Thursday, November 12, 2015

Living Transformed

This year has been one of great transitions and transformations for me. So I shouldn't have been surprised that #transformed is the word that kept coming up (and eventually stuck) as I began mulling over, praying about, and working on my theme for my ministry.

The first major transition and transformation of this year was moving. My family and I sold our house (the house, my husband and I both figured out as we were getting ready to move, which was the one I (and he) had lived in the longest in our lives. This transformation is still in progress, as we (the whole 6 of us) are living with my in-laws as we head toward building our new home.

Some of the other transitions and transformations probably haven't been as obvious. At least not on the outside. But God has really been working on me this past year. He had me in quiet, still, and listening mode for about six months. I knew my plate was too full and that some things had to go, but since all I was doing seemed "good," I didn't easily give anything up. However, God made one thing clear, then another, then another. I carefully obeyed, in respectful ways stepping out of some positions and responsibilities.

That's not to say my schedule's not still abundant, but I feel like my focus is narrowing in a good way.

Most recently, I've been mulling over, praying about, and working on my ministry focus. My life focus, really. Why is it I do the things I do? Why should I choose one activity over another? What is my goal? What are my objectives? What outcome do I desire from all of the time, energy, and effort I put into the things I do?

The answer, which shouldn't have surprised me, was to help encourage people to live #transformed lives.

If we are Kingdom people, we should be transformed by the love of Christ. By the grace of Christ. By the mercy and holiness and sovereignty of Christ. He should make our lives radically different. However, this seldom happens spontaneously. There is work to be done. A refining process as we're #transformed from glory to glory to become more like Him.

That's what I desire to do with my time, energy, and efforts. I desire to become more and more like Jesus and help others on the same journey. For us all to live the outrageously abundant lives He came to give us. Not the mediocre, complacent, comfortable lives most of us live. There is so much more!

So, today (or yesterday, really) is the first day of everything coming into focus. That I desire to continue to move forward and offer support as others seek to "Live the best life where we are as we take the next step to becoming who we're meant to be."

Are you interested? Are you excited? I'd love to have you come along! Let's live #transformed together!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dear Christian, Stop Shouting Persecution


Sometimes passion, when relayed in black and white words, comes off not necessarily as it is intended. Passion can feel harsh and lacking of the heart and compassion that truly are meant to be conveyed. After re-reading my post, I realized that the first couple of paragraphs seem harsh. They were not meant to be that way. I considered just rewriting them, but felt the need to explain my heart.

It is for you. It is for all of my brothers and sisters who passionately want to live in a way that brings glory to Christ. I ask that you hear that part of my heart. I do not mean to be harsh, critical, or accusatory. My heart is to look at what we do and compare it to scripture. This is a place I see contradiction. I ask myself the same questions, step back and examine my own thoughts, words, and actions and see if they're truly biblical, truly glorifying to the Lord.

That is my heart. And that is where this post comes from.

Dear American Christians,

Please, my dear brother and sister, stop shouting, lamenting, and claiming persecution. Unless you have been beaten, shot, burned out, run out, or robbed of everything because of your faith and wholehearted love and walk with Jesus, stop it-be conscious of how these things reflect on the Lord.

We Christians in America - many, not all - seem to have become vigilant, edge of the seat sitters looking out for any sign that we're being mistreated due to our faith. Then we shout it from the rooftops and see how much press we can get because of any slight or offense at any perception of such sign.

First, let me acknowledge that the mood of America has been and is changing. Unlike many (not all) of our country's first immigrants and founding fathers, the majority of those in charge and with the loudest voices do not have a foundation of faith in God. Long gone is respect for persons of faith and in its place has come a hatred of and disdain for faith. This is very true.

But this is not a cause for us to be up in arms.

Instead, we should first recognize and pray for our brothers and sisters who face true persecution around the world. Then we should rejoice that our persecution is just around the corner. We should expect it and wait for it with eager anticipation.

Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. Matthew 24:9

Around the world, our brothers and sisters are being tortured, kidnapped, chased out of their homes, arrested, beaten, and murdered. Let us have our eyes opened to their plight, pray for them, and do something for them. (

There are things we can do every day.

And when persecution really comes to us - because dear brother and sister it is coming - let us behave as the early believers did: LET US REJOICE!

 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way." Matthew 5:11-12

The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. Acts 5:41

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  James 1:2

We are not to spew hatred, take to court, or try to best verbally those who desire to put us down, take our rights, or damage us in any way. Instead, we are to BLESS THEM!

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:27-28

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Romans 12:14

So, my brothers and sisters, when persecution comes - in any form - let us follow the lead of those who walked with Jesus and counted it a privilege to suffer for His name. 

Let us not shout to the world that we're under attack, let us instead shout the name of Jesus for all the world to hear! 

Let us keep the focus on Him and proclaim to the world His saving grace, unending love, and unfailing mercy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Problem with Rules-Based Religion

Jesus never called us to be good people. When we attempt to live a life good enough to be worthy of the calling of Jesus (or, more detrimental, when we attempt to be good enough to earn our salvation) we are like the rich young man who was so close, but missed eternal life because he thought it depended on his actions.

We are also telling Jesus that He is not enough. His living a perfect life is not enough. His sacrificial death on the cross taking the full punishment for our sins is not enough. His resurrection revealing the power and glory of God is not enough. His free offering of grace, mercy, and forgiveness is not enough. His fulfilled promise of indwelling us with the very Spirit of the Lord, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe is not enough.

It sounds good to say that we are good. That we follow the rules. However, this causes some major problems (other than the main problem of essentially slapping Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the face).

One of those problems is rebellion. Remember, some people embrace rules. Others fight them with every ounce of energy they have. They rebel, run, and live reckless lives because rules are not enough. The church trying to be perceived as good and reigning down judgment on those perceived as bad have kept many, many people away from the kingdom.

Another problem that’s created is an atmosphere of “how much can I get away with.” When rules are clear and people believe they just have to follow the rules, there are going to be many who want to know how far they can go and still stay within the technicalities of the rule. They will push boundaries and limits just far enough to still be “good.” This mentality is dangerous because if something isn’t found on the list of rules, it must be okay. Or it’ll be okay until someone decides otherwise and I’ll still be “good” because I didn’t break a “rule.”

I’m reminded of when a certain artificial sweetener was released. This is the mentality I had. It was a great replacement for those other artificial sweeteners that studies had shown could have adverse effects. I’d use it until they found something wrong with it. And they eventually did. I’ll never know how much damage I did to my body by ingesting that substance for a period of years in ignorance.

A rules oriented way of thinking lead to the same problem. We will still be looking out for our own interests and changing our actions only, not our hearts.

So, if God’s desire isn’t for us to be good, as we’ve seen in scripture and other examples, then what does He want from us?

The answer is much, much more difficult than a black and white list of do’s and don’t.

What God wants is for us to be totally and completely surrender our very life and every aspect of it.


Friday, July 24, 2015

A Closer Walk

Do you ever feel like there's something holding you back from a closer walk with the Lord? I think everyone I know on the journey of faith has felt a barrier at some point. I most certainly have.

As I've moved along my journey, I've seen a variety of things inhibit digging deeper in my faith, growing more mature, and becoming more intimate with Jesus. One of those things is our very own sin. Another can be life challenges. Ignorance of Biblical truth is yet another. And one that I've noticed more and more is deceptions:

* About what the Bible actually says
* About who God really is
* About our standing without faith
* About what faith adds to our lives
* About how our relationship with God is to impact our lives

When we're talking about eternity, these things are essential. Yet, even those of us who have entered into a relationship with God through faith in Jesus can also be deceived and robbed of an authentic, vibrant, abundant life here on earth. We can also miss the great blessing of sharing the gospel with and seeing others come to faith.

My newest adventure and endeavor is to tackle many of the myths that Christians have integrated into our thinking. These myths negatively affect our faith walk and by busting them, we will also bust down barriers to drawing deeper in our relationship with the Lord.

A bit scary, but better than the best roller coaster or vacation in the world, it will lead to peace, joy, and transformation that will outshine the sun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

God and Your Journey

One thing that I absolutely love about social media is the opportunities to access encouragement throughout the day. I know it depends on who your friends are, but I have very strategically placed almost all positive people in my social media sphere. And it benefits me greatly!

However, once in a while I come across a saying or platitude that's meant to encourage but in reality drives me crazy. This is usually because it's not grounded in biblical truth. It may sound good, make us feel good, but if it isn't based on scripture (accurately), it's worthless and may even be damaging.

I came across one of these sayings today. Someone posted something to the effect of: "Don't forget, God is with you on your journey."

This sounds so encouraging! But it fosters a wedge between us and God. It is based on the premise that the journey is ours and God's just hanging out, along for the ride. Yet that's not His greatest desire for us. Or what's best for us.

His best for us is for us to be completely and totally surrendered to His will. He wants to be the guide on our journey, not the passenger. And wouldn't we want the all-knowing, perfectly-loving, ever-faithful Lord to lay out our steps for us? 

So, yes, God is with you! But not for your journey. He is with you to lead you into a life beyond what you could imagine or steer yourself into on your own.

{Also found at}

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bible Reading Challenge

I've been working on a new non-fiction book {A Closer Walk} for a little while. Now that summer is here and school is out, I'm finding much more time to write (this is how life works for us homeschooling moms - a little backwards). As I dive into the book and see God working in me, one of the things I've felt led to incorporate is a Bible Reading Challenge. The book has 31 sections (not to worry - they're all pretty short!). 

This reminded me of another author who said he read the Psalms and Proverbs each month; broken down to 5 Psalms a day and one Proverb, you can get through both books every month. I did it once. Now I'm ready to do it again, with a little added. Okay, a lot added - like the whole New Testament! 

As I dive into God's Word I am always blessed. 

And if I'm going to recommend my readers do this, then I need to have done it myself. It will be a lot of reading - that's what makes it a challenge - but I believe it will come with immeasurable rewards. 

The challenge starts July 1. I'd love to have you join me! You can follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page for daily reminders, encouragement, and updates. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Is God Enough?

Have you ever asked the question: "Is God enough?"
My first reaction to this question is: "Of course He is!"
However, every time I choose my own way instead of surrendering to His way, my actions show that I'm not really sure God's enough.

     * Is He really enough to carry my pain?
     * Is He really enough to change my loved ones?
     * Is He really enough to be in charge of how I spend every minute of every day?
     * Is He really enough to lead me right every time, all the time?
     * Does He love enough?
     * Is He good enough?

The resounding answer is YES! Of course He is!!
So why is it so hard to surrender to Him?

Oh, if only I had an easy answer. But after focusing on surrendering to God for years now, I have found out that it is much more complex than I ever thought. I've also discovered that the more I desire to surrender, the more my selfish, self-centered, self-gratification-seeking flesh fights it. I have fed my flesh too regularly and that's why it rears its ugly head.

I'm reminded of Paul's lament about his struggle with the war between the flesh and the Spirit:

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. ~Romans 7:19-21

I'm relieved that I am not alone. The struggle (the most intense, impactful) is real. God knows. And He has provided a way out. The way is to know Him, rely on Him, trust Him, and obey Him.
I know I'll never do any of these perfectly, but God has provided a way to release me from the trap of sin through His Son Jesus (Romans 7:24).
I am free to surrender to Him. Or I can stay trapped in the slavery of sin, even though He's given me the key to let myself out.
So today my prayer is that I will get it from my head to my spirit that God is enough. 
For everything.