Is Our Faith Valid

Have you ever thought about the validity of your faith? What about the law and our faith? It is mentioned in: Romans 3:27 Romans 2:17, 23 1 Corinthians 1:29 Ephesians 2:9 After reading scripture, I can see all God has done for me has been done in a strategic way. Allow me to explain... I am  "saved by grace through faith and not of myself.  It is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9 I knew that I was saved by grace, but I have never taken the time to think about what this scripture really says. Take a moment and look into this with me... My works nor my deeds saved me.  My salvation is a gift of God and the word says that it is through faith that I am saved. Is it through my faith in God that I am saved? Yes, but by His grace.  It is through my faith in what He has done.  There is nothing alone that I can do apart from God.  I cannot even save myself. For if I had faith, that would be great, but it is not until the grace of God has entered in to the equation that I am saved. So, what then is the grace of God? I believe it is the power to be saved.  It is, as one commentry puts it, "the source of … [Read more...]

Christians Who Eat Crow

How many times in your life have you eaten crow? If you've never heard this expression before- don't worry and don't call PETA. "Eating crow is an American colloquial idiom, meaning humiliation by admitting wrongness or having been proven wrong after taking a strong position." (wiki) In other words, it's having to admit you were wrong when it's OH SO HARD to do. It seems to me that, as believers, we sometimes have an incredibly difficult time admitting our errors. I think this is partially due to the fact that we have tricked ourselves into believing that Christians should know better than to make stupid mistakes. The problem with that line of thinking is that we're human... all of us... yes, you screw up too. Our human nature clings to pride more stubbornly than thighs to last night's grande burrito. We think that, somehow, if we have to admit we are wrong then we will be viewed as less of a person. I don't know about you- but I have so much more respect and esteem for someone who can step up boldly and admit they were wrong than one who fights tooth and nail for "correctness". Want to know a secret? We don't always have to be right. WHAT?! Yeah, I know- this coming from the … [Read more...]

“Who Do You Say I Am?”

Who exactly is Jesus to you? I mean REALLY. If you claim to be a believer then it's tempting to just spout off the first Sunday school answer that pops into your head without any real feeling behind it. Isn't it amazing how easy the words Savior, Redeemer, Son of God, etc. all roll off the tongue without a lot of spiritual investment? This is especially true for those of us who've been raised in church... that doesn't make it right; just the facts here people. We really do have to fight sometimes to find the real answer to the question of "Who is Jesus to me- personally?" Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will … [Read more...]

What’s Your Story?

What is your story? You have one you know. Even if you don't think it means very much or is very exciting, it is still a life consisting of events, emotions, growth, loves, losses, lessons and more... a story; everyone has one. We get so caught up in our day-to-day living that we forget that each second of every day is being used to weave a tapestry that we will one day look back on and see as our life in its entirety. Both the good and bad of our lives is used in this weaving process... we tend to think that only a life filled with good/easy things is worth mentioning or remembering but that just isn't so. Sure, a tapestry of bright-sunshiny colors is beautiful, but the ones that catch the most attention are the ones that use both dark and light colors in contrasting brilliance. The easy and hard times in our lives are what God uses to show the vivid details of the artwork He's designed- all for His glory. I have a story (maybe one day it will be in hardback); it isn't insanely enlightening or jaw-droppingly dramatic. Still, I know that each day of my life can be used by God if I allow Him to take it and weave it with His grace. Life does not have to be dramatic to be … [Read more...]

No Regrets

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."  - Colossians 4: 2-6 (emphasis mine) We’re getting closer to the weekend! Along with the recognition of this particular time of the week- there is usually a barrage of cheers, sighs of relief, and often-times hopes of laziness on many people's part. Is that you? Do you see the end of the week (or any other day for that matter) as just another day to "get through" so that you can enjoy yourself or do you see it as another opportunity to grab onto something that you may have overlooked or simply ignored yesterday? I don’t always feel like “seizing the day”. With 2 kids you never know what things will come up: colds, a 2 year old's sporadic sleep schedule, … [Read more...]

For Those Who Know

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:9-10) Do you remember having to learn random facts in school? You know... historical dates, algorithms, etc. You studied, scoured, and soaked up those notes so that- come test time- you could easily pour them back out onto paper. OK- how many of those random facts do you remember today? Probably not many, unless your current job requires it. Now, think of something that you learned when you were younger that you FULLY understood and didn't just stuff in your brain for a professor. You probably still remember that don't you? There is a difference in being able to recall information and knowing/understanding something. I cannot remember dates and numbers to save my life; seriously... I'm terrible at it. I memorized information required for school papers and then left that stuff in the dusty file boxes at the back of my brain. However, there are many things that I really understood and learned- particularly things regarding the arts and sciences. Those things have never left me because I KNOW … [Read more...]

What Do You See?

Do you ever read about the ministry/miracles of Jesus and get the feeling that you're looking at a stack of history paper excerpts? I believe if we were all completely honest, we'd admit that occasionally that feeling sneaks in and we think; "OK- awesome miracles from Jesus- WAY BACK THEN." Sometimes it's hard to see the Jesus that performed those miracles (you know- the ones that are sometimes hard to relate to?) as the same Jesus that intervenes in our lives today. It's easier for us to look at the occasional miraculous happenings around the world (the obvious ones) and believe in the hand of God today, but oftentimes we overlook the day in- day out things. All are tied to the hand of Christ. Have a hard time believing that? Imagine your life for a minute, without the Holy Spirit living inside of you. The Bible says this: And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11) That means that the very power that raised Christ from the dead is alive inside of you. Now- imagine that being gone... still don't think you'd notice? … [Read more...]

Too Ashamed to Complain

Have you ever caught yourself being so completely selfish that you feel embarrassed for yourself? I think a lot of us like to believe that we are very selfless human beings; we choose to serve day in and day out, we work hard, and we will usually stop if we see someone in need. Our behavior at home might reveal more of a heart issue, however. It's fairly easy to be others-oriented when those OTHERS are around us, watching, but what about when we're at home with our family and something has gone just a little wrong. Let me use myself as a perfect example of this: after 10 years of marriage, my husband and I decided to buy a new mattress. (There were two perfectly shaped human divots on each side of the mattress: both of our spines were begging for mercy). Fine, great, we bought a new mattress- praising God for the ability to do so. Then, after about a month, we found an amazing deal on a mattress topper to go with it and seeing as how I need a very soft mattress for some personal neck issues, we went for it! This in and of itself was not the issue. After all, purchasing things for the home is only a problem when we neglect the needs of others in order to satisfy our own cravings. … [Read more...]

Neglecting the Strong

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  (Philippians 2:4) Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:2) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  (Romans 12:10-15)   The weak, oppressed, lonely, and hurting... all of these and anyone who has a need are the very ones we are to bend down and help lift up. This is Biblical and at the heart of what love and charity is all about. I've realized an interesting dilemma however- while those of us who claim to be strong disciples of Christ usually do very well to keep our eyes and ears open to needs that may be around us, very few of us check in on the ones we believe to be strong, free, surrounded by people, and seemingly happy. Many may ask; "Well if someone is happy and taken care … [Read more...]

Hope is Active

Hope is often looked at as the "wishful thinking" of the Christian life. It's one of those words (like love) that gets thrown around a good bit more than it probably should... "I hope things work out", "I hope I'm doing the right thing", even "I hope God knows what He's doing- because I sure don't!". There's nothing wrong with using the word "hope" but I think superfluous use tends to take away something from the Christian version of the word. REAL hope is not just a wish on a whim that things will work out the way you want them to. It isn't a daydream and it certainly isn't a crutch for people who aren't "strong enough" to tough things out on their own. It is active... no passive thought system here; hope is joyfully living out and completely believing that certain things WILL come. Webster defines hope like this: "to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence: Trust." This isn't just wishful thinking- it is an expectantly firm mindset that what was promised WILL happen; AKA: Trust. I had never really thought about hope being synonymous with trust, but in this case it COMPLETELY is! Why would we hope for [expect] anything that we had doubts about? Why … [Read more...]

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