This is Good…

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

Just in Case You Wondered, I Noticed.

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 myselg 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 ack 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 doing 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.}

Isaiah 58:11

What an encouragement from the Word of God.

What God says, He does.

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

I Have Redeemed You

“…I have redeemed you.”

  • Isn’t that powerful?

Sometimes we read the Word of God and it doesn’t grip our soul as it rightfully should; guilty here!

Today, let’s stop, re-read and ponder, “I have redeemed you.

1. Who said it?

The Infinite, Creator God redeemed you. It is mind-blowing to rationalize. We really don’t comprehend the vastness of God’s love for us, but it is so.

  • The reality is humanity (mankind) doesn’t deserve the righteous redemption of God. Adam sinned which brought forth death (sin) into the world and death passed upon all men…that’s you and I. We are separated from God because we have sin.
  • God dealt with Adam and Eve, yet in His mercy and love He didn’t just leave us to rot and die. God hasn’t put the period at the end of the sentence for mankind…yet.

He deemed it so “I have redeemed you.” His actions display His ultimately love on the cross of Calvary. We were given a way back to Himself. We were given a way to redemption, it is called salvation which is through Jesus Christ. We were given a way to commune with God through the power of prayer and reading His Word.

  • Because of Jesus Christ all mankind’s sin can be individually blotted out — one by one, but you must confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised He from the dead. You must call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. It is His gift is free, but you must ask by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone to get to heaven.
  • Just as sin separated Adam from God, our sin separates us from God. Christ made a way.

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

Psalm 139:3

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

Angels Unaware | a Tribute

This verse is so true!

What a joy to be reminded of this Truth today while spending time reading God’s Word together with my husband.

I remember the days when we lived in Jackson Hole, WY. Shortly after we moved to Wyoming from Pennsylvania, we found an awesome church to attend and became members of.

One service a man walked in our church, befriended our family and others and just became a part of the family of God — part of my family. He too, had “moved to town”.

Every Sunday as a child, I couldn’t wait to see Mr. Walt Saint! He became my spiritual leader, my adopted grandfather figure. He had white flowing hair and a beard to match. He was not excessively wordy yet when he spoke it came forth with a gentle powerfulness of Truth and it gripped my soul. He was extremely kindhearted, soft spoken, faithful, drove a cute little old car and every Sunday gave me a piece of pink gum.

Now as a kid, with very long hair, gum wasn’t something my parents bought us. Gum in long hair is no fun, but I was allowed to have my weekly Sunday piece from Mr. Saint.

I have no idea where he lived, what he did or even where he came from…but this I knew he loved me and cared deeply for my soul.

With the gum came God’s words…but never spoken like anyone else I had ever heard before. He spoke with such reality, power yet with gentleness, and had a depth of desire for my soul that blew me away, like he could see my soul…and tilted it while he planted God-seeds.

  • He made me want Christ more.
  • He made me see Christ more.
  • He made me desire Christ more.
  • I am eternally thankful for his godlike influence on my young heart.

When we moved back to Pennsylvania, which was a hard decision, leaving Mr. Saint was extremely hard for me. I didn’t want the influence to stop…I needed that influence, I wanted more. I loved that piece of weekly gum and our chat while I received it. I needed to keep growing…but he told me this, “It is time for you to go. You must obey, honor and love your parents. It will be okay, we will see each other again, someday.” He gave me another piece of gum, hugged me, never said “goodbye” and smiled from ear to ear. Tears were in his eyes, as well as mine, and that was the last day I saw my Mr. Saint.

Months later, we found out that Mr. Saint was gone. No one heard from him, no one had seen him, he was just simply, gone.

Whatever day Mr. Saint “left” Jackson Hole, it might have been physically but to those who were impacted by him…he never left us. I don’t know how many more people had the privilege of knowing Mr. Saint like I did, but after all these years I can hear his soft voice, see his face and clothes, feel the heat when the car door opened to get a piece of gum, I can see that bushy beard and soft flowing hair in the wind. I can taste that pink gum and feel the power of the Word spoken to me with love unguarded.

  • Was Mr. Walt Saint an angel?
  • To me, he was. He is.
  • Could I be wrong, maybe…

Years have passed seen those days, I have long to see him again, ask him were he went and why…but then again, sometimes things are just to wonderful that we just need to stay planted in the basking of what God has done or given.

So, that’s where I leave my Mr. Saint.

…that’s my angel story.

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

The “S” Word is not a Bad Word

Many of us don’t like the “S” word…SUBMIT. We believe it brings bondage, it will restraint us (from doing what we want) thus constricting our power for or to control.

Let’s be honest, we like to feel like we are in control; we like to be in control. It feeds a hungry souls ache; it becomes our addiction and we want more. We fill ourselves with fleshly gratification rather than soul feasting on what only God can fill.

We fear to let God.

According to James 4:7 we are to submit ourselves to God. To submit brings freedom and blessings. It puzzles us to why we fear the letting go, but not God. That’s exactly why James is writing this very verse — God knows! The question we should be asking ourselves is: whose mindset have we fallin’ prey too?

We are to resist the devil.

What does it mean to resist? 1) to stand against; to withstand; to obstruct. 2) to strive against; to endeavor to counteract, defeat, or frustrate; to act in opposition to; to oppose. 3) to counteract, as a force, by inertia or reaction. 4) to be distasteful to. 5) to make opposition.

This is what we are to be doing.

  • The devil is always on attack mode.
  • You are always a target.
  • Never think for a second that he is on your side; that somehow you are on the same team.
  • Wake-up call! The devil will lie, deceive, take, mutilize, deform, gossip, trash, discredit, chew you up and spit you out.
  • He is bound and purposed for your destruction.

So if God is warning us…. to FLEE! to RESIST! why don’t we? Why do we dabble in sin, and justify it? Why do we stop, listen and taste the sin? Why do we take those specific steps to erosion and compliancy?

  • Why?
  • Simply put, we like it; we have throned ourself a god and don’t trust the Almighty God.

God knows the devils tactics.

If submitting didn’t matter, God wouldn’t have written so. If resisting didn’t matter, again, we wouldn’t be reading it from Scripture.

We do well to reconsider; to have a mindset change. James 4:7, this is for our warning, for our attention, for our own personal action to take place upon this knowledge from God.

  • Are you submitting yourself to God?
  • Are you resisting the devil or are you riding the fence — playing both sides?

Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee and God will draw near. Watch then, as you draw near to God His blessings are not far behind.

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

Our Action(s) Testify What’s Within | Hebrews 12

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

“It” Wears Many Hats

Exhaustion doesn’t even begin to describe how I have felt over the past four weeks; four weeks that turned into five this past Friday.

It began with a slight cough which developed quickly into a full blown, nonstop fit of raging coughs, sleepless nights, fatigue, and left me almost voiceless.

After the first week, I went to see my doctor. This time, I said to myself, “I wouldn’t wait” (similar thing happened in February). Sure enough my lungs and airways were inflamed with infection; irritation deep within and slight fluid in the ear. A shot of steroids was given to me to get me ‘moving along’ quicker this time around. We stopped bye the pharmacy to pick up the mountain of meds and I did what the doctor ordered. I was fully convinced that I would be well very soon…

Week two.

We came to the decision it was time to make another doctor appointment because my symptoms were getting worse, not better.

X-ray’s were order. Round two of medicines started. Doc said, “If you are not any better in two days, I will admit you to the hospital.”

Sleep was been little, the sofa became my home. Breathing more difficult. Side affects increasing.

I purposed to do what must be done, try what I can get done and leave the rest undone because there was no strength nor breathe to do anything else.

Week four done.

Week five has begun.

Third doc visit resulted in more x-rays, round three with a specialist appointment is in the near future. All this to say, last Friday I broke…

  • I broke down in exhaustion, in tears, and in pain, in discouragement.
  • ‘It’ broke me. I didn’t want it too, but…it did.
  • I was so physically worn that I can barely lift my feet off the floor to walk. My body filled with agony, torn muscles from coughing so long, so much and so hard.

I hit that wall and said, “I’m done!”

  • My soul was discouraged.
  • My body was discouraged.
  • My mind was discouraged.

I wept, cried out to the Lord for deliverance, “Lord please, please take this from me!“…”Lord, please I am so weary and worn!

➡ I do not share this for pity.
➡ I do not share this to have a self-pity party.

➡ I do share because maybe someone, maybe you, are in agony, weeping, struggling, worn, tried, exhausted, in pain and right now you need some encouragement…

Maybe “it” is a life situation or decision that must be made; maybe “it” is an illness that has struck your body or someone you love; maybe “it” has you worn to the last bone…I want you to know something, God is still there. He hears. He knows.

My friend, (preaching to myself here) we are so desperately human yet God knows that and loves us anyway. God heard Job’s cries. God saw Job’s pain. God answered Job’s prayers and God sees, knows, and hears us too (Job 41;42).

God takes our frailty, turns it on its head for His glory, gives us precisely what is needed and shows us Himself.

May sound like God is selfish, but He isn’t.
God deserves such grandeur, such attention, such praise, such worship and devotion. He is God. We are not. This doesn’t stop God from loving us.

  • It is enough that He would bring glory to Himself through us, but He also uses that source of glory to Himself for our perfection, for our molding, for our fashioning us into HIS likeness.

In the midst of vallies or while we stand on the mountaintop, God is using “it” to create in us a masterpiece within us…one that is more glorious than we can image. This is not selfish, this is love.

Last Friday was a really hard day — both physically and spiritually, but today, today is a new day with sickness included to become perfected into what God is leading me through at this time.

➡ God is perfecting you. Job saw with his spiritual eyes who God was/is.

➡ Job trusted God to be God; we must trust Him as well.

  • I want to grow in Christ.
  • I want to be healed spiritually and physically.
  • I want to say, “I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained. Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, please, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct [and answer] me.’ I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You.” Job 42.

God loves you, friend! Remember, today is a new day with “it” included to become perfected into what God is leading, fashioning us to become through this time. Take courage.

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

CHRISTianity

It has everything to do with Christ and nothing to do with us. Our self merit, self will, self dedication, self attempts or vindications all fall short.

Isn’t it a wonderous thing that it doesn’t hinge on us but Christ. You know you fall short; Christ is forever faithful.

Is Christ your religion or relationship?

“Christianity without CHRIST isn’t Christianity.”

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

How are you Livin’?

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

Your Story Isn’t Published…Yet!

If you are roaming this Earth my friend, your story is not published yet. God is still in your writing process.

  • Trust Him.
  • Obey Him.
  • Hope in Him.
  • Follow His leadership.
  • Love Him.

Your story can impact eternity.

He cares for you!

Enjoy your journey in Christ!

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

Are Your Wheel On?

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

Perfectly Unable

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), remember the Lord knows we are unable, but He is also keenly aware that through Him, He is able to do great and mighty things with our unableness.

You are empowered because of Him!“and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength” Ephesians 1:19 (AMP)

Praying you have an God-encouraged day!

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

Psalm 71:3

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

How’s God Lookin’?

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