Posted in anxiety, blogging, christianity

A Nobody…

I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who saved my soul

Casting Crowns, “Nobody”

I’ve recently come to love this song by Casting Crowns. But as I reflect upon it, I don’t feel like I’m living up to what the lyrics are saying. Am I REALLY trying to tell everybody about Christ? So many times, I focus on ME and not on others. I have plenty of family members who are not saved and desperately need Christ in their lives. Am I living out my faith? Do others see Christ in me?

Or do they see a selfish person, living in and FOR the world?

I think to myself, quite often, that I just don’t measure up. I don’t have what it takes….

How can God use ME? I’m nothing, a nobody. I don’t have the voice. I’m broken.

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Matthew West, “Broken Things”

But it’s right there in Matthew West’s song, “Broken Things.”

God uses the broken people to bring glory to Himself. He uses the nobodies, the seemingly inept people. I know that I feel inept a lot. What can I use, what can I do to bring others to the Lord?

Moses had stage fright
And David brought a rock to a sword fight
You picked twelve outsiders nobody would’ve chosen
And You changed the world
Well, the moral of the story is
Everybody’s got a purpose

Casting Crowns, “Nobody”

I think if I could relate to anyone, it would be Moses. When God showed up in that burning bush, asking him to speak up to Pharaoh to let His people go, Moses freaked out and begged God to send someone else. He didn’t think he had what it took. But in the end, God still ended up using Moses.

I’ve always wondered if this blog is my “voice.” Is this how God is going to use me?

Is this my opportunity to reach out to others to bring them to Christ?

I don’t feel adequate. But neither did Moses.

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 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)

 

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, love

Waiting and Witnessing

Revelation 22:7 says:

Look I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book! (NLT)

“People get ready!
Jesus is coming!
Soon we’ll be going home.”

–Crystal Lewis (song “People Get Ready…”)

I have so many family and friends who are lost. Who need the Lord in their life. They are blind to the fact that they are in need of Him. And it breaks my heart.

Yes, it breaks my heart but am I doing anything about it? Am I lovingly witnessing to these people often? Is my light shining for them to see?

I should want to see these people come to know the Lord! Where they spend eternity is crucial!

We should be on fire for the Lord, spreading his Gospel!  There are countless souls who have never even heard the Good News. That needs to change.

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?

Romans 10:14 (NLT)

We must TELL them about Christ! We must be witnesses!

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth!

Acts 1:8 (NLT)

We don’t know the exact hour Jesus will return but He IS coming! And we must be right with the Lord.

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Matthew 24:44

Let’s all be ready and waiting….and witnessing!

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, godliness, Jesus, life

Always Be Ready

If you are familiar with the YouVersion app, you’ll know that they have different mini devotional plans you can follow. Currently I am reading the plan by Skip Heitzig called “What’s Next? Revelation Series” that takes me through the book of Revelation.

(Going through this plan has also made me want to reread the Left Behind series. So I’ve started book 1 once again. )

While we don’t know the day or the hour that the rapture will occur, (Matthew 24:36)  it’s something I like to imagine will happen in my lifetime. (Though I’m probably wrong….) I would love to be alive when that trumpet sounds!

It’s like the lyrics from the song “Fly Away” by FFH says,

Okay you win, you caught me day dreaming again
About our sudden evacuation
Okay I give in, I can’t help but wondering
But it seems I can’t get enough information
Curiosity has got a hold of me
Tell me how it’s gonna be-when
One day I’ll see you coming back for me
And all together we’ll fly away yeah
One day I’ll hear that trumpet loud and clear
And all together we’ll fly away
Oh how I long for the day
When we’ll fly away
I can’t WAIT for the day when we get to meet our Savior face to face!

Matthew 24:44 tells us to be ready!

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

In 1 Thessalonians 4 (NLT) we read that the Lord will come down from Heaven with a commanding shout!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God. First the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

Our lives here on earth are temporary! Our citizenship, our permanent dwelling place will be in Heaven, with the Lord God Almighty!

Paul tells us this in Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

Always be ready for Christ’s return! It will happen in a “twinkling of an eye!”

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52(NLT)

Are you ready?

Posted in anxiety, bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, grace

Present Troubles

I’ve been struggling lately.

My health, my finances, etc.

But I came across several verses in 2 Corinthians 4 that reminded me that our present troubles will not last very long.  In verses 8-9 we read:

We are pressed on every side by troubles but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but we are not destroyed.

Then further down in verses 16-18 we are told,

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone but the things we cannot see will last forever.

It’s so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, to have pity parties when things get rough. But God’s Word tells us that one day all our troubles will be gone. We will be forever in His presence where everything is perfect.

Also, in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul reminds us that God’s grace is all we need.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Can God take away my health struggles? Absolutely! Will He? I don’t know. But what I do know is this: His grace is all I need.

His grace is all YOU need.

 

Posted in christian living, christianity, Faith

Temporary Excitement vs. Eternal Excitement

Well, you win some you lose some, I suppose. But we SHOULD have won! We were up by as many as 13 points and we blew it in overtime. Duke won on a buzzer beater. *big sigh*

I did some  yelling at the refs as if they could hear me. I got so excited when it looked like we had the game in our reach. But nope. Duke stormed back and won by TWO points.

Losing this game got me to thinking though. I was so excited when I thought we would win this game but do I act as excited doing things for the Lord? I mean, while this game was very exciting..how much do I get excited when someone comes to know the Lord?

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being excited over a sports game. However, when a person puts it over being excited for the Lord there is a problem.

Ephesians 3:19-20 says

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (NLT)

Think about those verses for a moment. Experiencing the love of Christ? That should excite us!

Philippians 3:20-21tells us,

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly awaiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. (NLT)

Citizens of heaven! Yes please! We definitely should be excited about that! Knowing that my weak, worn down bodies will be made whole again? YES!!!

Truth be told, sometimes we don’t act eager that the Lord will be returning one day. We don’t live our lives as if He could show up any instant! We are too busy worrying about earthly things.

About trivial things. Things that don’t matter. And yes, I’m including myself in this. I, too, worry about things that won’t matter one day.

But it clearly says in Matthew 6:33-34,

Seek the Kingdom of God about all esle, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NLT)

Seeing people come to know the Lord? Knowing that Christ loves us dearly? Knowing that one day we will see the Lord face to face? These are things that should definitely excite us!

I want my excitement to be eternal, how about you?

I want to spend eternity with the one who loved me enough to die for me.

Posted in anger, anxiety, bitterness, christian living, christianity, church, Faith, forgiveness, grace, money, peace

Heartbreaking

So in my last post I talked about how Prevail Church was being taken to court by former members, saying they are due the money that comes from the sale of the building we once met in. These people LEFT when they decided they didn’t like the direction Jonathan was taking the church. (although they were a part of the unanimous decision to sell the church building and relaunch as a new church. )

Well, the hearing was this past Tuesday and it was….awful to say the least. How these people can do this and still claim to be a Christian is beyond me. I sat and watched in disbelief as Jonathan was basically attacked on the stand by their lawyer.

My anger rose and my heart rate was 116 as I sat there, tears streaming down my face. A couple of times I glanced over at their side and just shook my head. It’s so heartbreaking that these people are doing this.

It says in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 6 that we are to avoid lawsuits with other believers.

When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers!

I Cor 6:1

Further down in verse 6-7 it says,

I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues?

But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers!

What was the result of the hearing? Well, unfortunately it has been decided for this whole nonsense to be taken to trial.

You know what’s really sad about all this? The fact that there are unbelievers watching this unfold. People we could be leading to the Lord who are no doubt not wanting anything to do with Jesus because His people are fighting over something as trivial as money.

My heart is breaking as I type this. It’s not fair what they are doing and it’s not biblical. I think the best thing at this point is to just split the money in half. Give them half and we take the other half and just go our separate ways. It’s clear they aren’t going to back down any time soon.

OH how my heart hurts. The way they are treating Pastor Jonathan is just downright cruel.

I’ve been struggling with my feelings since this whole mess began. I struggle with my attitude towards them. I struggle with wanting to tell them off. But that wouldn’t be very Christ-like. I don’t want to repay evil for evil. (Romans 12 tells us not to) I don’t want to hate them. Honestly, I don’t. It’s just so hard right now.

I’ve been digging into the Scriptures to find verses on bitterness, anger and forgiveness these past several days.

*side note* Because I suffer from bipolar disorder, sometimes it’s harder for me to let go of things. I am in no way trying to make excuses, however. Please don’t get me wrong. I am praying to God about my attitude and reading His Word daily.

It says in Romans 12:9-10

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.

Then a little bit further, in verse 18,

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone

That’s what needs to happen. We need to peaceably come to a resolution. And while right now it’s seems really really hard to love these people, the Bible says we should and that’s all that matters.

So y’all….please please continue to pray for this situation that it can be resolved quickly and peaceably.

Posted in book review, books, christian living, christianity, Faith, Jesus

A Fan or a Follower?

Kyle Idleman, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has written several books that I absolutely love. The very first book I ever purchased of his is “Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus.” In this book, Idleman discusses the difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. Here’s the synopsis

Are you a fan or a follower? The dictionary defines a fan as “an enthusiastic admirer.” Fans want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires sacrifice. Fans may be fine with repeating a prayer, attending church on the weekend, and slapping a Jesus fish on their bumpers. But is that really the extent of the relationship Jesus wants? Jesus was never interested in having admirers. It’s not fans he is looking for. Not a Fan challenges you to consider what it really means to call yourself a Christian. With a direct frankness that you’re not likely to hear in Sunday school class, Kyle invites you to take an honest look at your relationship with Jesus. His call to follow may seem radical to us, but Jesus desires it for every believer.

I’ve read this book several times and get something new from it each time. Some quotes from the book include:

The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits but not so close that it requires anything from them.

Ouch. Idleman doesn’t mind stepping on toes, does he? But hey it’s the truth! There are plenty of so called Christians who want to experience the good things Jesus has to offer and that’s it. Following Jesus? No way. It’s too hard. Too much to ask.

Jesus doesn’t expect followers to be perfect but he does call them to be authentic.

No one is perfect. We live in a fallen world. The second Eve took that bite, perfection was something humans would never achieve. However, Jesus does expect authenticity from us.  We are called to be real, to be legitimate.

It’s much easier to talk about following Jesus when you are making general statements rather than specific commitments.

Easier said than done, right? It’s so much easier to SAY you’ll follow Jesus. Actually committing to Him? A lot harder…but it’s what Jesus expects of us. To commit.

I highly recommend this book. You’ll get your toes stepped on, definitely. But the book really makes you think.

 

Posted in christian living, christianity, Jesus

The Cost of Discipleship

Discipleship

Discipleship. What does it even mean?

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)

Discipleship is about following Christ and making new disciples. It’s about being invested in following the Great Commission that Jesus set before us. We as Christians are called to make more disciples, to build relationships with others and teach them the Word of God  and what it says.

Discipleship is about growing in the Lord and having a close relationship with Him all the while teaching others how to have the same type of relationship.

Discipleship is about carrying on the ministry of Jesus Christ.

The Cost of Discipleship

Jesus tells us plainly that by following Him we will meet opposition. We will be hated. Laughed at. Ridiculed. Mocked.

Following Jesus by making disciples isn’t difficult to understand, but it can be very costly. By sharing His teachings, we are often rejected along with His message.

Francis Chan, “Muliply: Disciples Making Disciples”

Jesus tells us we must pick up our own cross and follow him daily. Not just when we feel like it. Not just when the time is right. But daily. As in, all the time. every single day.

Will it be hard? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? Totally.


Update on Landen

Sadly, Landen went peacefully to be with Jesus earlier this evening. Please pray for his family during this time.