Resurrected with Christ

As Easter approaches, I am taking time to remind myself of the covenant I have with Jesus and what it means for me. He was the sacrificial lamb of this blood covenant we have. I agreed when I was saved to live my life as a disciple of God, and a follower of Christ. I asked God to take over and be the boss. In return, He promised me protection, he promised me healing, he promised me eternal life free from condemnation, so long as I ask forgiveness and accept Jesus as my savior. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am saved by grace. I think I got the best end of this bargain.

In children’s ministry, there is a lot of emphasis on the death of Jesus. “Jesus died so that you might live abundantly. Jesus died for your sins. By Jesus stripes you are healed. God sent his son to die for us and give us eternal life.” We talk a lot about Jesus dying. We cheer that Jesus died for us. More focus should be made, in my opinion about the resurrection of Jesus.

When you are baptised, you are burying the old you, washing away your sins, and being risen with Christ. You are baptised as a confession of your acceptance of Christ as your savior.  When we were born into this world, we are born of Adam and into sin. Sin is in our nature. When we accept Christ, our old nature is dead and buried and we are born again in Christ. The resurrection is key to understanding your salvation. Now for a moment, let’s imagine you just died with Christ. You are held under that water for ever. Being cleansed of sin through Christ’s death sounds pretty awesome, but without the resurrection it ends there. We would live and die as sinners.

Consider Romans 6:1-14:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,a that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

When we accept Christ’s salvation, we died with Him, and rose again. We rose again. The resurrection of Christ means that sin and death are no longer our master. Our one true master is God. Everything we live for should be to Honor and Glorify Him.

We talk about the death of Christ and the cleansing of our sins when teaching the word. We talk about the DON’Ts…And we sort of miss the point. Now that sin is no longer my master, I shouldn’t concentrate as much on the don’ts. I should be focused on the do’s.

Take for instance, a diet. If you want to focus on all the things you are depriving yourself of for the sake of fitness, it is going to make it oh so hard to succeed. You have to focus on the things you need to do and the things that come of it. In the morning, if I say to myself, you can’t have that donut. It’s bad. I get to feeling sorry for myself about it. If I say to myself, here is a delicious healthy omelet made with a little cheese and spinach and mushrooms and you will be full until lunch because of the protein and feel better because you aren’t sugar crashing in an hour, then I might just succeed.

You magnify what you set your focus on. Focusing on grace, love, and mercy rather than guilt and condemnation and applying it to others will help you greatly in your walk. A good portion of what Christ won for us on his Resurrection day has to do with our lives here and now on Earth. God wants us to be happy, He wants us to be healthy, He wants us to spread love. Jesus said people would know us by the signs and wonders and by the way we love. If we suffer through this time on Earth we can’t be light to the darkness. We just blend in with the rest. Defeating sin and living in the good things that God has for you is part of the deal we struck. God always has something better for you. Are you willing to work for it and get it? Are you willing to stop saying Jesus died for my sin, so I can’t… and Start believing that Jesus died so you could have a future and that your future can give Honor and Glory to God and be a testimony to others?

We celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas. We tend to celebrate his death and sacrifice on Easter. This year, lets all try to remember that it was the raising from the dead that conquered death. We are no longer death’s servants. Easter is a time of re-birth and revival. Easter is the celebration not only of Jesus resurrection but of every believer’s spiritual resurrection.

Happy Re-Birthday!

Freedom in Trusting God

My husband and I have been digging deeper spiritually and asking God to renew our purpose and give us guidance. Both of us have walked away from dreams that God gave us in the past because we could not see how to do it without financially ruining our family. We lacked faith.

I am headstrong and my husband trusts that when I run with something, I can either make it work, or find a solution that will work. That is just my personality. I will find a way, because I have had to in the past. He has a tendency to put his desires on the back burner for the “safety” and “security” of our family and finances.

Over the last year, God has been feeding us a spiritual message that our dreams are not dead. That He gives us new purpose. We first got it at church from our amazing pastor. He preached for weeks on several subjects and in the end always came back to the message that God has not given up on our dreams. We are part of a church that believes that following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in service is best. Sticking to the program structure hinders the work of God. Then people started coming up and saying “I don’t know what you are going through, but God wants you to know…”

I started just begging God for direction. I have so many things I want to do, which one is the one God wants me to do? I would try to just do one and then the message that I am a five talent servant instead of one talent would come up.

Right now, we are in transition. God is ramping us up to something bigger. We were so tied up before in unbelief. We believed that God could do anything, but not really through us and on the scale that we wanted.

Freedom is what we needed. Freedom is what we still need.  2 Corinthians 3:17 says “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” We are looking for freedom. Freedom from what the world says is acceptable for us. We have to grow up, get jobs and settle down now that we are married and have kids. We were forgetting that with God all things are possible. We can pursue our dreams, GOD GIVEN DREAMS, without being financially irresponsible.

Is my husband my provider? My first answer was “Yes. He provides the income that keeps us afloat.” Nope. GOD IS MY PROVIDER. My husband works and makes money, but God opened that door. God provided that income source. 2 Peter 1:3 says that God has given us everything we need. All things pertaining to life come from the Lord. So with God providing for us as long as we trust in Him and work on the path He has provided, we will be more than fine.

We need freedom from our idea of what we deserve. The bible clearly tells us that the wages of sin is death. However, God sent his son not to condemn us but to SAVE us from what we deserve. Grace and Mercy cover us! We get a heavenly reward that we did nothing to earn. On earth, God has made it possible for us to be prosperous too. I lived with the perception that I was never good enough. I was a filthy sinner, why would God want to do any more for me than He already had.
God doesn’t see us that way. Once we accept Christ, He sees us through the filter of Christ’s blood. He sees us as clean and whole. Jesus fills in our gaps and we are made complete in Him.  God wants us to succeed because He loves us! We are good enough because He made us and if we fall short, He fills in our gaps and it is for His Glory! When we succeed and give the Glory to God (where is rightly belongs), then His kingdom expands. Why would God hold me back from that? HE WOULD NOT! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 We don’t live on a system of fairness/earning/deserving. We live in a system of GRACE/MERCY/BLESSING.

We need freedom from limits. With God there are no limits. It’s easy to say, but applying to your life is difficult. The world has beat it into us that our goals need to be realistic. “The sky is the limit.” That’s a statement meant to encourage us, but really it is a limiting statement. There are no limits, not even the sky. Really! God is the the God of everything. Not the just the sky, not just the world, not just this Galaxy, not just this UNIVERSE. He is the GOD of everything. HE created everything. The bible tells us that there is nothing that is impossible.

Now how do we get all this freedom? My husband and I love the music of Skillet. We love to rock out to music with a message. When God started giving us this dream, the lyrics of a song by Skillet stuck with my husband. “Break their hold, ‘Cause I won’t be controlled, They can’t keep their chains on me, When the truth has set me free, This is how it feels when you take your life back, This is how it feels when you finally fight back, When life pushes me I push harder, What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” I first thought that the lyrics sounded like rebellion from God. Then I realized, taking our life back didn’t mean that we are putting our destiny into our own hands. We are taking it back from the world and giving it to God. We hadn’t been trusting God with our future. Now we are and God has been blessing us the whole way. The only way to gain true freedom is to take on the purpose that God has for you. It is going to be a lot of work. The world is going to try to push against it. The idea that you aren’t shaping your destiny and that you give control to someone else sounds horrifying to the world. God has good plans for us. Why wouldn’t we trust Him with our future?

This is how you take your life back. You tell the world, NO. You give it over to God and you put your absolute best effort into doing His will.

I didn’t think that I could commute to school without it taking a huge toll on our family. I didn’t think I could ever be a stay at home mom. I didn’t think I would ever succeed. I put limits on what God could do for me.

My advice for anyone stuck where I was: Take God out of your box you keep Him in. Let God be God and submit to His will for you. Only then can you rise again, renewed in purpose, and fully armed take your life back. He has already given you victory.

 

 

Finding Peace in a Busy Life

From the outside looking in, my life looks like a giant stream of busy crazy chaos.

I am in no way perfect, I take on more than I should. I let people down. I don’t live up to the promises I make to God. That doesn’t mean I let Him down, because I was never holding Him up.

This has been a ULTRA busy week for my family. Our normal routine includes five days of public school for the kids, three of which I am in college courses an hour from home from nine in the morning to past five in the evening. My husband works evenings on Tuesdays and Fridays during the school year in addition to his Monday through Friday grind from eight to five. We also has a small business with our best friends that we run which produces several YouTube series. On Monday’s or Tuesdays there are usually piano lessons for our two oldest plus we have to find time to fit in practice time. My husband is the media producer at our church and is needed on Monday evenings to help with praise team practice. The kids and I usually come along, as I am working on our children’s church lessons as the director of children’s ministry. Wednesday night is as well busy since I run the kids program and my husband runs sound for the church. Thursdays tend to be time to make up homework or catch up with the husband. This week, it was a rescheduled praise practice, plus my husband had our friendly neighborhood business guru give him and our biz partner a seminar on revamping our business model. We had a skype call business meeting on Friday evening. I did tons of homework, a test online, started building an online business empire and prepared last minute children’s church crafts on Saturday…OH and we had a family night out Saturday too! Sunday is church work for both of us, which we love and my sweet hubby is working in the afternoon on one of our youtube subsidiaries. AND all three of our kids and I got sick with a stomach bug!

TL:DR; we are busy! 

While we are almost always busy, we are so happy at this point in our lives. God is doing amazing things. I have never felt more peace and contentment in my life. Why is that? I am working at so many things and seem to have little down time. 

I love everything I am doing, mainly because it is my anointing to do it at this time. I am not currently singing on the praise team because God gave me new direction, and I miss it but I have peace and contentedness about it because I know it is God’s plan for me at this time. I am anointed for children’s ministry, for nursing school, for being a mom and a wife, for writing this blog and for running my parts of our business.

Once God anoints you to do something, doing it is joyful. It’s not always easy, but you find joy and happiness and peace in what you are doing. He equips you with everything you need, even patience, to do the job He gives you. 

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

That does not mean that God will ask less of you than the world. Most of the time He asks you to work hard. God asks you to give your best. He knows it’s not always going to be enough and He fills in the gaps. It means that doing God’s work, walking in your calling will be a better experience than walking out of it. You will find it easier to do, you will find the hours pass quicker, and that the work is very satisfying! 

Don’t confuse peace and contentment with laziness. I used to think that peace and contentment meant having tons of free time and not having to work very hard until I experienced it. Countless verses in the bible talk about laziness and how if you don’t work hard and give your best, then you don’t deserve to share in the blessing. 1Timothy 5:8 states that being lazy and not providing for your family is worse than being an unbeliever. 

I have heard a lot of people bash “prosperity preaching.” I don’t thing that prosperity preaching is a bad thing. Expecting God to give you blessing without any kind of work or faith is probably not going to go well for you. I think that if you really study the bible, God promises to prosper us. He has plans laid out for our success. However, we have to work in the jobs He has for us for us to get there and we have to do our part. God will do His part, but He isn’t going to do yours. If you keep your covenant with God and follow His will, He will keep His covenant with you. He will give you peace. He will give you prosperity. He gives His beloved rest. If we rest and find our strength in the shadow of His wings, we have to be following Him in His plan and draw close to Him. We can’t walk outside our covenant and expect to gain his blessing and favor. 

So it all boils down to relationship and trust. Draw close to God. Listen for His direction and FOLLOW it. Edison said, “Opportunity is missed most often because it shows up in overalls and looks like work.” I like to think of it this way: living in prosperity and peace is missed most often because we put our own agendas ahead of God’s plan for our lives. He told us in his word that His plans are for our prosperity and for our well being. Don’t fight God’s plan because it looks hard or impossible. Take the step, roll up your sleeves and get to work.  It’s all part of the plan.

Today’s revelation came to me in a moment of praise. I was thanking God for my church family and praising him for the joy and peace I feel, despite having a mile long to do list. And I remembered the parable of talents, mainly the end for the servants. “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I want to hear that when I enter those gates at the end of this life. I don’t want to leave this earth having worked for earthly wealth and hear, “You lazy wicked servant!” So if I am going to work hard, I am going to work hard for the one who is eternal and who really matters. 

Thanks for reading my little revelation.

Welcome! Little Revelations about Love

Good morning lovely readers!

This is the first of my revelation blogs. God gives us tidbits of information to apply to our lives. Sometimes those little revelations have a ripple effect in our hearts and if you let them, they can ripple over into the lives of others. I am not looking to “push my religion” on others. I am simply sharing Godly wisdom with those who want to see it. If you don’t love Jesus, I can still love you and be your friend. God still loves you. That’s what I believe.

So here is my first bit of revelation:

I believe that grace is for everyone. Anyone can be redeemed by accepting Christ. Hate speech against non-believers is pointless and to me, counter productive. God loves people and hates sin. No one is won to the cross with hell-fire and hatred. It is the overwhelming AMAZING love of the Father and of Jesus who sacrificed for you that brings you to Him. We need to be “Jesus with skin on it.” Love people the way we are called to in the bible. John 13:34-35 : “A new command I give you: love each other. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So then we ask, how did Christ love? He loved with 100% Truth and 100% Grace. He called out sin for what is was, but He did not judge the sinner, and told them that they could be redeemed. He commanded them to go and sin no more. Let’s just say that Jesus happens to run into me at Chic-fil-a. I have a problem with food addiction. It is a constant struggle. I want to crave Jesus with all my heart and not crave food. So lets say that on this day I am feeling tempted and Jesus is there, just like the woman at the well. He asks me to get him some water. And because it has been a tough day, I want to eat something deep fried instead of my healthy choice I have committed to. And not just a “I will have a kids meal.” I want large waffle fries. I want the 20 piece nuggets. AND NOT FOR HUNGER, FOR COMFORT. I believe that Jesus would say something like this:

Laura, I know that you are replacing my love and peace with chicken nuggets. Every bite of waffle fry that you eat could be replaced with my word, you could be full in your heart with me. You will never hunger again in your spirit if you follow my ways. I don’t judge you. I love you. Go and sin no more.

I would be reduced to tears and bawl on Jesus’ shoulder in the middle of Chic-fil-a. Guess what? HE DOES THIS! I have been there, ordering what I know I should not, for the worst reasons and Jesus will speak to my heart. And I will one of two things: I will change my order or I will give in to temptation. His grace covers me no matter the choice I make, but which one really benefits me?

So back to Christ’s love…

Christ loves with truth and grace. We need to apply that in our own lives. We need to apply it to ourselves first. You need to love yourself with 100% truth and 100% grace. I love the saying “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” I have accepted my imperfections. I am at peace with me, but I can always be better. I can always make a better choice that brings me closer to Jesus. When I fall short, I repent, ask for forgiveness and do better next time. I have to forgive myself. Why bring up something that God does not remember? Hebrews 8:12 tells us that God forgives our wickedness and remembers them NO MORE. So when you are guilt tripping your self, God is saying “What sin? Why are you upset?”

We need to apply this love to the rest of the world. Have a nasty neighbor? Guess what? God loves them and Jesus died for their sins, just like you. God’s grace and mercy is for them too. See a person choose sin over and over and over again? God’s grace is sufficient for that too. You have to recognize that what they are doing is wrong, but love them anyway. Give your brother or sister in Christ the benefit of the doubt. Forgive offences. I’m not saying that you have to put yourself in a destructive relationship. I am saying you have to forgive, love them, and use Godly wisdom.

Most of our issues can be solved by living out “Love God, Love People.” YOU ARE PEOPLE. Put you on the top of that list of people to love.

Remember that everything you do should be done with love. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Reminds us that it doesn’t matter if we can speak the languages of men or angels, if we do it without love, we are just like clanging cymbals. Without love, it is just junk done for your own attention.

My challenge to you today: Pray and ask God to show you a way to love someone for His glory. Then do it. (Even if it is something for you)

Thank you for reading today, God Bless you!

-Laura