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.}

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. You are empowered in Him!

Hope you have an God-encouraged day!

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 we short circuit ourselves in our lack of faith; 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.}

a thought to consider…

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

Power of the Thought

Our thoughts matter.

  • I’ve been doing much thought-searching lately. The deeper the dig goes, the more Scripture that is unfolded, the more revealing the revelation becomes…our thoughts are incredibly powerful.
  • Sure, most of us would agree, this is no new grand discovery. But do we stop ourselves and take the time to think of the repercussions of even one thought we allow ourselves to dwell upon? Oh, those ‘good’ ones are easy, but what about the ‘wrong’ ones we let slip out and then we justify by saying things like “We are having a bad day” or “I’m tired or stressed out right now.” Does this stand before our righteous and holy God? You know what excuses you use.

What we think, no, what we choose to dwell on will determine what we become. This is not “think happy thoughts and happy things will happen” but rather the holding captive thoughts that are toxic in form {ungodly} rather than focusing {which is a personal choice} our thoughts on God’s Truth and choosing to cling onto God’s Truth then live those Truths out which produce God-honoring-pleasing thoughts.

  • Today, why not begin to replace your toxic, sinful thoughts with the only Truth that can set you truly free and bring true freedom (John 8:32).
  • What toxic thoughts negativity affect your life and relationships?
  • Choose to replace them with God’s Truth – it’s worth it!

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

Reblogging 11.02.18 from the original post dated July 12, 2017; Colleen Woodruff; inchristiamshe.com

Unlimited God

Thank you Lord!


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

Blindness Remedy

  • I came across this today and it stopped me in my tracks. Such blindness doesn’t happen over night. It is a progression of “no’s” (rejections of God’s tug on our hearts to do or not do), a decision made against the One we call, our Lord and Savior.
  • This is a warning to all of us who call Jesus, Lord.
    • To be careful.
    • To be wise.
    • Be vigilant because our advisory, the devil, is roaming this world seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
  • Not to fear, Christ has a remedy as well:
    • Be cross-centered minded.
    • Be Christ-focused in every deed and word.
    • Be God-centered in this life, period.
    • To put on Christlikeness because we love Him so.
    • Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 11:1; John 15:9-11; 1 Peter 2:21; Matthew 6:33.

Sin is sin. There is no getting around that. May today we choose Christ above everything. And tomorrow, choose all over again! And again. And again, until you and I see our Savior’s face in glory!

Til He comes again, have a blessed Christ-filled day, my friends!

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

Christlikeness

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:1-13).

7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself (Philippians 3:7-21).


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

1 Peter 5:10 | Wonderful, Merciful Savior, Thank you!

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

What’s in Your Cup?

This analogy was what I needed to hear today. Hope it is for you too…


You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee? “Because someone bumped into me, of course!”

Wrong.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

spilled coffee pic

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.*

  • Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

*So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

  • When life gets tough, what spills over?
    • Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
    • Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

You choose! 


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

God’s Got You!

Whatever season of life you find yourself in, God is with you! Keep the FAITH, trust Him. God’s got your back! He loves you!

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

I Wanna Be Different

I don’t wanna hear anymore, teach me to listen
I don’t wanna see anymore, give me a vision
That you could move this heart, to be set apart
I don’t need to recognize, the man in the mirror
And I don’t wanna trade Your plan, for something familiar
I can’t waste a day, I can’t stay the same

I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different
In me

And I dont wanna spend my life, stuck in a pattern
And I don’t wanna gain this world but lose what matters
And so I’m giving up, everything because

I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different; oh-oh

I know, that I am far, from perfect
But through You, the cross still says, I’m worth it
So take this beating in my heart and
Come and finish what You started
When they see me, let them see You
‘Cause I just wanna be different, ye-ey

I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Oh is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different
I just wanna be different
So could You be different
In me

Songwriters: Micah Tyler Begnaud / Kyle Lee

Different lyrics © Music Services, Inc


YouTube Link below:
Different by Micah Tyler


This song has been burning a fire in my soul, because I want to be different. Not different for different sake, but because He is worth more than this world; more than my life.

  • I don’t want to live a mediocre life.
  • I don’t want to live in the land of familiar.
  • I don’t want to trade God’s plan for something less.
  • I don’t want to waste a day; I can’t stay the same!

I want to be HIS — all of His! If He doesn’t have all of me, He doesn’t have any of me.

I want my mortal flesh to be changed into His likeness ’til all that is seen is Christ — nothing less, so that others may see Him and know Him, His power and resurrection; this life is to short to fool around with anything less.

I want my life to count for Christ!

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

Hope When It Hurts {pt 1}

Power in Weakness

Americans will do almost anything to appear strong, capable, and worthy of admiration. We exercise our bodies with intensity, climb the corporate ladder at the expense of integrity, and struggle to accept the help of other people. Our society works by the principle that the way up is the road to success and value.

When we transfer this into our Christian faith, here is what happens: We believe that comfort is a right that Christ would never remove, and that success indicates a godly Christian life. This sense of entitlement has therefore deeply impacted the way Christians interpret and respond to suffering.

Think about how we talk about and react to a trial. We try to avoid it. We complain about it. We think we don’t deserve it. We’re embarrassed by it. We commiserate with others about it. We believe that God is mad at us, or just plain angry.

We hate weakness and will do almost anything to escape it.

One big problem with this approach is that weakness is real. Behind our masks, everyone is weak. It’s inbuilt into our humanness in this world. We can’t run from it, and thankfully we don’t need to. What we need is a biblical understanding of the value of weakness (that’s a strange-sounding phrase!), and how suffering is the tool God uses to expose it (that’s another strange idea!).

Everything changes when we see weakness and suffering in the light of the gospel. For it is through human weakness that God’s strength upholds us and is displayed to the world.

Here is the Bible’s description of who a Christian is:We [are those who] have this treasure in jars of clay.” What treasure? The glorious gospel: the work of Jesus Christ to save sinners by grace through faith. And what is clay? A brittle, easily broken substance. And that’s what I am. That’s what you are.

God has a purpose in placing such a treasure in such a jar. We are unfit, breakable, disposable vessels, and God has decided to use our weaknesses to display his power and love. A jar of clay might be cracked in a few places, making it unusable in the world’s eyes, but God sees these deficiencies as a means to pour out and reveal more of Himself.

excerpt taken from Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering by Kristen Wetherell & Sarah Walton


2 Corinthians 4:6-7 says, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves:”


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

{my} Life Purpose Mission


Do you have a God-purpose mission statement for your life?

Over the years I have had a special verse but never really wrote out a ‘mission statement’ for my life, til recently. It is helpful. Why? It redirects thus continually gives purposes and focus, which is vital. Life is full of distractions and it is easy to become… well, distracted, even with good things.

Distractions don’t always have to be sinful or wrong. Many times it is our lack of seeking God first before we say, “yes.” Distractions are cloated in our own piety we call godliness or Christianity that end up drawing us away from the very God we are supposed to be serving or what God truly desires of us to be accomplish for His glory.

Last week in my devotions I read these verses (Colossians 1:28-29) and they hit me between the eyes. These verses are for me. You can have them too 😊 but don’t take mine if God hasn’t given them to you–because then you won’t live them for Him.

  • Seek the Lord first. Ask Him to show YOU!
  • Call upon Him and draw near to God — He will show you if you want to know what your God-purpose mission is or should be.
  • God doesn’t play shell games with His children. You ask, He will tell you!

I would love to know how the Lord leads in your life. What your God-purpose mission is. What your verse or verses are from Scripture and how the Lord has lead you! Would you share your story with me? With others here?

Go light your world for Christ!

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

Be Still, My Soul

  1. Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
    Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    In every change, He faithful will remain.
    Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
    Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
  2. Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
    To guide the future, as He has the past.
    Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
    All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
    Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
    His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
  3. Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
    And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
    Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
    Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
    Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
    From His own fullness all He takes away.
  4. Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
    When we shall be forever with the Lord.
    When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
    Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
    Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
    All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
  5. Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
    On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
    Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
    So shall He view thee with a well-pleased eye.
    Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
    Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Katharina A. vonSchlegel, pub. 1752 tr. by Jane L. Borthwick, pub. 1855



To “be still” is a personal internal decision, one in which is either rejected or accepted. To “be still” takes a proactive individual choice(s).

To “know” Him only comes through the choice of “being still” –when we stop inwardly striving, we choose to let go then begin to relax (rest) in Christ knowing that God has us in the palm of His hand.

Trusting God’s control over our own control (which never works out for the best any way) goes again our flesh. Child of God, WHO lives within? Isn’t He that is in YOU greater than your own flesh?

To trust Him is to know Him; to know Him is to trust Him. He is worth it! Be still, my soul.

How is your soul doing, today? May your soul, be still.

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

this is my prayer for you

 

For anyone who’s prayed a thousand prayers
And still can’t find the answer anywhere
Fighting off the lie that no one cares
For anyone who’s out there losing hope
Feeling you’re forsaken and alone
Clinging to the last strands of your rope

May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you

For all of those with tired and weary souls
But still have faith to ask for miracles
Choosing to believe He’s in control

May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer

May your eyes be ever on the Lord, your helper
May you find your refuge in the Lord, your shelter
May you find Him closer than a brother all your days
All of your days!
And may your eyes be ever on the Lord, your helper
May you find your refuge in the Lord, your shelter
May you find Him closer than a brother all your days
All of your days!

May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you!
For you!

This is My Prayer for You — written by: Alisa Turner


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

Thy Will Be Done: You are God & I am Not

Thy will be done. Though I may never understand why my broken heart is apart of your plan; though my mind and heart may not agree; though my circumstances around me may scream otherwise; though my flesh may fail me and my spirit challenged beyond words, may my heart, soul, mind, thoughts, actions pray…THY WILL be done for YOU are GOD and I am NOT!



THY WILL

written by: Hillary Scott; The Scott Family

(1) I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

(2) I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think Of things,
I could never think about, It’s hard to count it all joy, Distracted by the noise, Just trying to make sense, Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So…
Thy will be done, Thy will be done, Thy will be done

(Refrain) Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will…

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Songwriters: BERNIE HERMS, HILLARY SCOTT, EMILY LYNN WEISBAND© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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.}

 

 

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.