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I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

3 Jul

ain’t this the truth!?

{via pinterest via twitter}


Posted in jesus, random


16 Oct

jesus, friend of sinners

Christ can take the most sin-laden, selfish, evil person
and bring forgiveness and new life.
~ Billy Graham

It’s no secret Jesus was a friend to sinners. He was most comfortable with the “least of these.”

From birth, He was numbered with the transgressors. Mary and Joseph were coming to Bethlehem to register their names. A census was being taken and each person had to go to his or her capital city to register. Jesus was numbered with sinners.

The fact that Jesus was circumcised numbers Him with sinners. Circumcision was a rite administered admitting that one was a sinner. Clipping the extra skin signified the Hebrew shouldn’t have sin in his life—we should be circumcised from sin. Jesus was circumcised signifying He identified with us. Jesus, a friend of sinners.

In Luke 5:27-29 we read the account of Matthew, a tax collector, and his decision to follow Jesus Christ. A tax collector wasn’t thought highly of in that day. They were classified as greedy, often taking more money than they were entitled to.

Excited about his decision, Matthew hosted a banquet in his home, inviting all the publicans and sinners together. Among this motley crew, Jesus was the guest of honor. Jesus, a friend of sinners.

In John chapter 4, we read of Jesus and an adulterous Samaritan woman at a well. Jesus knew she had five husbands, yet living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Still, Jesus sat at the well with her, not to condemn or judge her, but to minister to and encourage her. Jesus, a friend of sinners.

Jesus was a friend to blind Bartimaeus beside the road, to Nicodemus at midnight, and Zacchaeus, whom He had a meal with. Jesus, a friend of sinners.

In His last dying breaths on the cross, Jesus saved a thief saying, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” {Luke 23:43, NLT} Jesus, a friend of sinners.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say,
“Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine,
and he is a friend of tax collectors and sinners!”
Luke 7:34 {NCV}

I say praise God that Jesus is a friend of sinners. Praise God He eats with sinners. Praise God He sits and communes with sinners. Praise God He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” {Mark 2:17 NLT}

Friends, we are all sinners. We have all fallen short of the glory of God.

All of us.

One of us is no better than the next.

Can we too, come along side the broken-hearted, the needy, and the fallen? Not with judgment and condemnation, but with love and grace?

Following in the footsteps of our Savior, shouldn’t we too, be a friend of sinners? <– tweet this

Jesus, Friend of Sinners
:: Written by Matthew West and Mark Hall
Performed by Casting Crowns ::

Jesus friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus friend of sinners the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

{chorus}

Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

Jesus friend of sinners the one who’s writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we’re for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

{chorus}

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me a grateful leper at Your feet

‘Cause You are good, You are good And Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

{chorus}

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

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{read 31 days of forgiveness from the beginning}


Posted in 31 days of forgiveness, forgiveness, jesus


16 Aug

rules without relationship = rebellion {post 2}

When I first heard these four words:

rules without relationship = rebellion

I immediately related them to parenting. And then as the phrase simmered in my mind, I thought how it also relates to our relationship with God.

There’ve been many scholarly words and sermons preached on the differences between religion vs. relationship. Christianity vs. religion. Jews vs. Gentiles. Pharisees vs. Jesus. And on it goes …

Today, I’m just going to share my simple thoughts. I suppose though, they’re not just thoughts … they’re my experiences. It’s what I know to be true.

I’m about to make a bold statement here, but open your hearts and hear me out? I don’t believe we can call ourselves Christians and not have a relationship with Jesus. Christianity isn’t a religion. Sure it’s a piece of it. But it’s by no means the kit n’ kaboodle!

Christian – to be a Christ follower
Follow – go in the same direction as or parallel to
Christianity – Christian quality or character
Character – who you are when no one’s looking
Religion – a system of faith
Relationship – the way people are connected, or the state of being connected

Are we following Christ? Are we pursuing an intimate relationship with Him? A relationship so strong that we ooze His qualities and character?

If we try to live by all the rules laid out for us in religion, without knowing why or understanding the heart behind it … that’s where good ol’ fashion rebellion comes in.

rules without relationship = rebellion

I recently saw the Katy Perry movie with my girls. Did you know she was brought up in an evangelical Christian home? And even tried her hand in the Christian music industry. I can’t help but think she ended up feeling trapped by the rules of religion. It seems she never grasped an intimate relationship with Jesus for herself.

How might I think so? I’ve lived it. I know it. I grew up knowing all the rules of religion … but I missed the most important part … the relationship. Granted, I was a teenager and then a young adult. And let’s face it being a Christian can be hard when it seems like the “world” is having fun around you. In hindsight, I think it was hard because I didn’t understand what it meant to have a relationship with Christ. I didn’t know why I needed a relationship with Christ. Other than saving myself from the depths of hell.

“It is a joy to Jesus when a person takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be a visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.” – Oswald Chambers

Friends, we’ve been created to have intimate relationship with Christ. He doesn’t want us to live only by rules. He wants to deposit into our “banks” on a regular basis, so when the course of life tips our balance sheet the other way … our banks will remain well above positive. So we’ll have no doubt of His great love for us.

There are numerous stories in the Bible of Jesus facing the Pharisees and going against the “rules.” Why? Because Jesus was acting out of love and relationship. Not rules or religion. One of my favorite stories is found in John 8:2-11 {hover over the link and the scripture will pop up}. Ahhh … what beautiful love!!

He came so that we might have life. Life more abundantly. Not rules. Not religion. Not rebellion.

Will you join me in claiming that today?

And please join me tomorrow over on the MODsquad blog where I’ll be sharing a great parenting resource and doing a lil’ thing called a … giveaway!

rules without relationship {post one}


Posted in faith, inspiration, jesus, quote, series


7 Jun

being punished …

My girl disobeyed me … big time disobeyed … and I was quite shocked by it. Having one of my girls purposely disobey me in this huge manner has never happened to me before.

Let’s face it … the teen still doesn’t drink caffeinated beverages because it was something I never let her do. She just turned 17, and only recently stopped asking permission when there’s a particular PG-13 rated movie she’d like to see.

I digress. Back to the kid being punished.

Immediately after school, I sent her to her room … for the night. I remember being so upset by what she’d done, I seriously considered not giving her dinner.

I’m telling you … her offense was huge! I rarely punish my kids in any sort of dramatic way like this. I prefer to gently discipline. There’s a difference between punishment and discipline … but that’s another post for another time.

Today my writing is two-fold.

The first thing I’d like to share …

In the middle of being punished, big-time punished … my girl reached over and said, “you’re the best mommy in the world.”

It struck me, I wonder what would happen if we did the same to God. If, in the middle of our suffering, we could reach up to tell Him, you are the best Father in the world. {I’d like to point out that I don’t believe God punishes us … I believe He allows suffering for our ultimate good, but I don’t believe He punishes us.}

I wonder if we changed our mindsets to rise above the suffering and look for the blessings instead. To find purpose and understanding in our suffering. To know that it’s for our ultimate good. To trust that He has a plan … and it’s a good plan. {Jeremiah 29:11}

The second thing I’d like to share …

I started this post almost two months ago. Things I want to share come to mind and just as quickly leave. So I’ve been trying to write out small snippets so I don’t forget what I’d like to write about.

Anyway. My point? I absolutely for-the-life-of-me can. not. remember what my girl was being punished for. As I mentioned, I don’t usually punish in this way. At. all. So for me to send her to her room for the night, I know the “crime” was big. And I do remember being really, really upset by what she’d done.

And now? I don’t remember.

And I’m left thinking … that’s how it is with our sin. Jesus sacrificed so we could be forgiven. We confess. And it’s forgotten. Wiped clean. Forgiven and forgotten.

Do you believe that today? Do believe God has given you a clean slate? All sin is forgiven and forgotten. It’s true. It’s His promise and in His word.

He has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross. Colossians 2:14 {JB Phillips}

I also wonder … is there someone who’s sinned against you? Wronged you? Have you forgiven and forgotten? Or do you continue to hold on? There are many, many verses on forgiveness … here are a few of my favorites.

So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says , ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 {NIV}

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 {NLT}

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:14 {ESV}

This post started out in one direction and sort of took on a prompting of it’s own. I’m all kinds o’ fired up about forgiveness and I think I’ll be doing a series on it in the coming weeks … stay tuned!

I pray you’ve gleaned some nuggets of godly wisdom in my ramblings here!


Posted in encouragement, faith, forgiveness, jesus, parenting


15 Mar

the need to touch his hem …

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5:34

Do you know this story? It’s a beautiful account of a women who’d been bleeding for twelve years. Doctors couldn’t figure out the problem and her condition was getting worse. Upon hearing that Jesus was near, she worked her way through the crowd to touch His hem.

In Mark 5:28 we read, “because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’”

Well . . . touch His clothes she did. And healed she was!

“Immediately,” the Bible tells us, “her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”

In recent conversations with a friend grieving the loss of her daughter, we’ve talked about the need to “touch His hem.” Asking Him for just one sign to show He cares. And then guilt creeps in … “shouldn’t our faith be strong enough that we just believe? Do we really need to see a sign?”

In those moments of desperation, when I need to see something tangible … a sign that He’s still Lord over all … I’m comforted to know that yes, indeed … I can reach out and touch His hem. He will honor my desperation.

After hanging up with my friend, our conversation kept popping into my thoughts on an annoyingly regular basis.

With a few more thoughts on the subject, I called and left her a message with the following:

That day the woman touched His hem … she wasn’t the only one there. The Bible tells of a large crowd gathered around Jesus. Jesus knew someone had touched Him, and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” The disciples answered {probably while rolling their eyes}, “You see the people crowding against you, there’s no way to figure out who touched you!.”

I would venture to say there were many in the crowd that day desperately needing a healing touch from Jesus. But it was the woman who knew, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

And she was. It was her faith in reaching out for that hem that healed her. Do you think anyone else in the crowd gathered ’round got their needed healing? I think not. Well, ‘cept Jarius’ daughter, but that’s a different post.

I wonder what kept them all from asking, from reaching. Was it fear? Disbelief?

I don’t think we need to feel guilty for asking for a sign. I don’t think that means our faith is any less. I think it’s in those moments of sheer desperation when we cry out to Him, “I need a touch from you Lord!” that He honors our faith in knowing He’ll meet us.

And because God is God . . . when my friend called back to let me know she’d listened to my message, she had the best “of course story” ever! You see, after she listened to my message, she’d gone to her daughter’s room. As she started going through some things, she came across a church program. It was the first church service she’d attended after Emily died. When she looked at the piece of paper in her hands, she couldn’t believe {well . . . she could, but you know what I mean} what she saw … the front cover bore the image of the woman touching Jesus’ hem. And get this … the church service that day had nothing to do with the message of “the woman touching the hem.”

WOW.

In our times of desperation when we ache for a tangible sign … touch … from God and believe that He’ll do it, He’s faithful. Period.

But wait. It gets better.

So … in working on this post, I wanted to make sure my friend was okay with me sharing some of her private thoughts. She gave me permission and also remembered she’d never sent me a photo of the church bulletin she’d come across. When she texted me the following, I couldn’t believe {well … I could, but you know what I mean} my eyes.

I called her back immediately and said “You’re not going to believe this! Well … you will, but you know what I mean.” That is the very same image I found to use in this post. And I texted her this image:

The thing is … I don’t usually use any photos but my own. And with this image in particular, I scoured for a good thirty minutes looking for the perfect image that I could link back to some kind of source. And it sure wasn’t an easy feat!

Here’s the bottom line, when you believe, pure and simple, just believe that God will reveal Himself to you … He will.

Is there an area in your life today needing a touch from God? Emotional healing? Physical healing? I urge you to reach out and touch His hem. I promise … you’ll never be the same.

 


Posted in faith, inspiration, jesus