Posted in christian living, christianity

Are You All In?

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”

Mark 7:6b

“No one is so miserable as the poor person who maintains the appearance of wealth.” Charles Spurgeon

I am going to be vulnerable with you all for a moment. Sometimes I struggle with whether or not I’m being hypocritical when I write blog posts about faith in the Lord or when I post things on my IG.

Do my actions in the real world reflect my actions online? I’ve been doing some digging on this subject and decided to write about it.

Definition of a hypocrite:

 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion.
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Question: Have you ever felt like sometimes you could be a hypocrite when it comes to your relationship with the Lord?

I have felt like that once or twice. I get to thinking about this blog and things I post on social media and wonder if I’m being a hypocrite sometimes. Do my actions outside my blogging world and my social media world show that I am a follower of Christ?

Basically, do I practice what I preach? (or blog/post) Do I reflect Jesus when I come face to face with unbelievers. Or do I try to “fit in” with them? Do I have one foot in, one foot out? We can’t ride the fence though. We are either all in or all out. Otherwise, when we face Jesus…and we all will…what is He going to say to you? Will He tell you “Well done my good and faithful servant? Or will He tell you, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

That passage of Scripture, found in Matthew 7:21-23 has always scared me a little. It makes one truly think about their standing with the Lord. One can’t be a Christian AND a hypocrite. It’s an oxymoron.

I found this website called BibleReasons.com where you can look up any subject and it pulls Scripture related to that subject. This is what I found regarding hypocrisy:

“Are there religious hypocrites out there who try to appear holy and smarter than everyone else but are filled with hypocrisy and wickedness. Of course, but there are also people who seek to do God’s will above everything else. Sometimes people are just immature believers.”

“Hypocrites talk about Jesus, pray etc…but their hearts are not cooperating. Many people know the Bible front and back but they are not living the life that they recite to others.”

This quote below is how I finally realized that my fears of hypocrisy are not real. After I read it I felt confident that I am not a hypocrite. Another quote I came across says “the fact that you’re wrestling with doubts and fears about your standing with God leads us to think that you can’t be guilty of rejecting Christ. If you were, you wouldn’t be worried about it” Awhile back I struggled with the thought that I had rejected Christ, that I had committed the unforgivable sin.

Hypocrites may have remorse over their sins but they never change. There is a difference between worldly and godly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance.. With worldly sorrow you are only sad that you got caught.

BibleReasons.com

I was talking to a fellow blogger about my feelings of hypocrisy and she was very helpful. She suggested that what I could be was experiencing condemnation. All Christians go through it. We realize and see where we fall short. We realize our need for a Savior. It’s a good reminder of why we need to cling to Christ and His Word.

There are a lot of people in the world today who claim to be Christians yet their lives do not reflect Jesus. They are “Christian” in name only. They don’t read their Bible, they attend church two times a year (Christmas and Easter), their prayer life is non-existent. It’s these very people who we need to be witnessing to. We need to be concerned with their eternal future! Because one day the Lord Jesus IS coming back and if you’re not right with the Lord, you will hear these words, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” (shudders)

Christian in Name Only, also called a cultural Christian nominal Christian or more often, a liberal Christian, is someone who professes to be a Christian in public but has a considerable lack of knowledge about the basic tenets of one’s professed faith, often “knowing” it only from what is half-remembered from Sunday school or from pop-cultural osmosis. To put it another way, a Christian in name only is someone who “would call himself a Christian, or be so regarded by others, but who has no authentic commitment to Christ based on personal faith.”

https://www.conservapedia.com/Christian_In_Name_Only


The world says that they don’t go to church or believe in God because all Christians are hypocrites. No, all Christians are sinners, just like the world. “The church is a hospital for sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us that “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Some more quotes I found to be useful:

  1. Don’t let your lips and your lives preach two different messages.
  2. Your most powerful testimony is how you treat others after the church service is over.
    And this last quote really got to me…..
  3. What a heartbreak it would be to live an “almost” Christian life then “almost” get into Heaven.

(I do believe I’m going to have to make this into two blog posts. There is so much to learn about hypocrisy and “almost Christians”.)

I’m going all in
Head first to the deep end
I hear You calling
And this time the fear won’t win
I’m going, I’m going all in
I’m all in, I’m all in All in
I’m all in, I’m all in
I believe that one day I will see Your kingdom come And I wanna hear You say, “Welcome home My child, well done”
So, I step to the edge and I take a deep breath

Matthew West, All In

Posted in christian living

We Have a Responsibility

Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways then they will die in their sins and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent they will die in their sins but you will have saved themselves.

Ezekiel 33:7-9

It is our duty to tell others about Christ. It is our responsibility. As followers of Christ we are called to present the Gospel to the lost. I came across a quote by Timothy Simpson the other day, “The Great Commission is hindered when the Great Commandment is disregarded” and it really got me to thinking. We owe it to the person who is a lost sinner just like we were before Christ. We owe it to their eternal future. We are called to love them, to not want to see them die without Christ.

I needed shelter, I was an orphan
Now You call me a citizen of Heaven

When I was broken, You were my healing.
Now your love is the air that I’m breathing.
I have a future, my eyes are open.

Passion (featuring Kristian Stanfill)

What are we doing with our time? Are we spending it on ourselves? Are we ignoring God’s plea to reach out to those who don’t know the Lord? If I’m being honest I’m spending way too much time on myself and not enough time witnessing.

My pastor recently preached a sermon series on the story of Jonah. If you’re not familiar with the story, Jonah was called to go preach to the wicked living in Nineveh. Jonah was like, “Nope, nope, nope. Not doing that!” Jonah knew how wicked they were and fled in the opposite direction to Joppa where he discovered a ship heading towards Tarshish. He hopped on board hoping to escape the Lord. “But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. How can you sleep at a time like this? he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god. Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives. (Jonah 1:4-6, NLT)

So the sailors cast lots to try to figure out which god caused the terrible storm. Jonah was honest with them and told them to throw him into the sea. Once this happened the storm stopped at once! And the Lord caused a “great fish” to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 days and cried out to the Lord and the Lord had the whale spit him out on dry land.

Finally, the Lord once again told Jonah to head to Nineveh and this time Jonah obeyed. He headed to Nineveh and warned the city that in “forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed.” (Jonah 3:4b) Nineveh’s king heard Jonah and announced to the crowd “People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence” (Jonah 3:8)

And so when God “saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10)

How many times is God going to ask us to reach out to the lost? How many times are we going to run the other way?

We must do better. We must love them so much that we can’t bear it if they were to die without knowing the Lord, spending an eternity in hell.

We must love. We must care. We must obey the Lord.

Posted in christian living, christianity, church, Faith, Jesus, life, love

Start Right Here

So apparently this song came out in 2018 and I’m just now hearing it! I was listening to Amazon Music when this song popped up and literally stopped me in my tracks.

Take a look at some of the lyrics!

We want our coffee in the lobby
We watch our worship on a screen
We got a Rockstar preacher
Who won’t wake us from our dreams
We want our blessings in our pockets
We keep our missions overseas
But for the hurting in our cities
Would we even cross the street?

But we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel
The walls fall down and our land be healed
But church if we want to see a change in the world out there

It’s got to start right here
It’s got to start right now
Lord, I’m starting right here
Lord, I’m starting right now

What are we doing to bring others to Christ? What are we sacrificing? ARE we sacrificing? Or are we too caught up in our comfort zone to even think about lost souls?

As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 may it be our mission to start right here! To reach those who are lost, to proclaim the Gospel!

Why do we find it difficult to break the silence about the best news and most important Person the world has ever known?

Herb Vander Lugt

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Posted in christian living, christianity, Faith, godliness, love

Let Your Light Shine

***I’ve never had so much trouble writing a post. But Satan knows this message is meant to be shared and he tried everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, he could to prevent me from writing this. But God wins. Every time, God wins.***

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16, NLT

What does it meant to be a light in the world?

As believers, we are called to be the light in the darkness of the world. But what does it mean?

Jesus is the light of the world. It says so in John 8:12! “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Don’t hide your testimony or be ashamed to take your Bible to work. Don’t be afraid to pray over your lunch at school. Let others know that you love the Lord Jesus.

Adrian Rogers, “Bright Lights in a Dark World”https://www.lightsource.com/ministry/love-worth-finding/articles/bright-lights-in-a-dark-world-.

“For God who said “Let there be light in the darkness” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6, NLT)

We can be a light in someone else’s dark world. By letting Jesus be our example, we can reach out.

Maree Dee, https://www.embracingtheunexpected.com/

Living Compassionately

There is a movie called I’m Not Ashamed that I’ve mentioned before but it’s such a powerful movie that I want to talk about it again.

The movie is based on Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim in the Columbine shootings back in 1999. Her story is so uplifting and moving.

I don’t understand this but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to her story. Her legacy has brought so many people to Christ. I have a couple of books that were written based on her journals she kept. She kept many journals. And guess what? She struggled just like anyone else.

She wasn’t perfect, not even close. She had her share of struggles with all things that most teens struggle with. She just chose to stay close to Christ in order to fight her demons.

Rachel genuinely had a love for others and was so compassionate towards them despite the way they treated her. She showed her love in many aspects of her life and worked hard to be the person God created her to be.

Rachel made the decision to “love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does.

Colossians 3:12-13 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and belovedcompassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” (ESV)

I want to live a life like that. A life devoted to Christ and serving His people. I want to be able to show compassion towards those that don’t necessarily show compassion towards me.

I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be that light that shines so bright that makes people ask what is so different about me.

Living Like Jesus

There is a song called Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns that I absolutely love. I feel the lyrics say it all.

The world is on their way to You
But they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up
I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands”

How can we live like Jesus if we’re stumbling blocks to unbelievers? How will they see Jesus if we’re not living a life pleasing to Christ?

We must live like Jesus. Truly live for Him, living in such a way that oozes the love of Jesus and His light. So what does living like Jesus look like?

Romans 12:2 tells us “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)

By copying the behavior and customs of this world we aren’t living as a light in this world. We aren’t living like Christ. We are to let God transform us into a new person so that we can shine God’s light wherever we are.

Being a light in this hate filled world won’t always be easy but we owe it to unbelievers everywhere to live a life pleasing to the Lord.

Loving Others

Further in Romans 12 Paul tells us “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When Gods’ people are in need be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:9-13 NLT)

People notice our actions, our words. And by living as a light we have a chance to speak God’s Word without even saying a single word. People will take notice of the way we are living our life and it’s going to make them question what exactly it is that makes us different.

We must love like Jesus.

The light of the world we share is Jesus. As they see glimpses of Him and His truth, they are drawn to Him.

Barbara Harper, https://barbaraleeharper.com/

Shine your light for all to see!

Posted in books, christian living, Faith

Something Needs to Change

I started reading David Platt’s “Something Needs to Change” the other day and while I haven’t gotten very far into it, I can tell it’s going to be something worth reading.

Synopsis:

While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.


For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Romans 10:13-15
Posted in christian living, christianity

A Few Questions…

grayscale photography of people raising hands
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

I was doing my devotions this evening and came across a few questions that really made me think.

WHO are you determined to bring to Jesus?

WHERE are you willing to go to follow Jesus?

WHAT sacrifices will you make to follow Jesus?


On April 6 my brother had a stroke. He’s 54 and had 3 heart attacks when he was in his 40s. I really feel lucky to still have him on this planet. I feel God is really trying to get his attention. He still continues to smoke and I don’t see him quitting any time soon, despite our efforts to talk to him about it. He just doesn’t want to hear it. So if you think about it, please pray for him. The next time he has a heart attack or another stroke could definitely kill him. And for him to die without Jesus is definitely a possibility. Pray that we can get through to him.

We don’t have the best relationship so it’s going to be a struggle to talk to him but I know God will be with me. I need to jump out of my comfort zone, which I have been living in for quite some time now. 

So to answer the first question….my brother. I’m determined to bring him to Jesus. 


I’m reading a book by Kyle Idleman called “Follower: Becoming More than Just a Fan of Jesus.” It’s sort of a spin off from his book “Not a Fan.”

He explains in this book that being a “fan” of Jesus just isn’t going to cut it. We are called to be followers of Christ, dedicated and determined to follow Him in all we do. 

He asks several questions throughout the book:

  1. Have you made a decision FOR Jesus or have you committed TO Jesus?
  2. Do you know ABOUT Jesus or do you REALLY KNOW Him?
  3. Is Jesus one of MANY or is He your ONE AND ONLY?
  4. Are you more focused on the OUTSIDE than the INSIDE?
  5. Are you a self empowered fan or a Spirit filled follower?

Fans of Jesus worry about what people will think of them. Followers are not concerned with this and are determined to follow Jesus in all they do and say. 

I definitely recommend reading this. Kyle really makes things clear on the difference between being a fan or a follower of Jesus. 

 

Posted in christian living

When You Don’t Desire God’s Word

I was reading an article on The Gospel Coalition entitled When You Don’t Desire God’s Word and came across a quote that really made me stop and think:

The difference between reading (the Bible) and meditating on it is the difference between raking and digging.

–Shar Walker

I like this quote because of the truth behind it. When we read our Bibles…are we just raking through the Bible trying to find something that will fit our needs? Or when we read the Bible are we truly digging into the Word, consuming each word?

I know I’m guilty of just raking through Scripture. I’m sure a lot of you can agree with me on this. If not, what’s your secret? 🙂

In all seriousness though, we should be digging into God’s Word and soaking up everything it says.

But it’s hard! Trust me, I know it’s hard. I’ve been there!

There are some days when you just might not feel like reading! So what do you do?

You read. And you ask God to share with you His desire.

You can’t hunger for God’s Word if you don’t first take a taste!

Meditate on the Word.

Joshua 1:8 tells us, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

To cultivate a desire for more of God’s Word, you have to spend some time actually reading God’s Word

Ashley Chesnut, When I Don’t Desire God’s Word

 

Posted in christian living, godliness

I Know

woman sitting under tree
Photo by Rio Guruh Imawan on Pexels.com

One of my favorite songs at the moment is “I Know” by Big Daddy Weave. The message is great. It talks about how even though we don’t understand everything, we know that God is good. That God is kind.  That He is so much more!

I think my favorite part of the song is the opening few lines, “You don’t answer all my questions…but You hear me when I speak. You don’t keep my heart from breaking…but when it does, You weep with me.”

I posted a blog post about a day or so ago regarding my beliefs and whether or not these beliefs were truly MY beliefs or just what was taught to me growing up. You can read it here: Are My Beliefs MY Beliefs? 

I realize that in this world we are going to have doubts. That’s Satan’s area of expertise…getting us to doubt what in the past we have known to be true. He plants those seeds of doubt ever so subtly.  God doesn’t love you. You’re not a Christian. Look at all your sin.

But we need to fight back against Satan when he pops those ideas into our heads. In Romans 8:1-2 it says,

There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me FREE from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)

In Ephesians 6:10-11 we are told to take up the armor of God.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil

As long as we live in this sin filled world, troubles are going to come. Doubts are going to rise. But if we cling to the One who created us, if we cling to His goodness, to His kindness…we will remain in Him.

Posted in christian living

Seeking God

And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

It’s been a rough several weeks for me. I had to make a tough decision about whether to remain at Prevail Church or not. It definitely wasn’t a decision that I made lightly.

It hurts. I love those people with all my heart and have no ill will towards any of the members.

But I was uncomfortable with the direction the church was being led. And so I decided it was time to leave.

Yesterday I attended a church called Mission Church (formerly Virginia Beach Free Will Baptist) It was an amazing service. I felt so welcome. I actually graduated from the same college the pastor attended. I was about 3 years ahead of him.

He had so many great points. I wrote down quite a few notes including this one:

Your trials and hardships serve a greater purpose than you may realize.

Throughout everything going on the past several weeks, this quote made me realize that God is definitely at work in all of this.

I’m doing a soul search and realizing just how good God is! Not that I didn’t already know that….I just realize that yes, I’m going to have trials, yes I’m going to have hardships as a Christian but I am continuing to seek after God. I’m not letting these trials lead me in the wrong direction.

Seek after God, y’all. It’s worth it! I promise you won’t regret it!

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, grace, Jesus, life, love

Salvation is Free But…..

…Being a Disciple Costs Everything…AND HE IS WORTH IT!

Then He said to the crowd, “if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)

What does “take up your cross daily” even mean?

To me, I think it means taking all the burdens you bear and giving it to Jesus. It means walking with Him through the good times AND the bad. When temptations come our way, we hold them up to Jesus and keep our focus on Him alone.

We are called to give up our selfish ways and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God wants us to deny our own life and desires and pursue HIS life and desires.

To be a disciple of Jesus, we must learn that this world has nothing to offer us. No matter how pretty or shiny the thing the world tries to offer us we must refuse it and keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowed of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

A Call To Listen to God

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refuse to listen to Moses the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from Heaven!

Hebrews 12:25 (NLT)

Being a disciple of Christ means listening to Christ when He speaks to us. By rejecting Him, we’re rejecting his love, his grace. We’re rejecting eternity with Him.

But by listening to Him, by accepting His love and grace we have a kingdom waiting for us that cannot be taken away.

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe.

Hebrews 12:28 (NLT)

Our Eternal Home

You guys! This world is NOT our home. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you have so much to look forward to when Christ comes back. This worldly home is temporal. Our eternal home is with the One who created us, the one who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to die in our sins! Because of His great love for us, because of the gift of salvation…we are free!

For this world is not our permanent home, we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)