Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Staying Knit Together

Community is so incredibly valuable these days.  It's such a precious find. Do you have a group of people in your life that you can lean on, learn from, help out, confide in, pray with, encourage, motivate and/or be motivated by?
So many times in my adult life (during and after college) I have had to make a choice about what amount of time in my daily living will be set apart for spending time with friends.  I know that time with people that are friends is super important to my success in my work life, my family life and in my life-life. ha!
What amount of time each day do you allow yourself to spend with friends....those who will naturally invest in you-encouragement and quality time.....and those in whom you will naturally invest encouragement and quality time?  Its important---whether you are a keep things to myself kinda gal or a share my thoughts with anyone and everyone kinda gal.  Both types of gals NEED community to thrive.  More than money, recognition, fame, etc., having a community of folks that care about you and check in on you is one of the richest things on this planet.  I don't have much wealth AT ALL (in American standards), but I am RICH with a community of people I care about and who care about me. My community is my church and other peers in my town. It is full of folks who care for me and my family.  Only a small few of that group are really close friends, but my church as a whole is a HUGE blessing to me and my family. We can go out into our "work" week (funny saying that as a minister to college students) with confidence that there is a group of folks all over our city who "have our backs".....who will be there for us when times get tough/when times are fantastic.

The next thought on this is that we can't just sit at home and wait for a community of people to come to us.  We must continue pressing in to the world we live in.  We must be willing to get "dirty" so to say; get involved in the lives of those we work with, go to church with, etc.  Community comes to us when we open up our hearts and minds to serving the people in our world of influence.  When we decide each day to invest God's love and kindness into the lives of people in our work place, and in our family's sphere of influence.  We cannot just sit and wait.  The world is waiting for hope. And hope comes many times through kindness and friendship.

We can be the friend someone needs, thus promoting hope to rise up in them. And if you are a believer in Jesus, you can share the story of God's love for the world, in your own creative way, to the people in your sphere of influence and they will hear of the greatest hope there ever is or ever will be. JESUS.

Community comes with sacrifice, too.  We can't live this American dream and have true genuine community. The American dream is all about YOU. But if an American wants true community, that person needs to be focused on others and not on themselves as the center of everything---sacrificing their own desires for the better-ment of others. (this isn't the case at all times of the day, everyday, but you know what I mean.) The me centered mentality is very difficult to thrive in a true community of folks.

The ideal solution to this epidemic problematic thinking (American Dream-"have it your way") is to believe Jesus as Savior and Lord and love Him with all of your mind, heart, body and soul.  Since He is God of all things and the Creator of each person's hearts and desires, Jesus is the key to having the dream life....to having a great community around us.  Sacrificing OUR wants and dreams for the joy of others will ultimately bring us joy, too, because we will be living like the One who gave His life for us on the cross--sacrificed His title of King of kings and Lord of lords. He, Christ Jesus, earns all rights of the greatest fame and fan-club of all time.

Stay knit together with people in your community that the Lord has or is giving you. As usually spoken on this blog: Get real, woman!  Live honestly with those in your sphere of influence.  Watch how barriers will fall between people because they see your honesty....your integrity...your genuine life that shines out of you.  Watch how many gals will flock to you because they've never known someone to be as open about life/joy and struggle, pain and death. They.....we all long for truth....real-ness in our world. (yeah, yeah,....I know my grammar STINKS. sorry.)   So, it's okay to show pain, share hurts and burdens with others. It's a super fabulous way to live.....risking your true identity being known by other human beings.  Yikes!  haha!  Be the woman who the Creator made you to be.  Be free and embrace community.

Veritas, Pulchritudo et Amor: The King's Table

Veritas, Pulchritudo et Amor: The King's Table: 2 Samuel 9:1-8 1 David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" 2 Now ...

Friendship Is Not Rocket Science

So, I have been noticing a trend in the conversations I am having lately with my college students and my peers at church or in town. We've been casually conversing about how in our culture there is a high expectation for everyone to be able to be a good friend, but very few people actually live out the very expectation they have for every one else.  Which the phrase good friend is a bit of a redundancy to me. A friend....a true friend is good.  And once again, to me a bad friend.....well, is not technically a friend if he/she is bad at it. (My opinions....obviously) We in this culture seem to still get steamed about someone neglecting us, talking about us behind our backs, deceiving us and mooching off us WHEN simultaneously we many times are completely unaware that we behave very similarly toward others.  It's this strange problem. The right desire for the culture to have---healthy friendships, but not many folks are actually attempting to make that desire a reality.  If you want true friends, you have to be a true friend.

At the university in which my husband and I serve in ministry, I overhear girls chatting about this, that and the other with their peers/friends as they walk the sidewalks around me on the way to class or home or to their cars.  It shocks me to hear the superiority in their voices about their friends.  So many young ladies on our campus seem to think that the world owes them....in friendship....in a better job....in a better grade.....in a better boyfriend.  It's like they are just sitting around being waited on and the world just is never good enough for their standards.  Who is teaching them to grow up to be 18-23 years old and not even loosely grasping the idea that life is for giving, not for taking?  The phrase, "It goes both ways" is missing many times in the lifestyles of the youth of this culture.  Who started this wicked trend in our nation that so many young people have today that they shouldn't answer to anyone and that character doesn't matter as much as status and money?  Did no one teach them as children these past 18-23 years that status and money come to people with character?....Whether that be good or bad character is the difference for sure, but character is STILL a huge factor in the world of promotion, acceptance, leadership, servitude, blessing AND defeat.

What has happened??  I feel as though the church is about the only set of people who are seeking, even if just a little bit, to train young people and children the importance of character....honesty, trust, love, faithfulness, sacrifice, devotion, etc.  My church is doing very well to promote this truth of true friendship, but I am curious how many other churches are doing the same. I am weekly talking with my college students (those that are in our Christian student organization at the university) about how they can show or exemplify to their peers (classmates), their roommates, their dorm-mates.....maybe even their professors what real friendship looks like. Especially since it seems to be SO rare in these days to find faithful people.....faithful friends. I am frequently encouraging my college girls to rise up and be the example. I am proud of them for doing so.....taking the challenge.  We need more young ladies and young women to do the same. We cannot wait around and expect someone else to communicate and/or exemplify these things to our culture....to the future leaders of our world. It is up to us. The task is ours.

Real friendship is sacrificial, devoted (faithful), honest, admonishing, hopeful, sometimes blunt, loving, strong, giving, gracious, patient and grateful. It is so much more than the things I just listed, but you get the point....right? When one calls another person their friend, I believe that one means to profess that they see that person is able to fulfill the role of a true friend or he/she has seen those qualities of friendship in action....lived out.

We must not stand by and allow the next generation of people in our culture to grow up from infancy, then arrive at the college level or young adulthood completely unaware, untrained in what it means to be a true friend. It is a HUGE foundational building block for all kinds of other social skills......and societal stability.  If we have a whole society filled with narcissistic or leechlike people, we cannot stand as a culture....as a nation. Sacrifice, honor, forgiveness, second chance, hope, perseverance, faithfulness need to be in our culture (starting with our family and friendships) or we will be won over by another culture who is able to work together.  "Pride comes before a fall." -Proverbs

Every person is born into this world with nothing and in need of everything. As we grow up, we learn how to do things for ourselves, but we realize at a very early age the joy in doing things for others, in helping others. I have a toddler.....I know this.......because I see it all the time with my son and all his little toddler friends.  It's not like learning what it means and what it is to have good character are so difficult to acquire. Friendship is not rocket science. Little children know and desire the continued joy of giving to and helping others.  We need to learn a lesson from them and be true friends to those people God has given us, BUT with the wisdom and mature discernment of an adult to know who to trust as a friend.

Ultimately, though, the LORD---the God of all creation, commands us who are His people to love one another. It is not a suggestion for God's people. It is a command.  And since we, His people, also have God's Holy Spirit in us (for those of us who call on the name of the LORD Jesus as our Savior) to help us love one another. The need for divine intervention in loving others is still as vital as it ever was. We, in this culture, have not "arrived".  We still need the mighty power of God to live a true friendship out.  But thanks be to God, He is faithful, sacrificial, the most honorable, forgiving, second chance giver, our Hope, perseverant and mighty in power.....and He never slumbers nor sleeps.

Let us start new in our daily lives.....choosing this day forward to be women of truth who seek to be the best kind of friends to those whom God has placed in our lives.  Choosing this day, let us seek to find our joy in giving, serving and edifying one another......and not for our own glory.
I pray for me personally, that God would be made much of in my heart, mind and actions....in my friendships.  And I dare you to pray the same.....to pursue that attitude with me.
Get real, woman!  Be a true friend.  RISE UP AND SHINE LIKE THE MOON! Reflect THE Light, who is Christ Jesus the LORD.
Blessings to you,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Collage of Thoughts Continues

Continuing on in my collage of thoughts, my first one for today has to do with the title of my blog.  It is so strange that being real with the women in my life about me and about the world around me seems to make gals un-easy.  But I know....I KNOW they see things similar to the way I do most times, and struggle with things very similar to me.  They just think speaking out about them publicly is.....not cool?....or not ethical....or whatever.  How have we women arrived to this point of such discretion?  It isn't right.  We need others in our lives who truly know us.  It can't continue....this living our lives to our selves.  We must open our lives up to other women.... but only to trustworthy (non-gossipping, God-fearing, full of integrity) women and share what is going on in our minds and hearts.  If not, we are promoting a frenzy of anxieties, depressions, isolations and such that may not really have to be in our lives in the first place.  Hope that makes sense.  
We share life with others.....but it's usually just surface-y stuff. We talk about the weather with such passion; how we like it or hate it or wish it was a little bit warmer, cooler, less windy, less humid.  We talk about our favorite television shows; how we can't stand so-and-so's character or how we LOVE so-and-so in such-and-such show.  We have no problems spilling the beans about what we think of our work life, our pet's life, our favorite t.v. show's recent episode, our neighbor's life, our current town's weather, our future vacation plans, our spouse's choices, our president's view points, our waiter's wardrobe.....you get the picture.  But when it comes to sharing with other women about our hearts, our dreams/broken dreams, our goals, our accomplishments, our loves, our insecurities, our fears.....we freeze....we hide it....we conceal the real stuff most of the time.  Why?
Women of faith especially, I am talking to you.  As a believer in Christ, you should know that you are special and loved by the one and only Holy and Mighty God.  God loves the whole world and everyone in it (John 3:16-17), but when you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you become more than just loved by God---you become one of God's children. Family. God wants the best for His people. You should know that Christ wants you to have deeper friendships, the best relationships, hope-filled hearts, joyful minds and.....abundant life. He loves you. Women of Christ, you are the Heavenly Father's daughters.  Why wouldn't He want the best for his kids??  Yet, we stay quiet about our fears, weaknesses, pains, failures with people who are our sisters in Christ.....folks who have the Spirit of God in them and can help us cope, strengthen us, look-out for us, etc.  Very often we don't allow others to help us.....when God wants to use EACH ONE of us every day to help, to serve, to strengthen, to encourage, to admonish, to love, to protect, to comfort one another.
Get REAL, women and LIVE like no other. In Jesus' name, I pray that you would. AMEN

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pressin' In: A Collage of Thoughts

There are so many things I want to write about.  I have so many aspirations, hopes and dreams swirling in my head each day. I am not one to multi-task very well, but tonight, as I type, I will try to say a few different things on my heart and mind.
First, I just want to say that I sense there is a great distraction in our generation of Christian women.  Women are getting so absorbed in hanging on every word of their favorite Christian author/public speaker gal.  I, too, have a few favorites in the world of Christian women encouragers/authors/bible study writers/conference speakers.  And I, too, understand how cool it feels to go to a conference or a retreat and be in the same room with women of such faith and such influence.  However, one thing I hope we all remember is that we are all given the Holy Spirit and we are all able to pursue God to the same degree and passion these "famous" women do.  We all can know Jesus Christ intimately by reading God's Holy Word and we all can learn how the Holy Spirit speaks to us individually by prayer and daily seeking Him.  We who believe in Christ are all called to follow Him; to know Him deeply--knowing His heart on the issues of our times by spending time in God's Word, praying, etc.  We can't just let the "famous" ladies of our faith do all the work for us.....do all of the growing in the LORD for us.  We must go after Christ ourselves!!  Our husbands, boyfriends, children, friends and family members are looking to us......wondering if we'll take the plunge and love GOD with all of our hearts and all of our minds and all of our souls.
Second, how is it that Christians are more known these days for complaining about the government and school policies and protesting about their rights being restricted INSTEAD OF being known for how much they deeply love people with God's love....for how much they sacrifice for their neighbors and friends....for how much they teach others the amazing story of the Truth?  When is it going to be that this country first acknowledges it's Christian citizens have a deep passion for their Savior BEFORE they acknowledge the Christian citizens' stance on politics, moral issues, work ethics, marriage, etc??  We Christians in America have no legit reason to try to "hide" our faith/our passion for Jesus Christ.  We are not being hunted down to be killed for our faith like our brothers and sisters are in other countries.  We have the freedom to pursue Christ openly in this country and yet, MANY of us Americans claiming to know Christ don't take that opportunity. WHY?  Friends, you are missing out on so many blessings and adventures by keeping your spiritual growth at bay.  I urge you to hoist the sails of your soul and let the Holy Spirit of God breathe life into your spiritual life.  I urge you to sail in the winds of the Spirit and let Him lead you, provide for you, protect you and strengthen you.  There is no better time than right now to stop stalling; and start your pursuit....again and go after God.  Christian means to be a follower of Christ. And a follower of no one else.
Third, along the same lines of the second, I am appalled at all the time Christian people are taking to fight with each other about their beliefs on abortion and homosexuality.  The fighting isn't in terms of actual fist fights, but it is word fights that are so nasty and evil. How does this type of behavior become so normal in such a large number of American Christians. Once again, I believe it is the lack of time Christians are spending with their Savior--reading the Holy Word of God daily, praying and speaking the Good News to others.  If we Christians were daily doing the things that Christ commanded His people to do, the arguments and fights probably would be much different.  The more quality time a person spends with His Maker, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, that person will begin to see his or her world through the eyes of the LORD and not through the human eyes of wicked intentions.  Now, I too, have my opinions on abortion and homosexuality, but if I do not have the right audience and the prompting of my Lord and Savior to speak of these opinions, I will not.  It is not helpful for the body of Christ is be looking for a fight.  We are to "seek peace and pursue it".  Psalm 34:13-14 says, "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.  Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

What I urge all the Christian women who are reading this blog to do, starting today, is to get on your knees before God (whether figuratively or literally) and repent of all the things that are holding your affections that are not Christ.  I urge you to lay all of your selfish ambitions and deep rooted opinions at the foot of the Lord Jesus and ask Him to sift through each one, showing you each one of those things that is dishonoring/displeasing in His sight.  Jesus speaks to the church of Ephesus through the apostle John in the book of Revelation. He says to them, "I know your works,  your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. ....He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."-Revelation 2:2-7   I don't know about you, but these words Jesus Christ spoke to the church of Ephesus seem to be right for my heart to hear, too.  I feel like I relate a bunch with these believers who lived in Ephesus.  Their city was filled with wickedness and the worship of false gods. Our country today has a bunch of the same characteristics (mentioned in full in the book of Ephesians and Romans).  I read these words from Christ and I am broken.  I....no, WE all need to hear these words and be moved.  We need to be moved to repentance and humility before the Holy God.  Being right with God (righteousness) is THE MOST important thing a believer can do each day before all the other important things; like standing up for what we believe...raising our children, being a the best friend, spouse, employee we can be, etc.  In everything, we need to remember the words of John the Baptizer when asked about what he thinks of the new guy called Jesus who was on the other side of the Jordan river baptizing folks.  John the Baptizer made sure to tell them that he himself was not the Christ and that "He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease"-John 3:30.

Once we take time to go before God and repent of the junk we have collected in our hearts each day and we find out those things that dishonor Him, I strongly urge you to pitch those things as far from your heart and mind as you can.....RUN from them. Give up those things to God.  He can take care of them....get rid of them, by His power.  And if you are living in the blessing of being a child of God, you are bought and paid for.  You are Christ's.  You no longer live for yourself.  Galatians 2:20-21 says, "I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."  We are not our own anymore, if we are born again Christians.  And this verse 21 is saying that if being right with God was able to be achieved through living according to the book of the law, then Christ died for nothing. And we know, as believers in Christ......as believers in his death and resurrection, that Christ died for us. John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not for the Weak

Anyone want to be described as the following?
wimp, baby, caitiff, chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken, coward, cream puff, crybaby, daisy, featherweight, fraidy-cat, jellyfish, lily liver, loser, milksop, momma's boy, namby-pamby, pansy, pantywaist, puppy, pushover, scaredy-cat, schlemiel, sissy, wuss, wussy, yellowbelly

These are synonyms for the words wimp, weak, and pushover. (thanks to google thesaurus)

For as long as I have been considered an adult, I have been trying to figure out why Christians look down on their brothers and sisters in Christ who are pursuing a pure life. It's not easy, nor wussy. It takes great courage, great mental effort, and great discipline. People love to make fun of those who keep their lives clear of the "evils" of our world. Fellow "Christians" find it a fun past-time to point out the folks who are attempting to keep their slate clean.  

What's up with that?!  Are you offended by what I just said?  Have you made fun of folks living with a open hatred toward stuff that is wicked and evil? Maybe that's why you're offended. I don't apologize because that's not something I should apologize for. I encourage you to let these thoughts sink in, sister. Living a life of purity is NOT for the faint of heart.  Without the strength that comes from God's Holy Spirit, we cannot live life purely....at least for very long.  It's just not natural for humans to exist with a clean slate. Duh! That statement is no revelation to anyone. It's clear through the history of time.

What I am trying to get at is....that this is the beginning of many posts on the topic of purity.  I haven't posted a blog on this very often because I, too, deal with the understanding that I fail at being pure at all times. I struggle exposing these truths because I am aware that I will be ridiculed for it.......by believers no doubt. It's such a passion of mine to seek a life of purity and I will later explain just why I want that lifestyle, but it is SO hard to express it to an audience I can't see. I would LOVE for you to see my face, to see that I am SO serious about living a life of purity. I am SO serious about taking on the challenge, the hardships, the "sacrifices" of a pure lifestyle....of a pure heart......of a pure mind. Why?  That is what I will write about next.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Close or Far?

As some of you may know, my husband and I are missionaries to West Chester University of Pennsylvania.  We have lived and served in West Chester, PA for 6 years this November.  For the past two years we have lived in an apartment complex that is about a 30 minute walk to the campus or a 5-7 minute drive through the neighborhood.  We have been praying for a place to live that is close enough to the university where students will be willing to walk to our place.  If close, our office can be from home.  The university does not afford collegiate ministers office space. So our current office is at our church which is still close, but about 4 or 5 blocks away from the school.

All of this said simply to let my readers know that we are looking to move out of our current place in November.  Our lease ends at the end of November, so we need to find appropriate/effective/affordable housing here in the next few weeks.  YIKES!  In my mind, this is a need that only the Almighty God can provide.  So we are praying for great things to happen.  Would you pray with us....for us to find the housing God has planned for us?
If you are one who feels the LORD is leading you to give financially to the work of college ministry here in the USA, maybe our ministry is the place where God wants you to partner.  I just ask that you ask our Lord God what he wants you to do and then whatever He leads you to do; to obey the LORD.   We seek to obey the LORD too, in the things He leads us to do.  And we are SO thankful for His grace when we fail to obey.  So, just for those of you who are curious....We are missionaries praying for the Lord to provide about $1000 more a month in our budget in order for us to live in our mission post effectively.  Sounds crazy, I know.  This area of West Chester is very expensive.  Currently we are living on about 60% of the monthly income goal we had made 6 years ago.  The Lord has kept our basic needs met and we are SO GRATEFUL. For more information on giving: e-mail us at bjhooray@yahoo.com

May you have a blessed day.  My husband and I ask you to pray for us as we search for housing this week and next.  We are looking for a miracle. :-)  Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Daily Decision: Who Will I Serve? God or Myself?

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.  They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  But that is not the way you learned Christ!---assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."

"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."     -Ephesians 4:17-32

"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
"Awake, O sleeper, 
and arise from the dead, 
and Christ will shine on you."
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."   -Ephesians 5:6-21

[On this side of grace, we have hope and confidence in eternal life with God because of Jesus Christ. (John 3:16-17) These next verses in Deuteronomy are from the commands of Moses to the people of Israel. They still have a powerful message about living for God's glory and not for our own.  It shares how we will be blessed and have life (abundantly as Christ described it) spiritually and blessed in our lives physically on earth.....but blessing doesn't always look like what we think blessing is. It doesn't always mean "get rich", "get married", "get healed", etc. It just says blessed, God decides how that blessing looks.]

"For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may heart it and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may heart it and do it?  But the word is very near you, It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.  
"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.  But if your heart turns away and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish.  You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.   Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them."   -Deuteronomy 30:11-20

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Word!: Part 2 of Magic? Uh...No.

Throughout this summer, I have become more aware of a growing fad of "the power of positive thinking"or the "law of attraction" or the action of telling the "universe" what we want in life and waiting eagerly for "Universe" to respond. And I am getting more and more concerned about why so many Christians are jumping on this band wagon too. I am not frustrated with those who are not Christian and believe the statement of positive thinking...the law of attraction to be powerful because they don't yet know the amazing power of God which surpasses all other powers. But I am getting really bewildered/frustrated that so many people claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ are allowing their minds to focus on proclamations from other humans on how they should think and speak and live.  It's getting a bit weird......Christians are talking about this positive thinking, name-it-and-claim-it stuff like it's God's Word.

There are SO many people saying they are children of God, believers in Christ, singing the latest worship songs in their cars each day AND talking about being able to positively think themselves into better fortune, better marriage, better health. It is clearly looking like these folks aren't living like they really know who God is. So, that's a little background on why and what I am about to write.

We Christians need to first and daily recognize Who we are following, Who we have surrendered to and put our trust in...the God of the universe, the Maker of all things seen and unseen, the Eternal Father. This new cultural/almost world-wide fad of speaking aloud our positive thoughts/hopes/wishes to get the things we want out of life has a bunch to do with....well, people's words. Ha!!  Let's first look at the most important word there is. Then let's look at what God thinks of that Word. Then let's look at what our response as humans should be to the Word.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
 -John 1:1
"Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."  
-Proverbs 30:5 (NASB)
"I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right."
-Isaiah 45:19
"'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  
-Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing each other in all wisdom
...with thankfulness in your hearts to God." 
- Colossians 3:16
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
 O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." -Psalm 19:14
"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth.  Therefore let your words be few."  -Ecclesiastes 5:2
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." -Psalm 119: 105

Recently, I have been thinking through, studying, and tackling a couple very difficult topics trending in our culture these recent years. Many folks in our world are focusing on self-improvement, mega business success, family/friendship restoration, and job promotion obsession all through the power of their thinking.....through positive thinking....through their words spoken aloud for the "Universe" to hear and respond.  I have friends, even Christian ones, who are beginning to believe the "name it and claim it"approach to life is for them and that it is working for them.  I have read portions of the book The Secret and learned a little about this new/"ancient" practice; about people speaking their wishes into the sky...to the "Universe" and forcing their minds and hearts to truly believe the powers of the cosmos will hear their desire and make a way for it to come true...all because they wished it....all because of some law of attraction was on "their side". Of course, as naturally self-centered beings, this is viewed as a great idea. If we don't have to depend on someone else to get what we need or want, that's the best solution, right? HUH!? 
So, Christians, are we to take this in too?  Are we to digest these new and also ancient approaches to self-gain/improvement and let them poison our bones as well?  Are we to begin living this way, in which God is viewed as a genie in a bottle instead of the Sovereign God that he is?  (As you know, I am not an apologetics scholar who can carry my readers/listeners into a deep theological discussion on this topic and brilliantly argue this point. And I am not one to write a piece that carries people in suspense for awhile and then lead them to the real answer of my thoughts and the conclusion. I am the gal who just says up front what I believe, with grammatical errors and all, and hopes that the Truth who I know is seen as beautiful and fearful and holy as He really is.)  
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, 
and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." 
-John 1:14
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
 No one comes to the Father except through me." 
-John 14:6
If all of us have this power, this "Secret" to speak circumstances, promotions, relationships, etc into existence by positive thinking then why on earth is there still so much recall on this "product"; all sorts of disease still happening, so many marriages breaking, so many people un-employed and hungry, so many children parent-less, so many thousands of people with depression and anxiety disorders, so many scandals, and so much violence/crime still happening? And if people are going to be speaking out into the universe and have all their wishes and hopes come true, then this place we call Earth would be truly complete chaos; all thanks to the "law of attraction". Really??  

Think about it: what if two different people are claiming to the sky, to the "Universe", or to the god of their choosing that they will get the position of CEO of a specific company?  What's the "Universe" or whoever going to do? Give it to both of them because they both sincerely claimed it to the skies, from their heart of hearts, mentally "bagging" that job? Is the "Universe" thus going to "see" that they deserve the job for giving credit to the powers of positive thinking and the law of attraction?  No. Only one person will get the job because it is clearly for "a" CEO.  
Think about these things: What is this power of thinking going to do for people when their family member gets sick with cancer?  Can they wish or positively think someone out of bed rest and into full health?  If they can, film makers need to make a new action hero movie about those people.  That's probably a new super power not made into comic books yet.  Come on people!  Why is this so attractive?  When, in the existence of man-kind, did we ever get the proof that we are perfect enough, sovereign enough, mistake-free enough, good enough, worthy enough for anything...the cosmos, the "Universe", the Buddha, our ancestors, the gods of this world, the spicy foods we ate the night before....to listen to our desires, wishes or hopes and make them come true all because we claimed it aloud while thinking positively??

We human beings are not and have never been the completer of the God-head, the giver of all life. We have never been Creator. We are "fearfully and wonderfully made"....MADE.  We have all been birthed into this world cold and hungry and help-less. We have all been born completely dependent on a Holy power, namely Almighty God, to keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing and our bodies growing to be strong and healthy.  We have never been in the huddle with God about the blueprints of creation....on any level. It has always been one way. God's way.  He was. He is. And He will always be. And we, his creation, will always be in complete dependence on Him for life...our life-breath and our life-joy. Regardless if we confess this to be true or not, we are in full need of our Creator for everything. So, (speaking to my fellow Christians who are believing in this "Secret")--why are you encouraging one another to just think positively, confidently that things are to happen in our favor, by our own "powerful" positive thinking? All glory is reserved only for God the Father in heaven. We, the created, will never get a slice of that pie.

Yeah, I know. I am stepping on toes; possibly hurting the feelings of friends I deeply love.  I have NO idea who has and has not read these books of positive thinking stuff.  I am not thinking of anyone particular while writing this. Most of this blog post was my re-action to what I have been learning about these new-ish trends through reading the news headlines and my discussions with friends. But I have been studying a little bit as well, so some of this post was for sure a confident response.

I just do not see why Christians are being so easily roped into all these different popular book guides to success, self-confidence, self-promotion, health, and happiness through the power of positive thinking; unless they are not truly reading God's Word daily. Are we Christians not reading the Bible AT ALL?  Come on, folks! As water is to a plant, so God's Word is to the believer in Christ.

This topic will be further explored and studied by me and you will hear from me again on this. I am praying for wisdom.  I know for sure I am FAR from perfect. I know I have many hang-ups and imperfections. So, that just tells me I need to lean even more on God's Holy Word.  His Word is truth and life.

Magic? Uh,...No

In preface to what my next blog post will be, I want to say just a few things. There are a bunch of discussions and lectures going around our nation about the power of positive thinking. Even more so, books are preaching it and people are getting paid to travel the country and speak to masses of folks about it.  But it is seeming to take on another face that is looking a bit frustrating to me.  What "gets me" are the Christians (some well-known pastors/teachers/authors or even just the very influential people of our local church families) who are preaching this message of positive thinking being a powerful force...a cosmic force...separate from God's power. These Christians aren't basing their understanding of the necessity of positive thinking on the entirety of the Holy Bible, but just on little portions here and there.  They are getting most of their "material" from a conjured up method formed from outside sources who are not surrendered to the authority of Christ. How do I know they are not surrendered to Christ's authority without ever meeting them face to face? I know because I have read their thesis statements and some book reviews about their works and these authors/speakers are not basing their entire power of positive thinking stance on the full message given in God's Word; personal and un-biblical theories are being twisted into the mix to "spice things up".

Positive thinking is something that I have embraced since I was a young girl. I like to look on the bright side of life. It is a very important discipline to have in our daily life.  Even in his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes to them to be careful what they think of each day. He even gives them a list of things to think on as a way to help the people (and all Christians, for that matter) to know where to center our minds. That list is in Philippians 4:8. But if you look at that list, each thing listed is something that seems to be hard to find most days. But the one thing...the one person who is all of those things continually is Jesus Christ. Our Lord God is good and right all the time.

Just because the Bible teaches us to be people who rejoice always, show gratitude often, love everyone, hope always, doesn't mean we Christians get that right all the time. For me, it's clear, if you know me at all or have read several of my blog posts here, that I am not always a positive thinker. I know that God commands me to think on things that are of God, but I am not always obedient. Duh! We all make mistakes. And just to add this in: Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a SINLESS life and died for OUR sins because God loved us SO MUCH. God knows we can't keep it right all the time. He knows we need a Savior. And I am SO grateful for Jesus! So, this trending topic of the power of positive thinking is getting a bit out of control when folks are beginning to speak about the power as a real force----not just a cause and effect anymore. It's being spoke of as a way to connect with the "Universe" and the cosmos and get the things we need and want....like a magical attitude....spell recipe or whatever you want to call it. haha!  

After reading....rather skimming some of the popular articles and books that are out on the bookshelves talking about this, I am seeing that people are thinking that positive thinking can actually, magically, alter their circumstances.  If that is not what the books are teaching then, the editor of their book should have chosen better words for their descriptions. Seriously.

Positive thinking is a great thing and should be practiced regularly by all because it can dramatically change a person's situation for the better when implemented, but it is not a power.....in terms of power of a superhero.  And we, are not people who hold any power of our own. SO, positive thinking isn't some magical thing on it's own. Ever.

There is the possibility that I may "ruffle some feathers", but I believe God's Word is the Truth and is Holy. I believe that everything else should be looked at through the filter of God's Word. Okay, now you can read my personal stance on this topic that I had already written in the next blog post.  Blessings.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


This is a special post to ask you to check out my husband's blog.  He is running a half marathon this weekend and is running for a cause.  He's done a great job training for this event and I am so very proud of him.  He's been using his blog to document his journey throughout all of training and he will continue writing about his journey up to and after the race.  Also, he created a twitter account for this event to allow twitter folks to follow him.  Please take a minute or two to look over his blog if you haven't already. And if you are interested in joining him in his cause, which is a very worthy cause, please make sure you "sign up" or register on his blog site before the race on Sunday so as to help encourage him even more as he runs. THANKS A BUNCH!!  I just want him to get as much encouragement as I can give him before his run on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Truth Pursuit

Just as we regularly take time to enjoy the rays of the sun, whether by sitting on our porch in the sunset's light, by reclining on the beach in the hot sun's rays, or by driving around town with the windows down warming our face with the sun's light, as people who believe in God's love and His Son we should find ourselves regularly looking into God's Word and exposing our hearts to the Truth.

Look at the trees as an example.  They are faithfully growing to the skies, whether in good times or tough times. They seek out the sunlight, move....position their branches to get the most sunlight exposure.  They take time in winter to dig their roots deeper so as to thrive in spring and summer through all the storms and windy days.  Trees and all things 'flora' know what gives them life and they pursue it.....with what we would describe as a passionate pursuit. Can we live with such a passion for the One who gives us life, now that we know WHO that is? I am so grateful to God for giving us His Holy Word so that we can know what brings us life....so we can pursue with reckless abandon God's Truth and thus truly live.

Romans 12:1-3 (The Message version)
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life---your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life----and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
"I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you.  Living then, as everyone of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God.  No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We Show Such Faith in Chairs...

Just a small thought I have today.

Why do we so easily, with no anxiety or hesitation, sit down in a chair--any chair, putting our whole weight on it; never questioning the strength of the bolts, screws and/or nails holding the chair together? BUT when we need to trust God for things more important than just bearing our weight as we sit, we have such a hard time putting our whole "weight" on Him.  It's not like the "Him" I'm talking about is a flawed human being or even an animal of lower conscience than humans. The "Him" I'm talking about is the God who made our every cell......every atom....every particle of the atoms in our bodies.  The "Him" is the God who made our physical bodies, our personalities, our talents and giftings, our skin color, our height, our family (lineage) and our souls.  It's such an amazingly strange thing that we struggle so much trusting someone who knows everything about us, who knows everything we have done, are doing and will do; who knows everyone we have met, do know and will meet.  This great God knows our every weakness and loves us SO much He chose to die on a cross for our sins...taking our punishment so that we could be brought back in line with God and become children of God. (John 3:16,17 and 18)
I understand that there is a big difference between physical trust (like sitting on a chair) and spiritual trust (like believing the invisible God will help, guide, teach, protect, provide, restore, etc.)  I get that. But still it is interesting to think of these two things together. I hope you are following my train of thought. haha!
We so easily collapse on a chair or couch at the end of a grueling day, resting our whole weight, physically on it. We need to pray and ask our great God to help us collapse into His loving lap (so-to-speak) in our hearts, our minds and our souls each day.  We need to pray and ask our loving Savior to show us what we can do to trust Him deeper.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."
 -Proverbs 3:5, 6, 7, 8

We show such faith in chairs each day with our physical person.  Can we show an even deeper/stronger faith in God each day with our spiritual/emotional person; thus showcasing to the world around us that our great God is able to bear the weight of any soul......that He holds the whole world in His hands?

Let's get real, women! Let's rise out of our anxieties and doubts by the power of God and shine to the world around us----showing them Who we trust with our every breath!  Let's be women who seek truth; knowing there is only one Truth, Jesus Christ. Let's quit worrying about bringing ourselves fame, recognition, status, etc. and start turning our hearts to the LORD, living to bring God glory and honor each day in our world of influence---for He is worthy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Music Video "He's Always Been Faithful To Me"

David Crowder Band - I Am a Seed

Happy 1st Anniversary Blog!

During most of my pregnancy and the whole first year of my son's life, I spent many hours thinking up topics and ideas for a blog I might create in the future. I had and still do have a strong desire to encourage women of all kinds; young, old, naive, mature, serious, silly, wealthy, poor....and whatever else in between. I was overcome with much anxiety and lack of confidence during that time span of a year and half. So my dream to reach women with the love of God and a love for His Truth through a blog format didn't really become realized until 2011. However, my desire to minister to women started many years before and became very strong in my heart during the year 2009 and continued to grow until I began writing in August of 2011.

Many nights during my son's first year I would think about--pray about how I wanted to encourage the world around me using the gifts and talents God has given me; thinking what I would say/tell my reading audience and what topics to address.  At the time of all this thinking and praying, I had no exact direction on how to pursue this longing in my heart to be an encouragement to a larger audience of women than friends at work, friends at my church, family and students in our ministry.  But somewhere in the time span of 2009 to 2011, I got the idea to share my thoughts with the world through writing a blog.

When my son was born and for those next eight months, I was awake every three hours....every night. (please don't judge me (haha!).....you don't know what my circumstances were....that's a WHOLE other story. haha!).  So during those times in the night, when things were very boring and I was feeding our son, or just having a bad case of sleeplessness, I thought of the idea of beginning a blog. I spent many nights praying the Lord for direction; asking Him to help overcome my fears about starting this blog.  I had created the basic idea of my blog in my mind. Sketched it all out in my mind, but never did anything (according to my memory) about setting up a blog account, writing my topics and stories down on paper or even telling anyone about it.....well, okay, I told one person--my husband.

After much thought and many months of postponement of my vision for this blog, the last week of July 2011 came and I felt like I should just attempt to look into blog-creating websites.....and just get an idea what I was about to "get into".  So, one late night in late July 2011, I sat down on the couch, with my computer in my lap and went to the blog website I already knew a bunch about (blogspot.com) because my family's ministry blog site was created on blogspot.com.

Deciding to start "goofing" around on the website, I clicked a button for creating a blog. Then the site asked me to register for an account and submit a username and password for all future access to my brand-new account.  So I sat there and thought about what username I would like to make for this new women's ministry blog account. And then I thought about what password I would submit. All that time, I knew I had not done anything with the ideas in my head about a women's blog, so my choice of username and password were new and fresh. I, to ALL of my knowledge, did not have a personal account on blogspot.com. So, I was thinking that I was creating an account for the first time.

Well, when I clicked the submit button on the registration screen up came a 'live' blog.....already set up. It had the format that you see right now.  It already had the title "Get Real, Woman!" and a little paragraph of what the blog site was to be centered on.  I sat in shock.....looking at the screen.  What I had been praying and dreaming about for about a year and a half was already set up and ready to contain it's first blog post!!  I couldn't figure out how it all happened. I still can't figure it out.  The paragraph describing the theme or reason for the blog was my heart's words exactly that had been swirling around in me for many months.  The only person who knew was my husband, so I basically thought he had done it for me and forgot to mention it to me.

That night, I worked on the already created and 'live' blog. Yes, it was 'live', meaning it even had it's own web address set up, so that anyone could have typed in a browser the address and pulled up this very blog site which had no posts written yet before I even knew it existed.  So, I never got to choose the name of the website address.  It was already there: womengetreal.blogspot.com!! I was stunned. I thought my husband had done it all and somehow got every word correct that flowed from my soul about my vision for this blog.

Naturally, the next day I thanked my husband. I woke up and was eating my breakfast on the couch in the living room and my husband was in the kitchen. As I walked through the kitchen to put my dish and spoon in the sink, I casually mentioned to him that I was up really late the night before working on my future blog. I immediately added with a big smile and gentle 'thank you' to him for creating the blog for me to use as a ministry tool. Before he could speak, I also said how blessed I was that his description paragraph for what my blog was to be about was SO spot on what my heart was telling me to focus on.

My husband casually looked up from his cereal bowl and said that he did not do any such thing.  He said he had never even attempted to create a blog web address for me, or to create a title for the blog and an introduction paragraph.  Obviously, I was SHOCKED!  I asked him if he was serious. He said he most definitely was. So, to this day, I don't know if any human being actually created this blog. They would have to have chosen the EXACT username and password combination that I chose when I was "registering".  I believe God made the blog site; that He set it up for me. After many months of great anxiety struggles, self esteem issues, sleepless nights I believe God was telling me He believed in me and my purpose behind the blog. And since then, God has helped me in so many ways to share my stories.  He is the mastermind behind it all. So, Happy 1st Anniversary to the blog that God built.

P.S.--This is the list of all the countries in which someone has read my blog in this past year.
USA, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Latvia, Brazil, Spain, India, Uganda.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


As women of truth, THE Truth, we are light to the world.  Matthew 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." This means that wherever we go, God's love and His light shine on anything and anyone who is in our circle of influence.  Many times when God's light exposes sin and darkness in the world we live in, we find it tempting to "join in" instead of standing firm as the lantern housing the Great Light source who is our Heavenly Father's Holy Spirit.  I hope that makes sense.  What if we really saw ourselves as vessels of light to the nations?

For those of us who desire to be a vessel of light....of God's love and truth; let us not be shocked when some of our friends turn from us for a short time and hide with other folks whose light isn't shining so brightly.  (This is NOT directed at anyone of the folks I know. It is just a thought that God has placed on my heart to share.)  Exposed sin and darkness in us is never a good feeling. Without Christ's help....without Christ's great mercy and grace, we cannot stand the sight of our sin nature being illuminated before the Great God.  No one likes to see their sin illuminated. Let us be women of compassion and grace and strength.  Colossians 3:12-17 is where I receive sound instruction on that point. I will copy those verses at the end of this blog post. Let us be women of God who stand firm.  As we are a light to the world, a lantern holding the light of Christ,....shining to our friends, foes and those we do not know,.... let us understand our purpose.  When God's light in us exposes sin in ourselves and in others, may we choose (every time) to honor God in those moments showing mercy and grace and love that only comes from God.

When the light of God in me clearly seems to illuminate darkness in a friend, it's tempting to just "turn out the light" in me and "fit in with the crowd" so as to not create a wave of discomfort in their hearts.  My personality is to try whatever I can to make people happy and find joy in life. So when God's light reveals yucky sin in my circle of influence and I see that person/ those persons treading backward away from me and our friendship because of the awkward exposure, I sometimes just want to stop shining God's light in order to stop the pain they feel.  But God keeps pressing in on me to not stop shining His light/His love/His truth because in the exposure of our sin is the great chance to admit/confess our sin to each other and God and find healing......find hope....find reconciliation with our Maker.  God knows it is awkward and tough for us to deal with our sin. He knows sin binds us up and keeps us from coming close to Him.  But God tells us many times in His Word to love one another. His Love helps us to confess our sin, our rebellion and find salvation, and fellowship.  God's love that He wants us to share with all those we meet is so powerful that if we personally choose to keep it hidden in our hearts and not shine it, someone else will shine it and get the blessing instead. As it says in the Bible, God's love never fails.

Personally, I would rather struggle through missing my friends when they step away from the light........rather struggle through getting treated poorly by co-workers and bosses because of the light that I carry than miss the blessing of being a vessel of God's light to the world.
I am so grateful our Lord Jesus lives within His people so that all we need to do is surrender to Him and allow Him to shine through us. Like a lantern. We house the light that is started in us by the Heavenly Father.

Colossians 3:12-17
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Return

JESUS.  His name alone is power, grace, freedom, redemption, hope, truth, life, wisdom, strength, peace, righteous, and holy. I need to meditate on Jesus and the basic truths of His majesty and might and His Name which the Bible says is above every name. I need to return the focus of my heart to the Lord Jesus.
Here are some verses that I found in my Study Bible's concordance about the Lord's name.
Proverbs 18:10--"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."
Isaiah 42:8--"I am the LORD, that is my name;..."
Joel 2:32--"And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved." 
Malachi 1:11--"For from the rising of the sun to it's setting my name will be great among the nations..." 
John 20:31--"but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
Acts 4:12--"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." 
Philippians 2:9--"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name," 
JESUS. The person---our God in the flesh. The Bible says He is our Prince of Peace, our High Priest, our Emmanuel--God With Us.
This weekend, I need to return the focus of my mind to the knowledge and understanding of who my Lord Jesus IS as much as meditate on the power even just in His name.  I want to remember and profess to my heart today, that my LORD Jesus isn't weak in any way and will never be defeated or overcome because He holds the whole world in His hands. He is the Righteous One, our Redeemer and even my friend. He is so much more, but I will continue with my thoughts as best as I can.

The disciples of Jesus, the guys that walked with him, ate with him, found shelter with him, listened to him speak to masses of people throughout the lands of Israel, saw him transfigured into His glorious heavenly self on a mountain and saw him heal folks and raise people up from the dead....among these men, one--the apostle John wrote this:

1 John 1:1-10 ESV
 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

God's Word gives us what we need so that we know Christ and thus know the Heavenly Father.  We Christians, many times, think that being "saved" is all we need to be. But it is a life transformation when we are saved. And our new life causes each of us to want to know the One who gave us a new life.  We want to show gratitude by having a life of grateful hearts for His deliverance and devotion to knowing His Word. If we are truly rescued from darkness (as spoke about in the book of Colossians) and brought into marvelous light, we will be changed forever.  Christ in us forever. We must live showing we are changed.  To bring us to the center of this, we can start with JESUS....even His name is powerful enough to bring us back to center.  Thinking upon His name, saying His name in reverence and humility brings us back to center.....a life and mind focused on our Maker and His divine good news.

This evening...this weekend, I just wanted to see Jesus and know Him more deeply than the day before. I confess, I haven't sat still and done this in several days. It is much needed each day and I haven't done that recently. However, God is still here waiting for me to meet with Him.  He never walks away and gives up on me....or anyone for that matter.  I began reading in the Gospel of John. I encourage you to do something of the same in your own pursuit of Christ.

I am going to share with you the parts of the book of John (of just the first 3 chapters) that I read yesterday and today to reconnect me with my Savior and Lord.  I will copy the verses and parts of verses I journaled about this weekend; first using the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible and then, for another view of it, I will copy the same series of verses using The Message which is a paraphrase of the Holy Bible.  Be blessed as you read along with me the Good News.
Speaking of my Lord Jesus Christ...
John 1:10-14

"10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." -ESV

John 1:9-14 The Message
" 9-13The Life-Light was the real thing: 
      Every person entering Life
      he brings into Light.
   He was in the world,
      the world was there through him,
      and yet the world didn't even notice.
   He came to his own people,
      but they didn't want him.
   But whoever did want him,
      who believed he was who he claimed
      and would do what he said,
   He made to be their true selves,
      their child-of-God selves.
   These are the God-begotten,
      not blood-begotten,
      not flesh-begotten,
      not sex-begotten.
 14The Word became flesh and blood,
      and moved into the neighborhood.
   We saw the glory with our own eyes,
      the one-of-a-kind glory,
      like Father, like Son,
   Generous inside and out,
      true from start to finish."

John 1:29-31 ESV (speaking about John the Baptist's encounter with Christ)
"29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:29-31 The Message
"29-31The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I've been talking about, 'the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.' I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God."

John 3:1-8 ESV
"Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:1-8 The Message
"1-2 There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we all know you're a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren't in on it."
 3Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to—to God's kingdom."
4"How can anyone," said Nicodemus, "be born who has already been born and grown up? You can't re-enter your mother's womb and be born again. What are you saying with this 'born-from-above' talk?"
 5-6Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
 7-8"So don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be 'born from above'—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God."
My thoughts journaled this weekend:

Jesus came to us clothed in skin, His Majesty veiled for a short time, to teach us His Father's will---that we all come to know Him our Savior, our Messiah, our Life---our Bread of Life...our "necessity of life", our only Hope of redemption from the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23).  Jesus came to show us He IS the way--the only way to redemption, to only way to eternal LIFE which is in the presence of our Creator and mighty God, the Heavenly Father.  He knew we needed Him to come in our human shell to show us the Way----to show us Himself.

I am forever grateful from the deepest part of my soul for His life here on earth some two thousand years ago. I am grateful for His light in our darkness to lead us to the Father as we are just sheep in great need of a shepherd and are completely lost without His guidance, protection and provision.
And I proclaim again:
Jesus is life.  Jesus is peace.  Jesus came, died in our place/paid for our sin-debt, rose from the grave, defeating the grip of death and sits victorious at the right hand of the Heavenly Father.
God's Word tells us Jesus is what we need. Jesus' name is what we should speak into our hearts, into our minds each day. He is our necessity.  His time here on earth was to show us the way to our necessity (my pastor spoke last week about this....Christ being our necessity of life).  And now, as a believer in Christ Jesus, His Spirit, His blessed Presence stays with me...and you who believe...even as He sits as King of kings on His throne in Heaven.  I am so grateful my Jesus not only made a way for me to have redemption and salvation from my sin, but He made a way for me and all believers to have His presence forever with us so that we do not walk through this life alone.....no matter how many friends we have or do not have.  Jesus-the Victor is the best of friends, the best of companions, the best of champions, the best of leaders and the God of all gods.  I am His and He is mine. And Jesus is coming back to earth for His people. Are you ready?