Tag Archives: Christian

Wake-Up Call

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“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

As summer draws to a close and a new school year begins, I find myself reevaluating my walk with Christ.  While I have enjoyed a break from the hustle and bustle of my children’s normal activities over the past couple of months, I have also found myself out of my normal routine with God.  Ashamedly, June and July brought little quiet time with my Father, and I have to say I have been missing Him terribly!  So, a few weeks ago, I revved myself up to refocus my attention back on Christ and checked out some books from my church’s library.  One book that has brought me to my knees and created a revival of sorts in my soul is “The Slumber of Christianity” – the title, in and of itself, caught my attention right off the shelf and the content didn’t disappoint.

In the book, Ted Dekker takes a close look at why Christians, in general, are settling for lives of mere contentment rather than living with genuine joyfulness, which our Creator intended for us to experience (1 Thess. 5:16).  Why are we, as Believers in our great Lord, living as if this earthly life is all there is?  If you are like me, it’s easy to rely heavily on the pleasures of this life to bring you happiness – unfortunately, that happiness is fleeting when you are faced with the reality of living in a fallen world.  The fact is, we weren’t created for this earth – we were created for Heaven (Ecc. 3:11).  How can we awaken from our slumber and create a passion for Heaven while we are living here on earth? 

My wake-up call has been to recognize with an open heart, mind, body and soul that the life I have created for myself here on earth IS NOT all there is – I have a much more superior life waiting for me in which I will spend eternity, and, if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, so do you!  Think about it – if you viewed everything from this one truth, how would your life change – how would your day change?  The Apostle Paul tells us, not once, but twice to keep our hearts and minds set on our final destination.  He writes “since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).  The fact is our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and we must become obsessed with our nationality! 

Dekker so eloquently writes, “We humans are naturally obsessive creatures.  We tend to fixate on objectives and dreams, and we are quite good at achieving whatever our minds conceive.  Why is this?  Because we were created in the image of a God who has a similar nature.  His ways are beyond our understanding because they aren’t bound by human reasoning and His obsession is not an entirely rational thing. We were designed to obsess after our Creator.  But our hearts have been corrupted, and the agent of evil, Satan himself, has successfully redirected our obsession away from God and His great reward for all those who love Him, by filling our minds solely with the things of this earth.  Christians have fallen asleep to the promise of the afterlife and no longer dream of that great day.  Their obsession for eternity is in slumber.  And being creatures created to obsess, many have redirected their obsessions to the pleasures of this world alone.”

I hope those words hit you like they did me!  Where is your obsession?  Is it your children, your spouse, your vacations, your food, your drink, your things, or is it your God?  I’m constantly trying to fixate my mind on the ultimate destination of my heavenly home and the eternal life which awaits.   I have to say, when I succeed with my thoughts, I am given peace, patience, and genuine joy.  I’ll close today with Dekker’s final words, “There is a truth that this life will quickly pass and the staggering reality of the life to come will be upon us.  There is also a truth that you were created for that life more than for this life.  Thinking on these matters alone will begin to change everything you do.”

Until next time, setting my eternal alarm clock to obsess after our Creator… Katie

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A Cheap Imitation?

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“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did…  Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” 1 John 2:6,9

A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years.  Over a bizarre series of events, God brought us back in contact with each other, and I couldn’t wait to catch up on all that was going on in her life.  As we visited, she began opening up about the struggles she was facing.  It was soon obvious to both of us that she was at a crossroad.  As a fellow believer in Christ, I asked her where her faith was in all that was going on and if she had prayed over these issues.  Her response was heartbreaking.  This is what she told me.

I don’t think I believe in religion anymore.   Over the past few years, I have seen more love in non-Christians than Christians.  In fact, most of the Christians I know are full of anger, hate and self-righteousness.  Honestly, I just don’t know if I believe in a Heaven where these self-proclaimed Christians are going to spend eternal life just because they believed in Jesus.  I’m beginning to question if I believe in Jesus at all anymore.

Wow.  I was speechless.  She proceeded to tell me of some of the encounters she had experienced with her Christian family and friends.  As I listened, I was shocked at what she shared, and quite honestly, sickened from the words and actions of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  God, in His infinite wisdom and impeccable timing, had brought this friend back into my life, and when she made these statements, I knew exactly why.  You might think it was for me to win her back to Christ (and eventually, I pray that it is), but as I sat there, I realized God was, once again, molding me in my Christian walk.  I began to question if I was showing the true face of Jesus to those around me?  Is love, acceptance and forgiveness what I lead with in my witness to others or do I come across as arrogant, close-minded and unloving as the Christians she had been encountering?  Was I, in fact, a cheap imitation of Christ?

As followers of Jesus, we are called to show the world around us glimpses of Heaven.  We are to strive to live differently, while at the same time, recognizing we too are sinners.  We are to celebrate being a child of God, while acknowledging so is everyone else.  We must concede that God loves each of us equally, and He is desperate for each of us to ultimately come home to Him.    Yes, I am called to hold those around me accountable, but I am also called to do this with love as my motivation – not my selfish, human inspired agenda!  As sinners saved by the precious blood of Christ, who are we to throw stones in the first place?  Remember the adulterous woman in the temple courts?  Jesus point blank asked “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7)   Yes, Jesus held people accountable.  Yes, He was angry at the sin He encountered.  Yes, He was frustrated with this fallen world.  But, His love overpowered any other emotion He was feeling, and Jesus tells us to do the same – “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).  “Whoever claims to live in (Christ) must walk as Jesus did… anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness” (1 John 2:6,9).  Oh Lord, please don’t allow me to live in the darkness – help me to truly understand it is love that wins others to Christ!

I will be held accountable one day – for my words, my actions, and ultimately my servanthood to our Mighty King.  I pray on that day He will say the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart were pleasing in His sight (Psalm 19:14), but more importantly, I pray He will say He knew me because I looked like His Son – I loved like His Son – I exuded peace like His Son – I practiced patience like His Son – I forgave like His Son – I was gentle and kind like His Son.  This is  how He will recognize each of us.  This is how others around us will recognize Him.  As a family of believers, let us remember, we are always giving glimpses of His wonderful glory – today, may we grasp the power this responsibility gives us in leading others to Christ or away from Him.

Thank you Lord today, for faith, hope and love – help me to remember the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13), and help me to always lead with that.

Until next time, practicing my best imitation of our King… Katie

Infectious Attitudes

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James 3:9-10 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers this should not be.”

I have a dear friend who got me thinking last week about infectious attitudes.  She did this through an event she recapped in the funniest way.  I asked her permission to share her story with you, because I think, like me, you just might relate. This is how she told it.

“Katie, you’re going to die when I tell you what I did the other day.  I’m so embarrassed over what happened that I don’t even want to tell you.  (She certainly had my attention now – she continued)  I was  driving morning carpool, enjoying the ride and talking with my son, when it happened.  I made a turn from a stop sign, and as I turned, I noticed an older gentleman walking his dog in the middle of the other lane.  As I got closer to him, I could see he noticed me as well, because he was screaming at me to slow down and obnoxiously waving his hands to emphasize his anger with me.  As I passed by, completely annoyed at the ugliness I had just witnessed, I couldn’t help myself –  I had to turn around and give that man a piece of my mind.  After all, I wasn’t speeding, and he was walking in the middle of the road!  As I rolled down my window to make him see the error of his ways, my plan backfired.  Embarrassingly enough, we ended up having a shouting match with absolutely no resolution.  As I drove away from him, I was so mad at myself for turning around!  I should have let it go.  But, I didn’t!  Instead, I let his mean get all over me!”

Can you relate? Oh, how I can! I loved her analogy “I let his mean get all over me!”  Have you ever let someone’s mean get all over you?  I have many times.  It’s certainly not something I’m proud of, it’s just the truth.   As a result of my retaliations, I always had regrets.   Regret for not holding my tongue.  Regret for not having self-control.  Regret for not honoring my heavenly Father with my actions.  It reminds me of James’ words, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers this should not be” (James 1:26, 3:9-10).  No, it should not be.  Mean for mean is unspiritual.  But, how do we fight our flesh?  Simply put, as followers of Christ, we must be willing to accept the offenses of others with humility and silence our precious pride. 

In the Gospels, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to treat others as we would have them treat us.  It’s radically different from what our society tells us to do!  When we are offended we must be willing to turn the other cheek and stand with Jesus.  Please know, this is not a weak form of complacency.  It’s a strong, self-determined, God-motivated love for Christ.  Can you imagine the impact we, as Christians, could have on our culture if we truly practiced everything Jesus preached?  Our Christ-like attitudes just might become contagious!  

This week I challenge myself and each of you in the body of Christ to start a revolution.  “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).  “Rid yourself of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips” (Col. 3:8).   Immerse yourself in His word which breeds wisdom that is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit” (James 3:17).  In doing so, you just might infect someone’s attitude with the life-giving Spirit of Christ.

Until next week, striving to start a revolution…Katie


Running Through Stings

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Romans 5:3-4 “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.”  
My husband, Allen, and I are training for our second ½ marathon (we ran our first one a little over 13 years ago, so we felt it was time to torture ourselves again).  Anyway, for the past ten weeks we have been diligently hitting the treadmills or the streets, trying to prepare our bodies for the day of the race. We have scheduled our long runs to be on Sunday afternoon, and I have to say, I rarely look forward to them, as they have cut into my routine of church, lunch, and nap – not run!  Nevertheless, a couple of Sundays ago,  our training schedule had us making our first 11-mile run.  I wasn’t looking forward to it!
As always, the first few miles weren’t bad at all, but once we hit mile 8, we certainly had to push ourselves to finish.  Then, while we were closing in on mile 10, our run was unexpectantly  interrupted.  Allen had stopped, hunched over, and was grabbing his eye.  I kept my feet moving (I feared if I stopped, I might not start again).  I looked back at him and asked what was wrong.  No answer.  He was still stooped over, and I could see him rubbing his eye intensely.  Now, a little worried, I jogged back to him; and once there, I knew my feet had to stop along with his.  After Allen struggled with his eye, he finally regained his composure and was able to tell me what was wrong.  Something had flown into his eye and stung it! I thought he had to be mistaken, bugs don’t fly into your eye and sting it, but he was right.  Some sort of bug had flown in, out of nowhere, and landed on his eyeball and stung it – it was bloodshot and already beginning to swell.
I asked Allen if he wanted to stop or walk the rest of the way back (after all, he couldn’t see out of his eye), but he was determined to finish the run.  We started back, slowly but steadily picking up our speed, and before long, we were finished.  The pain in Allen’s eye was still there, and you could see the effects of the sting; but his vision had cleared up.  We laughed at how odd that was – a bug flying around, that happened to land on and sting his eyeball.  It was definitely an interruption we hadn’t foreseen and certainly one we couldn’t have planned on!   I thought isn’t that what our life here on earth is all about?  Those crazy, painful interruptions we don’t see coming.  They hit us head on, skew our vision, and stop us in our run with Christ.
Over the past year, I’ve seen many of those stings in my circle of family and friends, as I’m sure you have – the sudden death of a loved one, the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, the illness of a child, an addiction gone awry, the aftermath of a natural disaster, the loss of a job – the list goes on and on.  And while Jesus is clear to His followers that we will face suffering on this earth, His foresight doesn’t make the hurt and the heartache go away. In fact, sometimes the wounds those stings leave on our lives are devastating, and we are left with a choice to pick back up and continue running with Christ or to stop the race all together. I’ve seen both choices made, and only one breeds hope and eternal life.
As Christians, we are told to rejoice in our sufferings (1 Peter 4:13) and to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).  However, how do we do that?!  The answer – we can’t!  We weren’t made to.  But our Savior was.  It is only through the power of Jesus Christ we can allow our “suffering to produce perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4); and, therefore, “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).  We must endure this life in order to reap the extraordinary benefits of the life to come.  But that endurance must be sought.  In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to “pursue endurance” (1 Tim. 6:11) – “endurance that is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3).  Strong’s concordance tells us this word endurance Paul speaks of means “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and suffering.”  Read that definition again.  Have you seen this type of spiritual endurance in action?  Over the past few years, I have.  I’ve seen it in men and women of faith who have prepared themselves for the stings of life through their complete devotion to our Lord and their unwavering faith in the hope He promises.  How grateful I am to those who, through their pain and anguish, have given me a glimpse of our Father’s love through their loyalty to Christ!
Yes, we will suffer, but we suffer with hope.  We continue running through the stings, and we endure the after effects – being certain that one day “He will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things (will have) passed away” (Rev. 21:4).  What a beautiful picture we are painted of our eternal destination!  In the meantime, through our tears and our heartache and our pain, we keep our eyes focused on the prize that awaits – assured we aren’t running this race alone.  For we have a great cloud of witnesses running alongside of  us, and the mighty power of our Savior within us.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you.
Until next week, running the race (stings and all)…Katie