Thursday, November 12, 2015

Living Transformed

This year has been one of great transitions and transformations for me. So I shouldn't have been surprised that #transformed is the word that kept coming up (and eventually stuck) as I began mulling over, praying about, and working on my theme for my ministry.

The first major transition and transformation of this year was moving. My family and I sold our house (the house, my husband and I both figured out as we were getting ready to move, which was the one I (and he) had lived in the longest in our lives. This transformation is still in progress, as we (the whole 6 of us) are living with my in-laws as we head toward building our new home.

Some of the other transitions and transformations probably haven't been as obvious. At least not on the outside. But God has really been working on me this past year. He had me in quiet, still, and listening mode for about six months. I knew my plate was too full and that some things had to go, but since all I was doing seemed "good," I didn't easily give anything up. However, God made one thing clear, then another, then another. I carefully obeyed, in respectful ways stepping out of some positions and responsibilities.

That's not to say my schedule's not still abundant, but I feel like my focus is narrowing in a good way.

Most recently, I've been mulling over, praying about, and working on my ministry focus. My life focus, really. Why is it I do the things I do? Why should I choose one activity over another? What is my goal? What are my objectives? What outcome do I desire from all of the time, energy, and effort I put into the things I do?

The answer, which shouldn't have surprised me, was to help encourage people to live #transformed lives.

If we are Kingdom people, we should be transformed by the love of Christ. By the grace of Christ. By the mercy and holiness and sovereignty of Christ. He should make our lives radically different. However, this seldom happens spontaneously. There is work to be done. A refining process as we're #transformed from glory to glory to become more like Him.

That's what I desire to do with my time, energy, and efforts. I desire to become more and more like Jesus and help others on the same journey. For us all to live the outrageously abundant lives He came to give us. Not the mediocre, complacent, comfortable lives most of us live. There is so much more!

So, today (or yesterday, really) is the first day of everything coming into focus. That I desire to continue to move forward and offer support as others seek to "Live the best life where we are as we take the next step to becoming who we're meant to be."

Are you interested? Are you excited? I'd love to have you come along! Let's live #transformed together!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Free Baby Pics!

Do you ever have a hard time finding pictures to share/post with friends saying the exact thing you want to say?

I do too!

That's why I've taken to making my own. And I thought, why not put some of them out there for public consumption. So every once in a while I'll post a picture here that you are free to save, share, and use to your delight.

If you have any specific request/need, please feel free to share that, too. I'm more than willing to see if I can work something up for you, but make no promises.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Sold Out for Jesus

"Jesus said to him, 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'" Matthew 19:21

In Matthew 19 we read the story of a man desiring eternal life. He seems to have lived a righteous life and to have the best of intentions - He seeks Jesus for the answer. However, he ends up walking away from Jesus sorrowful.

If we just look at the verse that gives us Jesus' words that send this man away downtrodden, we might feel as if none of us would have been able to follow Jesus. To give up everything we own? To give away all of our possessions to the poor? Very few throughout history have led this lifestyle. Does that mean that only those few have gained eternal life and stored up treasures in heaven?

No, of course not. Because actions don't save us, faith in Jesus does. So why, then are these the words and requirements Jesus gave this man?

First, Jesus knew his heart. He knew that the man was looking for what he could gain - eternal life - not what he could give. Or how he could serve. Or how he could love.

That's not saying that desiring eternal life is wrong, God places that desire within us, but this man wanted to keep everything he had, his lifestyle he was comfortable with, and still gain eternal life.

I'd also wager that he wanted to gain God's blessings and favor without loving God.

Aren't many of us like this?

Where, is that conclusion drawn from, you might ask. When the man firsts asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. The man asks which ones. Jesus reply covers commandments five through ten - the ones concerning our relationships with others. The man was wiping his brow. Thank goodness he had those covered. However, he knew he still lacked something and questioned Jesus on this point. This is when Jesus answered to give up everything.

Jesus did not ignore the first four commandments, insinuating that they weren't important. No, instead his answer revealed that the man's heart was not towards God. He could not give up everything to follow Jesus because money and possessions had become an idol and his god. It reveals his heart - that he didn't love and worship the Lord God solely in singularly. His devotion was to himself.

God will not ask all of us to give up our possessions, often He allows us to use them for His kingdom, but He will test our hearts. So the question we should walk away from these verses asking ourselves is this:

Am I looking to gain eternal life by what I can do or am I following Jesus with a singleness of mindset and an undivided heart?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Desirable Reputation

And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.
1 Thessalonians 1:10a

When reading this verse in the middle of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, which is full of exultation and encouragement, I was struck by the question:
"Do people speak of how I look forward to Jesus' return?"

Am I even known for loving Jesus? Spreading His Good News and love to people?

I hope so, but just as Paul encourages the church in much of this letter to the Thessalonians, I need to keep growing and serving and loving more.

Each day is an opportunity to make progress in our relationship with the Lord. We will always fall short, never reaching perfection, but as long as we keep moving forward in the path He's set out for us, we will be rewarded with His most abundant gifts - His power, His presence, and the fruit of His Spirit.

These are the things that enable us to go from the place we are today to the next place tomorrow. They are also the benefits of making the choice to live obediently to God.

And as I live surrendered to Him, His light will shine. I don't have to strive to have a reputation as a lover of Jesus looking forward to His return. I simply have to live obediently in what God's called me to do today. People will then just notice.

This leaves us examining ourselves as to whether we're known for our relationship with Jesus, but the goal isn't to change our reputation, but to grow in the Lord faithfully and our reputation will take care of itself.

Lord God, let me be faithful in loving, following, and obeying you so that in my words and works people wont' see what I can do, but will see your power, glory, and love. Amen.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Grasping Freedom

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

I was shredding old paperwork today and came across one that said, “Past Due Notice.” I pay the bills around our house and generally I stay on top of it. There is a bill or two that slips through the cracks once in a while, though. Now this particular bill was from a couple years ago, it’d been long paid – along with the penalty added for its lateness – but it was still in my records.

As I passed it through the shredder I was first assaulted with a bit of guilt. I don’t like not being perfect. I don’t like being behind or letting things go undone. However, the evidence of one of these times was right in my hands.

My next thought, though, was that thanks to the shredder, I’ll never have to see that past due notice and reminder of that particular lapse again.

The experience could have stopped there, but God is so very gracious that He used this particular moment – like He does so many others when my spirit is tuned to His – to remind me of His character and what He’s done for me.

My sin, our sin, is like that past due notice. There was a debt to be paid. And all too often we let them go too long before taking care of them. While with a bill I was the one who took care of it, there is nothing we can do to take care of the debt created by our sin. God, who is holy, holy, holy, cannot by His very nature accept or ignore sin. It’s a blemish on Him, as we are to be a representative of Who He is. He did, after all, create us in His own image.

Because He is love also, He in that love paid the payment for us. All we have to do is acknowledge His payment and thank Him – living our lives in faith and gratitude based on what has already been done.

I took that step a long time ago, but how many times have I held onto my sin anyway? Keeping the past due notice? Letting the devil remind me of my faults, failures, and disobedience? 


We as children of God are not to hang on to old notices. God has paid the price. By Jesus’ stripes our penalty was paid and ripped to shreds. Let’s not hang onto them. The past is gone. The debt is paid. The reminders bringing condemnation are not from the Lord, but from the devil and should be banished – from our minds, our hearts, and our spirits. Yes, we are fallen. But He is greater. Yes, we will mess up again. But His grace is bigger.

I am deciding today to let all of my past – ALL OF IT: the laziness, the complacency, the time-wasting, the lust, the anger, the gossip, the judgment, the pride, the arrogance, the lack of reverence for God – and shredding it at the altar of Jesus’ feet. He has covered the penalty for every single one of my sins. I will no longer keep the notices reminding me of them. Instead, I will grasp hold of the freedom Jesus handed me a long time ago and live in it. 

Won't you join me?

#noexcuses #layingdownmylife #usemeJesus