Rescued By Love

Life Is Here Today!

Life Is Here Today!

Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. Galatians 1:4

The alarm jolted her awake. And it was there again, the feeling of foreboding. The sense that failure was imminent. It was like a background noise, this dark cloud in her mind. A weight of dark.

So common was the morning greeting, she’d become accustomed to bearing the heavy weight of it. Barely living.

Limping through her day wondering why every step felt shaky.

There were pressures to STOP IT.
How she wished she could.
Just.
Stop.
It.

“How are you today?” He’d ask upon returning from work.
And she’d hated to say it again, “Not great.” and his disappointment showed on his face. Frustration even.

He was sick to death of whatever it was that was going on with her. Why can’t she see life is good?

And she was sick to death of waiting for some relief, some light to overcome her darkness.
Depression stuck, like last night’s burnt lasagne on the edges of the pan still in the sink.

In her fear, she’d lost sight of love.
In her gloomy state, those who loved her couldn’t. Didn’t know how.

She’d groped. Digging into her Bible, looking for answers.
But she was missing the one thing that would allow the truth to set her free.

One thing that had to be unlocked by Another.

She was missing Trust. She wanted to trust, but something was blocking it.
How often she looked for the key. How she longed to be free from the depressing prison.

How she longed to love life.
Longed to be loved.

Unbelief was blocking love.

One day, Love broke through.

Words suddenly, a mirror to her heart:
“You are listening to the wrong voice.”
“Mine is the voice of love.”

“You are looking for love in the wrong place.”
“You are seeking to make yourself lovable.”

“Do you see that? “Make Yourself?”

“It is I who made you.
I, the One who died for you.
Only I can love you perfectly.”

“You can choose to believe.”

“Do you believe?”

How A Lie Appears True And Where Is Truth?

If I am the only one who believes a lie.
Everyone else will know it is a lie.

If I convince my friend that the lie I believe is true.
Both my friend and I will believe the lie is true.
Lie x 2

If both my friend and I convince two more friends that the lie is true,
then six people will believe the lie is true.
Lie x 6

The lie is in motion.
The lie is growing.
The lie is spreading.
The lie has gained power because more people believe it to be true.

When the six people convince their families, their neighbors, and their coworkers that the lie is true, and if all the people in the families, in the neighborhoods and the businesses believe the lie is true . . .
Lie x 20,000

Lie advances powerfully, fiercely, rapidly.

Pinochio’s nose, it grows, and grows, and grows. Lies Grow

The lie is now believed to be truth.
The lie is still a lie, but it appears to be truth to all the lie-believers.

And all people will suffer for it.
Even, maybe especially those who didn’t believe the lie.

Deception is the enemy of the soul. It is bondage.
Deception is the enemy of life. It is darkness.
Deception is the enemy of humanity. It is hatred.
Deception is the enemy of the world. It is condemnation.

Deception is demonic, darkness, and death.

There is One who Knows, Upholds, and Restores truth.

He came to restore truth.
He came to restore liberty.
He came to light the darkness.
He came to expose lies.

Christ Jesus was crucified by liars.

I was a liar.
I still sometimes lie.
I have believed lies.
I have spread lies.
I have been in bondage to lies.
I have been imprisoned by lies.

I have been entrapped by pride.

Pride harbors lies.
Pride is unwillingness to admit agreement with lies.
Pride destroys.

Humility unmasks lies.

Humility before God enables Truth to rule.
Humility heals the heart of humanity.
Humility paves the path to emancipation, restoration, resurrection.

Humility is the path to peace.

Admitting the truth disarms the lie.
Admitting the truth is confession.

Have you ever lied?
Do you believe lies?
Do you spread lies?

How do you know what you are believing is true?

Jesus is the Way.
Jesus is the Truth.
Jesus is the Life.
Jesus is the Word of God.
John 1:1-5

Jesus is Lord.

What if six people who had heard the lie had resisted believing?
What if the lie was so powerful, there was no resistance to be found?
What if truth-believers remained silent about the truth?

One cannot know what is true unless they know the Truth.
One cannot know what is true unless Truth moves in and exposes the lie.

What if only One knows the truth, but no one believes Him because they believe the lie to be true?

Will He Find Faith On The Earth?

Will He Find Faith On The Earth?

What if everyone believed only lies?

 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

You Want To Know What To Pray

IMG_2801
I pray this most often for the people I love, and for all people.

That God would give us a desire for Truth in our inmost being and fill us with wisdom.

Our inmost desires drive us and determine our choices.
Desire drives our priorities.
Guides our words.

Truth is love.
Truth is the great emancipator. [John 8:32]

Without Truth, there is ultimately death of some sort.
Death in relationships.
Death of dreams.
Death of purity.
Of health.
Of wholeness.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. [John 14:6]
Ultimately I pray for hunger & thirst for Jesus in our inmost being.
The Bread of Life and Living Water that springs up to eternal life. [John 4:14; John 7:38]

He is our wisdom. [1 Corinthians 1:30]
He is our Life. [Colossians 3:4]

#RESETourNATION
#reviveusLord
#RESET2015
#NDOP2105
#praythiswithme2015

I hope you will plan on praying for our nation on the National Day of Prayer on May 7th.

If you are in the Twin Cities area, join us here with Kari Jobe and Francis Chan: [or this year you can participate from your home!] UNITE

Promo Video

Its “Holy Week” – What In The World Is Holy?

Sometimes life with me gets pretty serious.

It’s why I married a funny guy. [Did I tell you I met him at an amusement park?] When I tell him of some of the news stories I read during the day while he is at work, he sighs heavy.

Sometimes we just don’t want to know about the heavy stuff. Admittedly, sometimes I spend too much time reading about it.

I would love to ignore our current world reality. And many days I actually do. When its busy. Living life is enough without having to worry about problems outside the realm of my little life circle.

But even when we want to, we cannot ignore reality in our land, in our world any longer. The waves of adversity are coming heavier and more often. More sickness, more loss, more suicide, more terror, more fighting, more fear.

And I don’t think we realize it. Everything one human being does affects at least one other, if not an entire community or nation. 

This is a truth we have denied. “To each his own,” we say.
Or, “What do I care as long as it doesn’t affect me?”  

It does! If you buy peanut butter, you enable a peanut farmer. [Is that what they are called?]

Have you had a suicide in your neighborhood? Have you known an addict? Do you see the increase of everything horrible all around us? Sex trafficking. Pornography addiction. Gambling addiction. Immorality. The list goes on and on . . .

This is “Holy Week” and we [as a culture] likely have only a vague idea what the word holy means. It’s value has been mocked and spit on. What happened over two thousand years ago to Jesus is still happening today as He promised it would before He went to the cross.

“What in the world is holy?” 
” Something or someone set apart for or devoted to God”
“Anything in the presence of God.”

I could end this post right here,  we could stop and think about that for longer than 20 minutes and be able to answer the question more explicitly.

Why do we celebrate Holy Week? 

One cannot come near God unless one is holy. || 1 Peter 1:15-16 ||

One cannot be holy unless the blood of Christ has covered our sin.  || Titus 2:14 ||

No doubt you’ve seen the news this week leading up to our celebration of the resurrection of Christ, and it’s quite clear that we, as a nation have moved    far    from    God.

There has been an erosion of all things holy.

And we need a restoration of consecration. God is Holy

Easter is the perfect time for a turn-around. To gaze upon the cross of Christ, to see the cost of sin upon His body, and to understand how destructive it is to us. Oh that all people would understand this affliction called sin and know that it has a cure!

The cure for sin and darkness is Christ! The power is in His resurrection!

He is ALIVE!

He sees all. All our sin, and our strife and our pride and still, as long as we have breath in our lungs, He stands with open arms to welcome us in if we seek Him for forgiveness and grace.

To repent of the sins of this land, we could start here:

Dear Lord, please forgive us for . . .

Instead of loving purity, we have “soiled our clothes.” || Lamentations 1:9 NLT ||
We have called good evil and evil good. And God says, “Woe.” || Isaiah 5:20 ||
We have polluted our soil || Numbers 35:33 ||
Instead of worshiping only You, we have worshiped our own ability and ideas, and choices, our money, government, success, our material goods, food, homes, cars, our educations, accolades, friends, status . . . Oh Lord, these and so many more. Please forgive us!

Christ is the atonement for all that is polluting our land. We just need to humble ourselves and repent . . .

Lord Jesus, we need a revival. Blow the wind of your Holy Spirit across this land!

Please help us to repent of our wicked ways – those of us who call ourselves Christians – so Lord, You can PLEASE turn and heal our land. || 2 Chronicles 7:14 ||

As much as we’d like to ignore the bad news that permeates our days, as much as we hope it will just go away, we know it wont.

But in the midst of it, each of us can make wise choices. We can share the good things. Do good to all people. Honor God. Live holy lives by repenting and receive the gift of the shed blood of Christ.

And even in all of the hard news, we still always have so much to thank God for and to celebrate.

And the greatest gift of all, His sacrifice, death and resurrection!
He is holy and made a way for us to get close to Him.

What Do I Know of Holy? by Addison Road [email subscribers can click over to the blog to listen]

Why I Don’t Fear Judgment | We’re Human After All

Sometimes a negative opinion will crush me. My soul shrivels. Face in dirt.

And I have to reach for the Light to stand up again. Find footing in truth.
Drink grace to find peace.

The truth is, we talk about grace, our understanding has grown. [Hasn’t it?] We know we can’t be perfect. We’re human after all. But we still expect perfection from ourselves or from each other.

We still expect perfection from humans. Because, we’re human after all.

I tried perfectionism.
I lived it as a child actually.
Okay – as an adult too 
- always living on the edge of anxiety.
My peace was found in performance.
Therefore my peace was . . . well, rocky.
And not only dependent on my performance, but also upon opinions about my performance.

It worked out well sometimes. Deeply entrenching it in my soul’s DNA.  It was always exhausting. 

Shaky knees hoping groping for favor.
Tender heart hoping groping for acceptance.
Insecure soul hoping groping for acceptance.

Arrive early to avoid anxiety.
Wear the right clothes.
Practice, practice, practice frantically to avoid criticism.
No mistakes.
No messing up.
Please the people, Kathy, make them happy and you will be too.
Consider every possible response or outcome
before choosing,
before speaking,
before acting.

Exhausting. So exhausting.

I’ve met them for coffee, and often heard college students open a conversation about something with these words, “Not to be judgemental, but . . . ” and then express what was on their heart.
Are we all walking on eggshells, fearful of cracking?
Why are we so vulnerable?

Have we, the people chiseled an Eleventh Commandment?  “Thou Shalt Not Judge” on stones to throw? Have we accepted the stones in our bones? Stones with words chiseled by those who have sinned – just as we ourselves have?

Can anyone count how many times they’ve seen it:  “Thou Shalt Not Judge!”  in the sharp disagreements stacked upon stacks of opinions beneath opinions on controversial topics?

It’s an easy answer to hurl. “Don’t judge!” It’s so much easier to cement a label on something or someone than it is to open our hearts and listen. Or humble our hearts and yield.

We guard our opinions like mama bears with their cubs. Unrelenting claws.

The thing is, opinions are not laws.

And we make them laws. We who give opinions power over our peace.

But God is the only One whose Word will stand. | Mark 13:31 |
He is the only Just and True Lawgiver. | Romans 7:12 |

There is so much to sort through in our lives. Now more than ever. Has the world gone mad?

One cannot unravel the complexities of our freedom in less than 500 words –  it takes much time to study God’s word to clarify our liberty from the laws of opinion.

But we have this grace to sail in. We who bear the Truth. Us who are Living Letters.
Flesh being made The Word. | John 3:30 |

We are called to judge. | 1 Corinthians 2:15 |
We are warned not to judge. | Luke 6:37 |

And He came to rescue us from our enemies and serve Him without fear. | Luke 1:74 |
And we can be our own worst enemy. Expectations on Perfect Performance.
Or we can be our friend’s worst enemy. Expectations on Perfect Performance.

Expectations on anything other than God is idolatry. | Exodus 20:3 |

When we value human opinions over God’s word, we worship humans. | Proverbs 29:25 |

Only God sees the whole heart. We only see in part. | 1 Corinthians 13:12 |

We, the people of faith, have a shield against all stones. The shield of Faith. | Ephesians 2:8 |
Opinions are not our refuge. God is. | Psalm 46:11 |

We, the people of faith . . . well, like Sierra used to sing, the longer we know the Lord the more we know, we got no stones to throw . . .  and we have a shield to deflect them when they are hurled against us.

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! | John 8:36|
[if you are viewing in email, click over to blog to listen to the song]

Today Is A Good Day For: A God-Story * A Friend’s Podcast * And A House

Hi friends! I promised you a post about the house we flipped last year, and started this in December. I apologize for the delay, and as it works out, my friend Amy Bennett is starting a new podcast about faith stories and asked me if I had one. (You can click on her name to find out more).

Right away I thought of this little story, and so it works perfectly to finally blog about it and publish my post on the same day as the podcast goes live.

TODAY you can go online and listen to me tell the story!

You can find the podcast by clicking here: FEATHERS and then come back and read the post for a few more details and our “Before & After” photos! EnJOY!!! (The other two stories go live today as well! #000 is Amy’s story, #001 is Jessie’s story, and mine is #002) FullSizeRender (4)

Once upon a time, this crazy couple decided to flip a house.

It all started when we were still waiting for our farm to sell. I met our WI realtor at a little house in our little town that was listed for $29,000.

I was emailing photos to my husband who was working in another state. As we were deciding over phone conversations that it would be a good investment, the realtor hollered from the back steps where she’d been talking on the phone, “They just got an accepted offer!!!”

Really!? After all that – it was not happening for us there that day.

But the light was lit.

And after we closed on the sale of our farm, we decided God had been working this dream into our hearts.

So after a few months and a dozen showings during #snowmageddon2014 (our poor realtor!) we found a little house.

image

It’s not that the couple are really crazy, really.

They had fixed up each of the former five homes they’d owned, and made their sweat and bloody-knuckles into equity.

They enjoyed the product, and endured the process.

There is satisfaction on the other side of every hard endeavor. Plus, they are gifted. She in decorating and color-coordinating, and he’s . . . I guess they call guys like him “Jack of all trades.” He’s been a farmer, a mechanic, a cabinet-maker, a concrete dude, a builder, a foreman, a supervisor.

He’s says, “I built the Excel Energy Center.”  And they tease him at church sometimes that he single-handedly built the Excel Energy Center.  And then we all laugh. :)

He’s always told his wife, “I can do anything.” And has proven it a thousand times. [And it is true! There’s nothing he hasn’t set out to do and not followed through!]

So . . . with an electrician friend, updates were made on the electrical, and the furnace was updated from fuel oil to natural gas, and the chimney was lined, and a bathrooms fixed up and a kitchen remodeled. Closets were added to bedrooms and the entryway. Gravel to the driveway, yard weeded, shrubs planted, sawdust and sheetrock dust created daily – then vacuumed again, and [for yours truly] paint, paint, and more pain (t).

We saved a ton of money by purchasing used items on Craig’s List (we purchased cabinets and removed them ourselves, out of the servant’s quarters on the third floor of a mansion on Summit Ave in St. Paul, MN) and we found many fixtures and furniture pieces for staging at Habitat For Humanity’s Restore shop.

It was a wild journey led by God and you can listen to the podcast about it here: FEATHERS and FLIPPING A HOUSE
PHOTO JOURNEY:
[The Mess]

The Bathroom before:
image (74)

flip house 3

The Kitchen before: Flip house 2

image (76) image (72)

The Porch before: image (70) image (71) image (69)

Stairway and Landing before:

flip house 4 image (75) In the craziness of the journey, I’ve lost some of the “before” photos of the bedrooms, but I have some ‘in process’ here:

IMG_0729
flip house 5 The Landing upstairs in progress: Flip House1 I found this (below) decal for around a dollar at Walmart one day, and put it on the wall in the entrance to the stairs, so one would see it coming down for coffee in the morning. :) We found out THIS caught the buyers eye. And I’d had a feeling about it when I bought it . . .  2014-10-17 12.02.57 [The Masterpiece]
WELCOME!

2014-10-17 12.15.13

 The entryway and laundry area: 2014-10-17 12.07.39 2014-10-17 12.07.26 The Kitchen: 2014-10-17 12.03.12 2014-10-17 12.03.18 2014-10-17 12.03.40 kitchen8 kitchen 2014-10-17 12.06.38 2014-10-17 12.07.54 The Bathroom: 2014-10-17 12.08.16 2014-10-17 12.08.21 2014-10-17 12.08.26 The Front entryway and porch: 2014-10-17 12.06.00 2014-10-17 12.05.26 The Living Room:
The only thing we did in here was new trim, switch lights, spiffy up the floor and paint the walls. livingroom2 livingroom 2014-10-17 12.13.18 The Bedrooms and Upstairs Bath: bedroom 3 fliphouse2 fliphouse1 bedroom bedroom2 bathroom copy Thank you for visiting! 
fliphouse 6 fliphouse bye

When God Speaks {How He Longs That We Hear So He Can Bless Us} But Will We Listen?

How easy it is to hear and not listen.

It happens. So often I’m telling the four  year old, “Look at me” when I’m trying to get him to actually hear what I’m saying. “Throw that in the garbage please! Honey, look at me . . .”

IMG_1848 Isn’t he cute!?

How easy it is to hear and not listen.

It happens when I’m driving and a song comes on that I’ve heard 10,000 times, and suddenly I really hear it for the first time. “Why didn’t I ever catch that before?”

In the book of Jeremiah, God gives Jeremiah, the prophet His messages to warn Israel of impending disaster if they don’t repent. And no one listens. As far as I know, not one person turned to God through Jeremiah’s message.

Can you imagine having a hard message to deliver, one that made people angry and hateful, and no one, not even one listens?

To tell you the truth, that is why I wanted to study this book, I am amazed by Jeremiah’s relentless obedience, composure and endurance. I want that. I pray for that.

Often I feel anger if someone doesn’t believe the truth, or I begin to doubt that I am in the truth when it seems many others are going a different way in their thinking. This causes me to return to God in His Word and thankfully, He clarifies truth.

If only we would turn there, to Him, we would find the good way. Oppression would cease. Bondages would be broken . . . 

I remember a couple of years ago, landing on a blog where the man was making a biblical case for polygamy. His arguments were so convincing using scripture that I was shaken. So I closed my computer, and as I prayed and began to listen for the God’s voice, I heard His familiar words, “Keep the marriage bed pure.” Hebrews 13:4 and “A man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

He settled my soul into the truth, but I left that experience amazed at how quickly my mind could go in a direction based on human logic and reasoning. And what is even weirder, is that logically, polygamy makes no sense. It only leads to competition, and pain. The things God’s loving boundaries are meant to protect us against. Duh. 

I remembered Eve being hooked by the deceiver when he appealed to her logic and she, reasoning with him, stretched God’s word to make it sound as if He was holding out on her instead of protecting her by the limit he instituted in the garden. Genesis 3:2-3 (God never said she shouldn’t touch the fruit.)

In the book of Jeremiah, I don’t think I could accurately count the times that God said something to the effect of,

But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.  . . .And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished;  it is cut off from their lips.” Jeremiah 7:24, 28

My heart broke reading, “truth has perished.” What a tragic place to be. Living without truth is living in bondage. John 8:32

Honestly, as I read through this rather depressing book, (It’s depressing if you don’t know God and that He is passionate about people coming to repentance and that is the whole reason for His message.) my heart ached at the condition of our land. And so I pray that we will HEAR GOD today. That we will not stiffen our necks and harden our hearts because He longs to show mercy  (Isaiah 30:18) and His mercy triumphs over his judgement. (James 2:13) But only if there is repentance and humble honoring of Him and His ways. ( Jeremiah 7:5-7)

Dear Lord, help us humble ourselves before You, stop our word wars, and our prideful name-calling, and get on our knees to seek your good favor upon us. O Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people who listen to you pleading for repentance in our land in our day. 

 

Reconciliation: The Place of Grace

It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?

{How do you tell yourself the good news when you are under fire?}

The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively apply it, we miss out on the power it holds.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel. ~Arabah Joy

In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!

We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.

We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you need a healthy dose of good news!

How to use this series:

To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.

Image

Reconciliation:

  • Former enemies agree.
  • One resigning to something not desired in order to be reconciled.
  • The process of making compatible.

It happens every time I speak a harsh word to my husband. Or when his words don’t land gently on my heart. There is this invisible weight pressing down my eyes. I avoid his. I can. Not. Look.

I know this force is the presence of my pride. My pride must yield, must actually die in order to restore our relationship. Whether it’s his offense or mine. There is no relationship without reconciliation. And no reconciliation without death. In the case with my husband, death to my pride.

“Reconciliation, by definition, assumes a previous state of alienation and hostility caused by the offensive action of one or both parties.” Jerry Bridges; The Gospel For Real Life

Isaiah 59:2  states the condition of our souls in relationship to God: “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Our sin separates us from God and He turns his face away and will not listen to us.

There is so much about this in scripture. We face our condition daily. Even if no one else sees, even if we keep from acting it out, we harbor thoughts. Anger, jealousy, cursing, lies in our discomfort, and fears.

It’s all there inside of us pointing to our desperate condition.  We feel it. We hide behind our unsteady structures: accomplishments, good deeds, popularity . . . until our business fails to fulfill us. Until we realize that we are giving to the poor for the reason of satisfying our guilt. Until we face rejection or disagreement. Then we find we’ve built on sinking sand.

So familiar are we with our mucky hearts, we often take little notice of the mud. We think, “I’m not as bad as So-and-So” We find false-justification by comparing ourselves to others who are ‘worse’.

We do need God to show us how offensive our ‘goodness’ is in light of His holiness.

When we read what God has to say about our sin, it’s a stark and piercing reality.

The sinful mind is hostile to God. Romans 8:7
Because of sin, we were enemies of God. Romans 5:10

His Holy love sent Jesus. His Holy love submitted in innocence to death by crucifixion. Jesus submitted his body to angry, hate-filled men when he could have called down a host of angels. Matthew 26:53

Reconciliation results from a change of heart. Death to my way.

In the case of my relationship with my husband, one or both of us needs to humble ourselves to restore relationship. Pride dies, or relationship dies. There is no getting around it.

In the case of our relationship with God, we are the ones that need to change. But we can’t. As hard as we try to keep ourselves from lying, cursing, seeking to make ourselves look good, gossiping, slandering, complaining, we inevitably find we can not.

So, come to the Cross. The place of grace.

“Its tragedy summons all sufferers. Its absurdity attracts all cynics. Its hope lures all searchers. . . . Its bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, it is history’s hinge. Period. If not, the cross is history’s hoax.” Max Lucado; “The Cross”

The Cross of Christ is where EVERYTHING changes. Blind see. Deaf hear. Dead are raised. Broken are made whole. Sinners are reconciled to God. This IS the GOSPEL good news!

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.The good news of the gospel is that God sent Jesus, His only Son to suffer the wrath that our sin deserved, that we might be reconciled to God.
Colossians 1:22

When once we have received this gift of salvation through repentance, we ARE reconciled. We are new creatures. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Our identities are changed. We ARE declared to be holy and blameless. We DO stand before him without a single fault.

It is by grace through faith that  we are saved. This gift. Ephesians 2:8

So often we forget our new identity. Especially when we sin or when things are not going well.

When we sin, or life is hard, our natural reaction is to hide or strive. But because of Jesus, we don’t have to do either. Instead of hiding or striving, we can trust God’s mercy. Often we have to fight our way there, to trust.

In those times, we must remind ourselves of the gospel truth: “I am a child of God. He loves me. He shows me His amazing love through the cross where He reconciled me to Himself. He came after me to rescue me. I am saved.”

Then thank Him yet again for this indescribable Gift!

More glorious Gospel words:

Justification by Arabah Joy

Sanctification by Jen

Redemption by Rebekah

Regeneration by Marci

Atonement by Leah

Adoption by Kerry

consecration by Kimberly

 

And If The Day’s Rays Are Shadowed Gray, May You Recall & Anticipate The Return Of Light’s Glory . . .

It’s been dark around these parts. The days have been shadowy with a side of sun. (photos of Stillwater, MN last Friday) IMG_1737 IMG_1734

And my inner world. It’s been a bit tricky navigating life in ministry with no ‘regular office hours’ and many needs. I’ve always been allergic to saying the word, “no.”

That isn’t a good thing when your work is as vague as writing and studying. (I’ve never taken a college course, so bear with me)

FullSizeRender (2)

(The sun broke through!)

I’m writing a short, six week Bible study for Personal Prayer Revival that I am teaching to my Sunday Bible class.

How much time does it take to write a Bible Study? How much time do I expect it takes to prepare a message? Do I have a ‘right’ to decline when someone needs me and it looks like I am free?

How do I say ‘no’ when I don’t have time frames and boundaries? “Um, I’m not available, I’m sitting at home writing.” (Does that sound like a lame excuse to you?)

I’m learning. Slowly. If I say ‘yes’ to everyone, I won’t get to what God has called me to. I will steal from my family and from His glory because I would be serving out of duty. I’d be as a slave. 

But I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.

It’s so much easier to know what to do in a day when you have children in the house, a shop with posted hours, a house to flip,  to know which steps to take next. Many days I feel lost. Many days I feel like I’ve accomplished very little and I’ve worked most of the day.

I know all of this mind-mayhem and indecisiveness is serving me, pressing me to lean in and listen more intently to the voice of God. He whispers . . . And He does promise to direct my steps. (Psalm 37:23NLT) I have to remember, and believe it. And keep taking the next step.

In all of this, my path ahead is becoming more clear and more focused. Because the hard things keep ‘bumping me back’ in to search His heart and tune my heart to His voice.

It’s like hard things are bumpers and I am a bowling ball aimed at the pins. 

I’ve just finished creating new brochures for the bags that will be handed out to attenders at the Set Apart Conference (and added them to my speaker page.) It’s an exciting opportunity to launch God’s message into 1500 bags.

After all these years of preparing, and this past week I finally received confirmation of my core message, I am so ready!

I wanted to tell you about the idea of having a “core message.” I’ve heard many times that we all have one. I’ve heard this: Ministry is where passion meets need. And I’ve been leaning in and listening for a long time for more clarity on my core message.

I listened to my friend Susie, host of Live The Promise interview Tullian Tchividijian and I heard him say it too, “I’ve been given one message, and a million different ways to say it.” (I think he said a million, it may have been thousands . . . but give a listen, it’s so worth it!)

And then I heard this new song. It is the ‘back side’ (as in the tail of the coin) of my message which is this: ~We Are Daughters (and Sons) Of The King~ Our lives are precious and valuable ~For Heaven’s Sake~

Here’s the song: No Longer Slaves

What does it mean to you that you are no longer a slave to fear, but are a royal heir of Heaven?  (Peek at Romans 8:17) Do you have a core message?

How I Can Be A Loyal Packer-Fan & Celebrate A Seahawks Win & What Does That Have To Do With MLK Day

I held my breath.

I sat on the edge of my seat.

I jumped up and down and clapped and hollered more than once yesterday. My heart was in this game. I’ve had anxiety attacks in the past, and I physically felt a similar tension. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s true. I love our Packers.

I knew Russell Wilson, Seahawks QB had played football in Madison, WI. The very state where I live, and the state hosting Green Bay, Lambeau Field and our beloved Packers. (One must be willing to bow their head under a large foam triangle that looks like cheese and paint a large G on the side of your house, your truck or your fence and to sit in a stadium outside when it’s 20 degrees below zero to truly understand what I mean.)

I also want to tell you, I prayed for the Packers on my way home from church. I prayed for them during the game. I hollered, “Thank you Jesus!” when they scored, or played well. And admittedly when the other team did not. (Forgive me Jesus!)

But I also knew going in, that Seahawks fans were praying too. And I knew some of the Seahawks players were live-out-loud believers in Jesus. I had seen a video of their celebration of His salvation.

And I had this feeling as the game progressed, because I know how God likes to show up and turn things around, that even though our Pack led the whole way, that something could -and maybe even likely would- turn around. I just had that feeling. Maybe that’s why my heart was so tense . . .

Let me stop here and just say, I believe God loves the Packers and the Seahawks equally. And their fans. And I absolutely believe He has a hand in these things. Because He created us all for a purpose, and whether a person has accepted that or not, we can’t help showing our Creator though the gifts He’s given us.

And for those of us who do know we are created by Him and for Him, we understand that if we win it is for His glory (to magnify His goodness) and if we lose, that too is for His glory (to magnify His goodness by showing we do not trust in our ability but in His goodness and can be good sports, celebrating with the winner)

So, if you watched the game, you couldn’t miss it. It was like the end-zone angels actually really did swoop in (Or the Spirit that helped Elijah outrun chariots in 1 Kings 18:46) and WHAM! It was a profound turnaround, the Seahawks won the game in about three minute’s time.

I was so glad it was over! I began to breathe again, and sought to settle my mind.  (I may or may not need counseling)

Minutes later as I finally had the energy to look at my phone (I literally couldn’t even engage in any dialog on social media as I have during other games, I was so tense!) I opened my email, and saw that my friend had sent the very video I’d seen before: (email readers, click on my blog title to view the 15 minute video)

As I watched this again today, on MLK day, and I looked at Russell Wilson, and I considered the current tension in our country and how it’s almost as if the ground we’d gained (or some of us maybe blindly had believed we’d gained) in civility in our land, had been obliterated since the great turning of the tide in Martin Luther King’s day.

And the  sermon he wrote in September 1965, about “living under the tensions of this modern life”- how his words could have been written today.

I could be wrong, I could. But maybe God, in His wisdom is using the game to tell us some things. To tell us, He sees what is going on. He is in control. And He will honor those who honor Him. Whether in winning or losing. 1 Samuel 2:30

And I think our Packers have done that too. Perhaps unknowingly, or perhaps in acknowledgement of God, they’ve given Him glory (celebrating His goodness) in being thankful.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17