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Girlfriends in God - Jan. 17, 2007


January 17, 2007

Are You Normal?

Mary Southerland


Today's Truth

1 Peter 4:12-13 Do not be surprised at the painful things you are now suffering. These things are testing your faith. (ICB)


Friend to Friend

I pray that your New Year is off to a great start!  As wonderful as the holidays are, it is always good to get back into a normal routine. But what exactly is normal?


Author and speaker, Patsy Clairmont says that "normal" is just a setting on the dryer. I am inclined to agree with her.  At birth, the world silently hands us a list of do's and don'ts that we must follow in order to "fit in". I believe God's definition of normal is quite different from my own characterization or the perspective used by others as a measuring stick.


As I look back over the lives of those who made the biggest difference in the early Kingdom days, they were anything but normal. A bag of mixed nuts is more like it - men and women from all walks of life who were radical in their devotion to God - to the point of placing their lives on the line every day for the cause of Christ. They were normal in that they celebrated their "sameness" with the pagans who were shunned by religious zealots but stubbornly loved by the Father. Yet, they were profoundly abnormal in the love they showed and the depth of their commitment to God and to His cause. 


As I was putting the Christmas decorations away for another year, I got to the study where we have a collection of gifts and souvenirs from the various countries where Dan and I have visited to speak.  Each one brought back memories of precious people who are persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ…and yet, they are all people of joy.  As far as material possessions are concerned, they have very little.  But when it comes to joy, contentment and peace…they have it all.  These people who have chosen to follow Christ – even in the face of danger - are not normal!  And I think the face of God shines on them because of their abnormal faith.  


That is the kind of "normal" I want to be this year.  I want to be God with skin on to those who don't even believe He exists.  I want to love every excuse and doubt right out of their minds. I want them to see a power in me that they cannot explain in human terms and a message that shouts of God’s mercy and forgiveness.  I want to be hungry and thirsty for God and live my life in the "It is so not about me" gear. 


How about you?  Are you willing to pack away the old, safe, comfortable and quite stale normalcy, allowing God to bring some not so normal people and circumstances into your life?  I’m ready!  Join me, my friend, for the journey.


Let's Pray

Father, I am so tired of playing it safe, of bowing to the wrong crowd and listening to the wrong voices.  I lay down my pride and surrender to You and Your plan for my life in 2007.  Stretch my faith.  Give me Your eyes to see those in need.  Fill me with Your abnormal power so that others will be drawn to You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Now it's Your Turn

  • In what way have you played it safe when it comes to your faith in God? 
  • Are you willing to be a radical follower of Jesus Christ – no matter the cost?
  • Read Proverbs 3:5-6.  How do these verses apply to an abnormal walk with God?
  • What first step do you need to take in order to walk by faith…not by sight?


More from the Girlfriends

The first time my husband, Dan and I visited Cuba, my eyes were opened to a whole new level of faith.  I watched believers live under the scrutiny of a godless government.  Pastors and their families lived in poverty because they chose to worship none other but the one true God.  Yet, there was no fear.  Only faith.  They celebrated what they had instead of complaining about what they didn’t have.  We were humbled to be in their presence and challenged to live as they lived – with an abnormal faith and in a radical obedience to God.  That same challenge is before us all today.  Are you ready?


For more on this topic, read Mary’s book, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry.


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