This is Good…

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

Just in Case You Wondered, I Noticed.

Just in case you wondered, I noticed today.

I noticed the pew you usually sit in was empty.

I noticed.

I couldn’t help myself but look at that empty seat. I was so excited to see you. I asked around. I thought to myself: maybe you were sick or maybe it was vacation. Maybe you had to work…I had to ask.

I waited for you. Hoping to see you walk through that door.

But…you never came.

The pew stayed emptied.

The service began at its normal time. You know the drill: welcome & announcements, the choir sings, congregational joins in – all pointing us to worship and praise God. It was glorious, yet I found myself distracted.

I had to look one. more. time!

  • Maybe I missed you.
  • Maybe you slid in the back.
  • Maybe you were running late – hey, that happens to all of us. I understand!

I scanned the crowd; your presence was simply, gone

The ache I felt inside was well, awful. Singing, prayer, music filled my ears yet my mind struggled to stop the distractions…the internal noise. “Focus” I told myself. “Come on…refocus yourself!” “Lord” I asked, “please help me! My heart is grieving.”

Whether you realize it or not, your absence leaves a whole within our body of Christ. It leaves an emptiness inside me. We are family.

  • You see, you are not alone.
  • Matter of fact, I am not alone.
  • We are never “alone.”
  • We influence.
  • We impact.
  • The question is what are we doing in that influencing and impacting?

I want to be clear about something before I go on, my need to refocus was my problem this morning — I needed to take before the Lord. But there is something that you need to know — when you are not here, I notice. Others notice too. Can I tell you why?

  • You may not think you impact.
  • You may think your presence is insufficient.
  • You may think no one cares.
  • You may think God doesn’t care — or notice.
  • You may have every perfect excuse to why.

Think what you will, but clarification needs to happen. You are a child of God, you belongs to this body of believers, you are part of the family of God and your local body of Christ, your church – suffers when you are not present. Do you know how VITAL you are? *

It isn’t just four walls we call church — this is being part of the body of Christ. How can the foot say to the hand, “I have no need of thee?”

  • It doesn’t stop there – collectively we worship our Lord within these four walls, we serve and use our God-given spiritual gifts together within His church, but it doesn’t stop tere — we minister together outside these four walls.
  • Christ is not a ‘Sunday thing.’
  • Your life is a 24/7 vitual expression of Christ.

You see, I can’t fulfill my God-given responsiblity (or do it well) to God when you are not fulfilling what you are suppose to be doing in Christ’s church. The ripple efforts are felt. Christ said He will built His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

  • You are our Sister-in-Christ.
  • You are our Brother-in-Christ.
  • Together we are Christ’s body – jointly knitted together by God Himself.

When one doesn’t fulfill their part, the body cannot fulfill its God-mission as a whole. That makes you VITAL!

So, just in case you wondered…I noticed!

  • I longed for your presence.
  • I longed to worship and serve God alongside my Sister-in-Christ.
  • I longed to worship and serve God alongside my Brother-in-Christ.
  • I longed to grow and repent alongside you.

But that didn’t happen. Only you know why…

  • The next time you decide your presence won’t be noticed…
  • The next time you think your worship or service to God will not be missed…
  • The next time you think God will not observe that you played church—hooky and did something else instead of worship Him…

Be assured, “noticed” happened.

“Noticed” happened not from a judgmental or critical spirit (though we all knwo there are a few out there, but this is not me). We are knitted together through the bonds of Jesus Christ…that is love. More importantly than me…

  • God is in love with you!
  • God adores you!
  • God I love you!
  • This body of believers loves you!
  • Your God-gifts are just that…yours…and no one can replace yours. Only you can use them or fulfill with them. No one can fill your shoes. No one wants to fill your shoes. Your shoes are yours — that’s how God designed it!
  • So, don’t play church—hooky! Go fulfill.

1 Corinthians 12:12-28a

12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the many parts of that one body are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are slaves or free, and we have all been made to drink of one Spirit. 14 The body is not one part, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has established the parts, every one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 So there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, those parts of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those parts of the body which we think are less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor. And our less respectable parts are treated with much more respect, 24 whereas our more respectable parts have no need of this. But God has composed the body, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacks it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that the parts should have the same care for one another. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and members individually. 28 God has put these in the church:

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


*Yes, I hear it already, “But Colleen, you don’t know my church story.”

My friend, I could write a book on churches–from both sides of the fence. I have spoken to numerous women who have quoted the very same statement you are thinking.

May I ask you a question?

Does the sinfulness of others give us the right, or an excuse, to disobey God’s Word?

  • The answer, my friend, is No!

Excuses will hold no sure ground when God asks you, “Why didn’t you obey My Word(s)?” His Word changes not. To say, “Well God, I didn’t obey you because of those church people (those hyprocrites) over there on 2nd Street. You know what they said about me and what they did to me.”

Those hyprocites. Be careful — it is always best to look in the mirror first. You are responsible for your obedience and your disobedience to God. Excuses won’t work.

The question that should pierce our soul is this, now what?

Do we remain as we are or do we begin to see our sinfulness before a righteous God and confess. Repent. Turn from living our own way to God’s way?

  • Are you going to obey God?
  • Are you going to trust God?
  • Are you going to walk by faith and not by sight?
  • Are you going to deliberately live in biblical application of God’s Word in your life?
  • Are you going to ask God to help rid the “stuff” — the “people” or the “disappointments” of life and cleanse us, free us from the bondage of bitterness or hatred? Or continue to allow our flesh, our spirit be eaten away from the inside out? Bitterness is self-canabalism.

Freedom is possible but only through Christ.

I tell you from personal experiecne — Christ frees the bondaged soul. Christ sets the captive free. You cannot soar when you are living in chains. Soaring can only happen, when through the working power of Christ in you, forgiveness is unleashed. I know, my chains fell off!

Because of Christ, Colleen Woodruff | inchristiamshe.com

Are You a Slough?

So, I looked up the word ‘slough’ — here is what I found.

VERB

  1. Slough something off.
    shed or remove (a layer of dead skin).
    “a snake sloughs off its old skin” “exfoliate once a week to slough off any dry skin”
    • get rid of (something undesirable or no longer required).
      synonyms:
      dispose of, disgard, throw away, throw out, get rid of, toss out, shed, jettison, scrap, cast aside/off, repudiate, abandon, relinquish, drop, dispense with, have done with, reject, shrug off, throw on the scrapheap, chuck (away/out), fling away, dump, ditch, axe, bin, junk, trash, forsake.
      antonyms:
      keep, acquire
    • slough off
      (of dead skin) drop off; be shed.
      synonyms: (same as above)
      antonyms: (same as above)
    • slough away/down
      (of soil or rock) collapse or slide into a hole or depression.
NOUN
  1. the dropping off of dead tissue from living flesh.
    “the drugs can cause blistering and slough”

Truly something to evaluate.

D.A. Carson said, “…we slough toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

We deceive ourselves when the Truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). So, be careful before you cast judgement or fluff off God’s warning.

Should the verb ‘sloughing’ — which is the present act — ever be active/thriving/apart of the daily life, characterization, or decision process of a child of God? I could answer my own question, but time and time again the wrongful answer is revealed when one chooses to little steps of saying “no” to God in our life.

When a child of God ceases to forsake the keeping, acquiring, feasting, conforming, desiring, obeying, living for the cause of Christ, or stops actively putting on Christ — their decision is clear. There active choice states their inward heart’s intent: to live a sloughing life….to shed, remove, dispose of, disgard, throw away, throw out, get rid of, toss out, shed, jettison, scrap, cast aside/off, repudiate, abandon, relinquish, drop, dispense with, have done with, reject, shrug off, throw on the scrapheap, chuck (away/out), fling away, dump, ditch, axe, bin, junk, trash, forsake the very One who gave them His free gift of eternal life, salvation from sin, and a personal relationship with the Creator.

Could this decision be revoked? It sure could. But only through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ along with a willful heart that acknowledges ones sin(s) of the rejection of Christ. A life change, an about–face must happen, inwardly and outwardly. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever — His love for you hasn’t changed. He is calling. He is waiting. He is desiring you — to walk intimately and freely together. He wants to bless you. He is a giver of good things.

So, why slough?

  • Has God become something that is undesirable?
  • Has God ceased to preform for you so you no longer require His services — His quarter ran out?
When we concoct our own idea(s) of God without the involvement of God — meaning our ideals are not anchored in the Word of God — we will be our own leader of deception and the Truth is not in us.
  • Want liberation?
  • Come to Jesus! There is no other way.
  • Holiness doesn’t happen by osmosis.
  • It takes labor — there is profit in all labor (Proverbs 14:23) — but HE is worth every effort, every church service, every verse read, every prayer spoken, every step of obedience, every choice made to glorify Him, every step of faith!
So, are you a ‘slougher’ or not?

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

Proverbs 14:9

Fools mock sin as if they conquered. Sin doesn’t see it that way…the fool is its object of mockery.
There is another way, it is called upright. The end result is favor and the blessing of God.

{Proverbs 14:9}

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

Keeping is Active

  • Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.
  • Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
  • Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.
  • Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
  • Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust. (Proverbs 4:23‭-‬27 MSG)

Living out the Words of God require actively pursuing with all intensity to obey the One and only; having only one audience in this life.

It is not shying away from the work of the Words, but rather having a heart of gratitude that says, “I can” for God, not “I have too.”

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

…if it be received with thanksgiving [1 Timothy 4:4]

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