Posts Tagged ‘Christian Living’

A Great Day to be Alive

Monday, April 16th, 2018

great-day-to-be-alive

When you’re living a life of suffering with no end in sight, it’s hard to feel alive. The suffering sucks the life out of you so that you have to rely on God to get through your daily tasks. Strangely, during the past three years of non-stop suffering, I have accomplished more for God’s kingdom than all the rest of my life combined. Maybe it’s because God’s power is perfected in weakness, and the only way to be filled with His power is to surrender when we have nothing left.

This is one reason why suffering is something to rejoice in the midst of, not for the pain itself, but for the results it brings. Endurance and the power of God are only doled out to those who tenaciously cling to God to the death. Or to the living death, which is worse than death because in heaven at least Christ would wipe away every tear from our eyes and there would be no more suffering.

Job felt that way. He sat in the ashes, wailing in horror and sadness, wondering why God had seemingly abandoned him. Why was he born just to suffer?

“It is one thing to bear a sudden tragedy. It is quite another to suffer its pain for weeks and months and even years afterward.” – John Piper

God is full of endless delights, either as we worship Him through song in the midst of suffering to feel His tangible presence, or in His turning events around suddenly in a single day. With Job, God showed up and not only healed him but gave him back twice as much as he had before. He lived the rest of his life in peace and joy, having experienced God in a way few have.

And God was vindicated. Satan lost. God showed Satan that there are some of us—including me—that love God not for what He can give to us but for who He is. He will make all things right in the end and not a single tear goes unnoticed by God. All of our days are written in a book (Psalm 139:16), and if we suffer well, the book that has our name on it in the library of heaven will forever be a slap in Satan’s face that God was worthy to serve even when circumstances appeared to be dark with no way out.

cupcake-stand

So when my daughter walked across a parking lot the other day, she exclaimed with arms extended in the sunshine, “Look, Mom! It’s a great day to be alive!” I stopped and looked at her.

“I guess it is!” I laughed. I remembered a cupcake stand I saw at the mall that my daughter had never seen. I knew she would love the cupcake display, so I asked her, “Do you want to get a cupcake?”

“Sure, Mom!” she said as she rolled down the windows in the car, her hair flying in all directions. I rolled down my own window and shouted, “It’s great to be alive. Woohoo! We’re really living it up today!”

car-wash

After choosing a cupcake and eating it, we drove to the car wash. My daughter wanted to snap selfies during the car wash and told me what a great day she had when we got home.

I guess my point is that you can still feel alive even in a seemingly hopeless situation. With God all things are possible. Even though we might suffer longer than we would prefer, God is bringing about something beautiful out of our tragedy that will be read by generations to come. Don’t lose hope.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

The Life-Giving Phone Call

Monday, February 19th, 2018

life-giving-phone-call

I rushed to the emergency room because my friend from Honduras was doubled over in excruciating pain. She needed someone to translate her Spanish into English. Wheeled into a CAT scan and a sonogram, my friend discovered she had a 14-centimeter mass on her uterus, a cyst in her ovary, and the organs in her abdomen were swollen. At that point they didn’t know that her appendix was full of pus and was about to burst.

Meanwhile one specialist after another came in and out of the room, asking questions. I found out that in Honduras, years ago, her last C-section had gone bad. It had opened up, and her intestines had come out of her body. She held her intestines in with her bare hand for 6 hours before she could get an operation to put them back in and sew her up.

After translating for 10 hours with no food, I was exhausted. Another friend from my Hispanic church called and asked if I needed anything. Food, I said. Within a short time, I was eating delicious Cuban food as far away from my friend as possible, since she was not allowed to eat or drink in case she needed emergency surgery.

When I looked into my friend’s anguished face, all I wanted was to take that pain into my own self to alleviate her. I realized this is what Jesus does for us. He loves us selflessly and takes all our anguish into Himself. I saw the cross in a new light, and I felt that Jesus was shining out of my face.

The lab assistant noticed. She said I had a gift, and that she had noticed my selflessness a year ago as I was taking care of another Hispanic woman who was alone at the hospital, in an emergency.

When she pierced my friend’s arm with a needle, I petted my friend’s head and told her that it was all for the best because now she was going to get the surgery that she had needed for years. “Hold on,” I said. “God is providing for you to be healed. Not many hours from now, you will be healthier than you’ve been for years.” Her eyes filled with hope and joy in the middle of her moaning pain.

I called home and told my son to make spaghetti for dinner. I texted my husband that dinner would be ready when he got home, but that I was at the hospital with my friend.

Later that evening, I answered my cell phone; it was my husband. We had been in some recent arguments, and depleted as I was, I braced myself. I didn’t want to be told that I had to go home and abandon my friend who had no way to communicate with the doctors and surgeons. I asked questions of the doctors that my moaning, almost unconscious friend wouldn’t have thought of asking, and I knew enough of her story to be able to add vital information that was needed for making the decision to go ahead with the surgery.

I was pleasantly surprised that the phone call was life-giving.

My husband asked if I wanted him to bring me some food. I told him I had just eaten, but it was kind of him to think of me. I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be at the hospital, because my friend was going to be transported to another hospital for the night, to have surgery the next day.

I was so exhausted from making life and death decisions for my friend, answering social workers and countless other people what her situation was. On the phone with my husband, he gave me the strength I needed by cracking jokes and then staying on the line and not hanging up. I was transported back in time to when we were dating, and he cared and wanted to be with me.

I felt refreshed after the phone call. It was exactly what I needed.

After following her ambulance to the other hospital, I settled her in for the night and went home. The next day my friend got the surgery she needed, and she has been recuperating ever since. I’m exhausted from spending a full week at the hospital, and I’m glad things are sort of back to normal.

You are Complete in Christ

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

complete-in-Christ

You are complete in Christ! “And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:10 KJV

God wants us to see ourselves the way that He sees us. If He says we are complete in Him, then we are complete. Even though in our humanity we are flawed and imperfect, God at salvation made us a new creation, and our spirit was born again. We want to please God, and we war against our flesh.

God sees through to the core of our being–that new creation that is us–and He sees us complete, not lacking anything. God allows us to go through trials that test our faith so that we will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4). But He knows that we will get through them.

If an outsider looks at us groaning heavenward in the midst of a fire, they will falsely judge that we are sinning in our agony, just like Job’s friends did. But if you wait until you get to the other side of the trial, you will see that you have been transformed through the furnace of affliction:

  • “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”) Isaiah 48:10
  • “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10 ESV

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16 NASB We are given God’s fullness at salvation. We have access to everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Ephesians 2:18 KJV

complete

God’s power is also made perfect through weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), so it’s not as though we have to perform to perfection to be considered complete. God does a mightier work through our weaknesses than through our strengths. God knows we are but dust (Psalm 103:14).

While doing a study for preparing to teach this topic, I came across so many Scriptures of Jesus making people complete or whole while on this earth. Nearly every time that He healed someone physically, the Scriptures say that they were made “whole.” (Matthew 12:13; 15:28; Mark 3:5; Mark 5:28, 34; Luke 6:10; 8:48; John 5:6, 14, 15; John 7:23)

heart-sculptures

Jesus wants to make us whole. The more areas of our life we yield to Him, the more He completes us. But we are already complete in Christ at salvation! Let’s appropriate this great truth and walk in confidence that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:16). Continue yielding to Christ so that you can experience that wholeness!

complete-in-christ-2

We have complete salvation, complete forgiveness, and complete victory. (If you have extra time, you can read John MacArthur’s very long, thorough sermon on being Complete in Christ for more information on this topic.) Even though God is in the process of transforming us, that doesn’t mean that we don’t already own what Christ purchased for us on the cross.

Speaking of completion, this post completes our series: 31 Days to Regaining Your Identity in Christ. Besides the art class that inspired this series, there are a couple of other books I recommend for further study in finding out your identity in Christ. (These are affiliate links, and I highly recommend all three):

you-are-a-masterpiece

 

My daughter and I created the artwork for this series from the course {aff} “You are a Masterpiece” by Alicia Gratehouse. If you love to do art and are discovering who you are in Christ, this is a great art course for you!

You are God’s Masterpiece

Monday, October 30th, 2017

you-are-gods-masterpiece

You are God’s masterpiece! God created you exactly the way He intended for you to be, with your unique strengths and personality. Your experiences and insights add to who you are, and when you yield fully to Christ, He brings out the best you that’s possible!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

This post contains affiliate links of a class I love and recommend.

The inspiration behind this series came from an art class I took by Alisha Gratehouse called “You are a Masterpiece.” When I saw the description for the class, I knew that God was prompting me to take the class. I was trying to heal from a trial that had taken place in my life where after a lifetime of being confident, I suddenly felt like a worthless human being. I knew this was a lie from the enemy, so I wanted to splash into the Scriptures that proved who I truly was–who Christ says I am.

Alisha let me into the class at no cost because I’m a blogger, and when I started the class, I saw that she asked questions that helped me to process who I was, and that helped me to believe that I was beautiful to God. One of the art projects that is not pictured below (because I gave it away!) is the chalkboard art that said, “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you” from Song of Songs 4:7. This Scripture hit me through the Spirit straight into my soul, and that is where my healing began.

you-are-a-masterpiece-art-class

Some of the art projects from “You are a Masterpiece” (like the Today I Choose block pictured in this post), I gave away to other women who have been struggling with the same worthlessness issues. For some reason the enemy has incapacitated almost the entire Christian female race into not knowing who we are, so that we accomplish nothing for His kingdom.

I looked around and saw nearly every woman in the same sinking boat, and I became furious at the enemy. How dare he incapacitate us, when we are powerful, accepted, loved, and forgiven? We are gifted and talented, and we have power over the enemy!

masterpiece

I was strongly prompted by God to do this series: 31 Days to Regaining Your Identity in Christ. I did it out of fury. I did it so that I myself could be healed. And as I got my hands messy with Mod Podge and paint in Alicia’s art class, the process of creating the art began to heal me. My circumstances had not changed, but I was accessing the mighty healing of God. If God came to set us free, we ought not to be living in sorrow. If Jesus came to bring life abundantly, where is that life?

I am certain that God is real, that Scripture is true, and there is no reason why we should remain in the muck of a living hell. Sorrow should not engulf us the rest of our days. All is not lost. If we are still on this earth, there must be a reason for us to still be here.

God did not create us so that we would live a life of torment, live in sorrow, unable to hardly breathe every day of our lives. He has not come to steal our hope and tell us that we are pieces of garbage that have no more use. No. These are lies from the enemy, and I’m done being lied to. That’s it. This much and no further, I say.

you-are-masterpiece

I have nearly come to the conclusion of this series, and I am astounded!!!! You guys, I have been set free, even though my circumstances have not changed! I have inward abundance, even though I have no money! I have joy and hope, even though anyone else in my situation would not bother getting out of bed!

If you are struggling with anything I’ve mentioned, I encourage you to go back and listen to each of the videos of this series. When you are finished, I hope and pray that you, too, will find healing and worth. You are God’s masterpiece!

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts from the series “31 Days to Regaining Your Identity,” why not sign up for my free monthly newsletter below, and follow my prayer page on Facebook.

you-are-a-masterpiece

 

My daughter and I created the artwork for this series from the course {aff} “You are a Masterpiece” by Alicia Gratehouse. If you love to do art and are discovering who you are in Christ, this is a great art course for you!

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