Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Christian. The word literally means, “little Christ.” How do you know if someone is a Christian? How do you know if YOU are a Christian? This can be a touchy issue and I’ve been pondering it a lot recently. So, I decided to dig into Scripture.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:17, 20, “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” And in John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “You also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” James, the half brother of Jesus writes in James 2:14, 17, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James continues on and touches on that works do not earn your faith, they merely display that your faith exists. In verses 18-20, James writes, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”
WHEW!!!!! Overwhelmed yet? I apologize. The Bible just always says it better than I can! So to summarize….
Fruit. You can know that you or someone else is a Christian by fruit produced. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Those are good fruits- evidence that yes, that person has Christ in their life!
Love. By loving others, we will show our faith in the Lord. You may be thinking, huh? Well, God has loved us so much, forgiven us, and showered us in His grace…. We are called to pour that out onto others. Hence, we’ll be recognized by our love for one another.
Faith and works. This is always a messy topic of discussion I feel like. But the point of “faith without works is dead” is well made by James. If a person’s faith in the Lord is active and true, it will be seen in their works. The phrase “actions speak louder than words” rings true here. Jesus wants us to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. And James goes on to explain that believing in God is not enough, because even the demons believe in Him… they just choose not to obey and follow Him.
Will you choose to produce good fruit? Will your love display that you have a relationship with God? Will your faith produce works? Will you choose to take a step beyond simply believing and choose to follow and obey the Lord? It's not too late to choose.

“For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able…You begin to stand outside and to knock at the door saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” –Luke 13:24-27

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Gift

We have all received a gift at some point in our lives. I think of Christmas or birthdays as big "gift" holidays. Imagine, it's Christmas morning and under the tree are tons of beautifully wrapped packages. After admiring the beauty of the display, you dig in and begin opening the gifts.... right? You wouldn't possibly sit there and stare at the gifts for too long without opening them. And you certainly wouldn't pull out the gifts labeled for you, pile them up, and leave them unopened. I mean, seriously. Imagine adding to your collection of belongings a bunch of unopened Christmas presents and all year just looking at wrapped packages and thinking, "Wow, what a great Christmas of gifts that was!" If you happen to actually collect unopened presents, I would encourage you to open them. I am sure you'll like what is inside more so than the wrapped gift... it'd definitely be more useful to you anyhow!

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so no one may boast."
To start, we have to see the GIFT that God is offering to us! He is offering it, but we must choose to receive it- just like any other gift that can be denied or accepted. And we also must recognize that since it is a gift, we cannot do anything to earn it. Other than Santa Claus and his expectation of "nice" behavior, gifts are given freely... free of charge! Who offers someone a gift and then makes them pay for it? That just is not a gift! Just after receiving any gift, it is best enjoyed when opened and used. The gift of salvation that God offers us is not intended to just sit on a shelf and be ready for our day of death as a ticket into heaven. This gift of God has so much more to offer than that! In John 10:10 Jesus says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Abundance. He wants us to dig in and enjoy life, in Him, to the fullest.... starting now!

So don't wait to receive this gift. And once you receive it, I hope you choose to open it and enjoy it for all that it's worth. What better gift could there possibly be?!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fork in the Road

The road of life. We all take one! In most cases, our upbringing doesn't leave us with room for a choice- we move forward on the only path we know of; but as we age that changes. There comes a day when we can see a fork in the road we are on. We are faced with a choice. Path A or Path B.

-Path A is easily visible and is full of lush greenery, flowers bursting with color, and sunlight. The end of the road cannot be seen from where you stand at the fork, but the light and beauty of Path A goes as far as the eye can see!
-Path B is dark, dreery, with seemingly pleasant sounds echoing towards the fork in the road. The entire road is dark, so obviously the end of the road is a mystery.

Let's say Path B resembles the road of life you've been on thus far, more so than Path A. Choosing Path B would be the most comfortable thing.... but Path A just looks SO nice! There is even a gentle voice beckoning you to proceed on with Path A, that says, "this is the path of life!" Logically, Path A seems to be the right way to go. But for some reason, you cannot shake it and are drawn to Path B. So what is your choice?
Here's the part where you chooce the ending... (fun right? Like a movie with alternate endings!)

You find that you are constantly watching your back to avoid theivery and destruction [John10:10]. The end of the road seems more clear now, and you see an unquenchable fire [Mark 9:44]. You begin to reap corruption for your choice of Path B [Galatians 6:8]. You sense there is one like a lion, prowling around hoping to find someone to devour, so you are in a constant state of fear [1 Peter 5:8]. You realize, that you are seperated from Christ, and have no hope without God [Ephesians 2:12]!

You are walking on the path of life and are in God's presence. You experience fullness of joy and pleasures forever at His right hand [Psalm 16:11]. God's steadfast love is before your eyes and you walk in his faithfulness [Psalm 26:3]. And you say, "I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delievered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place." [Psalm 31:7-8]. It is obvious now that choosing Path B would have brought you death, destruction, and unsatisfaction. Wow, Path A, what a good and promising choice!

Now that you have the alternate endings.... which Path would you pick A or B? Path B may still seem appealing to you (and if so, I blame Satan). Trust me when I say, you will miss out so much on Path A and you will eventually look back and wish you chose Path A from the start. The good news is, Path A is always available. If you have chosen Path B and are looking for a way off the road that leads to destruction.... turn back and RUN into God's arms and head down Path A! Stroll down the path of life alongside your Creator, Father, Lover, and Savior! But beware... Path B will not be far off and Satan will tempt you to step back towards Path B. I pray you flee and persevere on Path A.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Light or Dark?

Light. What is light? Well, the Bible says that light is....

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12
"...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." - 1 John 1:5

Darkness? The opposite.

We all have a choice; to walk on in the light or in the dark. Seems like it makes more sense to walk in the light.... since you'd be able to see and all. But sadly, so many choose darkness. Maybe for the mystery and suspense it holds? But emptiness is all that awaits those who choose darkness. It's dark for a reason. Ugly, painful, unsatisfying sin would look too horrific in the light.... darkness covers it up.

Maybe you're thinking, "Well, I chose light once, but I'm giving darkness a try now. I may to return to light eventually, but darkness looked SO appealing....even just for a little bit!" And if you are, please read the rest of this very carefully. The Bible warns in 1 John 1:6-7... "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." And in 2 Corinthians 6:14, "...what fellowship has light with darkness?"
Still wondering if this is you, choosing darkness over light? Well, since there cannot be fellowship with light and darkness, a good indicator would be your relationships. Has your group of friends changed? Are the people you are spending your time with choosing light or are they also choosing darkness (and condoning your choice of darkness)? Do you find yourself trying to cover up your choice to those who you used to walk in the light with, convincing them you're still trying to choose light? And have you begun to see the consequences of walking in darkness; no clear direction, feelings of uneasiness and maybe regret, unexpected and unpleasant surprises? Yes? Then you're for sure deep in darkness.

But I have good news!

The light of the world NEVER gives up hope and He awaits your return. Choose light! Walking in the light brings true fellowship with others and is the way to the abundant life that Jesus came to give us all. It's worth it. You'll see...even if you find out the hard way.

"Choose this day who you will serve." -Joshua 24:15 and I pray you choose to serve the light of the world, Jesus.

Friday, October 7, 2011

To Know & Be Known

A list of Facebook friends or Twitter followers is not an accurate account of who knows us, or who we know. And when you think about who knows you the best, in the whole world, who would you say that person is? Your mother, father, husband, wife, daughter, son, best friend? If it's any of those, I would tell you that you are wrong.

The Bible says, in Psalm 139:13-16, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." And in Matthew 10:30, "But even the hairs of your head are all numbered."

Bottom line: God knows you, inside and out and in ways no human will ever be able to. Even the smallest of details- such as how many hair strands are on your head. Wow, seriously? That is insane to really sit down and think about. Not only does God know every detail to my body, but He knows what goes on in my head and my heart- not even my husband knows that! (Trust me, I hope that Tyler will have a breakthrough and be able to read my mind, but I'm coming to the reality, that he will never ever ever be able to read my mind... haha!) Ok, so God knows you and me and everyone on earth inside and out. Cool, now what?

Well, imagine your favorite childhood star. Mine = Britney Spears. I know facts about her, trials she has gone through in her life, and lyrics to almost all of her songs (at least the early ones). But if I passed her on the street, she would have no idea who I was. The sad truth, this is how some us are with God. He knows us full and well and many of us think that's enough for Him.... and enough for us. To have a true RELATIONSHIP with someone, it must must must go both ways! (Otherwise, it's kind of creepy if you think about it.) God wants us to get to know Him! He desires that our eyes see His beautiful creation, that our hearts feel His presence through His Holy Spirit, and that our hope rests in His Son's return to earth. And since He's God, there is so much to know about Him, that we cannot ever get bored. He's our Father, Lover, Savior, Redeemer, Provider .... everything!

Have you gotten to know God? He knows you, but don't settle with that. Run to Him, seek Him, and get to know your Creator! It's worth it. Trust me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


1. profound dedication; consecration.
2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
We are all devoted to something. There are even those of us who are determined to not be devoted to something, which ends up being our devotion....
I've recently been feeling like I'm crazy. Which, is not so much out of the ordinary, for me to feel that way. However, I'm wrestling with God about my devotion. I have been pouring my heart and soul into something and I seem to be the only one who is truly devoted to it. But, He asked me to do it.... so I can't stop now. He's called me to finish strong! BUT I LOOK CRAZY! I FEEL CRAZY! Then I remember, it doesn't matter who sees me as crazy. As long as they know Who I am crazy about.
Today, on my Twitter feed, I read, "If you sat in a court room facing charges for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prove you are guilty?" I got to thinking. I certainly hope so! I hope through my devotion, it would be clear.... my devotion to the Lord above all, my devotion and comittment to my husband, my devotion to my job and the lives of those I pour into.... But most importantly, I hope that God sees my devotion, for Him. I hope as He sits on His heavenly throne, He is pleased with me and always notes of my devotion to Him, knowing that I am His and He is mine! Even when I may appear crazy to everyone else.
What or who are you devoted to? Is it obvious to others that you are indeed devoted?

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Light For My Path

Running requires a path. Have you ever really given thought to the path, or do you focus more on the running? I usually am so focused on running, I tend to not give much thought, if any, to the path. A good run is different for everyone. But what ingredients make up a “good running path”... smooth and dry ground, beautiful surrounding scenery, the chirping of birds coming from nearby trees? What about light?
I picture myself running on a path that meets my standards of being a "good running path" but it's in complete darkness. I will not be able to see the path in effort to continue on it, or avoid hitting something. Even with a flashlight, only a step or two in front of me will be illuminated and I will certainly not be able to see how much farther I have until I reach the end of the path. But, just one step is enough as long as I take my time and trust that the light will not dim! On your path, in life, are you feeling alone, in the dark, with no guidance? God wants to be the light to your path. Will you let Him? He knows the way…
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105