Proverbs 31:28

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

None Other Than God

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Acts 27:25

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

How Are You Doing?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

1 John 4:7

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

James 4:10

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Happy in Sin?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Your “Egypt”

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD” Isaiah 31:1.

  • What or who is your “Egypt”?
  • What or who do you run too?
  • What or who do you trust in?
  • What or who do you think will provide for you more than God Himself will?
  • What or who looks bigger, better, or more powerful?
  • What or who seems to satisfy, fulfill, complete, and gratify you other than God?

What or who is filling God’s shoes in your life – or can that even be possible?

The personal act of running towards, trusting in, or thinking ‘something’ or ‘someone’ other than God will fulfill you will always end in disappointment. The alleged completion, false gratification, so-called satisfaction over Christ only leads to self—destruction; for to conquer is to stand in Christ alone. It is not through selfish ambition or earthly manners that we will win battles, it is only through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37-39).

  • Isaiah 31:2 – God will not share His glory with another…period. This is His rightful place.
  • Isaiah 31:3a – Human flesh is just that, human. We are made in the image of God (what a precious gift from God), yet we are fallen men filled with sin and in need of a Savior (thanks to Adam and Eve). Man is just that, a man…not God. Man’s tools are perishable just as a man is. God is not disposable nor will He ever be. God is spirit, eternal, everlasting. God is God!
  • Isaiah 31:3b – God is just. He is just towards you; He is just towards others, despite what we think. Justice is a God character. He is just, therefore He walks and lives out justices 100% of the time just as much as He is love, merciful, and holy 100% of the time. God cannot contradict Himself.

Whatever you allow your trust to rely on, whatever it is you cling to other than God, my friend, there is One greater.

Isaiah warned Israel, “Don’t do it. Woe to that man or woman who allows Egypt (in our case…someone or something else) to take the place that rightfully already is God’s in the first place.” Egypt looked good. Egypt was very strong.

But there was a problem, Egypt could not do what God could for Israel and your “Egypt” cannot either!

  • Who or what is taking the place of God in your life?
  • Isn’t it time we turn to God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind and with all of our strength (Luke 10:27; Mathew 22:37)?
  • Isn’t it time we love God with 100% of us just as He loves us?
  • Isn’t it time we cast away our “what” and “who” and draw near to God?
  • Stop giving God your scraps; He didn’t give you His. God has given us everything, including His Son – redemption, new life, eternal security, relationship.
  • Friend, we are warned – just as Isaiah prophesied many years ago, be wise in what you choose. The choices we make now affect our future.
  • The final decision is ultimately yours; no one can make it for you. It must come from within you. There must be a turning point, a change of direction – God’s direction! I cannot change your mind or make you, but I surely can encourage you to choose God!
  • Friend, choose God over your “what” or “who”. It can be difficult to see past fear, questions or the unknown – but doesn’t Christ already have the answer(s) for you? Isn’t God…God? Isn’t He capable to fulfill, sustain, provide, conquer for you or fix your situation?
  • He can, He will but we must believe Him, trust Him, and hand yourself over in submission…and get out of the way. Don’t let your pride get in the way of obedience.

God longs for you!God loves you!God smiles when He sees you!God likes you!

Did you know that?

The decision is yours.

  • Will you take your step of faith in Jesus Christ?
  • Will you trust God through allowing Him to fill your “what” and/or “who” and commit to Him?
  • Stay close to Him, be in the Word, connect yourself to a Bible preaching church…one that stands on God’s Word alone.
  • God will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41:10). You draw near to God, God will draw near to you (James 4:8; Jeremiah 29:12-14). You seek first the kingdom of God, He will add His precious, perfect will unto you (Matthew 6:33). You call unto Him, He will show you great and mighty things you couldn’t even image (Jeremiah 33:3).
  • Did you know that He (Jesus) came that you would live an abundant life in Him – a life full, a life worth living (John 10:10).

“What” or “who” is your choice?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Think Twice

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Happy Birthday, Dad!

The loss is still there but the memories are forever. It will be three years this July that Dad entered the gates of Heaven. To us it was unexpected and sudden; to God it was planned. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).

At times, it seems like yesterday while other days I can hardly believe it’s been 3 years.

Today, Dad is celebrating his 67th year (earthly speaking) in Heaven, yet we know God is not bound by time, but we remember.

I cannot help but think of how crucial it is that we make our time on Earth count for Christ. We don’t know when out last breath will be; knowing such knowledge should put a spur in our saddle. But why doesn’t it?

  • Life gets busy.
  • Life can get stressful.
  • Life can be sad.
  • Life gets filled.
  • Life can be influenced.

As a child of God we must continually remind ourselves that this too shall pass…life is a vapor (James 4:14). The older I get the more that realization becomes more evident. But should it take “getting older” to realize this?

Whatever age you are, make today count for Christ not self!

We assume tomorrow is promised, but reality is we hold no power over a day, week, month or year.

In this present moment — the right now — that is what we have. You are living it right now, but you have no guarantees of the next…we only think we do. Moments past, those are what we had.

Love God to the fullest; love others to the fullest…for it just may be your last. There are no guarantees of next or later. Only God knows the appointed time.

It was on a night like tonight we received that phone call, one second Dad was here the next he was walking on streets of gold with his Savior. Sometimes there are no warnings, just gone. Don’t wait!

The time is right now…

  • Serve God now!
  • Tell Him you love Him.
  • Show Him you love Him through your obedience, sacrifice, service, devotion, commitment, faithfulness and love.
  • Tell your loved ones, you love them!
  • Don’t wait to make things right…confront if needed now.
  • Repent if needed now.
  • Tell them you forgive them now.
  • Once you are gone it is too late.
  • Once they are gone you will be too late and will hold that burden…wishing you had.

Tomorrow may never happen and you’ll be to late, don’t make that mistake!

Make your relationships right regardless if the other party wants to or not. You be obedient before God. You do what is right before God and leave the results up to Him. You can forgive someone regardless if they own it or not. You be free.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, but as living proof…it is worth every shacking knee, every teardrop, every fear of confronting. God’s way is the best way. Obedience to God brings no regret. Praise God, I have no regrets. You can too! I am abundantly confident, in Christ, you can. You are empowered. The question is, will you take that step of obedience in faith believing God’s way is the best way?

Today, I rejoice in my Dad, relish in his love for me, remember our relationship freely without regret. I look forward to that glorious day in Heaven when I see Him again. Where I can hug him once more, walk side-by-side together on streets of gold and tell him once again, “Dad, I LOVE YOU!!”

This is my Dad!

I am free to love. I am heaven-blessed. Friend, I pray you are too?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Backsliding 101

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Psalm 103:17

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Are you Distracted?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

The Prayer Hand

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Are You Practicing?

How’s your prayer life?

The only way to grow in it is to start.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Church Member Beware!

Words have meaning. And if church members start articulating words consistently, those words begin to reflect the priorities and passions of the church.

I (Rainer) wrote a little book (I Will) on statements church members make that can move a church toward Great Commission and Great Commandment greatness. But there are some sentences that can prove harmful, even deadly, to a congregation. Here are seven of the most deadly statements:

  1. “I like our church just the way it is.” When you begin to hear this statement expressed among church members, you can be certain there is no Great Commission heartbeat. We should never want our church to stay just like it is; we should be constantly seeking to reach new people with the gospel.
  2. “My pastor doesn’t visit me enough.” There are so many things wrong with this statement. First, it reflects a ministry where there is expectation that the pastor is to do most of the ministry, instead of equipping others to do the work of ministry. Second, it reflects a dependence and self-centered ministry on the part of church members.
  3. “I always vote ‘no’ just to keep the leadership in check.” This person is the disrupter I described in an earlier post. He or she really wants the focus on self. Attention seeking and self-focus are characteristics of this person. They are toxic to churches.
  4. “I just can’t worship with our style of music.” The worship wars aren’t over. These church members could never be missionaries because their indigenous people group probably wouldn’t be singing hymns from the hymnals. There is no sense of worship with these church members; they are all about their own preferences and desires.
  5. “People know where our church is if they want to come.” This statement reflects deadly ecclesiology and deadly missiology. It assumes that the church is a place; and it assumes that the Great Commission is, “Y’all come.”
  6. “I love you pastor, but…” This statement reflects a church member who is both deceitful and deadly. He or she tells leaders they love them, but puts a metaphorical knife in their backs at the first opportunity. These members tear churches apart.
  7. “I pay my tithes here, so I deserve…” This church member sees his or her offerings as conditional. So, in a real sense, they aren’t offerings as much as they are country club dues. They will continue to pay their way as long as they get their way.

To be clear, most church members do not make these statements nor do they reflect these attitudes.

But healthier church members should and must speak up when they hear other members making such destructive statements.

Otherwise, the naysayers, cartels, critics and bullies will have their way in the church. And the church will soon cease being the church.

This article originally appeared here.


Dear Brother and Sister in Christ,

I came across this article last Tuesday, saved it and read it Thursday and was like “yes!”.

Thom made some spot-on points in his article. Believe it or not, sadly, he is right on many accounts. My family and I have seen first hand both the healthy church and the unhealthy church throughout our ministry travels.

What breaks my heart most is seeing the church who has made the decision to not listen because they ‘think’ they know it all yet their church is dying or already dead. Their methods are not working yet they will not listen to the Word of God and ignore those who have God-given tools that could help them. Their hearts are hardened. Their ears are closed. Pride has taken center stage and Christ is tarnished.

Truthfully, it makes me sick.

Christ’s church is not ours to toy with nor is it a place to inflicted others with our own personal vendetta. Church is to be done God’s way. Period. Not our way. God’s church is not Burger King! It ought never to be.

This may not be your church scenario, for that you can praise God for but don’t get prideful. It slips in the back door and Satan uses it with all his might.

  • Don’t go there church! GUARD God’s church and please only Him. Some things come by only fasting and prayer. Seek God first above all. Bring glory to God.
  • Don’t go there believer! GUARD your heart! Don’t get in the way. Serve, adore the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but say no to your pride and bitterness.

There is comfort in all this.

  • GOD builds His church, not us.

God is bigger than our sinful souls, even believers. God will build His church, but God is not pleased with rebellion towards or in His church.

It’s God’s church, to be conducted, organized, fulfilled, given, taught, obeyed and lived out God’s way.

Following God’s blueprint for church is perfect because God is perfect. When we don’t, we distrust God’s plan. We then sit on the throne — we tell God that we know what is best.

Trust God. Trust His Word. God knows what He is doing.

Little side note —

1) YOUR PASTOR: He is a saved by grace human being. Not all pastors are created equal, but we are warned in Scripture how to treat our Pastor.

If you have had an unfortunate situation via church remember not all pastors or churches are the same, but before God we are all to be actively obeying God and His Word.

  • Are you harboring bitterness?
  • Do you need to forgive someone?
  • Have you rejected God’s plan for His church and people?
  • Have you ceased ‘assembling yourselves’ together?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, get your grievances or offenses dealt with biblically. You never go wrong following God. When we don’t we find ourselves in sin and our relationship with God is hindered. God will hold us accountable whether we kept His Word and obeyed it or not.

Biblically confront those you need to and leave the results up to God. When you don’t, you are the one who losses in the end, not them.

If your pastor seeks God first over all else, obeys God above man, follows and fulfills God’s instructions — follow his leadership. God has given you a special gift in Him. He is rare. He is God’s Shepherd to you. When you follow his leadership you will be blessed as a church because God is at the helm, not a man.

2) EACH OTHER: Lift one another up to godliness. We are to be walking, living in Christlikeness…display it, give it, show it, fulfill God’s blueprint.

Let’s glorify God together — in and outside the four walls we call church and may others come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

What are Children?

  • How do you view or see your children? Are they a nuisance, a bother, an irritation? Do you find them “cramping” your style or getting in the way of what you want to do?

Take the time to stop and listen and evaluate yourself speaking to your children? What do you sound like? What tone or words are you using?

  • Psalm 127:3 says that children are an heritage from the Lord, a God-gift. They are a blessing to you as a father and mother; a “fruit of your womb”.

When is the last time you praised God for your children? When is the last time your child or children heard you thank God for them? If you can not remember, start today.

  • Are you praying for your blessings?
  • Do your children know that they are loved, cared for, prayed for, liked? If not, start today! You might need to start with asking for their forgiveness first. They desire and deserve your love, care, time, and prayers.

Remember, YOUR children are yours! They are a heritage, a God-given blessing given specifically to you from God.

Treasure your gift(s).

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Busy? Busy? Busy?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Let!

Are you letting the Word indwell you?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}