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.}

 

 

“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.}

 

 

Truth about a Lie

“We lie not only when we contradict the truth, but also when we mislead someone’s thinking. We lie when we pretend things are fine, when in reality we are angry or unhappy. We lie when we hide a problem with drinking or Internet pornography or other sin, making excuses and throwing up smokescreens that cover our tracks.

We even lie to ourselves when we make something bad look acceptable, or even desirable….Our culture is adept at using the power of language to mislead and warp perceptions. We call teacher-student sexual relations “affairs” instead of abuse of power. We call the brutal killing of a woman “a crime of passion” as the perpetrator sobs, “I loved her so much.” Language is twisted to make our actions look less heinous, more acceptable. But the Bible warns us, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Lying is one of the most destructive things we can do when we’re confronted about something we’ve done wrong (Proverbs 26:18-19,28). I have witnessed marriage after marriage crumble because the person who has been challenged will not come clean through humble confession of the whole truth.”

  • The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick, page 34

My friends, regardless if you are married or single, young or old, a believer in Jesus Christ for decades or for just a few months — lies present in your relationships {whether you are the liar or you are being lied too} will bring destruction to all involved. Sin affects more than just yourself! The truth always comes out. To lie is to sin!

“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28).

“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Proverbs 26:18-19)

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

 

 

 

Rise Up

This morning as I sit here in my room, Bible open and my heart stirred from reading Nehemiah chapter 2, I hear little ones in the background singing and preparing for the day. Songs of praise to the Lord come from the shower, humming from another room, and snoring from the youngest ones bed. My heart is filled with joy as I hear these sounds. I think of the day that is ahead of us. There is much to do and we will be busy, but before that all begins I want my heart to be ready.

What a guy Nehemiah was. First captive, then cup bearer to the king, then his heart in deep distress over his beloved Jerusalem. Not for himself but for what it represented to the world about Almighty God — and that was to much for Nehemiah to handle for one day the king asked why he looked so sad. Nehemiah told him. God had already softened Nehemiah’s kings heart to hear and see the deep auguish he had for his city and for his God. The king freely and openly provides passage for him to go, provides supplies and with an agreement — “I’ll see you when you’re done.”

Nehemiah journeys to Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 2:18, he gives thanks to God and his earthly king he serves for all that has been done. With an alreadied spent time in prayer, time alone with God seeking Him, and time in preparation, it was time for Jerusalem’s walls to be reborn, time for his God’s reputation to be fixed, reestablished amoungst the lands. He could not help himself but to give praise to his God and his earthly king and the men around him arose and said to Nehemiah, “Let us rise up and build.”

What a accomplishment to just even be there. To think a servant, a captive to a foreign king and to be given such freedom to “go back home” and rebuild.

Nehemiah’s focus was singular. Yes, the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins; yes, the city could not defend itself; yes, the city was a disgrace to the name of God and a laughing stock to the countries around her — the reputation of God’s name must be restored. The redemption of glorify of God’s name was more precious to Nehemiah than anything. God must be glorified.

“Let us rise up and build.”

What do we “build” today?

Or maybe…is there something we need to “re-build” today?

As I hear these little ones preparing for their new day, it draws my mind and heart to think, “What do I build?” In Proverbs a wise women builds up her house, but the foolish one tears it down (14:1).

I think of churches who have chosen to be lukewarm or even cold and are OK with it. Complancy is the norm. God is “when I have time” thing and the world sees and laughs. In Revelation, God says “He will spit us out” (3:16). This is not building. This is not rising up.

I think of marriages who do not honor God’s plan written in Scripture and find it to be OK (Gen. 2:24; Prov. 5: 18-19; Eph. 5: 22-33 just to list a few). When we obey and follow God’s plan what a glorious marriage it becomes — the two becoming beautifully intertwined as one. When God’s plan for marriage is NOT followed the world sees and laugh, for there is no difference between a marriage with Christ or without Christ; this not be.

I think of families who tear each other apart in word and deed and claim Christ (Eph. 4:32; Eph. 4:29-31; and so many more verses on our speech! Look them up!) Psalm 127:3-5 tells us how children are a blessing, an inheritance from the Lord…when our quiver is full — Oh the joy! What gifts from above! Treasure your family for when we don’t the world sees and laughs for we are no different. If Christ be in us, our speech should be different!

I think of many other “life areas” where Christ is not sitting on the throne of one’s life, but rather “self” is sitting on the throne of one’s life…but I will not go into anymore for my thoughts and heart and drawn to what God must think and see. How we must break His heart — when we should be praying “Lord break my heart for what breaks yours!”

Instead of squabbling, bickering, arguing, fighting, lieing, sowing discord, instead of disobedience God’s Word and choosing to live a lukewarm or cold Christian life, instead of churches giving the man of God you called to Shepherd and lead you a hard time: follow his God-leading — and follow and obey GOD!

All the while we focus on the sinful issues of others or focus solely on ourself, there are lost souls who are dieing — and once dead — will spend eternity in the lake of fire, separation from God forever, because we were to self absorb and self centered as individuals and as churches.

We fail at church, marriages, family and individuals because we miss the mark — the mark of the focus of ONE! If God is not our first and foremost our number focus in this life and we have grown God-complanct. Nehemiah was not such a man for he was truly God-focused.

Want to succeed? Be like Nehemiah, BE GOD-FOCUSED in every area of life! It is really that simply, though in action that is where the rubber meets the road…we have a choice!

To choose GOD FIRST above all else is the best option with the best results. (I Cor. 10:31)

It is not to late to build or rebuild!