Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Follow me

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“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

I’ve never been a very good follower.  I like to do things my way, on my time, and under my stipulations.  It’s a selfish approach to life that admittedly brings me a false sense of security.  I think my way is faster, better, and certainly easier – why would I choose to live any other way?  I might be wrong, but I think most people lead their lives this way.  Sure, we may be great at following instructions from our boss at work, following the principles of our preferred politician, or even following the latest fashion trend of our favorite celebrity, but when it comes to our lives, we don’t want to follow anyone but ourselves.  It’s a worldly trend that has quite honestly caught on like wildfire, and I believe it has become one of Satan’s most deceitful tools His uses to draw us away from the Spirit-filled life Christ calls us to live.

Jesus tells us He came to this earth so that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10), but how do we experience this abundant life?  Jesus puts it plainly.  Follow me.  He speaks these words 20 times in the New Testament.  Follow me.  It seems simple enough, right?  However, in a world filled with “self” it becomes one of the hardest tasks we, as Christians, are called to do.  Think about it, we live in a self-motivated, self-assured, self-reliant, self-centered society that provides the path to self-righteousness or self-loathing.  This process of choosing self over God becomes the bottom line to all of our sin.  So, what can we, as followers of Jesus Christ, do about it?  I think the answer is found in dying.

STOP TRYING AND START DYING – this is a new quote I have put on my refrigerator.  You see, in my self-centered world, I have tried to follow Jesus on my terms, but I’ve learned I can’t “try” to be a better follower of Christ.  When I try and follow, it puts me in the driver’s seat.  I must die to myself in order to live for Christ.  Deny myself.  Pick up my many crosses and follow Him – His way.  It’s not a new concept.  Jesus told all, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).”

The very root of this word, “deny,” means to die to our own interests and desires.  It doesn’t come naturally.  We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do it.  As the Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Corinth about the resurrection of Christ and the ultimate resurrection of our souls, he told them “I die every day (1 Cor. 15:31).”  He went on to tell them “the body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (42-44).”  I have learned I must die in order to truly live.

I have a critical tongue with my spouse.  DIE.

I lose control when my kids don’t obey.  DIE.

I’m jealous or envious of a friend.  DIE.

I am fearful of the future.  DIE.

I am overly sensitive.  DIE.

I am controlled by those around me.  DIE.  The list could go on and on.

By dying to myself and following Christ, I am no longer saying Jesus is top priority in my life – I am saying He is the ONLY priority in my life.  I allow the Holy-Spirit His rightful place at the driver’s seat of my heart, and I am no longer in control.  Is this hard to do?  Absolutely!  It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, decision to die and follow.  But, we aren’t alone.  As children of the Almighty Creator of the Universe, we are blessed with His strength and power to lead us, and lead us He will.  In Luke 11:13, Jesus says all we have to do is ask for the Holy Spirit, and He will give Him to us.  So, today, may each of us approach His throne with confidence, and ask Him for the amazing gift of His Spirit, in order that we may offer ourselves fully to Him.  “Follow me,” He says.  Yes, Lord Jesus, one death at a time.

Until next time, dying to live.   Katie

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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

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

Making Friends With Your Problems

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1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

It has been a while since I have been able to post.  Truthfully, I haven’t been motivated to; instead, I have allowed myself to be consumed with my daily problems.  You see,  almost two weeks ago, my father had to undergo emergency open heart surgery – a quadruple bypass, to be exact.  Praise, honor and glory to God, all went extremely well; then, the tough work began – my father realizing the repercussions of his previous lifestyle choices and recognizing recovery would require more than just healing – it would require change. 

Medications, diet (dad was diagnosed as a diabetic after surgery), and exercise have become the topics among my family concerning my father.  It’s been frustrating.  It’s been exhausting.  It’s been depressing.  Now, you would think, as someone who loves the Word of the Lord, I would have been camped out there for the past couple of weeks searching for His guidance in this situation.  But, sadly, no.  Instead, I’ve tried to solve things myself – so much so, I have physically worn myself out.  Today, God said, “enough was enough.”  

This afternoon, I finally took the time to sit down and read His Word – to really “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  As a result, the faithfulness of His magnificent Presence began to show.  I started reading in the book of Psalms, meditating on the word’s David wrote thousands of years ago – “we wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You” (Psalm 33:20-22)  I kept telling God, yes, I know You are my strength.  Yes, I trust in You.  But God, I’m overwhelmed, and quite honestly,  I feel angry over these problems I am having to face.  That was when the gentleness of the Holy Spirit prompted me to pick up one of my favorite daily devotional books, Jesus Calling.   At first, I was headed to today’s date, but something stopped me as I was flipping through the pages.  The words written were “make friends with the problems in your life.”  I read that sentence over and over.  I kept reading as the author wrote “every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I (God) created you to be.”   Make friends with my problems – but God, what does that look like?  He answered. 

Embrace your problems as you would your friends.  Know that I have allowed these problems to come into your life for a reason.  Don’t allow the problems to frustrate you.  Allow them to focus your eyes on me.  Also, don’t let the problems exhaust you.  Your friends don’t exhaust you, they rejuvenate you.  If you trust me, allow me to guide you through this.  I will get you to the other side, and you will experience My presence and the amazing exhilaration of walking alongside Me.  Remember, though, you must turn to Me alone.  Trust that I will lead you to where I want you to go.  Finally, I know the problems you face can be depressing – acknowledge the sadness that accompanies living in a fallen world, but don’t let it overcome you.  For I have overcome the world, and one day you will experience the joy that comes from resting in that hope. 

Peter, the rock in which Christ built His church (Matthew 16:18), knew first-hand the power that comes as a result of making friends with your problems.  He wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).  I don’t know what problems you are facing today – we all have them, and they certainly come in all kinds of trials – but, rest in knowing our Father desperately wants to hold your hand through them.  I have learned, sometimes, prayers aren’t enough when your problems seem insurmountable.  Sometimes, you must plant yourself at His feet and be transparent with what you are feeling – anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness – He can handle it.  Find peace, as I have today, in knowing once you allow Him to take over, the load will feel lighter, the end of the tunnel will be closer, and true transformation will take place.

Until next time, readjusting my eyes on Him… Katie