Thursday, January 13, 2011

Time to use your get out of jail free card

Back when Gene & I got married I had a friend of mine take our pictures. Her name is Deb and she's a nurse who I worked side by side for an entire year before my wedding day took place. Her hobby was taking pictures so I asked if she would photgraph our wedding.

One thing about Deb that everyone knew without a doubt was that she loves Jesus Christ. Her life had only one center and it was Jesus. All of her activities she enjoyed centered around Him, her speech centered around Him and she had no hesitancy in sharing Him with anyone.

I'll never forget this moment between us at my reception that followed the wedding. After a Christ centered wedding ceremony, Deb said, "Lelia, I didn't know you were a Christian!"
I couldn't believe she just said that to me! Not that I thought she was rude, but it's like looking at someone dressed up at the circus in big shoes, a wig, make-up and a big red nose and saying, "I didn't know you were a clown!" After the quick jolt of shock wore off I said, "What? Deb, I've been a Christian since 2nd grade!"

That short conversation never left me.
And what I realized is that Deb was looking at my life and not seeing Jesus in me. At. All.
Not one time in a year did she see Jesus Christ as the center of my life.
And it wasn't like I was choosing to keep Jesus as my best kept secret...I wasn't choosing Him at all and my life showed His absence. How dare I make my wedding about someone I hadn't even invited into my marriage.
Deb's revelation grieved me so deeply that I gave my life back over to Him.
Her words to me that day is a sentence I don't ever want to be my truth again.

Did I have times after that of turning my back on Him?
Yes, I still made bad choices, but each time I was His Prodigal, it was Him Who I missed and returned to and it was Jesus Who forgave me.

This morning my heart is weighed down for those who at one point chose Jesus as their Savior, but then like I did, they chose the world over Him and off they went.
And soon, instead of Him being their everything, He became related to nothing more than a check mark on a paper inquiring of their choice of religion. __X_Christian  ___Hindu ___Muslim

This morning I asked God to give me something in His Word to read and this is what I opened up to.
 I cannot tell you how He spoke to my heart through it...

1 Kings 8:46-50 (NIV)
“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy;

Life without Jesus Christ as the center of your life, is living in bondage.
Recently someone we know was in jail and one thing they said was, "The toilet didn't even have a lid".
No privacy, no toilet lid, clothing marked with Lancaster County Jail on the back, handcuffs, shackled, discomfort, shame, embarrassment,...not the way a daughter or son of a King should be living. And it didn't matter that this person's family hated to see them go through this. Just because their parents wanted to step in and save their day, the parents had no say so in the matter. It was all up to the judge and also the person behind bars had to make different choices. The same way when I was away from Jesus. My parents could pray me up, but returning to Him had to be my choice.

Once we ask Christ into our life it's amazing how by choice we want to see how far we can push away God and still claim Christianity as our way of life. Maybe we hope He won't notice. Or perhaps we are so into the world that we think the things we choose over Christ won't effect our relationship with Him. The thing is, Jesus is not a choice of religion. 

Every time we treat Jesus Christ as a religion, it's as if we're clutching His crown of thorns while walking through life our way and we don't even realize we have His blood on our hands because our grip on the world is so tight.

The prince of darkness does not want you to return to your Heavenly Father, but I encourage you today if you are living a life apart from Jesus to run back to Him. You will be amazed by His love for you.
He outweighs anything the devil makes look good in this world.

Stop living a life of captivity and instead choose the freedom of a King that chose death on a cross over the comfort of His throne.
He loves you that much.
No matter what kind of past or present you have, He is bigger than all of it.
Go home.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Satan's Most Wanted list

The other night I was at Family Christian bookstore picking up my copy of Lysa TerKeurst's book Made to Crave. The book study I'll be leading at a coffee shop in Lincoln starts Monday, January 17th and also here on my blog starting Tuesday, the 18th. Can't wait!! If you want to join me, get your book & do so!

Anyway, I received a phone call and within an hour my Momma's heart would be crushed. No, I'm not going to be a Grandma again...that's not really a crushing of the heart anyway, that's just a temporary shock of the heart until the blessing arrives. 
I'm not going to share the news my husband and I received as God has made it clear this is to stay between us, but I will ask for prayer for our family. Not trying to be dramatic, just obedient to the Lord. 

Over the last 48 hours I have cried until I couldn't squeeze another tear out. 
I have called out to Jesus. Over and over and over again. 
I have come together in prayer with my husband, something we don't ever do consistently. 
I have had my face in God's Word instead of riding the coat tails of verses I know are somewhere in the Bible. I have searched His Word. I have begged Him to give me something. 
And then something major happened. 
My heart tilted. 

It is easy to get all dressed up and throw yourself a pity party, but I refuse. 
I have ripped up the invitations and am fully going to rely on the Lord. 
I have to. 
We are told that our enemy, the devil, is prowling the earth out to kill, steal and destroy. 
1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. 
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
As a believer, why would I take that lightly?
Why do I think that the "someone" God is referring to isn't me, my husband or my kids?

If I was told there was a lion prowling around in my neighborhood I would never send my kids outside to play. They'd be close to me under my protection. I'd do anything to protect my loved ones. Anything. 
I'll be honest here, when I pray for my kids, I often do it on my way to work and it's usually a group prayer. 
Because I'm that busy.
"Dear Lord. Please help Alyssa, Aaron  & Alivia to have a good day. Amen"
Why is my hearts' desire for my children to have a "good day"?
HOW insulting to the Righteous Father Who sits upon the throne to hear such a pathetic prayer if it can even be called that, come from my lips. I give telemarketers more respect and time then I do my Savior.
 How dare I insult the King of all Kings!

So am I going to up my prayer time as a New Year's Resolution? 
No, because that's just a plan of failure for me. 
I'm going to change my prayer life and make it a priority to spend time with God because my life as well as my family's life is on the line. 
Satan wants us. 
If you are a believer of Christ Jesus, you also are on Satan's most wanted list. 
It is time to put on the full armor of God and let God fight the battles that will be coming your way. 
Not if they'll come, when.

After a tough couple of years of learning how to rely on Jesus for what I thought was everything, it is clear to me that I missed the importance of putting on the full armor of God, praying and being in His Word...daily!
I missed it the first, second and hundredth time around, but these last 48 hours, I got it. 
I need Jesus in EVERY area of my life. Big and small, He wants to be the center our entire lives. 

Jesus, I need You.
I trust You and I will not focus on the circumstance in front of us right now, but instead focus on YOU. 
You are so much bigger than anything Satan could ever come up with and in You we believe. 
I can't wait to see what You're going to do and I promise to stay out of your way, no matter how long it takes for You to have your way.
To You be the glory. 
Between Genesis and Revelation it is not one time recorded that You ever came out the loser of any battle. 
As a couple, Gene and I seek You, love You and totally trust You with our lives and our children's.
And while you fight the battle on our behalf, we will do our part of sending forth our praises and prayers and trust in You.

I want to encourage you that no matter what. Let me say that again..NO. MATTER. WHAT. God is worth trusting. He is worth seeking. You will not be disappointed as you learn to trust in your Creator. 
You won't. 
He may not answer prayers or do things the way you would, but He knows what He is doing and if you hang in there and trust Him, His plans will be revealed and you'll find yourself in awe. 

I don't know what hit you in the year of 2010, perhaps...
Car repossessed
Job lost
Home foreclosed on
Surgeries...overall health issues
Death of a child or other loved one
Prodigal child
Having a cheating spouse
Being the cheating spouse
Financial loss
Rough marriage
Regretful abortion
Loneliness in being Single
Loneliness in being Married

you have gone through, know that IF you profess Jesus as your Savior and IF you cooperate with Him and trust Him even when it doesn't look like He knows what He's doing
He WILL come through in His holy timing like no other can. 
Put on the full armor of God.
For if you believe in Jesus, you are on Satan's Most Wanted List. 
Live prepared. 

I love You Jesus. 
I do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Yes to God blog study: MADE TO CRAVE by Lysa TerKeurst


What: Blog study of Lysa TerKeurst's newest book

Where: Here on the Write From My Heart blog
When: Starts Tuesday, January 18th  and every Tuesday through Feb. 28th
Why: It's time to learn how to desire God...not food!
 Go to the Made to Crave website here for more info and how to get your book and the workbook if you want it!

Joining me?
Leave a comment and let me know!