Thursday, February 12, 2015

I know there is a God.

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”
~Ernest Boyer, Jr.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fierce Woman - Kim Wagner

The truly beautifully fierce woman has an otherworldly strength derived from a source beyond herself. She’s plunged in fully to the forgiveness and love of Christ, and He holds her heart so completely that she’s reached true contentment. Her identity is forged through abiding in Him, and her courage is displayed by her commitment to Him and His cause. He is her driving motivation and propels her by the wind of His Spirit. Her passion is stoked by His fire. She is no “halfhearted creature” but is drinking deeply of Him and experiencing infinite joy. She is a warrior at heart—not violent or aggressive—but tempered by humility. She’s a soft warrior; fleshing out the beauty of fierceness in her daily life. Loving God and others with sacrificial devotion. This is the kind of fierceness I’m talking about when I said I love to see a fierce woman in action. I strive for this ideal. Check her out in the characteristics below. 

Characteristics of a Beautifully Fierce Woman

  • Her identity and value are rooted in her relationship with Christ rather than a relationship with a man.
  • She’s filled with gratitude for God’s good gifts. Her heart is ruled by the peace of contentment.
  • She courageously faces her fears rather than running or hiding in shame.
  • She’s passionate about things that matter rather than living for the trivial.
  • She loves God and others. She’s more focused on giving love than getting love.
  • She’s willing to battle for a worthy cause rather than shrinking in defeat.She grabs the hem of God’s will and doesn’t let go.
  • She protects and defends the helpless rather than using her strength to bully others. She is known as a sincere encourager.
  • She’s honest but kind.
  • Others feel comfortable in seeking her counsel.
  • She embraces God’s Word as her ultimate authority rather than being swayed by the voices of the culture.
  • She faithfully confronts by speaking truth in love rather than enabling sin by keeping silent.
  • She walks in confidence and humility that flow from her recognition of Christ’s work of grace in her life.
  • She has the power to influence and inspire because she lives under the Spirit’s control.
  • Her life is lived all out for God’s glory rather than the smallness of self.
God wants to use these characteristics to fulfill His calling on your life. I love seeing how the fierce women of Scripture did this. Esther courageously stood ready to perish as she fought for the lives of her people. Deborah led the armies of Israel to victory in spite of fearful Barak. Priscilla, along with her husband, Aquila, once literally “risked her neck” to save Paul’s life (see Romans 16:4); she was bold, courageous, and a diligent student of the Word.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Secret of Contentment...

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him [Christ] who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

Discontentment can be dangerous. It can drive us to hasty decisions or unwise actions we later regret. A desire to be someone we’re not, a wish to be somewhere we don’t need to be or a motivation to have something not ours--can easily derail our life. Why let our discontentment obsess over the thrill of the chase, when contentment patiently waits on the joy of all Jesus has for us. Contentment has a way of cleansing our motives. It moves us closer to Christ’s heart. 

Contentment is the ability to endure hardships or handle prosperity. If we are never satisfied, always in want of a little bit more, we are set up for disappointment. More relationships, more stuff or more opportunities only complicate and confuse our life, if they become the object of our affections. Or, we may struggle under the weight of adversity. It can crush our contentment unless we see God at work where we are unable to work. Contentment grows our trust in Jesus.

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service” (1 Timothy 1:12).

Paul understood the fruit of contentment. He was a work in progress, but by God’s grace he had progressed. He used hard times to better understand the heart of God. While in jail, he started the first jail ministry and he penned profound words of truth. Contentment was the canvas of his life on which  the Lord painted His beautiful masterpiece of grace. From the beginning of His walk with Jesus he submitted to whatever He wanted. Christ working through him was his big secret!

Therefore, we stay enrolled in the school of contentment for it is a lifelong educational process. Like wisdom and humility, we are always learning and growing in the discipline of contentment. The secret is surrender to Jesus Christ and by faith allowing Him to live His life through us. His strength sustains us. His Spirit empowers us. His wisdom enlightens us. His humility humbles us. His love embraces us. The secret of contentment is resting in Jesus. It's trusting Him to handle the rest we can’t control. Prayerfully we wait on God’s best. Contentment in Him is great gain!

“Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I surrender to You and Your expectations for my life. I trust in Christ to strengthen my soul. 

Related Readings: Psalm 131:2; Proverbs 19:23; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11

By: Wisdom Hunters Devotional

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Be Satisfied with Me

Be Satisfied with Me
by St. Anthony of Padua
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone, To have a deep soul relationship with another, To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But to a Christian, God says, "No, not until you are satisfied, Fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone, With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.
Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship, That I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another
Until you are united with Me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.
You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.
Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that's all. Don't be anxious, don't worry Don't look around at things others have gotten Or that I have given them Don't look around at the things you think you want, Just keep looking off and away up to Me, Or you'll miss what I want to show you.
And then, when you're ready, I'll surprise you with a love Far more wonderful than you could dream of.
You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment To have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me And the life I prepared for you, You won't be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love, I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me.
And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection and love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly. I AM God.
Believe it and be satisfied.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Prayer for Enjoying the Sabbath Rest of the Gospel - Scotty Smith

A Prayer for Enjoying the Sabbath Rest of the Gospel

May 25, 2014 | Scotty Smith
     Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that restHeb. 4:1-3  
     So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest. Heb. 4:9-11
     Heavenly Father, on this Lord’s Day morning, I rejoice in the magnificent paradox these Scriptures present: We’re to strive to enter your rest. What a glorious irony—work hard to rest well, stay restless till we rest fully, work hard to cease working.
     Yet no real surprise, because the gospel contradicts the fundamental way I’ve been trained to approach every sphere of life—athletics, education, finances, career, and reputation.
     “You deserve it, go earn it.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “You’ll always get what’s coming to you, so go get it.” “You can do anything you set your mind to do.” These mantras we’re drilled into me since I was a child, and they’ve failed me ever since.
     But (hallelujah), because the gospel is true, I didn’t get what’s coming to me, Father. You gave that to Jesus at the cross. And in exchange, you’ve given me what I never could’ve deserved or earned: complete forgiveness, the righteousness of Jesus, and your permanent favor resting on me.
     There’s no greater rest than to know you are at peace with us—to be certain that you are resting and rejoicing over us in love. Our never-ending calling, now, is to hear and believe thisgospel; and to respond accordingly. We now obey you because you love us—not to get you to love us, and O, the difference that makes. Hallelujah, many times over!
     What a most liberating vocation you’ve given us. We serve you, not to get anything more, but simply more of you—to glorify you and enjoy you forever. O glorious Sabbath rest! So very Amen I pray, in your holy and grace-full name.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Excerpt from my Thesis...

Well as I drag my feet in completing my thesis one giant leap of a chapter at a time, I wanted to share with you some of the first chapter and the purpose behind writing my thesis on image - precisely being made in the image of God. This is something I do not believe we focus on or understand the power of being His creation made in His image. Here goes nothin...

Irenaeus once said, “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.”[1]  The beginning of Genesis testifies man being made in the image of God. Isaiah 43:6-7 points out the purpose, “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”[2] God created us in his image to best glorify himself. Sinclair Ferguson stated, “In Scripture, image and glory are interrelated ideas. As the image of God, man was created to reflect, express, and participate in the glory of God, in miniature, creaturely form.”[3]
The more we resemble God the more we naturally glorify him and experience the fullness of life. Romans 8:16-17 reads, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”[4] What a beautiful picture of our heritage as children of the King. However, from the garden to today there is a battle within to be known, to be heard, to know one’s purpose in this life. Why are we not satisfied with our Creator and what he has created? What is it about needing to take a bite from the forbidden fruit hoping it will reveal, ease, satisfy, and numb what is missing? There is a story to be told from the beginning of time and one that includes us.
Peter Pan was always a favorite as a child. The excitement of adventure, thrill of staying young, freedom from rules, and flying with pixie dust all sounded like a dream. There is a part in the book where J.M. Barrie writes, “Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world, which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time, and then when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be rewarded instead of smacked.”[5] This quote from Peter Pan explains many of us, our deep down desires and erroneous view of God. We want to do what we want and when we need God, we will go to him in hopes for “grace” and no consequences. The other half sees God with wounded eyes, with irrational fear of God’s character and love for his heir.
The natural inclination of the heart, one created to glorify God is marred by sin. Sin has stained the image of God in us, but it has not destroyed it. However, with that sin draws our heart to reflect the images and idols around us. We have begun to worship the creation and not the Creator. God speaks these words in Genesis 6:5-6, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”[6] What does living in this tension look like and how do we get to a place of truly having a biblical view of image?

[1] Hedges, Brian. Christ Formed In You. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2010, 27.
[2] The English Standard Version Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
[3] Ferguson, Sinclair B. The Holy Spirit. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1996, 139-140.
[4] The English Standard Version Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
[5] Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. New York City: Henry Holt and Co., 1911.
[6] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: New American Standard Bible. Updated ed. La Habra: Lockman Foundation, 1995. http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/strongs-exhaustive-concordance/.

Friday, May 23, 2014

"7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess"

I haven't read a book in a long time that has challenged me as a whole in a long time and 7 by Jen Hatmaker has done it. I am only on the third chapter and my whole being is engrossed and cannot put down researching justice, changing my perception of what I want vs. what I need and single handily pillaging my closets and drawers. 

Below is more about the book and I hope you take the time to read it and trrrryyyyy it! Ehhh hmmm there are modified versions of each of the experiments. God's at work and I'm loving how He is using Jen's story to challenge me. I can say I feel closer to Jesus and the true heart of His purpose then I have in a long time when it comes to possessions, waste, food, clothes, media, stress, and shopping. 

You will be challenged, you will laugh, you'll want to love deeply, sometimes pull your hair out and occasionally whine over how hard it is. It will rock your world, but all because it bring more glory to God. It's getting back to the simplistic idea of loving God and loving others. It is after all the only commandments the Lord gives us in the N.T.

"7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" - 7 is the true story of how Jen took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.