Tag Archives: Christianity

God With Us

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3538790“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel– which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23

The Alpha and the Omega. The Messenger of the Covenant. The Author of my faith. The Gateway to my salvation. My fountain of Living Water and my Bread of Life. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. Mighty God. My Vine. My Refuge. My Strength. My Rock. These are just a few of the glorious names that come to mind when I think of my Lord Jesus Christ. Each of them hold special meaning to me, but there is one name that stands out above the rest and gives special meaning to my soul, especially during the Christmas season – Emmanuel, God with us.

The true message of Christmas should stagger the imagination. The second Person of the Trinity, the Son of the Most High, the eternal Word becoming flesh so that sinners could be saved. Completely human, yet completely divine. Over two-thousand years later, I have to wonder if we really understand the significance of this magnificent gift. God with us. The birth of the final Passover Lamb that would save the people from their sins and offer eternal life to all.

In the Old Testament, we are told of God’s presence with His chosen people. The nation of Israel, including Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David, show us time and again not only how powerful and mighty the Holy Spirit is, but how personal and intimate He is as well. David writes of this experience with God’s presence in Psalm 139, “you know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me (2-5).” On that silent night in Bethlehem, Psalm 139 came to life to all believers. God with us. The gift that would lead to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” – a promise given in the Old Testament (Deut. 31:6) and the New (Hebrews 13:5) – a promise fulfilled as a result of the baby asleep on the hay. This is our antidote for the ramifications of living in a fallen world. This is our eternal hope when we are in fear of the present day. What sent the shepherds back to the fields rejoicing, what made the Magi travel hundreds of miles and risk their lives to witness, what made the heavenly host of angels sing praises to God that special night was the fascinating realization that God was now with us. The Christ-child that would become the King of kings and the Lord of lords was in their midst, and as a result of His death and resurrection, He is in ours as well.

I’ve learned over the years, without God with us, we, as sinful humans, are incomplete at best. A baby wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger brought all of us to absolute wholeness with God. Do you feel the power of God today? If your answer is no, don’t worry. There are many days when I don’t experience His power, but I know I have His presence, and as a believer, you do too. Emmanuel, God with us… this gift means He came to this earth to stay.  Yes, His body left as He ascended to heaven, but His precious Spirit remained as a result.  Claim, as His child, that every second of every day His Spirit is flowing through you and you are made complete.

This Christmas, as you exchange gifts with your loved ones, recognize the greatest gift of all in Jesus Christ, and allow His presence to fill your homes with the insurmountable joy and love that was felt that first night in a stable in Bethlehem.  And if you want to retrace that wondrous night through Amy Grant’s song, Emmanuel, God with us visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sdghXzCdAY.  I pray God’s blessings on you and your family.

Until next time, celebrating the birth of our Savior… Katie

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Face to Face

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 “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” 1 Corinthians 13:12a

Summer is finally in full swing, and it’s been a while since I have posted.  God has certainly been pricking my heart to write, but, to be honest, I didn’t know where to start or how to express what I have been feeling.  You see, over the past month, I have been emotionally overwhelmed with the reality of intense sadness and extreme loss as I witnessed two precious young women fight a long hard battle against the devastating disease of cancer and lose – Elliot Patterson Williams and Laura Gautney Black.

While, I didn’t have the privilege of personally knowing both women in their last months on this earth, I feel as if I have journeyed with them as I followed their Caring Bridge websites and read each post along the way.  Both women were wives, mothers, daughters and friends to many. Both women were passionately in love with Christ.  And both women had an unwavering faith throughout their battle with cancer – desperate to glorify God and draw others closer to Him.  Their faith, along with the faith of their families, has truly been life changing for me, and I am eternally grateful for the lessons I have learned over the past few months.  I have watched these women exemplify what it means to love our Lord unconditionally, to surrender everything to Him, to depend on Him alone, to trust His ways are higher than ours, and, most importantly, to appreciate every day we are given on this earth.  As the Psalmist wrote, “this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (118:24).  Yes, life is a gift to be celebrated, and we each have a purpose to fulfill.  Today, God is calling out to you to act on His behalf – are you listening?  Thanks to Elliot and Laura, I feel my ears are more in tune to hearing His words.

Over the past few days, God has helped me realize that every day, we change.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, we change.  Each day we either grow upward towards our Heavenly Father or we decline downward, but we do not stay the same.  There is no steady state.  We either get better, or we get worse.  And just as Elliot and Laura fought against their flesh in their battles with cancer, we, too, are fighting against our flesh.  In fact, many of us are under attack, and we don’t even recognize it!  We complain about the unfairness of this life.  We struggle with hurt feelings and revenge.  We are consumed with jealousy and covetousness.  We hold onto unforgiveness and impatience.  We submit to self-righteousness and hypocrisy – all the while God shakes His head, desperate for us to “get it.”  So, through His amazing mercy and grace, He allows us to experience an Elliot or a Laura, and we are so lovingly slapped in the face with what is really important – Our walk with Christ and subsequent trust in Him and dependence on Him.  Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.”  Are we the thief prohibiting the understanding of the abundant life Jesus called every Believer to experience?  I tend to think yes.  We must be on our guard and stand firm in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) as Elliot and Laura did if we want to experience victory in this earthly life!

Today, I rest, and hope others do as well, in knowing Elliot and Laura are basking in the unbelievable greatness of our God’s glory.  They see the completed picture.   They are no longer struggling with their flesh, as their steadfast faith has brought them home.  St. Augustine wrote, “Faith is believing what you do not see, the reward of faith is to see what you believe.”  Laura and Elliot have received their reward in full as they are face to face with our Creator and Savior.   The image gives me peace, and hope, and joy – I pray it gives their family and friends the same.  In the meantime, we continue to try and put the puzzle pieces of life together and fight off our fleshly desires, recognizing for “now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we (too) shall see face to face.  Now (we) know in part; then (we) shall know fully, even as (we are) fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Face to face with the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  It’s overwhelming to imagine, but for those who believe and rely on Christ, it is a glimpse into our future – a future without the war against flesh – a future experiencing victory through faith.  Amen glorious Father.  Amen.

Until next time, kneeling before the magnificent throne of our Lord – thankful for two women who have opened my eyes to the precious gift of life and forever shaped my walk, and countless others, with the great I Am…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