In Christ Alone

A wise young man once said on his facebook page “the more God shows His faithfulness, the shorter my prayers get”…. or something like that. Well, that resonated in my spirit….deep down in the place where my spirit is one with His Spirit. Simplicity seems to be a theme these past few months. So I’ll let my words be few.

CHRIST IN ME
MY ONLY HOPE
JESUS
LOVE WHAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU

While on this journey of simplicity, I picked a few flowers along the path….. and boy do they smell good!

First a gardenia…. the sweetest smelling….  There’s No sweeter Name than the Name of Jesus.

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Second the rose….in our culture it represents love….Let My Life Speak the Truth of His Love

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And third, the limelight hydrangea…..Jesus said I am the light of the world….Follow me

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For so long I have followed a process, a proven system, a step by step program that would surely draw me closer to being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. For so long I defined following Jesus by doing the things I read about in the bible, or asking the question, “What would Jesus do?” The Israelites had a cloud by day and fire by night. The disciples in the New Testament had Jesus in the flesh, telling them what to do next. Why can’t it be that simple for me? Here’s where I get excited. I have the greatest, most miraculous, most radical thing of all… JESUS CHRIST LIVES IN ME!!! Instead of my mind, will, and emotions determining what my body should do, my spirit is ONE with the SPIRIT of God in me. That’s where the new definition of following comes in. My spirit united with His Spirit leads, and my body and soul (mind, will, and emotions) must follow. I am now following the spirit that is within me. There is not a process, program, or formula for this. It is simply listening for Him to speak to my spirit, and my spirit leading the rest of me to join Him. It’s like a waltz, and Jesus is standing there saying, “May I have this dance?”

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“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

 

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My Awakening

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have seen videos of, participated in, or heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Some of the members of my family have taken the challenge…. except me.  The thought of pouring a bucket of iced water over my head is awful.  I don’t like to be cold. It makes my body ache.  Well, yesterday I received a challenge. No, not the ALS Challenge, but one that I am finding to be much more difficult.  I would much rather dump the ice water over my head….really I would.  So here’s where it all began.

My dear sister in Christ over at karensdilbeck.com sent me an email requesting I read her latest blog titled “I am Obscene” , and after reading it, “pray and do with it as God leads”.  I was at work when I received the request, so I just glanced over it and all the pictures, put my phone back in my pocket and went about my day.  When I got off last night, I pulled my phone out and read it.  I was without words, hard to believe it, but it’s true.  I read it again when I got home and I didn’t know what to do with all that I had learned.  You see, I have been so incredibly ignorant to everything that has been going on in Iraq.  Heard about some stuff, saw some pics on facebook, heard about some videos, but MY life has been way to busy to stop and be informed about what was really happening over there.  I had no idea what ISIS was and as awful as this is going to sound, I could have cared less. So I sat in front of the computer not really knowing what to do.  I went to bed and was going to turn on the TV, but I just couldn’t.  I went to sleep, quiet easily, which is not usually the case, and slept very soundly.  I woke up, and as soon as I sat up in bed, I felt physically sick.  Quite frankly, I was disgusted with myself.  The reality of what IS going on broke me.  The grief overwhelmed me.  There I sat, asking God, what in the world do you want me to do with this.  The Holy Spirit began to speak, and I began to write.  I was reminded that we have over 900 followers on our Facebook page that see when I post a new blog…write He said.  I haven’t blogged in months.  I was hearing the enemy say “you better not go there, they will find you, they will find your children, that Facebook page and blog are for your business, you will offend people”….FEAR began to grip me.  Then the Holy Spirit nudged me to share this with a group of parents I was going to be meeting with this morning and pray.  This is the verse He gave me,

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

In the Old Testament “this place” was referring to the temple Solomon built.  We are living under the New Covenant and “this place” is us! We are the temple. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20  His eyes are open and His ears are attentive to the prayers offered in me! So, I shared and we prayed.  We prayed for forgiveness for our ignorance and our lack of concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We prayed for forgiveness for being so concerned about trivial things in our lives.  We cried, we pleaded with our Father, we sat quietly in His presence.

And now….I am writing to you… I am challenging you….. Get on one of your many electronic devices and google search what ISIS is, what there plan is.    They have had a plan for thousands of years.  They believe and have faith in their plan.  They have never waivered from their plan.  They are walking out their plan.  What is our plan? Are we tenacious about it? Have we forgotten it?  Do we believe in it…have faith in it?  Are we walking it out?  These brothers and sisters in Ninevah, yes I said Ninevah, are walking it out. This is happening to the great, great, great…. grandchildren of the people Jonah was sent to preach to.  They are standing, professing their belief is Jesus, knowing their children will be beheaded, the women will be raped and killed, and the men hung.  Watch some videos, as gruesome as they are. Look at the pictures.  Read the articles.  And yes, it will be hard….you will be overwhelmed…and hopefully broken.  Then, do with it as God leads.

This is the picture that I can’t get out of my head.  This little boy has an Arabic N on his shirt.  Look it up and see what it means.

I thought that writing this post and being vulnerable with those parents this morning was going to be so hard.  But as I remain in His presence, He is asking me to something much more difficult.  I am to pray for the men of ISIS.  As they lift their sword to the head of one of the least of these, I pray that the eyes of Jesus are looking back at them, that their deception is destroyed by the love of Jesus, and that the truth will set them free!

 

A Sacrifice of Praise

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“We are the light of the world. We are a city on a hill. We are the light of the world, and we gotta, we gotta, we gotta let our light shine.” – Kari Jobe

And that is exactly what Gray Godwin did wherever he was…. Let the light of Jesus shine through him!  Do you notice how everything around him is black and white, but he is in FULL COLOR.  This is how he lived his life here on earth and now how he spends eternity with Jesus. He stood out in a crowd. The character of our Most High God was sealed by the Holy Spirit in Gray.  Overcoming adversity and embracing life because of his firm foundation in Jesus is his testimony!

So for us who remain here on earth, what do we do?  A sweet friend shared with me that we put our right foot in front of our left, and eventually our heart will catch up.  I’m not sure if my heart will ever catch up, but I am reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples in His darkest hour,  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.  So, we will continue to pray.  And what about when we don’t know what to pray? The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”  My heart and flesh cry out with groans, and my God can interpret that?  What an amazing God!

So I will pray… I will groan… and I will worship. Your Presence is Heaven to me Lord!  It is in Your Presence that heaven and earth collide, and we can join Gray in worshiping our King.  Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty! We bring you a Sacrifice of Praise. We surrender our mind, will, and emotions to you God and say, Spirit within us RISE UP!