Duct Tape vs Nails

  • “But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.
  • “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” I Peter 3:18.
  •  “Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” Colossians 1:22.
  • “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” Romans 14:9.
  • “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” I John 3:16.
  • “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” I Peter 1:18-19.
  • “For even the Son of Man did not come to be saved, but to serve, and to give His life a ranson for many” Mark 10:45
  • “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” Romans 4:25.
  • “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for  the sheep. Even the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” John 10:11,15.
  • “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” Romans 5:6,10.
  • “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again in their behalf” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
  • “Who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him” I Thessalonians 5:10.

In these 16 verses alone they just my the goosebumps! Seeing the love of the Father and the Son for mankind…for me, for you…I am overwhelmed. I am humbled yet incredibly encouraged that He loves me so. He loves you that much!!!

There are numberous passages beyond these that we could quote, yet in these 16 verses alone we see clearly see who God is, His physical acts of love upon mankind along with His love for mankind. His Son’s love, display, physical death and resurrection, submission to the will of the Father, beyond discription of outward and inward love for both us and his Father. What a display of example to us.

Together, we could literally spend hours filling pages full of God, His attributes or character. We could fill blog posts of the Words of God proclaiming how Scripture is compacted with living displays of vibrant, consistent, unchangeable, unwavering, unshakable, demonstrations of God’s love for mankind from time past, this present day, and in the future to come showing our immense need for thee Savior. 

Sadly, in the midst of all this knowledge (yes, I am talking to believers here), we often fail to live in the land of belief, trust, and simply put “not quiet sure God’s got this” mindset that lives out ‘self is better than God’. Oh, we would never say this outwardly but we live, make decisions, act, think, and like it. You may disagree with me, but this leans me to one thought. One question.

  • Take some time to evaluate and take inventory of yourself–what do you do or don’t do, how do you live or not live your saved-by-grace-heaven-God-given-bound earthly life here on Earth, what comes out of your mouth or not, what is it you choose to dwell on or not dwell on, how you spend your time, look in your check book, how much do you love God and display that love to Him.
  • Now honesty answer this question: WHO is sitting on the throne of your life? Two cannot reign at the same time. It is either YOU or GOD. So, how is it? WHO is in control? The duct tape or the nails?

We read, hear sermons, maybe even teach a class, sing in choir or lead the choir, yet still doubt the God in whom took the nails for us. We doubt that God can’t and I am better able. We choose the duct tape. We deny the power of those nails and choose our handy-dandy self-duct tape to fix our life’s problems when all we need, who we need, is given to us within the pages of Truth, God’s Word.

Sure, real duct tape has its purpose in real life; we would never think of using duct tape to build a house. Thus we should never metaphorically replace Christ’s nails with our own self-induced duct tape and count it stronger or more reliable than Christ’s nails…NEVER!

How are you building sister or brother in Christ?

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

Who is God to You?

  • We hear.
  • We see.
  • We experience.
  • We choose.
  • We decide.
  • We deny.
  • We accept.
  • We. 

    Maybe, just maybe, if we chose to put ourself aside for just one moment to stop presupposing we knew who or what God is, but rather came before Him & His Word with simple child-like-wide-open unbias eyes, untainted heart, and unskewed minds….maybe, just maybe, we would grasp His understanding of who and what HE IS for who and what HE SAYS HE IS, not what we think He is

    It would be then, that we would begin to understand the attributes of God. It would be then, that we would begin to hear, to see, to experience, to choose, to decide, to deny, to accept, to know God for God…prehaps like the very first time you met.

    • Revelation 2:4-5

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

    Psalm 147:1-6

    Thank you Lord for this encouragement, hope, strength, renewal, and empowerment. Thank you for being for us, with us, and indwelling us. Praise ye the LORD! PRAISE THE LORD! Praise, praise ye the LORD! 

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

    Church…we ARE Plan A there is no Plan B

    3 Simple Reasons why Church is God’s Plan A.

    Here are three simple reasons why “church” is GOD’S plan A and there is no plan B in God’s book. Why we must stop kicking and screaming and questioning God’s plan. It is He that is in change. It is HIS salvation gift to us. It is His death that paid the price…NOT OURS!

    1. Church is plan A because God tells us NOT to forsake the gathering of ourselves together as believers. This is one of those hot buttons of the day and yes, I am going to talk about it! First, I’d like to say that I am truly sorry if you have been hurt, offended, or even abused in any form by the church as a whole. This is WRONG!! This is not pleasing, honoring, or glorifying to the Lord nor is it not His plan for His church.

    But may I ask you a question? Have you ever bought something from a store, like meat, and got home to find out that it was bad? Did it stop you from buying meat for the rest of your life? 

    Have you ever had food poisoning from a restaurant? Did that stop you from ever eating out again? Most likely NOT! 

    SO…why is it when something “bad” at church happens we lump them all together and vow the mother of all vows that ALL Christians are hypocrites, ALL churches are filled with liars, cheaters, hypocrites, and rotten filthy sinners and we are never going back. 

    I want to stop right here. I understand, I know I talk with ladies who have physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually been abused by family members, unbelievers as well as believers. None are right. None should have happened (mine included), but we live in a sin-filled world and we have a choice. Yes, we have a choice even in the midst of our greatest pain, sorrow and trial. Will I use this situation to grow closer to my Heavenly Father or will I take it and grow bitter by the the day.

    So often, I see “church” used as an excuse and see bitterness grow by the day and the choice to live in disobedience to God spiral from that one choice! 

    The bitterness will take you farther than you ever excepted to go. 

    Regardless of what enters of life, we are accountable before Christ. When we use people as an excuses to not obey Christ, we justify our own actions and guilt to make ourselves feel better. 

    I have another question to ask you. I am assuming you got over your food poisoning or got over that purchase of “bad meat.” If I opened your refrigerator door, I would find it full or at least part-way full and would come to find out that you have feasted on many meals “outside” of your home. You didn’t grow bitter at the “bad” meat. You didn’t call the store a hypocrite. You didn’t hold a grudge. You didn’t allow bitterness, people, or excuses from stopping you from shopping or eating, did you??!!

    So why the double standard? Using people, excuses, our own bitterness and unforgiveness to NOT obey God is sin. If you are a child of God, you are part of plan A…you are not doing your part. You are needed, but you are choicing to missing out on God’s plan A. 

    Because Matthew 18 wasn’t practiced like it should have been when the offense happened, sadly, you are hurting yourself, the church, fellow believers, unbelievers, and you are hurting the cause of Christ…for what “bad meat?” That didn’t stop you before!

    Reconcile that “bad meat” even if the other party doesn’t want too! Make it right before God on YOUR end!! Go and confront that offense! Seek and be ye reconciled. Forgive.

    I speak from experience! I have “abuse” in my background. What kind I will not speak of at this time, but believe me when I tell you, I know! I know what I feels like, how it hurts, the anger, bitterness, the confusion, the spiral effects. But I also know the healing power of God in ones heart and life. I know the comfort and release of walking in obedience to the Father and it is worth it all! I would do it a thousand times over!

    It is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it is one of the most spirit-freeing (bondage releasing) God+you experience you will ever do, because when you walk in trust and obedience, God blesses! You NEVER go wrong walking in obedience to Christ….NEVER!

    Hebrews 10:25

    2. The very second you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, He gave you at least one spiritual gift, at least one. You may have more! Do you know your spiritual gift or gifts? Do you know God wants that gift or gifts to be used? Yeppers, you guessed it! For Him, for His Glory in His Church! 

    I hear the question already, can you use your God-given gift in other places? Sure! But the primary place is where He wants, within His Church. Again, this is not our plan or trying to make our plan work…this is God’s plan. We either obey and do or not!

    I Peter 4:10-11

    3. Church is Plan A because it is the only plan! We are to be proclaiming, mouthpieces, ambassadors, of what and who God is and what He has done for us to everyone soul we come in contact with. To fail to accomplish the great commission is to live in disobedience to Christ. 

    Matthew 28:18-20

    • The bottom line is this: God’s Word is clear. The choice is in your hands…your heart.
    • How will you choose to walk before the very God who gave you your eternal life? 

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

    “Looking like” & “Being One” are not the Same in God’s Eyes.

    Have you ever ordered something on-line expecting it to be one size, only to be disheartened when it arrived? Have you believed the marketers’ promises of special amazing features, only to get half of them functional? Has there been a time when you purchased something that looked really good from the outside, only to be disappointed with the results?

    Left unto ourselves, that’s what can happen to us spiritually. You and I may produce plenty of leaves. We might look like flourishing plants! But there may not be much fruit on our branches.

    What might be keeping us from our blooming potential? Jesus addresses another key component for developing a fruit-bearing life in John 15. Maybe you and I are in need of a good cleanse.

    Extra leaves and stems consume the nutrients and resources needed for fruit-bearing. One way the Vinedresser cleanses the branches is to strip the life-sucking extras in the spring that drain nutrients from producing fruit. Note, this is His regular activity. You and I repeatedly find ourselves in need of a good spring cleaning. Although we have nothing to do with it, I find it helpful to acknowledge this reality by inviting God to do His work in me.

    I’m not discerning enough on my own to become more like Jesus, recognizing what is hindering fruit-production versus what is necessary for growth. But I can pray for a willingness to cooperate with anything and everything that lines up with Scripture. I might ask myself:

    • What seems to spike up onto the calendar appearing urgent and overcoming the important?
    • ‎To what establishments is my money spent? Are they God-honoring – or do I spend money just like everyone else?
    • ‎Do my possessions look like the pile at my neighbor’s, who is NOT aiming to bloom for Christ; or is there a distinct contrast between us?
    • ‎Are my actions God-honoring to those around me? Or am I stuck in the same emotional rut I found myself one, two or five years ago?

    The key here is this: it’s not enough just to look good. Looking like a fruitful branch is not the same as being one. We need the supernatural touch of the Vinedresser.

    John 15:1-11
    “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

    May we be receptive and open to receive whatever cleaning the Father sees fit to do in our lives so that we will become more and more fruitful from the inside out.

    Excerpts taken from: She Yearns by Cheri Strange Increase Your Bloom Ability

    “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.}