Jesus’ finished work on the cross

Today, Womanhood With Purpose is my gracious host. In the weeks since I wrote the post, about Jesus’ finished work on the cross, God has blessed me with an ideal job and warmer weather!

Jesus, God, what is Christianity, Christian connection

One day in early March, after yet another cold weather warning and another lukewarm job interview, I broke. I crawled into bed, curled up in the fetal position, and sobbed my eyes out. I told God I had nothing left to give, shared with Him all my fears and failures, and begged Him to help me survive this awful time.

And you know what? He didn’t need my gratitude. He didn’t need my good cheer or my positive attitude… {read more}

{Linking with these lovely blogs}

Painting beauty with ashes

Joining 5-minute Friday today where we write for five minutes flat on a word prompt. Today’s word is paint.

Go.

A Casting Crowns song: “I’m painting beauty with the ashes, your life is in My hands.

God, Christian, Bible verses, Jesus, Images of Jesus, Pictures of Jesus

Painting by Rachel, 10

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem

so far away.

You’re not alone stop holding on and just be held.”

Just be held.

Forgive yourself as He forgave you. C.S. Lewis says we make ourselves bigger than God when we refuse to forgive ourselves. As though we know better than Him. It’s spiritual arrogance to hold back forgiveness from yourself.

Isaiah 61:3. He takes your broken pieces and makes them into something beautiful. No room for regret when God doesn’t waste a thing. All your tears He keeps in His bottle and He paints beauty with your ashes.

He is the painter, the sculptor and you the art, His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). He, the great redeemer does not look at your past with disgust. He has separated you from your sin as far as the east is from the west. He uses your broken pieces to heal someone else’s. Who else knows what someone else has been through except someone who’s been there? That’s God’s plan.

Stop.

Behold the winter is past! Yes! {Linkup}

It’s Thursday, the day you are cordially invited to link up here with your Christian blog posts. I’ve pledged to quit something every Thursday, could be big or could be small. Today I’m thrilled to say I’m quitting … winter boots. I haven’t left the house without the ugly things since early November, the last time I saw grass.

Winters are real here and the boots aren’t cute. They’re Sorels. The only kind that work.

Finally, the snow is melting and there is more green than white stuff. (Of course, we still have snow in the forecast but it won’t be the kind that stays.) The other day I heard a bird chirping. A bird! Singing! I had forgotten the sound.

In the car this morning we were lamenting the long, harsh winter and how we’re expected to endure it without complaint. No grace whatsoever! My daughter piped up, “Ya, I know I’m Canadian, but I still need a jacket!” Um, okay.

Christian connection

She conspicuously left her boots behind when she went to school today. I took her cue and left without mine, too. And I’m not putting them back on till November.

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. -Song of Solomon 2:11-12

{Linking with these lovely blogs}


Share your faith: Christian connection

Today I’d like to share with you a few Christian blog posts and videos that spoke to my heart and drew me closer to Jesus.

faithfulfeat

 

Faithful Feat: God Doesn’t Need Me

He created us for His pleasure.

A Graceful Girl: Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Another blogger who struggles with a love-hate relationship with the social media network. Maybe we need a support group?

Renewed Daily: A Pearl of Great Price

The one-minute clip will make you appreciate God’s word more than ever!

Lisa Lewis Koster: Speaking Truth – The Loving Thing

Speaking the truth in love and calling out those who don’t.

Faith It: Freedom from Homosexuality

Dennis Jernigan is the author of some of the world’s best-loved hymns. He also struggled with homosexuality most of his life.

How do we keep unity in the body of Christ?

1. Forgive one another.

We’re human and it’s easy to get offended or upset when someone says the wrong thing or doesn’t seem to understand. Forgive that person immediately. Lack of forgiveness can fester and cause divisions. Be the bigger person if you have to. Be like Jesus.

Christian, Jesus, God, mom, Bible

Image: Keoni Cabral

2. Suffer small differences in theology.

Does it matter if she believes in the gift of tongues and you don’t? Whether baptism is the way to salvation or a symbol thereof? Perhaps these do seem like a big deal to you. Are they big enough to warrant a chasm within the body of Christ? Our unity is an example to the world.

3. Serve joyfully.

John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” The same principle applies for Church. It’s tempting to feel indignant or self-pitying when you’re giving more than you get. But God is not a tempter. Only Satan does that.

(Obviously, you need to have healthy boundaries around serving and do so according to your gifts.)

4. Be Christ-centered.

Rather than self-centered. Overcoming the flesh is the daily struggle of every Christian. When you relate to others through the filter of Christ, there is patience, gentleness, kindness. With the flesh it becomes, “What about me?”

5. Relate to others through Jesus.

Look at others through His eyes. Let the Christ in you meet the Christ in her. If a sister stumbles, help her up. Remember who He came for: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

6. Avoid gossip.

If the issue is not one you can let go, take it directly to the person in question. Talking behind someone’s back only creates division and leads to mistrust among members.

Sometimes (the tongue) praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! (James 3:9-10)

What would you add to this list?

{Linking up with these lovely blogs}

What’s a writer? {Five-minute Friday}

Today’s post is based on Lisa-Jo Baker’s word prompt, writer. Lisa-Jo hosts 5-minute Friday, a weekly “writing flash mob”. Several ladies write for five minutes flat on the prompt, no editing allowed, and share their results on Lisa’s linkup. Here’s mine:

Writer.

A writer is someone who writes. Period. Not someone who gets paid to write or talks about writing or thinks about writing. Writers have the courage to spill their guts out onto an empty page. Writers risk. Writers change the world with their prose.

Gospel writers.

James.

Songwriters.

They’ve only got four minutes to save the world. One song changed the whole trajectory of the film Frozen.

Writers put their lives on display and have the courage to not be perfect.

They invite rejection whereas others run from the thought.

Writers record history. Writers evoke life-giving emotion. Writers instruct. Writers are indispensable.

Time’s up.

 

Breaking up with Facebook {Linkup)

A month or so ago, I invited you to a link up here on Thursdays. If you’re wondering what happened, I apologize. I went on vacation, the linky tool expired, and then I began to question whether I wanted to keep the theme.

Inspired by Bob Goff’s bible study Love Does, I had decided on Quitting Thursday where you let go of something each Thursday. Something that is bogging you down and even crowding out time with Jesus. On the first Thursday I gave up control so all the rules for the linkup went out the window.

I invite you to post on whatever is on your mind, heart, or blog. You bless me when you do.

Image: B2C

Image: B2C

Today I’m giving up Facebook. I’ve given up Facebook in the past yet always come back to it like a bad boyfriend.

I’m not knocking Facebook if it’s for you but I have to confess it makes me feel icky. I’m not sure why and I’ll resist over-analyzing it. I’m just getting rid of it.

Dear Facebook:

During the course of our rocky relationship I’ve been through many changes. I’ve left you and returned, each time hoping things would be different. They never are.

You can be self-centered and boastful at times. In your eyes, everybody else’s life looks better than mine and that makes me sad!

I’m expected to agree profusely with everything you say. If I disagree I’m expected to remain silent. This is too constricting to me!

You demand too much of my time. I know it’s up to me whether I check in with you but you taunt me 24/7 with reminders in my email that you are there and waiting for me. I hope I’m not cruel when I confess our time together leaves me feeling empty most of the time.

And, Facebook, you’re not Christian. You ban people who stand up for Biblical values and beliefs. You keep changing your rules and you don’t respect people’s privacy.

I’m going to need the Lord’s help on this one as with everything else. Especially since Facebook won’t let you delete your account.

Please share whatever is on your heart today. Even if you love Facebook.


5 unpopular Bible verses to help you stay the course

Church, Bible verses, Jesus, Christian connectionAre you a new Christian?

Did Jesus heal you from an addiction? Clean out your filthy heart? Set you on a path of righteousness and change you from the inside out?

Stop you swearing, lusting and thinking of yourself ALL THE TIME? Make changes in you with the blink of His eye that you had been trying desperately to make in your own will for years, decades even?

What could possibly be wrong with that?

According to the world…lots.

When you became a Christian you probably didn’t believe you would be rejected for your faith. That person who brought you to the Lord might have quoted Jeremiah 29:11. God’s word, however, promises more than a wonderful plan to the true convert to Christianity. The Bible, inerrant and infallible, tells the truth in all things, including those we would rather forget about all together.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a fun Bible verse. Here are a few more truths from the Bible that are less popular but important to remember all the same. They could keep you, new convert, from falling back into the enemy’s hands.

For, the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) Not only the palatable truth. That is a lie of the enemy. God gives us the whole truth so we will stand strong in the face of persecution.

1. Matthew 10:34-37

My favorite verses because they began my relationship with Christ. I asked Him how I would follow Him and honor my parents at the same time. His answer:

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36     Your enemies will be right in your own household!’

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.

2. John 15:18-19

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”

3. 2 Timothy 3:12

“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

4. Matthew 10:22

“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

5. John 16:33

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

What’s a sobering scripture that’s helped you stand strong?

Frozen gets better and other things I learned in March

frozen, jesus, christianity todayWhat did you learn in March?

The question comes from Joanne at Days and Thoughts. She, in turn, got the idea from Emily Freeman who hosted  a linkup on the topic. Exhausted from my new job, I am grateful for the inspiration.

So, here’s what I learned in March.

1. God is faithful. After a few failed interviews and months of being out of work, He got me a job close to home with great pay and security. He makes me wait and then gives me something better than I imagined.

2. Cincinnati is a lot warmer than Toronto in March. I drove out there with my kids to visit friends and on our first day we enjoyed twenty degrees (that’s 70 Farenheit). My daughter’s freckles broke out over her nose 3 months early and now she looks like the girl from Frozen.

3. Lent is really long. Especially when you give up breakfast. It has made me appreciate even more what Jesus went through in the wilderness when He fasted and faced temptation from the devil for 40 days and nights.

4. Frozen gets better every time you watch it. I’ve seen it four times and each time I catch something I missed before. For instance, after my second viewing Older Daughter commented on how cute Christoff looked as a boy. I stared at her blankly. “Remember at the beginning when he’s with the men collecting ice?” I had no idea the boy in the opening sequence was him.

5. On Facebook if someone posts a controversial opinion you are supposed to a) cheer them on and say how much you absolutely totally agree or b) say nothing. One more reason I think Facebook is maybe not for me.

What did you learn this month?

{Linking with these lovely blogs}

Jesus and World Vision

Jesus, what is Christianity, Christianity today, Bible verses, Christian connection{UPDATE: World Vision reversed its decision to change its hiring policy and apologized for the error in judgment.}

Do you sponsor a child through World Vision?

Maybe you’ve read the news that World Vision has changed its hiring policy. The Christian relief organization has relaxed its policy against hiring those in a same-sex union.

Many Christians, including the Billy Graham Association, have spoken out against the policy change. Many other Christians are supporting the move and say too much is being made of nothing.

I have sponsored my World Vision child for several years. I served at World Vision as a Special Events volunteer until one day during a training I noticed the organization’s policy against “proselytizing”. That’s a fancy way of saying they don’t always share the gospel.

My American friends who live in Christian communities said they have been encouraged to share the gospel as World Vision volunteers. The same is not true in areas like mine where Christianity is not the norm. I can only conclude that World Vision promotes the label “Christian” where it is popular and downplays the same label where  it is unpopular.

Popularity is not what drove our Lord Jesus Christ.

He calls His followers to be set apart from the world system. My relationship with Jesus began when He led me to Matthew 10:34-37. He revealed something crucial about Himself to me at the very beginning of my Christian walk through this Scripture. He’s not wishy-washy and He won’t accept halfway devotion.

Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I decided to stop volunteering at World Vision and serve instead through organizations that put the gospel of Jesus Christ front and center. I would not have considered withdrawing sponsorship of my World Vision child, however.

I now serve with Gospel for Asia, Power to Change (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and Pregnancy Care Center, all of which encourage and, in fact, insist on proclaiming the saving power of faith in Jesus Christ as their central focus. We don’t honor Him when we promote His name where it’s popular and deny Him when it’s not.

Gay marriage is becoming increasingly popular in our society. I am seeing a move in Christian circles toward celebration of these same-sex unions. Those who hold fast to the word of God with regard to gay marriage are being labelled unloving and even hateful by their own brothers and sisters. Labeling Christians “bigots” is nothing new, but such accusations usually come from outside the body of Christ.

I have been inspired by stories of men and woman freed from a homosexual lifestyle through the love and support of Christians and most of all by the love of Christ. Now, those same Christians would encourage homosexuals to stay in their prison. Perhaps they are repentant over past abuse toward gay and lesbian-identified people and are trying to atone for their sins. Sins that have already been washed clean by the blood of Christ.

Growing up in a secular liberal community, gay-identified people have always been in my life: as co-workers, roommates, good friends. I did not know there was anything wrong with homosexuality in the same way I did not know there was anything wrong with pre-marital sex, abortion, divorce or lust (and I’m guilty of these, by the way). I was not a Christian.

Now that I know Christ, I know the truth. The truth that never changes. I am still eager for relationships with people from all walks of life. But I will not tell you it’s okay to marry someone of the same sex. Because God says it’s not.

{Linking with these lovely blogs}