU. Today walk in faith and not foolishness, trust in the Lord. Lean closely to hear what He has to say to you'

Friday, May 4, 2012


There are times like every pregnant woman, Christ gives us a leave from the locomotive life job and commits to us the focused task which we term mundane of nurturing the seed that is in us. Like a loyal husband, he promises to provide all we will need, feed on and live with. This is the practical rest of God. But most times we hear the 'boisterous' wind from the people get to us. We let those who didn't form us or know us define our lives when the creator is carving a masterpiece.
If you are pregnant, you must know this about spiritual pregnancy; not all eyes can see your baby bump.
If you choose the voice of men over the voice of truth, you would abort and end up wailing at the end of times in a pool of blood. It could have been a dream.
There's a time all seems still and not much is happening on the outside. It's not cause you serve an inactive God, much isn't really meant to happen on the outside at these times. A lot is going-on on the inside, the story of lives is being woven, a dream is being formed, detailed answers to nation and people's needs and questions are being delivered to you and you must be attentive and stop focusing on all you want to have and go your way.
For me, the waiting period is always a time to take huge steps of faith, to walk with a light those around me can't see in a room they have termed dark and hard to move around in. To hope a little more when there are no signs of the promise on the horizon. To be the source of love when selfishness is the new pride in my community. I tell you, times like this might be one of the 'unsurest' times in our lives and at the same time times to be really sure of the things we have termed ourselves sure about.
In our nights and pregnancies, the instantaneous feeling is usually a dread if this would ever end but the faithfulness and goodness of God can always be trusted. Pregnancies become babies after a certain time, nights (no matter how long) turn into day for those who wait to see it. Please wait. Don't give up. . . on the dream or anything God's told you. Carry it carefully. Don't let people who can only see in 2D tell you your God given 3D dream isn't ever going to be possible. Wait well and put your focus on God. When you see your 'baby' I promise you, the joy outweighs all you went through ( ask any mother, seriously I asked one :))


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