Stand Up, Unashamed!

This morning, I am reminded of my need to stand up for my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I am reminded that I will make choices that reflect my faith in Christ, and I hope it happens increasingly more.

I may stumble and fall, but I will continue to choose our Lord Jesus over the cares of this world!

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them (Psalm 101:3).

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4)

New Living Translation

Right now, I am evaluating my choices for entertainment and how they will undoubtedly affect me. Recently, I discovered my need to “lay down” one of the TV shows I have watched in the past. I don’t wish to reveal the name of the show, but surrendering this show was choosing to not compromise. When we watch worldly shows, it will affect us and our faith.

Lesson I Continue to Learn

Friends, we have to stand up for what we believe. I believe Jesus Christ and the Gospel. I believe Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for my sins, so that I could have a reconciled relationship with my Heavenly Father. I believe that as Jesus saves me, He gives me new life.

Each day, we are given the opportunity to fall deeper in love with our God! Isn’t that a far greater thing than anything else?

Let’s choose to focus on our Lord Jesus Christ today. May our absolute resolve be to honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While I know the choices are not always easy to make, choosing to live unashamed of Jesus Christ and righteousness is always the choice worth making!

How are we resolving to make the Gospel and relationship with Christ our highest priority?

Image: Marc Schaefer.

Meeting My Shepherd

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! {Luke 15:3-7, NLT}

Today, I want to focus on the lost sheep that our Lord Jesus purposely went and redeemed. He saved this sheep from danger and brought them home. Friends, we are His sheep.

Anyone who has repented from their sins and chosen to follow Jesus Christ – is one of God’s sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. {John 10:14-15}

I have grown fond of the illustration as God as my Shepherd. Ever since I studied John 10 in a seminary course, I have felt drawn to seeing God as my Shepherd. However if I am honest, I haven’t always allowed Him to shepherd me. I have been a stubborn sheep who goes astray. But, He never stops pursues me – thankfully.

I want to start out by explaining what repent means. To someone unchurched or even someone like me, I needed the definition. I don’t want to use the word “repent” lightly or misuse it when I write an Instagram post, etc.

Repentance means:

→ To change one’s mind.
→Turn from our sins, and turn to Jesus Christ.

When we make the decision to turn from our old life and follow our Lord Jesus, there is much rejoicing in Heaven. The Lord is going to keep cheering us on, as we seek to bury our old sins in His strength and make Him our number one choice.

He doesn’t leave us in this process of trusting Him with our lives. He gives us every ounce of strength, courage, and grace we could ever need.

Hang in there, dear friend. Take heart in the fact that our great God is going to keep cheering you on.

For myself when I make decisions, I need to remember my “why”. We see this word in health related challenges. “Remember your why” in the context as the reason for what you are doing.

For us, as believers in Jesus Christ, we need to remember the One who has laid down His life for us. We make our decisions based on this love relationship we have with Jesus Christ.

See Galatians 2:20; Psalm 23

Featured Unsplash photo by Pawan Sharma.

In Him,
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Psalm 1 {Summer ’17}

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely (Ps. 1:1-2, TLB).

In this Psalm, we are reminded that we can either: spend our time with the wrong kind of people or center our lives around God’s Word. The difference between the two – is life changing.

Oh, the joys of those who . . . delight in doing everything God wants them.

We are given the opportunity to be excited about the Word of God. We can open our Bibles, and hear directly from God day or night. We can find excitement in our lives, through our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We don’t have to turn to sin or the wrong kind of friends, in order to feel soul satisfied.

More than anything else, God wants to show us how much happier we would be – if we sat at His feet and let His Words transform our lives (and even our circumstances).

Meeting with God brings prosperity. It isn’t about choosing friends with the right connections. If we want things to go well in our lives, we need to seek after the Lord. Let’s take this Summer, to read the Bible and take our cues from God. He has soo much to share with us, as we come and bring all that we are – to Him.

Our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, is the most important one we have. Our great God has chosen to make His dwelling place with us, out of shear love and desire to be with us. While things arise making it difficult to meet with the Lord, we can still make that choice to be with Him. It may look totally different from one day to the next. But, this is a choice we will not regret.

Being with Jesus leaves us changed men and women. Remember what is said about the Apostles in Acts? People knew they had been with Jesus. Their lives were completely changed, because they spent time with Jesus. May the same be true for us too!

[Those who devote themselves to God and His Word] are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper (vv. 3).

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13, NIV).

Just a reminder: Our Psalms study is kicking off in the Facebook group. Don’t be shy, just hop on over and join us – as we read through the Psalms this Summer! {Also note: I am in the process of updating my blog, to merge the chronological//psalms blog with this one}

Featured image by Nicole Honeywill.

In Christ,

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1 Samuel 4-8 (Part 1)

“Why did the Lord…? (1 Sam. 4:3)”

Unfortunately, we get like this also. We go out to fight without praying and our spiritual armor, then we bring forth our questions like this.

We want to make and carry out our own plans, but expect God to bless them.

When we do this, we are forgetting one little thing –

The Lord is the One who rules over all (1 Sam. 4:4)

Israel lost the war on the Philistines, because they went their own way versus stopping to pray and see what God wanted. They even, acted in a way – that causes the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant {which is a BIG deal} to be stolen. For seven long hard moments, God’s glory departed from Israel.

Friends, we need to pray in the battles we face. We need to pray in the midst of the battle, but also need to pray before the battle even begins. We desperately need to use prayer as our weapon. If we forfeit the weapon of prayer, we come under attack and lose the advantage.

But when we put on the full armor of God (see Eph. 6), we are aware of the devil’s schemes and can overcome his tactics. To quote 1 John 4:4, ““Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.”

As Israel faced losing the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, they faced God’s glory departing. There was much sorrow in this. Their sin greatly cost them. They disobeyed God, by not seeking Him. They wanted to turn to their own way, versus turn to the Lord and His way. As sons and daughters of the Most High God, we need to rethink the way we make decisions and live the lives we have been given.

Even when hard things happen, we can make the decision to seek Christ above all else.

As we observe our lives and see the battles we are facing, we need to choose to allow Jesus Christ, our Savior and King, to become our Battle-Winner. His strength and presence is far more than our enemies can handle!

Featured image by Jens Lelie.

The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1, ESV).

We are urged by God to give Him our bodies – as a living sacrifice. God wants all of us, as we are today. He doesn’t want us to hold off – until our bodies or souls have made it closer to a version of perfection. God wants us, as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as though my body is worthy enough to be a sacrifice, or worship tool, for my great God. I feel so far from where I could be, in terms of my physical body, sensitive and overwhelmed soul, and yes even in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want for God to be given more of me. As I enter this new season of life, I have to remember God wants me as I am. Though unworthy, He accepts me. . . and invites me to come to Him as I am. I can lay down the mask of this false self, where I pretend to be more fine or spiritual than I am. I can lay down the expectations I can never meet.

Because Jesus Christ invites me to come, and boldly come to His glorious throne as Hebrews 4:16 teaches us, I can walk in fellowship with my Wonderful Savior and Prince of Peace. What makes the difference? It is in the assurance that Jesus Christ has purposefully chosen to have a relationship of constant communion with me, that I can freely offer my body as a living sacrifice.

While I may not have much to give, I can make the deliberate choice to give what I do have – to Jesus Christ.

This is about spiritual worship. This is not about seeing my offering as “too little.” Rather, it is about coming to Jesus with whatever I have to offer.

Jesus Christ is the King of all Kings, the Name above all names, and He has chosen to make my body His dwelling place. He has made the deliberate choice to love me, even when I am most unlovable.

He has chosen to make His presence known, even in the midst of physical hardships beyond my control.

Jesus Christ has chosen to love us. Even when we were once His enemies, He came to reconcile us with the Father. While our relationship with our heavenly Father was once shatter “beyond repair” (if left up to us, mere humans), Jesus Christ brought us into this glorious place of restoration through His suffering, death, and resurrection.

God is all powerful. He is the only One who can take our broken pieces, and make us whole.

This is what He is choosing to do, as He invites us to give Him the broken pieces of our lives, and turn them into a complete spiritual worship tool.

. . . We may not have much to offer, but how willing are we to give God what we do have to offer?

Featured image by Yolanda Leyva.