Monthly Archives: July 2014

How Old Were You?

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Yesterday I spoke about hearing God at a fairly young age.  You can read that post here.

When I was writing this particular chapter in the book I asked a group of ladies surrounding my table in women’s ministry what age they believe they were when they first heard or felt God and was amazed at the answers and stories that were told.

Last night I was wondering why I didn’t poll my tribe at the end of that post, so I am now and there is a good chance that this information may end up in the book!

So, if you’d be so very kind, please take one or two seconds and tell me …

How old were you when you first heard or felt God?

Please note:  this in NOT when you surrendered to Christ, but when you remember truly hearing Him or feeling Him.  Many of us take years to fully open the door, sometimes preferring to peek at God for a while through the keyhole.

PS: I’ve left the comments open in case you wish to expound.  If I use your comment in the book in some way I will only use the first initial of your first name (so leave only that, if you wish) or you can always call yourself anonymous!

Early Belief

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A couple of you have inquired about the subject of the book I’m currently writing.  Firstly, I need to thank you for that question! Just the fact that you’re interested warms the cockles of my heart and gives me additional fuel to continue writing.  I’m tentatively calling it “a memoir chronicling God’s ceaseless and redemptive spirit.”  As I’ve aged and matured in Christ, I’ve been able to see how He has been beside every step of the way, constantly saving me from myself and from others.  My story may be just like yours or nothing like yours but to Him, we are all the same.  His children, in need of Him.

The Lord has our individual journeys under His watchful eye throughout our entire lives.  He constantly shapes us and works to equip us with the tools we will need to perform His work for the Kingdom.

Writing this book has had me looking back to my childhood, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Lord has been calling me to Him since I was a very young child.  Because every person on the face of the planet is known by God since before the world was formed, I believe He is calling each and every one of us from birth.  That may startle some people; but regardless of the part of the world you were born in, the socio-economic system you were born into, and even the religion you were born under – He is waiting for you to look His way.

How else was it that when I was about 8 years old I remember coming home from church every Sunday, gathering five or six other little children in the neighborhood, and preaching to them from atop a grassy knoll with my child-sized bible in hand.  It must have been quite a sight!  It makes me laugh now to remember, I wonder what my parents thought about this behavior or did they even know what was happening?  Would my life have been different if they had recognized and cultivated this youthful zeal to bring the word of our Lord to others?  We’ll never know and it probably doesn’t matter because God has grown me into the woman of faith I am today using the whole of the experiences of my life.

Although I wasn’t truly saved in Christ Jesus until my mid-thirties, my absolute, unwavering belief in The One True God from the age of 8 surprises me today.  Perhaps it helps me to understand what Paul meant when he said:

But then something happened!  For it pleased God in his kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born!  What undeserved mercy! ~ Galatians 1:15 (NLT)

He calls each of us.  Even if you haven’t heard Him yet, He is calling.

What undeserved mercy … indeed.

Be well my friends,

Felecia

Finding Freedom in Christ

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Sally was pretty sure she was going to get into trouble and that thought made her nervous.  She looked out at her classmates scattered on the field in front of her and then down at the new black patent-leather Mary Jane’s she’d begged her mother to wear this morning and her mother’s warning invaded her thoughts, “Sally, if you wear these new Sunday shoes to school, you better be extra careful, because if they get ruined I don’t know what I’ll do.”  Sally shivered as the open threat found its mark.  She didn’t know what her mom would do either but she looked back at the field full of expectant classmates and knew she had a chance to bring a few kids home with a well-placed kick.

She motioned she was ready to the pitcher and gulped as the large red ball bounced, shuddered, and finally rolled its way toward her.  Sally clenched her fists and moved to kick the ball with all her might but at the last minute, with her mother’s words echoing in her head, she held back and the ball skidded off her right foot and into the bleachers on the right hand side.

Dejected, she turned to walk back to the bench and looked down to see the dull mark made by the ball streaking off the right side of her shoe.  Ruined.  Ruined, she thought as she leaned over and tried to smudge the mark away with her thumb.  Then, as the groans and laughter of the other kids died down, she suddenly had a thought.  Sally shot upright, turned to the field and screamed, “DO-OVER!”

The other kids quieted and one by one looked up at her.  She yelled again, “I WANT A DO-OVER!”

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It was the greatest thing a kid could ever yell.  Everyone would take their original places and the kid doing the over would take his or her place as if nothing had ever happened.  A fresh start.  A clean slate.

Don’t we sometimes wish that we still lived in a world where we could have a do-over?

As adults the stakes get higher. We’re no longer simply playing kickball and scuffing our Sunday shoes in the schoolyard.  We are sinning.  Sin creeps into our lives and drives a wedge between us and our family, us and our friends, us and our God.

Sin not only separates me from God, sin hinders my growth as a Christian.  I cannot continue to develop if I don’t face the truth about myself, own up to it, make the choice to change, and ask for forgiveness.

Wouldn’t you love to look up toward the heavens and yell to God,” I want a do-over!”

The truth is … you can.

When Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John Chapter 4, He perfectly illustrates the do-over.

… but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

~ John 4:14

In this verse Jesus explains to the Samaritan that His Holy Spirit is the water that leads to eternal life.  The Samaritan isn’t expecting it.  In fact, here she is at the well mid-day, perhaps even after all the other women of the village have come to take what they need for their families.  She hides from them in her shame only to encounter a Jewish man. Do you think she was crestfallen when she saw Him?  Probably.  She only needs to draw some water and waited this long in the day to do it so she wouldn’t be seen and now, not only does she come to find this man here, He addresses her!  He seeks her out.  Is she put at ease because by talking to her He releases her embarrassment?  I think so.  Because by speaking to her, Jesus offers her Himself.  Grace, in the form of living water.

Jesus asks her about herself and when she lies to cover the truth, He exposes it for her but, with no condemnation.  When God holds a mirror up to you “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29a) and even though He sees through your shame and your sorrow, He accepts you for who you are!  What greater freedom can we ask for?  It may be the most profound do-over ever witnessed.

When it comes to life eternal, there may be no greater feeling in this world that that of knowing we have another chance.  No matter what we’ve done.  No matter what we’ve suffered.  No matter the pain we’ve caused.  If we confess it to Jesus and repent, Jesus forgives us and restores us to a place where we can resume our progress to become more like Him.  He redeems us and wipes us clean.

Lord, I need a do-over!


Media provided by http://anativeheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/kickball2.jpg

 

What Does Your Soul Say?

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Did you ever inherently know something – even if you didn’t understand it – you just knew it in your bones?  I think something like that happened to me on Sunday. 

I’ve often heard the words spirit and soul used interchangeably and entangled in such a way as to mean the same thing, but they’re not.  I believe every person has a soul and a spirit because in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul separates the two:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Certainly he is not telling the Holy Spirit to be blameless, so we must have both a spirit and a soul as well as the Holy Spirit (if you’re Christian).

Before I get too off track, let me mention that John Ortberg spoke at our church this weekend.  I was excited to hear him because I’d just finished his book Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus (Zondervan, 2012) which I thoroughly enjoyed … but before he took the platform, we had communion.

Communion TheVerbChurch dot come

As I’ve matured in my Christianity the taking of communion has become a very solemn and special occasion where I am reminded of the Lord’s great love for me by leaving His throne and dying on a cross for me. 

But this past Sunday, I had the oddest sensation.  As the pastor leading us in communion spoke about the body and the bread and the wine and the blood, I started to wonder …

What if, when we take communion, our soul is spiritually reconnecting with God … our Father and our Christ … by reestablishing our connection with Him through this ritual? 
 

After all, didn’t our souls know Him before we were born?  In Jeremiah 1:5(a) we hear: 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;  

God appointed (or set apart) Jeremiah to be a prophet, just as He appointed me to write and counsel and you to … what?  He knows the plans He has for us. (Jeremiah 29:11a).

So as I jotted these thoughts down on a piece of paper after communion, you can imagine my surprise when Pastor Ortberg steps up and starts talking about the soul.  The Soul!

Was the Holy Spirit at work that day?

I’ve never once associated the holy sacrament of communion with my soul.  But that day, as I was in prayer and partaking of the body and the blood of my Savior, my soul was humming, vibrating with a divine connection that I hadn’t been aware of previously.

Too far out there?  Perhaps.  But I’m glad I have this forum to explore these things with you.

Thanks for listening!


Image courtesy of TheVerbChurch.com

 

Growing Up

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Growing Up

 

Has anyone else who is maturing in Christ discovered that His interaction with you has sped up over the years?  I don’t mean the ‘quickening’ that most of us are sensing – although someone certainly remind me to write about that in the near future – I’m talking about when you settle yourself down and talk to your Lord and He answers … almost immediately.

Now whats funny is that just the action of writing that last sentence has brought an epiphany. It’s not that He now suddenly answers me immediately, it’s because I am maturing that I can hear His answer more quickly and more clearly than ever before.  Hmmm …

That just makes me want to talk to Him more often.  To get His feedback on everything.

As I make the effort to intentionally seek His counsel, He is readily available to provide His awesome wisdom. Sometimes in a whisper, other times in a shout, and yet other times – because He is fully aware of the complexities of this child – He answers over and over again; offering clarification and confirmation before I even ask for it … because He knows I will … and He loves me still. 

Do you have such an intimate relationship with the Lord?  You can, and you will as you grow and mature in Christ. You know, you can even ask Him to draw you closer.  Why don’t you?  He would love that!

Dear Lord, Please take my hand and lead me ever closer to you. I wish to hear you speaking to me more clearly than ever before.  I want to sit in your lap and bask in your love and compassion as you envelope me like a warm quilt on a damp, rainy night.  Thank you Lord for continuing to grow me.  Please don’t ever stop talking.  Amen.

Blessings, my friends.

~ F

Still Under Construction

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Here I am on WordPress now … dang GoDaddy!  Three years of blissful living there and then smacked upside da head – they’re no longer supporting the product I blogged with.  I’m not that mad. It might have just been God saying, “Write on the book, forget about the blog.”  But I can’t, other bloggers understand. Even though I’ve been severely lax in my weekly posts because I’m writing a memoir about God’s steadfastness and because I’ve been building the photography site.

And now to my readership … I hope I can find you again … or that you can find me.

I don’t think this blog will truly be up and runing for a couple of weeks.  I need to learn the WordPress thang and FBDOphotography went live on July 1st.  There are issues there too so that’s another priority right now.  Hustling on it all!

This is a construction zone, so put on your hardhat please and thank you for your understanding while the dust settles.