ScripturePicture: Hebrews 10:22

Standard

 

heb-10-22-full-size

Jesus is the Way.  The Truth.  The Life. (John 14:6)

It was through His death on the cross that He made a way for us to come to the Father.

So now, come near to God with a sincere heart.  Seek Him passionately.  Search Him with your whole being.  Read His word and get to know Him.  Chip Ingram said recently that we are to, “take the initiative with God’s word.”  Dig in.  Be teachable.

Ask God to reveal Himself to you … and then buckle your seat belt.  The God of the universe will show Himself to you in full assurance of faith, for He who promised is faithful.

 

Sorrow

Standard
Sorrow

It’s dreary here without Paula.

Her two greyhounds stare at me as if because I’m here, their female human should be too.  Chrissy and Scooby.  I don’t have the heart to tell them she won’t be home just yet.  They’ve already been missing her something fierce, I’m sure.

A sound outside makes me get up from behind the laptop and move to the front window. The dogs are excited.  Perhaps I’ll give them a treat, they think.  Or even better, a walk.

I see the neighbor across the street poking around in his garden.  He wears a lumbar brace, smeared with dirt and stained with sweat.  His belly protrudes over the belt.

I try to imagine what it smells like and my nose wrinkles in perceived disgust.

A UPS truck in the street slows but then inches forward stopping at the house next door.  I sigh and absentmindedly scratch the pooch that stands next to me.  I look down.  Scooby.  I take his long head into my hands and rub his ears playfully kissing the top of his nose.

No sooner does UPS pull away when another truck, larger and white, pulls up directly in front of the house.  I squint to try and read the small blue lettering on the cab.

Hospice.

This is what I’m waiting for.  But I wish I wasn’t.

You see.  Paula is not doing well at all.

The cancer has gripped her body and is causing a host of other issues.

But Paula, whom God put directly into my path so that I could love on her through her struggle, ended up loving on me so much more when I was diagnosed.

She saw me through the breast biopsy (which was negative) and then the heart issue (which required a stent) and then the surgery and then the chemo and then the radiation therapy.  All along being supportive and encouraging and ever so prayerful.

I won’t lie.  It was tough to tell her when I went into remission.

Because she wasn’t.

And I wanted her to be free with me.  I wanted us to celebrate together.

While she was finding cancer in more and more places I’d been diagnosed, treated, and relieved of the disease.

Why?

That awful question which has no answer this side of Heaven.  But I ask anyway knowing my words fall deafly into a void.

Why do I get to hear the words “cancer free” and she doesn’t?

Instead, I watch forlornly as Hospice moves in the bed and the tray table and the oxygen tanks and my eyes fill with tears.

It doesn’t matter that I know we’ll all meet again in Heaven.  I want time with her here – now.  We’re just getting to know each other apart from our shared medical journeys.

I sign the paperwork of receipt and plop down in the chair behind my laptop, exhausted.  I put my head in my hands and pray.

Pray for healing.  Pray for Heaven.  Pray for her husband.

It’s all I can do now.

Hold her hand, love her, and pray.

And pray.

Where are You, God?

Standard

feel-far-from-god

There are times in everyone’s life when we may feel like we’re in a desert … all alone … thirsting for water … scorched from the sun … crying out to God and hearing nothing.

God!  I need you!

Silence.  Not even crickets break through the quiet.

And we feel even more alone.

Sometimes it’s our own sin that keeps us behind a barricade, hidden away in our iniquities from the Lord.

But sometimes I think we’re just too inside ourselves to hear God or feel Him beside us holding our hand.  The pain we’re feeling might seem unbearable and we need His comfort.

That’s when I remember that if I feel like God is not around, it isn’t Him who has moved.  It’s me.

I’m the one who has wandered away looking for release from the pain … from the hurt … from whatever it is that confuses me.

But God hasn’t moved away from me.  In fact He is following, waiting for me to turn around.

Turn around.

TURN AROUND!

God is right there waiting for you.

 

It’s Fun Being a Christian

Standard
It’s Fun Being a Christian

Back when I was in 5th or 6th grade the girls got pulled out of class to watch a movie called “It’s Fun Being a Woman,” or something like that.  It’s a change-of-life movie about beginning menstruation.  Oops.  Should I have had a disclaimer for all of you eating breakfast?  Sorry.  It’s okay because this post isn’t about that movie – although I’m still trying to understand why that makes it fun to be a woman!

What we should consider making is a change-of-life movie about how fun it is to be a Christian.  Seriously, we should make ourselves a movie to show the world how much fun we have.

Oh I see.  It would be too boring, wouldn’t it?

There wouldn’t be any murder, there wouldn’t be any thievery, or any illicit love affairs.  Heavens, we wouldn’t even spend the extra bucks to make it into 3-D ~ and that’s a real shame because I dig those glasses.

Instead we’d just show a big fat community of believers singing and dancing with indescribable joy!  All that faith, gorgeous poignant times of prayer, all those blessings being poured out, scads of miracles happening everywhere you look, and a soundtrack featuring great worship music from a host of spirit-filled singers …

Hmm … Good times.

Wait a minute. That whole paragraph is just a fantasy, isn’t it?

Or is it?

Who’s in the cast?  We have our hero in Jesus and our antagonist in Satan.  The Father is the Director and we are the supporting cast.

Dang it.  It’s already been done.  We are living our movie.

But wait.  The script’s not old, don’t we write new pages to this story every day?

Act 14,562

Take 1

Scene:  Felecia sits down at her computer and prays briefly before typing.

It was a dark and stormy night …

We just need to make sure we’re writing the right story – making the best movie we can.  Check out this Scripture from 1 Peter:

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.  You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.  You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy – their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.   Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do.  So they slander you.  But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead.  ~ 1 Peter 4:1-5 (NLT)

Isn’t that wonderful?  I know you don’t want to think about the suffering that Peter starts with but in verse 2 when he says: You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.  Every time I read that line, I smile.  It completely reminds me of where I was when Jesus captured me and made me His own.  When I surrendered to Him I almost turned on a dime and stopped doing what I was doing because I’d read a lot of the Bible and already knew that God didn’t like it.

I immediately got anxious to do the will of God and I wanted to shake off the old me and put on the new me of Christ.

So what is to be our movie’s plot?

Let’s look to Peter’s first verse.  I know he is talking about suffering persecution and we in America are beginning to get glimpses of what that might look like.  But as a Christian, how can I feel like I’m suffering when I look at all those people who have not been born again in Christ and who are really, truly, suffering?

They fill their lives with alcohol and drugs trying to erase the pain they feel.  They throw their bodies to anyone who shows a bit of interest trying desperately to find the love they are missing.  They chase after false gods that epitomize their idea of being successful; trying to feel like they are someone, like they’ve made something of themselves, like they have a purpose in life . . . and missing the point of life entirely.

I know.  I was there.  I was empty and tried to fill myself up with whatever I could.

But we know that without Christ Jesus as their Savior they will never be able to do it.  They will never find that peace and they will continue to agonize.

Now that’s sad.  That’s pain.  That is suffering.

Let’s live our Christianity out loud and in full view of everyone.  Let’s tell someone about the Good News today.  Let’s pray for those who don’t yet know Christ.  Let’s show them the script that can help them on the road toward a life with Christ.  Let’s fulfill our commission.

Conflict, drama, suspense, and a happy ending?

Now that would make a really good movie.

**  A version of this post ran in September 2011.

Nasty Talk

Standard

swearEven before I became a leader in BSF I was not a fan of curse words.  I’ve always thought that people who resort to using such language were just too lazy to come up with an appropriate word.  But once I was born again my disgust grew for my own haphazard speech, still littered with profanities, and soon thereafter included other’s bad speech.  Especially egregious was taking the Lord’s name in vain.  God.  Jesus.  Jesus Christ.  These were not words to speak in anger or contempt, but names of The Most High God and to be spoken of with love, respect, and adoration.  Even though I’m not Catholic it even bothers me to hear, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” spoken in anger because the intent is clear.

When I began posting on Facebook I quickly found that people, hiding behind the isolated and thin veil of the computer screen, were much more prone to unleash their tongues and post all types of vile and crass material.  Horrified at what I was reading, I quickly unfollowed friends and hid pages that posted such nonsense because I didn’t want to be associated with it.  I was merciless when it came to my own newsreel and timeline.

Last month I posted some research on Hillary Clinton on my Facebook page to show her willful disregard of our military, her white house staff, and even her husband.  It included her speech which apparently is overly abundant with foul-mouthed words, beyond tactless and downright evil in its connotation.

Regrettably, I didn’t follow my own guidelines and got called on it this past week.

Through a fellow leader in BSF, I was told that someone was very concerned about the post on Hillary, believing that I condoned that type of language.  Clearly, she didn’t read the post or would have realized that I was wholly against this type of language and behavior – presidential candidate or not.  But why should she have to read through gobs of despicable speech to understand my point?  She shouldn’t and it was wrong of me to post it.  I thought of 1 Corinthians 10:31-32

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God,

And immediately took it down.

Christians are called to a higher standard.  We’re called to a standard so lofty we won’t reach it until we relocate to Heaven. But that doesn’t mean that we lose sight of that glorious ideal until then.  No.  We are to constantly work toward it.

Even more so leaders.  Leadership has been my top spiritual gift since I’ve started taking assessments.  God has gifted me to be a leader, it’s up to me to take that responsibility seriously and live my life the best I can to what Jesus has modeled for me.

Monitoring my speech is an easy place to start.  Especially when you read Ephesians 4:29

No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.

And how a pastor can know that verse and still believe it’s acceptable to swear is beyond me … but that’s a post for another time.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Three in One

Standard

 

Some people regard The Trinity as a difficult concept and I can’t disagree, it’s true.  How can one of anything be three?

fathersonspirit

Once, a few years ago, when I was counseling a very new Christian, she asked me to explain it to her. I gulped but somehow strode forward and gave her this explanation.

God, the Father, is God.  The whole spirit-being.  The great I AM.  The almighty Alpha and Omega.  Then He took a piece of Himself and sent Himself to earth in the form of Jesus who is also God because He is part of God.  When Jesus died, was resurrected, and returned to God, the Father took another piece of Himself and sent it to His believers in the form of the Holy Spirit who is also God because He is part of God and Jesus.  The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons but still all One.

Very simplistic, but it helped her to view our Triune God as One.  I was about to say it helped me too, but I think I’ve just always believed this doctrinal truth on faith … never really thinking about it.  Or have I?

In an article in John Piper’s Desiring God blog, Matt Perman stated it this way:

If there is one passage which most clearly brings all of this together, it is Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished as distinct Persons. We baptize into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, notice that each Person must be deity because they are all placed on the same level. In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature? Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into whose name we are to be baptized must be deity. Third, notice that although the three divine Persons are distinct, we are baptized into their name (singular), not names (plural). The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute one name. This can only be if they share one essence.

For some time now – maybe the last year and a half – God has been refocusing me on the Trinity by having verses that include mention of it like:

And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17

Then as John seeks to establish the deity of Christ:

Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.”  John 10:30

Again in John, when Jesus was speaking to His disciples:

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17

And again in John 14 speaking of the Holy Spirit:

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”  John 14:23

These are just a mere few of the verses in the Bible that distinctly show that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all separate and yet one.

Could God be ensuring that I really comprehend that He is three in one?  I don’t know.  Have I had the tendency to think of Him as three of three?  I pray not.  That might just be blasphemous.  But I can’t think of any other reason He’d be emphasizing this point with me.

Perhaps God was just getting me ready to tackle questions from the friend I’ve mentioned before who doesn’t like when we sing about Jesus being God (or the Lord).  Because in his mind only the Father can be God (or the Lord), Jesus is the Son and hence, not Lord.

Maybe now I can say more than, “Whelp, He is and He isn’t.”

I can speak intelligently (and without fear) and point him to the truth of Bible.

How do you explain the Trinity?

A Light Week

Standard
A Light Week

Hi all!

A personal note today.  Well, usually all my posts are personal, but this is to you, my faithful reader.

I know I’m a little light on content this week.  See, last weekend I started writing a piece on the enemy.  Then I received a verse from scripture which took a slightly different twist on what I was writing so I thought I’d put it aside and do a little research and a lot of praying about it.

Next, a book by Michael Youssef (senior pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, GA and Leading the Way Ministries) fell into my lap called “Conquer” which is about the same subject.  Sometimes, only sometimes, do I get hints pretty quickly.  God was going to use anything and everything to teach me a little more about the devil.  I’ve written my fair share of posts about him because he’s real and he wants to thwart us from doing the will of God.  The next post probably won’t be different, it’ll just have more, and perhaps juicier, information in it.

So this post is to say that I’m still digesting that information and in the meantime working feverishly on my first book.  I say first because I’ve got about a zillion ideas leaking out of my fingertips but I’ve got to write this one first because I need to pour glory out to God.  It’s a Christian memoir about how I spent most of my life running away from God and His persistent pursuit.  Hind sight is more than 20/20!

Only two very long chapters to go and then a re-write (which is already in progress) and then I’ll probably ask for a few volunteers to be beta-readers … so be thinking about that if you’re so inclined!  I spent so long in either pain or apathy during my 17-month health crisis (cardiac issues, surgery, and cancer) that it seems that I’m behind the eight-ball.  But, it’s all good.  The end is in sight and it’s glorious.  That’s the name of the last chapter, by the way … Glorious!

Thanks for hanging in there during my light week!  I appreciate you all very much – far more than you’ll ever know!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Felecia

 

ScripturePicture: Ephesians 3:17

Standard

eph-3-17

It’s so true, isn’t it?

The longer you’re in God’s Word and following Jesus, you build up trust and faith in Him and strength in His continued love and faithfulness.

When God tells you he’ll never leave you, He’s serious.  If your roots are strong, you can weather any storm or trial you might encounter.

So sink your roots down into His fertile soil and get ready to grow stronger in your faith.

 

 

Dream Makers: Inspiring Hope

Standard
Dream Makers: Inspiring Hope

Reblogging this from my friend Patty Perrin. God is always dropping interesting people into our lives. I agree with Patty – you should meet Jan Rogers and her wonderful ministry.
Enjoy!

PTL Perrin Writes...

We call them God-Kisses, when the Lord drops an unexpected blessing into your life and you KNOW it’s a gift directly from Him.

It was the last leg of our journey home from a wonderful visit with our kids and grandkids in Southern California. Tired, ready for a nap, a bit under the weather, and finally seated on the aisle (Bill) and window (me) on our Southwest flight, we looked up when a pleasant voice asked if our middle seat might be available. We knew it was a full flight, and we had prayed for someone nice to sit between us.

God is so good! Jan Rogers was our companion for the next four hours, and we were certainly blessed! What a joy to hear about what God is doing among His people. We have both experienced the joy explosion of light and color and love that God drops…

View original post 57 more words