Is the Solution to “Try Harder” or “Let Him In” –what does God say?

“You have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin” –there is a fear in writing or saying such words. A fear not in physically writing them or saying them for they are true; rather a fear that a hearer will only listen to their own evoking fears and guilt thus not seeing God’s love for them; therefore, not instilling a fire of love to begin within the them because they love God.

Actions that are driven by fear and guilt are not an antidote to lukewarm, selfish, comfortable living–it is LOVE

Our relationship with Christ should never be out of duty, obligation, or slavery, but rather craved from a genuine desired love for God. We need only look no further than the cross– where God demonstrated His love for us that while we were YET sinners; Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)! God’s love hasn’t changed. 

When we love we are free!

  • Galatians 5:13-14
  • Psalm 63:1-5 
  • Loving God and loving people –isn’t that what it is all about?!

Lukewarm living and claiming Christ’s name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God–when we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that it isn’t very fulfilling or joyful to us, either, but the solution isn’t to TRY harder, fail, and then make bigger promises, only to fail again.

It does no good to “muster up” more love for God, or to will yourself to love Him more. When loving God becomes obligation, one of many things we have to do, we end up focusing even more on ourselves. 

So what do you do? The answer lies in letting God change you! He wants to change you, He died so that we could change!

  • Remember His counsel to the lukewarm church in Laodicea? “HERE I AM! I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK. IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE AND OPENS THE DOOR, I WILL COME IN AND EAT WITH HIM, AND HE WITH ME” (Rev. 3:20). 
  • His counsel wasn’t to “try harder,” but RATHER LET HIM IN!!! 
  • James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and HE WILL come near to you.”
  • Jesus died on that cross to save us from the bondage of SIN; not just save us from hell. 
  • John 10:10 “I (Jesus) have come that you may have LIFE — FULL abundant life!” He was talking about this lifetime.
  • I NEED GOD TO HELP ME LOVE GOD and if I need His help to love Him it would stand to reason I need Him to love others: who are perfectly fault-filled…like you and I.

  • excerpts taken from Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • further comments written by Colleen Woodruff

 

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

Identity {Who or What Defines It?}

Indentity 1

Identity – Who or What Defines Us

We are not defined by who others think or say we are. We are not even defined by who we have worked so hard to be or believe we are. Honors, corporate ladders, and titles are all man-made distinctions – and distractions. God is not more pleased with gold tassels than with those who care for the poor or feed the hungry.

In Matthew 20, Jesus told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. He described the kingdom of heaven as being like a landowner who went out to hire workers for his vineyard. Although the workers were hired at different times throughout the day, they were all paid the same. Why? Because they each had agreed to work for that amount. The landowner was completely fair to each person, challenging the grumbling workers by asking them if they were envious that he was being generous.

Jesus stated in verse 16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” We American Christians have trouble accepting this as the standard for us too. Surely this cannot be right. We cannot possibly all receive the same grace from God, can we? Doesn’t it matter who we are in this world? Don’t we have to be somebody?

The truth is that we are who God says we are, and God says a lot about us. Look at a few verses from the book of Ephesians:

  • Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us.
  • Ephesians 1:7 tells us we are forgiven.
  • Ephesians 2:10 states that we are His workmanship (not our own).

Let’s not stop here.

  • I Corinthians 6:19 says that we are God’s temple.
  • John 1:12 says that we are God’s children.
  • John 15:15 says that we are friends of Jesus.

Oh friends, the Bible tells us a lot about who we are as believers in Christ. We cannot allow the world or even well-meaning friends and family to wrongly define and label us. When you start to hear that lying voice in your head saying, “you are not good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, or that you are not smart enough, that you deserve that horrible thing that happened to you” STOP RIGHT THERE and tell yourself (yell it out loud if you have to):

  • “No! I am not stupid. I am God’s workmanship!”
  • “No! I am not unloved or unwanted. I am a friend of Jesus!”
  • “No! I don’t deserve to be abused. I am a temple of God!”

Sometimes the lying voice you hear is your own, and

Christ wants to be heard above it.

Instead of talking about how “proud” you are of someone (or someone telling you how “proud” they are of you) for whatever accomplishment(s) it my be at the time; tell them how proud you are of them for accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and for seeking to follow Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

You see, accomplishments (while they should be celebrated) are not what makes us good enough. What makes us enough is that we are transformed by the mercies of Christ Jesus.

  • Ephesians 1:3-14 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
  • John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
  • Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 

Who or what are you allowing to identify you?

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

Excepts taken from Reclaiming Sanity by Dr. Laurel Shaler edited by Colleen Woodruff.

Serving Leftovers to a Holy God

Crazy Love written by Francis Chan (excerpt from chapter five pages 83-88)

“…now we are going to look at scriptural examples of poor responses to God’s gift of love. Before you discount or ignore what I am about to say, read these passages objectively, without preconceived opinions staunchly in place. My examination of lukewarm Christians in chapter 4 was by no means exhaustive. However, it did serve as a call to examine your heart in light of the points I listed. As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.

In Revelation 3:15-18, Jesus says,

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”

This passage is where our modern understanding of lukewarm comes from. Jesus is saying to the church that because they are lukewarm, He is going to spit them out of His mouth. There is no gentle rendering of the word spit in Greek. This is the only time it is used in the New Testament, and it connotes gagging, hurling, retching. Many people read this passage and assume Jesus is speaking to saved people. Why?

When you read this passage, do you naturally conclude that to be “spit” out of Jesus’ mouth means you’re part of His kingdom? When you read the words “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,” do you think that He’s describing saints? When He counsels them to “buy white clothes to wear” in order to cover their “shameful nakedness,” does it sound like advice for those already saved? I thought people who were saved were already made white and clothed by Christ’s blood.

…so I’ve spent the past few days reading the Gospels. Rather than examining a verse and dissecting it, I chose to peruse one gospel in each sitting. Furthermore, I attempted to do so from the perspective of a twelve-year-old who knew nothing about Jesus. I wanted to rediscover what reasonable conclusions a person would come to while objectively reading the Gospels for the first time. In other words, I read the Bible as if I’d never read it before.

My conclusion? Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a “Christian” without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd. But please don’t take my word for it. Read it yourself.

For years I struggled with the parable of the soils. I wanted to know if the person representing the rocky soil is saved, even though he has no root. I then wondered about the thorny soil: Is this person saved since he does have root?

I doubt if people even considered these questions back in Jesus’ day! Is this idea of the non-fruit-bearing Christian something that we have concocted in order to make Christianity “easier”? So we can follow our own course while still calling ourselves followers of Christ? So we can join the Marines, so to speak, without having to do all the work?

Jesus’ intention in this parable was to compare the only good soil to the ones that were not legitimate alternatives. To Him, there was one option for a true believer.

Let’s face it. We’re willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation. This is why I have so many people ask me questions like, Can I divorce my wife and still go to heaven? Do I have to be baptized to be saved? Am I a Christian even though I’m having sex with my girlfriend? If I commit suicide, can I still go to heaven? If I’m ashamed to talk about Christ, is He really going to deny knowing me?

To me, these questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts. They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). And our question quickly becomes even more unthinkable: Can I go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus? 

I don’t see anywhere in Scripture how the answer to that question could be yes. 

James 2:19 says, “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” God doesn’t just want us to have good theology; He wants us to know and love Him. First John 2:3-4 tells us, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  Call me crazy, but I think those verses mean that the person who claims to know God but doesn’t obey His commands is a liar and that the truth really isn’t in him.  In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save is life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” And in Luke 14:33, He says, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?

You’ll notice that He didn’t add, “But hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians—you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”

Pray. Then read the Gospels for yourself. Put this book down and pick up your Bible. My prayer for you is that you’ll understand the Scriptures not as I see them, but as God intends them.


I do not want true believers to doubt their salvation as they read this book. In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us. Each of us has lukewarm elements and practices in our life; therein lies the senseless, extravagant grace of it all. …His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3). His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). I’m not saying that when you mess up, it means you were never really a genuine Christian in the first place. If that were true, no one could follow Christ.

The distinction is perfection (which none will attain on this earth) and a posture of obedience and surrender, where a person perpetually moves toward Christ. To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved. But to declare anyone who sins “unsaved” is to deny the reality and truth of God’s grace.

From other references in Scripture (Colossians 2:1; 4:13, 15-16), the church at Laodicea appears to have been a healthy and legitimate church. But something happened. By the time Revelation was written, about twenty-five years after the letter to the Colossians, the Laodiceans’ hearts apparently didn’t belong to God—despite the fact that they were still active as a church. Their church was prospering, and they didn’t seem to be experiencing any persecution. They were comfortable and proud.

end of quoting from book…




Dear friend,

My heart has been ever so challenged and extremely rebuked by these few pages. To be lukewarm brings no glory, no honor, no pleasure to God, but clearly demonstrates where the love of my heart truly lives. 

We know that one cannot lose their salvation – once a child of God always a child of God, but just because one claims Christ doesn’t mean they are His. Scripture clearly states that “you will know them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:16-20). This doesn’t give you nor I the authority to cast judgement upon one another, but rather to cast the judgement upon ourselves—to take our own blinding, humongous, pride-centered-filled beam out of our own eye, first and foremost, before we even attempt trying to take out the speck that is in our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

  • So rebuked, yes!
  • Challenged, yes!
  • Warned, yes!
    • Am I lukewarm?
    • Am I cold?
    • Am I hot?

When you ask yourself these same questions, you know the answers, as do I.  The question is what are you and I going to do about it?

  • What does my heart look like–is it filled with gratitude to my Savior or filled with pride because I somehow I think I am entitled to His grace.
  • My actions speak my hearts motives!

We only have but one life to live; it is either all mine or all His.

Blessings to you dear friends. May we be a sweet smelling savor into the nostrils of God and hear, ‘well done’!

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

 

 

Comfort My People

No doubt you have seen and heard the horrible acts of wickedness that happened in Nevada this past week. Pure evil. I know most of us realize  there is “evil” present in this world, but when that evil has a face and you see its affects, evil becomes a reality. 

I read a post two days ago written by a father about his son, who was there that day in Nevada with his wife. This 29 year old man used his body to shield and protect his wife from the showering bullets. She said that she felt the impact his body took when those bullets entered him from the back. She felt him fall to the ground. Even though the concrete wall was only a few feet away she stopped running, turned around, and stayed with her husband preforming CPR. Somehow she was never struck, but while people were running away from the wall of bullets, two men (who still remain nameless) ran towards this husband and wife. “They come from no where,” the father said…calling them angels. They picked his son up, carried him to their truck and took them both, along with another person to the hospital. 

By this time, when I was reading this post, my eyes were filled with tears and my heart just sorrowing for this father, his mother, and this wife. The 29 year old man (a son, a husband) never made it. He died because someone said yes to evil.

We know there are many more stories like this from that day, but this one wasn’t left my soul. I think of how he was a hero to his wife and she to him; I think of those two men, that truck, and how they were heroes to total strangers. The list doesn’t stop there: the police, hospital crews, and men and women who died and lived that saw someone else’s life more precious than their own.

I also think of someone else who saw the same in me…Jesus Christ! 

I don’t like death, grief, sorrow…my family and I know it all to well. My Daddy being the latest. It hurts. But grief, sorrow, death has another side to it as well…the comfort of God that is truly unique, deep, precious, strengthening, and we’ll…comforting. I try to describe the comfort that God gives, but really I do it no justice. It is something that is only experienced. 

There is also a choice when one is living in the land of grief and sorrow. The choice of better or bitter. This father is choicing better. Is his grief deep…you better believe it is, but even in the midst of evil, his own sorrow of losing his son, he is still choicing better, not bitter. For to be bitter is to give that killer another victim. For to be bitter is to destroy your own soul from within. 

There is yet another choice when coming through the valley of the shadows of death, when the pain lessens a bit, when the Lord comforts your heart and you see a fellow human being starting their own journey of grief, sorrow, and/or death…when better is chosen, something happens to you.

I leave you today with these verses:

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

Naps: biblical or not? 

This was just to great not to share. I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page today and I died laughing. Oh how good laughter is to the soul {Proverbs 17:22}. 

See…NAPS ARE BIBLICAL! Aren’t we to be putting-on Christ? 🤗

Hope you have a smile on your face! Have a blessed day friend,

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

the strength to obey

Obedience.

This word means many things to different people: for some it is a scary or dirty word, while others totally disregard it in any form, while others struggle with it but do sincerely try. 

Obedience isn’t to be feared if it is given, asked, taken, followed, submitted too under the guidelines of Scripture. Obedience is one of the foundational virtues that Jesus forms in those he calls. He gives us the strength to obey as we make the choice to obey.

Obedience is one of the chief ways we demonstrate our love for God. Not singing Christian songs. Not going to church services. Not having quiet times. Not taking mission trips or doing loving things for others. Yes, yes, yes, all of these are fabulous things — you should be singing to your Lord for that is one way you can give Him worship. You should be active in your local church, for that is where you use your God-given talent(s). You should be having daily quiet time alone with your Lord, for without that time with Him how will you grow? Taking missions trips will change your life forever (spiritually and mentally for you see more than yourself, your needs, your world, and you see God, his people and souls that need Him! We should be loving others — to our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as loving souls so much that we tell them about our incredible Savior so that they may know Him too! But do you hear what Jesus said: 

“If you love me, keep my commands” 

(John 14:15).

Don’t you see? If you love HIM first and foremost all those other things fall into place. (the list above for just a few small examples)

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added into you” (Matt. 6:33).

Our list isn’t finished yet…

There are some who have choose to accept, believe, and trust wholeheartedly what biblical obedience is, what it looks like, and how it is to be asked and given. Not because they are super spiritual but because they have chosen before God that despite what their flesh tells them, despite what they were falsely taught (unknowingly and knowing), how they feel, or what has happened to them in the past, God’s way is the best way. God knows what He is talking about, God is God, therefore, I will obey Him and trust in His Words. 

Obedience to Him brings freedom.

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

Rethinking 

Hank isn’t changing. He is a cranky guy. He has been cranky his whole life, and not just about church. He does not effectively know how to love his wife, his children cannot relate to him, and He has no joy. He’s been going to church his whole life — 60 years and nobody is surprised. Nobody in the church is surprised that he stays cranky year after year. No one is particularly bothered by it. It is as if we expect it — that’s just Hank. Nobody is expecting him to be more like Jesus year after year. Yet the Bible does expect it. The writer of Hebrews offers the following challenge: 

“You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian Life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right” Hebrews 5:12-13 NLT

The Greek term used in the New Testament for disciple is ‘mathetes’, which simply means “learner.” 

As Bill Hull has written, the wrong question for the church is: How many people are present? The right question is: What are these people like? 

After people become Christians, the goal is for them not only to learn how to live like Christ, but to actually live like Christ. This involves nothing less than radical life change. If this is not happening, then discipleship is not happening, and rethinking must take place.

Excerpt taken from Rethinking the Church by James Emery White [pg 66-67]

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

Do you know your Jesus?

today counts

thank you Lord for today


And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Col. 3:15-17. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” I Thess. 5:18.


As you walk throughout today, may your choice be Him! Above all else choosing to live Christ-centered, God-focused, and being thank-filled to the One who gave you the very breathe in which you breath right now…for tomorrow is not guaranteed. Today counts! 

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

 

“In My Seat” [A Pilot’s Story Sept.10 – 11, 2001]

Today has been crazy busy. We are a homeschooling family. Much of my day is wrapped in educating our little ones, but that hasn’t stopped my mind from wondering and thinking about 9-11.

So in the midst of a few moments I have right now, I wanted to send you a link (I know, I need to upgrade) of some friends of ours.

Steve and Megan share their personal testimony of September 10-11, 2001. Your time will not be wasted. Please take a few minutes to view their testimony.

Sixteen years…yet it still impacts my 💓 heart like the first day I saw it. {09.11.2001–09.11.2017}

  • May we never forget those who courageous fought for righteousness, for their follow Americans and county, and in the keeping of America free. May be stay God-centered as a nation and keep Him first.
  • May we never forget those who gave of themselves sacrifically on that day and days after 9-11.
  • May we never forget those who mourn and have a whole in their family due to wickedness; for that day evil had a face and may we never forget!

Link: 

https://youtu.be/In My Seat

Blessings, 

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

Grace {live like you have it….Oh you do!}

grace.png


I love music. Not all music, but I love music. God-honoring focused music, ok and The Piano Guys…lol….HA! :0) I know there is a whole music debate out there, but I will be frank with you right up front — this post is not about that. The song posted below (Grace by Laura Story) has been running through my veins for the past couple of days. Personally, I have sang and played this song often in church and at home, but truly it has just been an outpouring of this heart. I’d like to share it with you today and pray that it is a blessing to you. Know that we are all works in progress — so take heart, don’t give up, my friend! We serve and have a mighty, powerful, gentle and loving God who is ready to forgive, love, give wisdom and grace whenever sought by a whole heart. He is eagerly awaiting our coming/calling upon Him. He is faithful. He is unchangeable. God is never failing. He is stable. We have hope in Him. We are empowered through Him — for Christ liveth in me! We have salvation through His Son! Enjoy your Lord!

Blessings to you friends.

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


Grace by Laura Story

(1) My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.

I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.

(2) At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You.
And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

(3) As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.

(Chorus) I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.


I love you!

–God.

the Perfectness of Unableness

I John 4 18


So thankful that in my limitations, God is boundless. I needed this today and thought maybe you did too. I am so imperfect in and of myself and unable without Him, but truly thankful that He is perfect and loves me boundlessly even in my boundaries.

My friend, whatever surrounds you today (internally or externally), know the Lord knows we are unable, but also know this that He is able to do great and mighty things with our unableness.

Hope you have an God-encouraged day!

 

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

“Where is Your Faith?”

Have you ever been fearful?

The kind of fearful that grabs the very core of your being so hard that you found yourself paralyzed which in return begins a series of after-effects that causes you to doubt your faith?

As a believer in Jesus Christ there tends to be a taboo, if you will – I like to call it a lack of honesty to self and with others, where one doesn’t discuss or share such matters. Sadly, we place more importance on what other’s think, what we think,, rather than being consumed with God thinks.

Please do not miss understand me, too live by faith and not by sight, trust and obey our gracious and glorious God, and live out our faith without waver is truly this girls desire, but more importantly God’s desire for each one of us. God in His mercy is so incredibly good to us for we do not deserve His mercies. We are consumed by His goodness, but let’s be finite honest here:

Have you not been fear-gripped to your soul in the midst of a storm?

You, I, and others (whether owned up to it or not) have at one point had their faith challenged or stretched to new levels; their faith wavered to some extent; struggled during a trial where we might have asked, “Lord what are you doing?” or may have even uttered the word, “Why” (yes, I wrote it!) because we don’t understand yet truly want too. God knows you better than you know you. God knows me better than I know me.

Let’s live in the land of God-Truth over façade.  

When you live in an area that is prone to horrific weather, you built safeguards. Your home is built on a firm foundation, and you have a plan. It is just the standard of life and no one questions your motives in planning, organizing or building. The risk is possible. The storm may come. You take action. You prepare. Your life, the life of your family depends on it.

I have been God-challenged yet extremely God-rebuked in the area of my personal foundation building on/in my Savior. Over the past year and a half, my foundation has been shakened, challenged to measures I knew not of, confused, fearful, doubtful, scary, yet it has seen the hand of God rebuild in me foundations on Christ through His conferring and solidifying wondering working power. I know it sounds crazy, it has been a whirlwind that has not been easy.

(pause moment) As a family, we look back and could tell you numerous ways how we have seen the very hand of God work miracles in our lives through His blessings, trials, and testing’s that truthfully make our heads spin (to God’s glory!!), but this storm…ummm, this storm has rocked my boat in more ways than I ever before.

Our Christ foundation is one that stands the test of time for He IS faithful. It is one that is built firmly on the Word of God for His Word is Truth and will not lead nor direct in any wrong way – He is trustworthy. God hasn’t changed.

As we have been in this lengthy storm, I have questioned my soul’s preparation. It is so easy to spit the words out in the good times that we trust God; it is so easy to trust and thank God when we get what we want, but when the desires of your heart turn to hope that is sickened, despaired, sorrow-filled, and there ‘seems’ to be no end in sight of relief, that stirs your soul in ways that are hard to swallow sometime. But should that change our trust and thanks to God? Should it look different? Should it be given differently? No, it shouldn’t. He is still the same God!

I think back to before this storm began and wonder, “Did I safeguard?” knowing full well that storms will come.

  • Do we spiritually plan?
  • Do we spiritually strategies, seek, and prepare for that storm like we would if we lived in “that” part of the country?

It is inevitable, the storms of life will come. It is easy to say that you are unshakable when all is well.

Maybe you are in one, just like I am!

So, what do we do?

  • In Luke 8, Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” So, Jesus is out on a boat with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus decides to take a nap – some R & R time from one side to the next. Suddenly, without warning, a huge storm takes over the sea, water begins to fill their boat. The threat, within each disciple fear begins to take hold for the storm is pulling them under and sinking their boat. Remember what Jesus is doing? Napping. I find this so interesting. Here Jesus is at complete peace while the disciples are in complete fear for their lives – a storm to test their faith.

There were no meteorologists warning them of a storm, and frankly, were there any warning signs in the sky that day that the disciples saw to prepare them before setting sail? I don’t think so, we are talking about experienced fishermen on a lake that they knew all too well!

In 2004, my husband and I had the incredible privilege to go to Israel. The trip of a lifetime and one I would take again in a heartbeat. One of those days we were there we got to sail on a boat across the Sea of Galilee, the very same place where Jesus and His disciples sailed. The same sea that Jesus calmed (very humbling!). Before sailing on the Sea of Galilee, I had my ideas of what the Sea of Galilee looked like but to my surprise it is quite small. You can see from one side to the other.

This confirms, this storm really did catch these men off guard because they wouldn’t have sailed out had it been bad weather.

“Where’s your faith?”, Jesus asked them when they woke him up trembling with fear. Ouch! I don’t know about you, but this grips the core of my heart!

  • We too are often asked this very question by our Lord, “Where’s your faith?”.
  • Have you not heard Him whispered this very phrase in your ear and heart?

We walk this life – no, we all too often own this life as if it were our own. We enjoy the countless God-blessings He gives (we don’t reject those), then question God when a storm comes. When that “BAM” hits. Out of nowhere something rips into our faith – something that rips our faith away or challenges it to levels we never knew existed –and we say, “Lord, I cannot handle this!” “Is this a dream…am I in the twilight zone?” “Rescue me, Lord!” and Jesus replies, “Where’s your faith?”.

Where is my faith when this storm hit?

  • I haven’t prepared.

  • I didn’t prepare.

Are you thinking – wow, where is the love of God in all this? Colleen, you are being too harsh on yourself. No, my friend, it is not about me, none of this is about me. This is the hand of God working in this soul’s heart showing me that I am so SO incapable without Him and HE IS GOD!

{{{the story isn’t finished}}}

God’s love is woven before, in, and through each storm we have gone through, are going through, and will ever go through as His child – Jeremiah 31:3; Matthew 28:20.

Luke 8 (NASB).

[22] Now on one of those (love this – one of those days…) days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out (no questions asked; no worries). [23] But as they were sailing along He (Jesus) fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake (Sea of Galilee), and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. [24] They (the disciples) came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He (Jesus) got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm (that same power, that same authority – is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER!). [25] And He (Jesus) said to them, “Where is your faith?” They (the disciples) were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

There is only one way through the storm of life:

  • Standing firm the Word of God – His Word is Truth!

  • Standing firm in the beautiful Truth that Christ has already conquered them all – the victory is already won!

  • We can stand fearless in our storms even when we humanly ‘feel’ like we are unable because of Christ in us!

What a comfort!

  • There is a decision that must be made on the part of each individual – I will stand firm of the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD alone or I will not!

  • The same Jesus that calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee is the SAME Jesus! That same power, that same authority is the same yesterday (for the disciples), today (for us) and forever (for all)!

where is your faith

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

 

 

a soul killer

Ahhhh yes, the whole comparing yourself amongst yourselves and not being wise. Oh how comparing kills the soul. I love how God knows what He is talking about. All throughout Scripture, time and time again we see the written words of God penned for our good…for our best…because He knows what is best for our soul fueled by intense love for mankind which includes you and I (doesn’t that give you goosebumps!!!!). If only we trust Him wholly! Can you imagine how different our lives would be?! 

  • Trust His Word — it is Truth!
  • Trust God — for He is trustworthy!
  • Stop comparing yourself with others; they aren’t the standard, God is! 

Blessings to you, friends,

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


that Wee Little Man…

  • Most of us know this little childhood song…sing it with me:

Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
A wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see;

And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in the tree,
And He said, “Zacchaeus you come down!”
For I’m going to your house today,
For I’m going to your house today.

  • The author is unknown. The imparted profound. The account of Zacchaeus is found in Luke 19:1-10.

Zacchaeus

  • Will the LORD not do the same for YOU!?!?
  • He is still the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
    • The same Jesus that prepared that sycamore tree for Zacchaeus, the same Jesus that walked by Zacchaeus, the same Jesus that talked, ate, and changed Zacchaeus’ life — is the SAME Jesus today that prepares the way for you. The same Jesus that walks with you through the valley of the shadows of death and rejoices with you on the mountaintops. He is the same Jesus that talks with you: through His Word and uses your Pastor(s) in that process as well. The same Jesus that changes your heart.

Zacchaeus, you, and I know the same Jesus — the difference is our response.

What will you do with Jesus?

The Delivery of Presentation: Know Who is Presenting.

  • Know “WHO” is presenting to you — not knowing could cost you far more than you bargained for. It is not always what it seems.
  • Stick to the WORD!
  • Satan is the master of lies, authors of lies, the great deceiver. He is NOT your friend.
  • I only know of ONE who came and died, out of immense love for mankind, on a Cross, his name is Jesus Christ!
  • Knowing “Who” is presenting makes all the difference in the world! 

Quote from my Beloved from our time in the Word together last night:

Live out the WORD! 

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

Reality in Time: living with an flesh expiration date.

Time.

What is time?

We freely bind ourselves to it. We accept it’s demands over us. We embrace it. We agonize internally over the power struggle it produces, yet we have a choice in how we live this one live we are given. Freely in Christ or bound.

My mind and heart are filled with the essence of time, realities of life here on Earth, Heaven, the Lord, His will, and yes even death itself.  When you are struck with the reality of loss, sorrow, grief, and hope in Christ and life with Him in glory — it changes you, forever.

In exactly ten days, my family and I will be embarking upon a new journey, the one year Heaven-anniversary of my father. On July 30, 2016, Dad was serving His Lord here on Earth one moment and the next he was face to face with Him. Time. Life. Purpose. Reality. Grief. Sorrow. Hope. God. It all makes you consider life deeper and consider Heaven a whole lot more in ways you never did before.

We have but one life to live. We must make it count! We don’t know our flesh expiration date. 

Heaven knows no bonds; has no demands nor struggles; it embraces none other than One. Heaven has One focus: the Almighty God.

Is it possible to have a bit of Heaven while on Earth?

We all have appointments in this life: specific time to start work or school, the bank closes at 5, church starts at 9:30am, the store closing at 10pm. We get it!! We all understand that we cannot live this life carelessly coming and going as we please, when we please, how we please. When our doctor appointment is scheduled for 10:00am and we arrive at 11:30 am — yep, you guessed it, we no longer have an appointment. We wouldn’t think of standing there arguing with the receptionist.

“There is an enormous difference in allowing time to rule over us and taking time by its horns and prayerfully living-out that time in a God-ruled manner.”

Meaning???

Not allowing “time” to run your life {taking you on a roller coaster ride screaming and holding on for dear life} but rather you taking those demands, appointments, schedules, activities, church, work, school, {whatever it may be} and prayerfully seek God’s wisdom first then create that schedule of time with God-purpose, God-Truths, and God-blessed plans!

Choosing to live out the Word throughout your time accordingly to God-first in every area of your life, will bring glory to God! Isn’t that what He deserves! Use your God-given time to share Christ with those you come in contact with. Be purposeful. Be diligent. Redeem your God-given time!

Don’t stop with your day, what about your month? Your year? Stick to the Word. Stay God-mindsetted. Bless your Lord throughout your day, week, and year! Use it for Him, not yourself — without Him you wouldn’t have this day to begin with!

Being of One focus: the Almighty God!

Setting your affections on things above and not on things on the Earth, Colossians 3:2 tells us is so key. Don’t allow time to rule you, we only have one earthly life to live — make it count for Christ!

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

The Battle of Thought

Truly the mind and thought are a battlefield that war against one another: the flesh, the spirit and even against themselves. It shouldn’t but it does, it reminds me of that commercial years ago of a gentleman with a mini-sized white dressed angel on one shoulder and on the other he had a mini-sized red dressed devil. They both were whispering in his ear telling him what to do — one was sly in words (yet wrong) and the other was truthful yet honest in word, but the man was confused in which way to turn. He went nuts!

So, it is true today, though there is no such thing as a mini-sized white dressed angel or a mini-sized red dressed devil sitting on our shoulder whispering in our ear telling us what we should or shouldn’t do. But if we are honest with ourselves, our mind (and/or thoughts) battle for attention, direction, and desires that quiet frankly conflict more often then we care to admit. The war of what we know, what is right, wrong, and/or Biblical (meaning, squaring up with the Word of God: the Scriptures) and the daily choice of Colossians 3 — living the Word of God out with a heavenly mindset. We drive ourselves “nuts” like that man in the commercial when we do it our way and not God’s way.

Maybe we should be asking ourselves this question: “Why?”

Today, I would love to share with you something I have been personally working on myself and hope it will be an encouragement to you in your walk with Christ as well as in your heart and thought process of taking out the toxic and replacing it with GOD! Because our thoughts matter, because HE matters!

First, I am going to give you all three points, then we will go back and revisit each one briefly. 

  • To battle against our toxic thoughts {which are sinful} we first must 1) IDENTIFY THEM. This my friends, takes honesty — from within and with God. Remember He already knows you from the inside out, so don’t be shy with your Lord. You need to be honest with yourself for you will go nowhere in this journey without it. There is also a possibility that you may need to be honest with others in this stage as well. Be on your knees before your King and ask Him to show you. Don’t forget Jeremiah 33:3.
  • 2) REJECT IT. This battle is like none other. It is not physical, though at times it may feel like it, but rather it is a spiritual battle that requires God’s help in fighting. You cannot identify or reject without God’s enabling power working within you. You are unable to complete this task in and of ourselves for we cannot fight or win this battle alone, but rather through Him we are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37).
  • 3) REPLACE IT. I cannot tell you how incredibly important this part of the puzzle is to rid yourself of toxic thoughts. If we do not replace that lie, falsehood, whatever it is in your life that is contrary to God, Himself, His Word, His Truth’s (promises, His character) and who He say you are in Christ — (I don’t write this to scare you into anything, but to help you understand the grave importance of this) it will return in some form or another but worst than the first time around! Guaranteed! (for example: if someone says that you are worthless, no good, the scum, etc, but uses you for their sexual pleasure — tell me my friend, where is the GOD-TRUTH in those statements? Tell me where the GOD-TRUTH is in the BIBLE!!!! Tell me which one LOVES YOU!!!!) CLING TO THE WORD!
  • You must replace what you are striving to take out! Don’t lose hope — God will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5; Deut. 31:6).
  • Choose to trust God’s Truth even if you do not fully understand God’s wise and loving plan. God can never be unloving; He cannot go against Himself, NEVER!

      Praying for you today as you seek first the kingdom of God and identify, reject and replace. Enjoy your walk with Jesus! Stick to the Word! 

      the proof: for our human hearts

      • Psalm 18:1 “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” 
      • Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
      • Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
      • John 15:9 “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
      • Isaiah 41:13 “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
      • Isaiah 43:1-5a “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee:…”
      • Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
      • Ephesians 2:4-10 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
      • Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
      • Ephesians 3:17-20 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
      • I John 4:4,8b,9,17-19 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
      • …and there are so many more verses, demonstrations of God’s love for us. Think of the Cross.