Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sold Out

I've been contemplating what it means to be sold out to Christ. I used to think it was this person, much like one of Jesus' disciples, who gave up all he had and followed Christ. I envisioned that it was someone who was a missionary or a pastor or a ministry leader, someone who was a strong spiritual leader with a flock of sheep to tend to.

I was wrong. Being sold out to Christ is so much more than that. It's more than just believing in God, in trying to do what is right and in helping those along the way. Being sold out to Christ is giving all of your heart to Christ and letting him have complete control over your life. Many times we only let God have the safe parts, the parts where God can't mess with too much to make life uncomfortable.

It's fighting our strong will to get into alignment with God's will. It's choosing to live like God calls us to in His word. What His word tells us to do is quite the opposite of what the world tells us we should live by. Do you have the courage and the boldness to live like scripture calls us to?

We as American Christians are in great danger. We have access to money and so many things that it is extremely easy to replace our dependence on God for a dependence on ourselves and on our things. This happens so easily and so subtly that the believer is unaware of it until God removes the blinders on his eyes through adversity. We personally know this as we found ourselves in this position when my husband lost his job and then health problems entered our lives.

You suddenly realize where you have mistakenly placed your trust, your belief and your dependence. When those things are kicked out from underneath you and you no longer have those things, you are like a man in the middle of the ocean who cannot swim, who needs to desperately hold onto something that will keep him afloat.

I think many times we take God for granted. We think that we have all the time in the world to get our hearts right before him. We get busy with experiencing and doing life, taking care of our kids, running here and running there that God takes the back burner. Sometimes we even accept Christ but then only pull Him out when we are in trouble or need something. This only leads to a lukewarm, shallow relationship with Him. I can't help but wonder if a lukewarm, shallow Christian who only pays attention to God when he needs something will enter the gates of Heaven. God mentions that in Revelation 3:16. (So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.)

We have this mistaken idea of who God is. He doesn't always deliver us from every little trouble in the way we think. Instead He is the Father who uses trials and adversity to refine, shape and mold us into who we are meant to be...more like Christ, before He moves us on to the next thing. He is not a sugar daddy in the sky dropping money and mansions in our lap randomly, (He proves our stewardship in the little things, before He gives us the big things... for His use, to be used as conduits for HIS kingdom and not our own) and He most certainly is not a vengeful God who is ready to take you out everytime you make a mistake.

God is a Holy, a Righteous and a Just God who detests sin but He is also ferociously protective of His children, He is full of mercy, grace and He is extremely patient. He has also provided a way out of our sin but we have to be willing to accept that gift, the gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is always after our hearts and wants all of His creation to come unto Him, giving up all of our hearts to Him so that He can work and move in our lives.

What if you are one of those people who thought you were a believer or a christian but haven't really paid much attention to your relationship with Him, calling on Him in the midst of trouble only to find out you are the drowning man in the middle of the ocean with nothing to hold onto to. Do you really want to find out that the God you thought you had was just a mere illusion instead of a relationship?

I encourage you to dig into the scriptures and see how God wants us to live and then be bold and courageous enough to put it into action. Don't be deceived into thinking you've got this relationship with God under control or that you will deal with it later. What if you are wrong?

Saturday, July 11, 2009


We've had to make some pretty tough decisions lately. One of those decisions was to determine where we were going to live once the door for our home closed. My mother in law graciously has offered her home as a place for us to temporarily stay. I chuckle when I use the word temporary because when we had to move in with my mother years ago it was only going to be for six months..tops. Over the course of our time together, she ended up moving with us to our home and that lasted for 12 years. So you just never know what the word temporary means.

This decision of our move has brought to the surface many things in my own life that God has decided it was time to deal with. When God decides to work on the layers of your life, He means business and He gets right to it. He only lets you wander around for a time and then it's time to do some more refining.

One of the things that has struck me as interesting is the fact that over the past two years we've been stripped of what I thought was most everything. I'm not talking about just materially but emotionally and in character, in who we are and where we are with Christ. This has lead us to a breaking and liquified state for God to be able to work with and reshape into something more like Him. However, as I have found out recently, there are still layers upon layers that have to be scrubbed off for the new layers to grow. I seriously feel, at times, like my skin is being ripped off of me. It's agonizingly painful. But it's necessary as we grow in a closer relationship with Christ.

One of the things I'm really struggling with is that my mother in law's home is approximately an hour north of where we live currently. It's on 40 acres in the country. I never imagined myself living in the country with no Starbucks on the corner away from all our friends, our church, our community. Now my plan is to still drive to our church and its activities for the kids and our small group, to still be involved in our homeschool group so there is tons of driving in my future. Everything is going to become a road trip. I really don't want to rip the kids out of everything that they are involved in. This has been extremely tough on them also.

I have faced the fact that those could be more things that God has planned for us to give up which is disheartening just thinking about. It is one thing to have chosen this road for ourselves and an entirely different thing to have it chosen for you. It takes more to work through it. To me, this feels very much like I'm being placed on a deserted island. I know that He ordains all of our steps even those in the middle of the country or in the middle of a city. There is no place that He does not see and I will not be out of His sight.

Sometimes I just don't understand why God would place us somewhere where we have no friends, where my children are away from all they are familiar with, where we have to drive, drive and drive some more. I do realize that people do this all the time but it is a completely different way of life for me and for us. My husband had to remind me that God is in the country too. That He knows what our needs are there just as much as He knows what they are here. He's right and I am thankful for that reminder.

It's pretty easy to give in to a despairing, discouraged and upset attitude. It is in that place that our eyes and our heart is clouded to what God can do. I keep trying to figure out how this whole ordeal can possibly be best for us but that is where faith has to come in. As my husband lovingly reminded me just this evening, faith has absolutely nothing to do with your eyeballs. It has everything to do with our soul, our relationship with Christ. Sometimes He asks us to do some pretty agonizing things and just trust Him even when nothing makes any sense at all.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Who does your heart belong to?

Does it belong to the things of this world or does it belong to the Lord God Almighty? Being a follower of Christ is not something to take lightly. It's not something you do and then, there is lies. It is an ever growing relationship. God wants every part of us. He wants it all. He wants us to be willing to give up all that makes us comfortable, all that we find security in and trust Him. Are you hot or are you cold? Are you sold out to Christ completely? Do you hear His calling?