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 church, Faith, fear, love

18 Years

Some of this post is taken from last year’s post, I just added some new thoughts.

It’s been 18 years since America was attacked by terrorists. That day, the world stopped turning for just a little while.

They say when a big tragedy such as 9/11 occurs that you will always remember where you were. It’s totally true.

I still remember where I was on September 11, 2001. It’s been 18 years but I will always remember where I was.

I was a freshman in college, taking classes at the local community college. I had a late day that day so I was sleeping in when the phone rang. It was my mom calling from work telling me to turn on the TV right away.

I turned on the TV just to see the second plane hit the tower. I was in shock. What was going on??

I went to class as usual and was sitting in my psychology class when the professor stopped talking and just looked at us. He then told us that he couldn’t teach, that everything that was going on was just so surreal and that we were dismissed.

That day changed America, obviously. People were nicer, kinder. Churches filled up. People were scared and looking for answers.

It’s been 18 years. But I remember it as if it were yesterday.

People flocked to the church. Pews were filled.

America was hurt. America was down. Down but not out.

As a nation, we rose back up slowly. We became united as one.

Where were you that September day?

 

 

Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or workin’ on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?
Did you weep for the children, they lost their dear loved ones
Pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white, and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
Posted in adhd, christianity, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, mental disorders, Uncategorized

Repost: Thorn in my flesh

**This is an old post from 2017 but I feel the need to share it again.**

My Thorn In the Flesh

…..Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinithians 12:7-10

Some days are just a huge struggle. Seriously, the struggle is real just trying to get out of bed. My mind races with incomplete thoughts, I’m constantly restless and I just have no energy to function. Welcome to a day in the life of someone with bipolar disorder and ADHD and other health problems.

Is this the result of some unconfessed sin in my life? No, I don’t believe so. Could God heal me completely? Absolutely? But do I think He will? No, I don’t think so. This is my “thorn in the flesh.” God is using my mental illness and other physical illnesses to draw me closer to Him. He’s trying to tell me that His grace is sufficient. And it is!

Unfortunately, there are people out there who believe mental illnesses are the result of a lack of faith or some unconfessed sin. I do not hold this stance.

Why is there such a stigma regarding mental illness in the church? Why are people so afraid of it? Tell me, is having a mental illness any different from suffering from a physical illness?

When a person is suffering from diabetes, people have no problem with that person seeing a doctor and being treated for that particular problem. But when a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, there must be unconfessed sin. Either that or the person’s faith is not strong enough.

I had someone tell me that once. When they heard that I was bipolar they actually looked me in the eye and said that my faith wasn’t strong enough. Basically, I needed to “pray it away.”

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! It CAN and DOES happen to people every single day. People who are strong in their faith. People who are weak in their faith. People who don’t HAVE faith. It does not matter!

I know for a fact that Jesus loves me unconditionally. Meaning, he loves me despite my flaws, despite my health issues. He loves me.

Do I believe that I could wake up tomorrow completely healed from all my health ailments? Absolutely! But I also believe God uses these things to draw people closer to Him. And that is what He is doing with me.

My health problems are my “thorn in the flesh.” I have come to terms with that. God is using my health issues for good. I may not know what that is right now but I have accepted the fact that I’m going to have these health issues the rest of my life. And I grow closer to God every single day. 🙂

 

Posted in church, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, prayer

March 16th, 2003

priscilla-du-preez-607177-unsplash
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

March 16th, 2003 will forever be a special day for it is the day I let go and clung to Jesus and trusted in Him. Has it always been easy? No.

 

I was 19 when I became a Christian, despite having grown up in church. I went through life thinking I was saved, thinking I had it all together when in reality I was lost.

I basically had the head knowledge but none of it made its way into my heart.

I even attended a Bible College before I got saved. I honestly thought I was saved. Then I came home for spring break and we had an evangelist come and speak at our church.  He made a statement that has stayed with me all these years…..

You can be 99% sure (of your salvation) but you’re still 100% lost.

Basically, he was saying that it doesn’t matter how much head knowledge we have, if it hasn’t reached our hearts, we are still lost.

Do I doubt my salvation sometimes? Well, I’d be lying if I said no, that I never doubt it.  But Satan has a sneaky way of getting into my head and stirring up trouble. He whispers in my ear that I’m not good enough, that God doesn’t really love me, that I’m not really saved.

God is always with us even when it feels He is not. He doesn’t walk away from us, we walk away from Him.

I’ve been struggling lately but I’m slowly getting back on track. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers.

I haven’t been writing lately but like my relationship with God, I’m slowly getting back into it.

I really do want to write a book but I’ve been neglecting it. Who knows how long it will take for me to get through the whole process but if it takes me years then so be it.


Prevail Church is taking off! We have been having a steady number of people week after week! Pastor Jonathan began a new series last week, entitled “My Story.” Here is the first sermon from that series!

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, Jesus, love, prayer, redemption

Glorifying God

A life that glorifies God is a life that reveals God

Beth Moore

Does my life glorify God? In all that I say and do, does my life reflect Him? It’s a question I ask myself constantly.

Life can get overwhelming at times, we all know this. And in those difficult times, are we focusing on the Creator rather than the created? Is our focus half-hearted? Or does our light shine before men, oozing out Christ’s love for others?

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 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. 16 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

We are called to lead others to Christ. We are called to love these people and show them Christ’s love. After all, Christ died for our sins. He literally took our sin upon Him. Why? Because He loves us so much. He loves us unconditionally and undeservedly.

Does our life glorify God? Or are we just going through the motions, just pretending? Pretending to be on fire for God? Do we act one way around our Christian friends and a completely different way around non believers? How will that bring others to Christ?

Christians are called to walk through the world with the heart of Christ.

Louie Giglio, “Goliath Must Fall”

I struggle with selfishness. I will admit that. But if I’m being honest with myself, being selfish is definitely not Christlike. Unfortunately, while I have selfish tendencies, I also tend to be a people pleaser. Kind of weird, huh?  I struggle with how and what people think about me and strive to please them and because of that I lose my focus on God.  I take my eyes off of Jesus and I start to sink like Peter did when he got out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. I should live in a way that pleases God and not man.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10

 

And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men

Colossians 3:23

Now, as long as we live on this earth we will never be perfect. We will slip up from time to time. But thankfully we have a God who welcomes us back into His arms. His love is that strong. He IS love!

 

 

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

Reckless Love

I heard the song, Reckless Love, by Cory Asbury awhile back and immediately fell in love with it. I invite you all to take a listen to it when you get a chance! Here’s the chorus:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

God loves us so much. He loves us with an everlasting love, an agape love. It’s so hard to fathom this kind of love, isn’t it?

It’s hard to think that He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so we don’t have to spend eternity in hell. How is that type of love possible? To love us so unconditionally?

We cannot fathom it because we are human and our minds just can’t wrap around the idea that Someone would love us that much.  But He does and He longs to have a relationship with us.

I long to love people the way Jesus does. As Masey Mclain once put it:

I want to love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does.

Or as my friend Stephen over at Fractured Faith Blog  once said:

Because we are loved undeservedly we need to love unreservedly in return.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

He loves you and is calling you by name to come to Him. He is knocking at your heart’s door. Won’t you come to Him today?

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, grace, love, redemption

Always Be Prepared

In Our Daily Bread’s devotional reading for today the subject was on how we must demonstrate our faith. We must be ready to give an answer for why we behave differently than the world.

When suffering and hardships come our way, how do we respond? Do we respond with a Christlike attitude? Or do we fall apart?

When people ask us why we are “different” we must be ready to give them an answer and we must do it respectfully and gently.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:15-18

People must be able to see a difference in how we act when hardships arise in our life. If not, if we fall apart, how will they see Jesus? If they see us act one way in church and then a completely different way when bad things happen, our testimony is ruined.

I love Jesus with all my heart. I strive daily to please Him in all I say and do. I mess up, yes I’m human, but thankfully I have a God who is a God of second and third chances….and fourth and fifth chances, etc.  He is always willing to forgive and loves me and you so much.

Like I’ve said before, He longs to have a relationship with you. Won’t you come to Him?

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, Jesus, love, redemption

Philippians 3-Following Paul’s Example

Paul says in Philippians 3:10:

I want to know Christ–yes to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

Many Christians want the first half of this verse. They long to know Christ and his mighty power. But seldom do they think about the second part of the verse–suffering as He did. They don’t want that part.

But to know Christ…..to truly know Christ is to know his suffering. He suffered a bloody death on the cross for US! He was persecuted and shamed and rejected by men. He was mocked, abused and hated by many.

And still……he went through all the torture and abuse for who? Yes, that’s right. FOR US! Because His love is so great for us. His unconditional love for us will never end.

Are we going to suffer the way Christ did? Maybe not. But there are people in the world who ARE tortured and killed for their belief in God.

Paul tells us further in chapter 3 of Philippians to follow his (Paul’s) example:

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Did you read verse 20? Our citizenship is in HEAVEN! We need to focus not on earthly things but on things above. Things of God. We are temporary citizens in this world. One day we will be in heaven, living with Christ forever. And ever.

When we get to heaven, our “lowly bodies” will be like his “glorious body!” Our worn down and falling apart bodies will be brand new! There will be NO pain, NO sickness, NO tears! Praise the Lord!

The Lord is coming back soon, people! We need to be ready? A quote I found sums it up:

Live as though Christ will return TODAY!

How is your relationship with Christ?

Are you walking with Him daily? 

If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please feel free to contact me so I can share with you the Good News! God loves you!

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

Loving the Unlovable

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen

1 John 4:20

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…….Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:9-10, 14

beach coast island landscape
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

We’re going to encounter some people in life who are just hard to love. Maybe they are constantly complaining about life. Maybe they live in a state of anger all the time. Perhaps they just hate life. Perhaps they have hurt you in some way and loving them just seems impossible.

1 John 3:15 tells us that

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

Jesus calls us to love everyone! Including our enemies! Including those who persecute us! Including those who are unlovable!

I’m going to be honest here. I struggle with loving a particular person in my life. This person has hurt me and has hurt others way too many times to count. Loving this person just seems impossible! They MAKE it impossible! But the longer I continue to harbor ill feeling towards them, the longer I am hurting myself. The longer I continue in my “inability” to love this person, the longer I’m straying away from God.

So this is something I am struggling to work on but if I just give this struggle to God, I can start to love this person. Because with God, ALL things are possible!

1 John 4:8 reminds us “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

God is love!

God loves us!  And can’t we be unlovable from time to time? Yet God loves us despite that! I know that *I* can be unlovable at times. Yet God still loves me. His love is  merciful! It’s faithful! It’s unconditional!

But you, Lord are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalm 86:15

With God’s help, we can love those who seem incapable of being loved.

Is there someone in your life who makes it difficult to love them?

Give it to God. God is love. God loves you.