Color Your World

by Mindy Linkous

Nothing stands out brighter than a person fully alive.  A life bursting with passion and purpose beams inspiration.  When we reflect the glory of God we project a bright colorful burst of inspiration.  This burst of color can inspire people on their journey.  In a race if you get tired there is nothing better than to pass the water station or the corner where friends and supporters cheer you on.  It gets tough in a race pushing through the exhaustion and bearing the elements of weather.  I love Paul’s analogy he sent to the Corinthians over 2,000 years ago.   Grecian races were familiar to those around Rome at the time so it makes a great reference.  

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.  -1. Cor 9:24-27

In a race all run but only one receives the prize whereas spiritually the success of one is no hinderance to that of others therefore we are not in competition.  All can achieve the reward sought after. 

Paul lives in freedom and confidence.  A boldness to run in life as if only one wins.  This is serious.  The reward, the integrity of the race, and the race owner all have meaning and respect to the runner.  The confidence is to have the hope to win.  Our future glory is not won by effort, but is bestowed as a free gift. It is given from the hands which have procured it, and, as I may say, twined it for us. His brows were pierced with the crown of thorns, now ours can wear the garland of victory. Jesus provides the sole means, by His work, by which any man can enter into that inheritance; and Jesus, as the righteous Judge who bestows the rewards, which are the results, of our life here, gives the crown. It remains for ever the gift of His love.

RUN LIKE SO

As if the one who put your journey together was supreme in your eyes.  

As if the prize of a crown of righteousness is worth fighting for.  

As if you believed it was possible for you to win- even if only one could win.  

The lesson is to run like so, like the one winning, or in such as way as a victor would.  

I recently ran a 5k Color Run in Orlando and there was such vibrant themes to the race and color everywhere.  Some people were out to have a fun time with friends while others were there to run to win.  The race had color stations throughout where you were blasted with powdered paint.  A fun burst to keep you inspired.  At the sign up you could add all sorts of  accessories like gold star socks and press on tattoos.  I got a unicorn headband and a gold tutu. 

I get inspired during a run and think of God’s touch on everything and seek to capture what God is speaking as I run.  I like to keep a steady pace, keep the heart rate mild.  So I’m pushing through concentrating to keep focus and around the loop come the front runners.  These people were serious.  They weren’t wearing tutus or headbands with unicorns sticking up.  We are talking slick runners gear shaved legs pro sneakers and as they passed by the passion and vigor was intense.  They were running at such a consistent fast pace I could hear them panting as they flew by a lap ahead.  Draw inspiration for your life run.  Train to run.  Believe you can win.  

Break It Down 

Explore methods of a victor 

Discipline

Focus

Concentrated Effort

Discipline 

v25Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline.

v27I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. NLT

Discipline to Surrender.  You must ‘lay aside’ ‘every weight.’  If we are to run fast we must run light.  It is a struggle to put off the “I got it” attitude and have the counsel of God guide you.  Jesus says His yoke is easy and His burden is light but other people make it about us.  Staying focused that He is the way to truth salvation and good.

Youth who hopes the Olympic prize to gain, 

All arts must try, and every toil sustain; 

The extremes of heat and cold must often prove, 

And shun the weakening joys of wine and love. 

So Horace tells us.

— FRANCIS, Article Poetry, line 412A.

Make every effort!  

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. Discipline my body – which is a strict statement because this is war

Focus 

v 25They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.

Look at prizes comparatively:

The crowns for which the Greeks contended in their games were for the most part made of the leaves of trees which soon withered.   Crowns made of leaves of wild olive, laurel, pines, or parsley depending on the games. But the prize of the righteousness of Christ is what we are offered.  This brings focus from the most scattered minds.  This brings concentrated efforts from the frozen from the faint and from the fallen.  To catch a glimpse of what Christ offers us at no cost will inspire the one who tripped up and fell to get back up and run again.  

The runner, according to Paul’s vivid picture in another of his letters, forgets the things that are behind, and stretches out towards the things that are before.  When you see it you will run. When you see it you will invest your all.

Now we see a tribe of resolute, conscious people tossing off the glittering accessories and coming forth with concentration to that which is clearly and always was before us. Do you know what you are aiming at? That is the first question. Put it into half a dozen words, or less.  

Concentrated Effort 

v26Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air. 

The larger portion of most lives goes to drive the wheel, and there is very little left, in the case of many of us, in order to help us towards God, and bring us closer to Christ.  The best race is running to Jesus.  Run in life as if you were in the lead running toward a goal that is worth it.  Throwing all hindrances to the wayside without so much as looking back.  Armored with sleek gear for speed and truth.  No clanking heavy armor that doesn’t fit.  Strong prepared to break through exhaustion.  Leaping over obstacles like it was nothing.  Brave and vibrant with energy and not distracted by applause.  This is not happen-stance.  These are not left overs.  This is intentional these efforts are strategic.  

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    A Different Kind of Fast

    A Different Kind of Fast
    by Mindy Linkous

    Hunger, oppression, bondage, homelessness, violence, hatred, division, and abuse are raging in this beautiful world. The challenge is insurmountable the needs are great, but God can do the impossible and calls us out to have faith to do the impossible. We fast and pray for Christ to strengthen us to reach these needs. We have ‘a big ask’ but we have no reason to be shy about it, we are God’s children. The door is always open. Go on in. In Isaiah 58 God reveals his heart by steering the direction of the way the people were fasting. Instead of getting all grumpy and hangry, arguing and putting in your time paying dues as it seems, how about pay attention to the needs of others, don’t just skip a meal and bow your head like a reed, give someone hungry your meal and let the joy of sharing fill you up for a change. He chooses a fast that is bold saying, “This the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Isn’t it to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” Jesus invites us to come boldly before Him. So he can fill us with life and take that life to the world. As we are filled with his life we shine his light in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. He says don’t turn away, put down the pointing finger and help those in trouble. He fills us with Life and asks us to pour ourselves out for the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, and share our food with the hungry. He tells us to break chains of wickedness, untie the ropes of the yoke and tear them off, to stop vicious rumors, and to set the oppressed free. Now that is a powerful fast! Rise up in your unique gifting, we all are different but empowered by same Spirit. We proclaim Jesus is Lord! And the hope of all is Christ in you. We invite you to take communion after you pray and fast in remembrance that Jesus poured out His life to save us and He alone is our strength. He is the bread of life and the living water.

    Do It Again

    We put our favorite song on repeat and watch our favorite films over and over. We retell our own stories too. People like repetition. The recap after the game. The retelling of a story. The restatement of love. The reaffirmation of affection. A child wanting you to keep up the fun. Whatever you just did made their world and they want more. “Do it again!” They say it in such a way that there is no way out of. You can’t say no to that. An expectation of trust so deep. The promise is in their heart and the hope of it in their eyes. There is no way this isn’t happening.

    David’s prayers to the Lord as a shepherd boy were full of expectation. Each day he watched over the sheep and the Lord helped him be strong and wise able to fight off lions and bears. He trusted that God would do it again each day, every night, again and again. When he faced the giant on the front lines battle. He still had that do-it-again attitude with God. He knew his strength came from God and he remembered each time he rescued sheep from the jaws of predators and each time he took them down. David boldly proclaimed that he would fight and God would protect him and help him.

    1 Samuel 17: 37
    The Lord who rescued me
    from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear
    will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

    God rescued him again and again. David saw God’s power and might through out his life. God anointed him, gave him songs, led him, made him King of Judah and then he made him King over Israel also. Blessings over and over.

    SHEPHERD • MUSICIAN • MESSENGER • WARRIOR • KING • DESIGNER • LOVER • FATHER

    David journeys from a young boy to a man. His responsibilities grew. Temptations arose. His duties became heavier. His battles became more complicated. Wars in the land and wars within, both with masked enemies and surprising betrayal. Faced with an internal war, fighting against the giant of his will for the attitude of heart. When his attitude would plummet he had to fight to climb out of sadness. You don’t outgrow childlike faith. When the attitude of expectation turns to doubtful desperation, it’s time to think again. Step back and think about it. Reset the gauges in your inner clock. Retell yourself the stories. If God will rescue you in bloody battle He will rescue you from sadness and refresh your spirit. He rescues the whole you: body, soul, mind, and strength.

    You don’t have to look in a mirror to know the sparkle in your eyes is fading. When the heart is closed off nothing really works. For David, in this state nothing was cheering him up. He says in his own words, “my soul refused to be sorry.” To let out that sigh of a turn of heart that would comfort him. Trust faded into doubt. Even his memories were tainted with doubt. That bold voice of confidence replaced by groans filled with defeat. Bold declarations of victory and rescue turned to blame. The grateful hopeful attitude of the heart now walled in with insecurities.

    He used to retell of God’s might and power he now he retells his troubles over and over. Each struggle, every hard night, and all the days of trouble; he told the stories in detail. He sang them and he cried them but it just made things worse. He was retelling the wrong stories. David needed to recalibrate his core and at some point he recognized it. He knew that inside he was stuck. I think he heard it in his own complaints because he stopped. He stopped and thought about it. His complaints weren’t lining up with his past. He was questioning God’s love and promises. Did you forget me? Are you mad at me? Was it something I did? Did you set me up to trick me? Deeper and deeper they spiraled pulling him down. After a while he crossed the line. I must be out of my mind to think that. He was whining so loud he woke himself up. He stopped to think. I sense word regret. I shouldn’t have said that. I need to think differently.

    Psalm 77: 7-12
    7“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
    8Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
    9Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
    Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
    I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
    I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

    Meditate on all the good things God has done. Tell of what He has done and what He can and will do. Sing it, cry it out, share it, write it, paint it. When your words are filled with the retelling of the might and strength of the Lord your voice will come back bolder. You will think differently, sighing out repentance and have comfort. Your attitude will burst with confidence. Your story becomes richer. Your story deeper. Layer by layer. Just like Davids story.

    The Lord rescued him from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear
    The Lord rescued him from the hand of this Philistine
    The Lord rescued him from a jealous king
    The Lord rescued him from assassination
    The Lord rescued him from sadness
    The Lord rescued him from his mistakes

    He did it before and He will do it again. Talk about it. It will cheer you up when nothing else will. Stop talking about your trouble and talk about the victories. A war story of rescue and triumph over the enemy. Tearing down fears. Casting off anxieties. Taking down giants that tower over the promise. And each new enemy face with confidence, proclaiming that God will rescue you. As you stand on the battle line face to face with the enemy, fix your eyes on Jesus and say, “Do it again.”

    No Words

    Words are powerful. They can heal and encourage or hurt and tear down. They will set the direction for your life. The tongue is compared to the bit in a horse's mouth or the rudder on a ship able to steer the whole. Words come from what is within. Words come from your wellspring. A healthy well makes pure water, a poisoned well makes toxic water. I heard somewhere that you need water before you feel thirsty. Most people wait to drink water until they are parched.

    When I'm out fishing on the boat I grab a bottle of fresh water. I choose fresh water even though there is salt water all around. They're not the same, salt water and fresh water. They don't come from the same well. Salt water dehydrate, which is worse than being thirsty. It's the same for the spiritual life, there is a choice before us all, the choice of the spring our water comes from. The best spring comes from the rock, and that rock is Christ. Jesus is the fresh source. "Drink from Me," He says "and you will never be thirsty again." There are many things placed in front of us to drink, many sources all around that look refreshing, but will not satisfy and bring life. Substitutes do not fill, they are fake and temporal, they dry up and drain. His words quench thirst and strengthen you at the core, filling you with more than you need, enough to give to others. His will sustains. His breath brings life.

    It's easy to become double minded when you are thirsty, choosing what you don't want to choose. The substitutes are all around, they are easily accessible, and offer a faster impact. Quicker, easier and available. You don't see anyone fighting over salt water, only fresh water. Drop the substitutes and go to the Rock. Actually all who are thirsty are invited to come near to Jesus. It doesn't matter what made each thirsty, all are welcomed to the Rock that the Living Water comes from. He says come near, wash your hands and purify your hearts giving us inward and outward renewal. We make an effort to change and amend our ways which is to wash our hands and . We think differently giving us a new purpose which is to purify our hearts.

    Having the shape without the living water is dry. We all get dry. This dryness and thirst comes from feeling distant from God, but that is a perspective issue. Look to Him to find fresh water and He will give it to you. He makes all things new. The invitations are out to all, come near to God and He will come near to you. Listen to His words and be refreshed.

    John 4:13 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

    The words of wisdom at times blur out. There are situations in life that we meet with no words. Speechless. In the desert we can get too thirsty to speak. In the valley, locked up bound in persecution we need at least a drop of water to the lips to speak.

    On the cross it has become hard for Jesus to even get a breath. Hung from his arms, He must pull himself up each time He wants to breathe. His shoulders ache, his mouth is parched. He is exhausted. It is near the end of Jesus' human life. He senses it. Then He said, "I am thirsty." John 19:28-30, A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When He had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." These words broke the barrier between dispensations. The fall of man has been reconciled to God Almighty. A cataclysmic event occurred with these powerful words, speaking of the work Jesus had done in laying down His life.

    Even just a tiny measure of faith can be a drop of water to the lips. Just a boost and you can start again. Just a little help from a friend. A sip of water. Brief muddled thoughts come, ideas of rescue. The mirage of a miracle is no mirage at all. You felt the hope, hold onto it, it is a sip of water. Take the step of faith however small, even if it's a crawl in the dust you came from, the lowest ever, even if you have to reach out for help and be pulled, move in faith.

    I felt that. When I was a teen I got corned in a dangerous place and I was frozen. Words wouldn't come out, I knew to call out but I was scared speechless. But someone spoke up for me, someone I didn't even know. "Leave her alone, get out of here!" And they left. When I couldn't speak someone spoke up for me.

    Drink so you can speak. When you are thirsty, look to the Lord and say I am thirsty. Drink in His words have your spring within be filled with the word of God, so that you can speak to the storm. Speak up for yourself and speak up for others. Someone out there needs your voice.

    The Sycamore Solution

    sycamore solution

    The Sycamore Solution
    by Mindy Linkous

    Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
    When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
    All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

    But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
    Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” -LUKE 19:1-10

    Zacchaeus was a tax collector who got rich skimming off the top. He didn't even hide it, flaunting his wealth, living on a noticeably higher income than an ordinary tax collector. He was living the high life but empty inside, not to mention everyone was taller than he was. News that Jesus was in the area was buzzing and it somehow triggered the emptiness lurking within and his focus zeroed in on Jesus to fill it. He was always figuring a way through things, using his smarts to cheat and using others to get ahead. He wanted to see Jesus, he needed to see Jesus. In his current circumstance it wasn't going to be easy.

    He scanned the scene looking for his chance to get a good look at Jesus then it clicked and his focus zeroed in on the Sycamore tree. Towering above all the haters. He couldn't see past the naysayers or over his regrets. But his desire was higher than his stature. His desperation climbed over all his mistakes and insecurities, branch by branch. He dropped the old game book of ways to get it done on his own and climbed above the bad things he had done, above the looser self image, and above the condemnation of the crowd. He scaled that tree with all his heart and strength and found the perspective he was so desperate for. Clarity comes by getting into a position above your current circumstance beyond your past. Craving clarity with a desperation gets Jesus' attention.

    Zacchaeus was accustomed to being looked down upon and avoided. But it was different with Jesus, when He came near He looked up at Zacchaeus and lavished grace upon him. Unmerited favor and acceptance. Jesus immediately called him close, "Come down, I must stay at your house today!" Jesus literally invited himself over to Zacchaeus' house. Instant connection, instant friendship. Once he was pushed away and left alone with piles of tax forms and receipts, now he was a friend of Jesus.

    Eyes roll and whispers spread, "He is going to stay at the house of a sinner." The crowd was filled with people Zacchaeus had cheated. When Jesus befriended the guy the tax payers were mad at, their offenses widened. Now they were mad at both Zacchaeus and Jesus.

    But Jesus' acceptance of Zaccheus changed him dramatically. He payed back all he had cheated four times over and gave half of his money to the poor.

    No matter who you are, when you seek the Lord with all your heart you will find Him. So encourage others towards Jesus.

    No one is exempt from the love and grace of God.
    All who seek Him can find Him.
    Jesus' acceptance changes lives.
    Those changed lives change the world.

    The Sycamore Solution
    (X + Jesus) = Fulfilled
    Solve for X

    Anyone + Jesus = Fulfilled
    X = Anyone

    Get Up and Go

    In a rage King Herod seized Peter and threw him in prison. James was just killed and the thirst for blood of the crowd was insatiable. A public trial is set for the next day, with the crowds against him. Arrested, put in prison, chained between two soldiers, guarded by 16 soldiers with more Sentry guards at the entrance. I never really thought of Peter as a gladiator in need of 20 armed guards. Peter was singled out, he was on his own. He was beaten and stripped, and the trial was right at hand. The odds were not in his favor. The crowds were stirring up trouble. And what does Peter do? Peter went to sleep chained between the two guards.

    That night as Peter slept, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. The light didn’t wake Peter up. This had been a bad day, he was out cold. The angel struck Peter on the side and that woke him up. “Quick, get up!” the angel said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. The rattling of the chains, the light, and the freeing release of his wrists were all a blur. The angel snaps him into gear, gets him up and going. “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.  

    Now that’s a wake up shake up! Stuck in an impossible situation lulled to sleep by the darkness, Peter needed to wake up get it in gear and get moving. Get up and go! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Shoes, keys, wallet, phone, coffee. Let’s go we’re out the door! Sometimes we need to feel the push, wake up, see the light, and hear the get up and go. Now things are coming into focus.

    Peter followed the angel out of the prison, they passed the first and second guards, and then they came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. The Iron Gate opened for them by itself, and they went through it. The chains opened, the jail door opened, and finally the gate to the city opened. It was such a miraculous occurrence that Peter questioned whether or not it was a dream. Then he realized without a doubt that the Lord had rescued him from Herod’s clutches, an eye-opening miracle. When the gate to the city opened Peter's doubts were gone. It is the Lord!

    Feel the Push
    Wake Up
    See the light
    Get Up and Go
    Get Focused
    Drop the Doubt

    Peter goes straight to Mary’s house (John’s mom). It is crowded, Rhoda goes to the door, “Who is it?” It was Peter, but how could that be possible? Rhoda recognized Peter’s voice and was so excited, leaves him waiting at the door without opening it and goes to tell everyone, “Peter is at the door!” They don’t believe her either, but Peter kept on knocking, when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.

    -Mindy Linkous

    Thee Morning Drive

    Did you know that we have a Radio Studio right here at New Life? That’s right, 5 mornings a week you can tune in to hear great Christian music as well as messages and inspiring words! Tune in to Thee Morning Drive Monday-Friday 6:30am-9:00am on the following radio stations in the Space Coast Area: 89.3FM, 90.3FM and 88.9FM. The morning shows simulcast here on the website so you can listen from anywhere!

    Share Your New Life



    “Create in me a pure heart, O God,
        and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

    A new life in Christ is something to share. These teens expressed to friends their love for Jesus in water baptism.

    Happy Fathers Day!

    “and he will turn the hearts of father to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6 (Esv)

    Image by: Soltren Photography

     

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