Fan vs. Follower

Today, I am posting one of my older writings.  My church is starting a new series tonight called, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman.  It is a great study that challenges you to be more than a fan of Jesus.  God wants us to be fully committed to Him in everything we do.  The following blog will challenge your faith on fan vs. follower.  Which one are you?  If you are a fan, what changes need to be made for you to be God’s follower?

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As Christians, we are to know God on an intimate level. We must meditate on His Word and have Christ in our hearts, to grow spiritually.  John 1:1 says, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  According to Matthew 7:13-14, not many are Christ followers.  The Scripture states only a few will “enter through the narrow gate.”  The wide gate “leads to destruction and many enter through it”; the narrow gate “leads to life.”

A follower of Christ is set apart from the world. Christians will be judged by their words and actions.  Few people will choose the “narrow gate” because living for Christ means giving up everything we have ever known and learn a new way of living.  The majority will say, “it will not be worth it” but the minority will say, “it is worth it all.”  This is where we see the difference between a fan of Christ and a follow of Christ.   A fan blends into the crowd and a follower stands out from the crowd.

As we grow in our faith, we turn from being a fan into a follower. Followers of Christ understand that no matter what God calls them to do, they are obedient.  They believe that making sacrifices for Christ is worth it.

Today, I encourage you to make a life-changing decision to follow after God with all your heart. If you are struggling, trust that God will see you through it.  If you have doubts about being a devoted Christian, take a bold step and see how God can transform your life.  If you need help making this decision, talk with a pastor or a good friend.  You are never alone in this journey with God.

 

The Marathon Runner

A life with Christ is a journey full of twists and turns that is exhilarating and full of surprises. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a journey is “an act or instance of traveling from one place to another.” Our walk with Christ is much like a marathon runner.  A runner has to train vigorously to build endurance for the race.  We prepare our journey with God as we make strides towards knowing Him on a deeper level.

Along the journey, we may encounter setbacks. In those moments, we have to step back and assess the situation.  We have to learn how to work through it before moving forward.  This is what I call a bump in the road.  The “bump in the road” is our struggles and challenges we face during our journey.  God never promised it would be easy, but He did promise He would be with us through the difficult times.  The Bible states for us to “be strong and courageous” and that God “never leave[s] [us] nor forsake [us]” (Deuteronomy 31:6). This Scripture brings comfort in knowing that God is always with us.

Picture yourself at the starting line of a race pumped with excitement and anticipation. You are stretching and bouncing side-to-side, impatiently waiting for the race to begin.  The months of training prepared you mentally and physically.  You make goals to finish the race in a certain amount of time, and you strive to achieve them.  A runner may not foresee obstacles during his journey.  The weather conditions may not be what he or she expected.  Rain or other harsh conditions may slow him or her down, and it takes longer to reach the finish line.

We face many obstacles. No matter how long God prepared us for the journey, we still have conflict.  Satan is real, and He will, with his best efforts, try to make you feel defeated.  He does not want you to succeed, but God does.  It is in the journey that you find strength in Christ to move forward.  It is in journey that you find out who you are through Christ.

Joyce Meyer says “we need to enjoy the journey and not be so focused on our destination that we miss everything else.” Sometimes the journey takes longer than we expect due to complications or waiting for answers.  Just like life goals, getting to know God on a higher level will take preparation, patience, and dedication to reach new levels with Him.  As Christians, God has expectations for us to meet, and, by conquering them, we learn to trust and know Him on a deeper level.

What We Need is a Way Through the Impossible

My Weekly Featured Blog is by Need to Breathe called, “What We Need is a Way Through the Impossible.”

“God has a way. He bulldozes over the problem of sin. He plows through the strictures of the law and he lifts into place the weighty foundation of grace in the form of a cross.”

Heather C. King - Room to Breathe

isaiah 43

My son wrestles with two large toy trucks on our way into the orthodontist.  He’s determined to carry them both inside himself.

One falls to the ground.  He stoops to pick it up and as he grabs hold of the digging arm on the one truck, the other crashes down next to it.

But oh, Mommy cannot help carry these trucks.  I offer.  Really I do.  I even finally grip onto that yellow bulldozer as a sign that he didn’t need to handle both trucks at once.

Instead of letting go, my son silently holds on tighter and lifts that heavy machine out of my grasp.

These trucks are his treasures.  He is not letting go.

Finally, after several crashes to the pavement, the trucks arrive in the dental office where they make paths through blocks, scale the sides of chairs and roll across railings.

At home later, they do what…

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Living Boldly For Christ

Today, God is saying to everyone who follows Him, “Live boldly in His Name!  Do not be ashamed of Me!  I have given you gifts and talents to use for My glory.  I am asking you to be transparent and live fully for Me!”

The past few months, God has allowed change in my life.  He removed people from my life to remind me to look at Him more rather than man for answers.  He has shown me I have been hiding in my faith rather than live boldly for Him.  God has told me to be transparent and use my talents for His glory.  I have a fresh start with God in a new church and have many great opportunities to serve Him through the church.  I may not have seen it in the beginning, but God has blessed me with change.  It has not been easy, but it is worth it.

Starting today, I stand strong in my faith and trust God through this journey. I am believing for God to lead me into the unknown with overwhelming peace!

What is your declaration today for the Lord?  What is God asking you to do to be bolder in Him?

 

Unexpected Change

Our lives change on a day-to-day basis.  We cannot stop change.  We cannot fight change.  It just happens.  An unexpected change can cause frustration, sadness, depression, and fear.  In some cases, it can cause joy and relief.  It all depends on what the change is in your life.  Below will be eight things to remember if you are experiencing unexpected change:

1) CHANGE IS A PROCESS NOT AN EVENT

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Change is something to process.  It is not a one time deal.  It takes time to go through our emotions and find joy in the change in our lives, no matter if it is good or bad.

2) GOD’S WILL BE DONE

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Have you ever prayed: “God’s will be done”?  If we want to mature in Christ, we must accept change in our lives.  We may not see it as good in the beginning, but in the end, we will be happier for the change.

3) THE FUTURE IS UNEXPECTED

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God has plans for your future and sometimes that causes you to make changes in your life.  The future is the unknown, and we all have to take a risk to step into our destiny.

4) THE UNEXPECTED CHANGES YOU FOR THE BETTER

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We may not like change, but change makes us better.  It teaches us to grow and not live by emotions.  It shows us how accept change in every situation.

5) IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE

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When we stop looking at the negative and see the positive on life, we begin to change our perspective.  We see how change will be good in our lives rather than be consumed with emotions.  We see past our circumstances and look toward our future.

6) LIFE GOES ON…

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We have two choices: we can try to fight the change or we can accept the change.  No matter what we choose, the change will happen.  We can be stuck in our past or embrace the future.  It is our choice.

7) LIVE WITH NO REGRETS

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Enjoy your life in every season.  Live with no regrets, because  life changes quickly.  People come and go in your life.  Always love those around you and remind them how important they are to you.

8) FIVE STEPS TO CHANGE

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If it is possible, take time to write down these five steps to making major life changes.  Underneath each step write down your answers.  I encourage you to pray about the change you are wanting to make and allow God to intervene in your decision.  If it is an unexpected change, ask God for guidance and find peace in Him through this transition.

The Bride of Christ

Today, I will be talking to the single women who are longing for her soul mate.

Imagine setting the date for your wedding.  You are in anticipation as you make arrangements and plan for the perfect day.  The cake and food has to be prepared, several dress fittings, guest lists, and all the other details required to make your wedding day special.  This is the moment you have been waiting for all your life.  It has finally come!

Now, imagine it looking a little different.  Instead of man standing there, God is standing as your groom.  In Isaiah 54:5 it states God is your husband: “for your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Close your eyes and visualize you walking down the aisle with your hair down and full of curls, make up is perfect, and wearing a beautiful white gown.  Your emotions are everywhere, because you are walking into the unknown, but, at the same time, you are filled with excitement.  You can barely hold back the tears with every step you take towards your Heavenly Father.  It is a magical moment as you walk closer to God and take His hand in marriage.  You give Him your all, and you allow Him to have control of every aspect of your life.

Just like any marriage, there are things that will be asked of you.  God is asking you today if He has made you single the rest of your life and just be with Him, can you accept His offer?  Do you trust Him enough to be His bride?  Is He enough in your life to feel complete?  Can you give up your own desires to be with Him, and Him alone?  Do you feel worthy enough to be His bride?

Since my recent break up, God has been asking me the same tough questions.  Is He enough in my life that I will give Him my all?  My desires, my heart, my love, and my worship!  Will I accept His offer no matter my future holds?  Am I ready to walk down the aisle and take God’s hand in matrimony with these terms?  I am praying God’s will be done in my life no matter the outcome.  I am praying that He will always be my husband, my first love!

I am reminded of a song by King and Country called, “Priceless.”  The chorus is powerful.  God is saying to you today:

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Irreplaceable
Unmistakable,
Incomparible
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you!

God sees you whole!  He sees you dressed in purity and righteousness!   He sees you as PRICELESS!  He sees you “more than all the money or the diamonds and pearls [because] this is who you are” (“Priceless” lyrics).

As you walk down the aisle to become the Bride of Christ, remind yourself you have worth in Him, not in man.  Being single is not a curse but a blessing.  You are never alone when God is in your life.  He sees you, and He says you are beautiful in His sight!

 

 

Seriously, Though, Stop Ignoring The Donkey

My Weekly Featured Blog is by Samaritan’s Song called, “Seriously, Though, Stop Ignoring The Donkey.”

How many times do we ignore God to go on our path in life? This is an excellent read about listening to God when we make decisions for our lives.

Samaritan's Song

One of the Bible’s best oddball stories comes straight out of Numbers 22.  And before  I write about why this story is important – so important – let’s just take a moment to enjoy it together.  Because this is funny stuff.

Here we have Balaam, who is bent on going somewhere God does not want him to go.  As a result, the angel of the Lord stands in the road to oppose Balaam.  Balaam doesn’t see the angel, but the donkey he’s riding sure does:

When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field (23).

Balaam beats the donkey to get it back on the road.  Not to be outdone, the angel of the Lord reappears again – on a narrow path with walls on both sides.  Again, the donkey knows…

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“Tell Your Heart To Beat Again”

Danny Gokey, a Christian artist, wrote the most beautiful song called, “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again.”  The lyrics are so powerful and life-changing.  The lyrics are below.  Please read each line slowly so you can grasp hold of the words and the meaning of the song.

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Beginning
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

The song starts with a broken heart that needs to be put back together.  The past hurt caused the person to stop living in the present.  Hope is lost, and life is slowly fading away.  The heartbreak is too deep to allow the heart to beat again.  In this song, the lyrics remind us let go of our past and allow God to mend our hearts.  God is in the business of mending hearts.  He is our surgeon who put’s our broken hearts back together and makes us new again.

I love the words, “Let every heartbreak and every scar be a picture that reminds you who has carried you this far.”  God is the one who carries us through hard times.  God “heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).  The scars of life helps us to never forget where we have been and where we are today.  The past will always remind us to appreciate how much we have grown in Christ, and how He made us whole again.

Later on in the song, it states to “say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.”  We must say goodbye to our past to see what’s ahead.  We have to be willing to shut the door to what’s holding us back for God to heal our heart.  I encourage you to seek God this week, and “Tell your heart to beat again.”  God wants you to live in hope and live a life filled with His promises.

He wants you to dream again.
He wants you to love again.
He wants you to believe again.

 

Lord I Give You My Heart Meaning

My Featured Blog this week is from Christian Song Meaning called, “Lord I Give You My Heart Meaning”

“Lord I Give You my Heart means of pacifying and answering us in the most sweetest and loving way. It also means and stand as the way of telling that God is always there for His children. As long as we honor Him and offer our life to Him, He will pamper us with His fullness mercy and love as a father. The song, in its entirely, it’s all about complete surrendering ourselves to win God’s Battle and trusting God’s full control of our lives. Always leaned on Him, say with your heart that you are belong to Him and you must willing and wholeheartedly to give your heart to our Lord.”

Christian Song Meaning

Lord I Give You My Heart was written by a worship pastor and songwriter Reuben Morgan. This song can  be found in the album God Is In The House by Hillsong United.

This is my desire
To honour You
Lord, with all my heart
I worship You
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore
Is in You

Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my song
I live for you alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your ways in me

Lord I Give You my Heart means of pacifying and answering us in the most sweetest and loving way. It also means and stand as the way of telling that God is always there for His children. As long as we honor Him and offer our life to Him, He will pamper us with His fullness mercy and…

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God is Our Gardener

In Jesus’ words, he says in John 15:1 that “[He is] the true grapevine, and [His] Father is the gardener.”  God, our Father, is the gardener of our lives.  He is the one who removes the impurities and teaches us how to be pure through Him.  Philippians 4:8-9 instructs us to “fix [our] thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all [that we have] learned and received from [Jesus]—everything [we have] heard from [Jesus] and saw [Him] doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”  The word TRUE is in both Scriptures.  The word true is referring to God.  God is True!  He is the one who brings honor, righteousness, purity, and good into our lives. 

God is the one who plucks all the weeds out of our lives so we can produce a fruitful life.  John 15:2-4 states that God “cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

Gardner 3

God is part of the pruning process  of our lives.  Imagine a gardener pulling the weeds one by one from a garden.  He tugs as hard as he can to pull the root out with the weed.  He wants to make sure it cannot grow back.  God does the same thing with us.  He pulls the entire weed out of our lives so we do not return back to that sin and destruction from our past.

The gardener then proceeds to water the garden to help make it grow.  God waters our life with the Scripture Philippians 4:8.  He puts all the things of Him in us.  The pruning process may cause loss, heartache, and change, but the end result is worth every moment.  Once we start growing in Christ and becoming more like Him, we begin to bloom.  Just like flowers, we bloom into something beautiful.

This process is not just for us.  Others will see our growth and will crave the same kind of growth in them.  As flowers grow and bloom, they spread and take over other areas in the garden.  Our Spiritual growth is contagious.  People watch what we do, and how we live our lives.

We can make a difference in this world by our lifestyle.  We can live a life full of weeds and let sin take over our lives, or we can live a Godly life and look like Christ.  This week re-evaluate your life to see if your life is overgrown with weeds.  Are you making an impact in the world around you?  Do people see Christ in you?  Is your life so contagious that you are bringing others to Christ?