Faith in Action

Lately the Lord has been pointing something out to me…the fact that today could be the last. 

I walk down the street and the halls of the college and I’m struck with the fact that tomorrow is never promised and many of the people around me wouldn’t be going to heaven if today was the last…including a lot of my family.

The Lord is calling me to be a light…he is calling ALL of us to be a light. The question is will we be obedient to that or will we let our own insecurities or selfishness or whatever get in the way? If we are just focused on preserving our own life the Bible assures us we will lose our life.

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it”-Luke 17:33

I’ve been discussing what Authentic Christianity is with a few people and we’ve come to this conclusion.

We would define authentic Christianity as faith in action, fully seeking God at all times and trusting that HE has a plan and it is right. Authentic Christianity shouldn’t be hidden, but it should be lived out in our daily lives. People should be able to see us living out our faith, trusting God, and striving to please Him and do what’s right. 

I wonder if people around me-who don’t know me- can tell there is something different about me. If that definition of authentic Christianity is what I believe why am I not living it totally out?

As I hold back the light he has given me to spread to the world I can feel the separation that is happening between me and God. It’s as if I am ashamed, but I’m not. I want to let that take over me; the fact that I am unashamed of the savior of the world.

Another question I brought up is,  Do you believe it’s alright for people to come up with their own opinion of what authentic Christianity is and mold the definition to fit their life? Or do you believe you can’t mold the truth to fit what you want?

This is what we came up with through looking at what scripture says and what we believe the Lord has shown us: I don’t think that authentic Christianity can just be molded to what anyone “wants”. Authentic Christianity is living like Christ and trying to be like Him as much as possible; although, no one can match up to Him. If we aren’t living like Christ then we aren’t living an authentic Christian life. There are lots of ways to live an authentic Christian life, but I think all the true ways lead to living like Christ and striving to be like Him.

So many times I see people deciding that they need to follow what the crowd does as to not offend them, but show love. I think that‘s an excuse to be able to do what is clearly wrong in God’s eyes but feel no guilt about it. Honestly, I feel that if we don’t stick up for what the Bible says then we aren’t living out a Christian life. Having said that I don’t necessarily believe we should be going up to everyone we come across and saying ‘are you a Christian ’cause if you’re not you’re going to hell,’ I mean if we are going to be honest, sadly that is the truth, but if we aren’t sticking up for what the Bible says than we aren’t truly following God. I have no doubt that the people who say or think these things believe in Jesus Christ, but I believe they are missing a key component of being saved. Repentance. 

I went to a church in Oregon the other week and the message was just PURE truth. Mark 1:!5 says this,

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; REPENT and believe in the gospel.”

The preacher went on to point out 2 main elements of repentance

1. Intellectual Element of repentance is a change of view; a recognition of sin as involving personal guilt defilement and helplessness.

2. Emotional Element is a change of feeling; a hatred of sin manifesting itself in sorrow for sin committed against a Holy God

He gave an illustration.  He had a BB gun and he said “who believes I can hit that balloon over there in one shot?” The majority of the church raised there hands. He then said, “How many of you think I can hit the balloon with one shot while someone is holding it out from their body without injuring the person?” About 60% of the church raised their hands. He then said,”How many of you think I can hit the balloon while someone holds it closer without injuring the person?” Less people believe he could do that, He then said, “How many of you believe I can shoot this balloon while someone holds it in their mouth without injuring the person? One person raised their hand so he said come on up and he popped the balloon perfectly (someone was behind a door and poked it with a needle) 

His point was are we willing to put the balloon in our mouth for God? Are we willing to go to that length to be obedient to Jesus?

We are called to action, but that’s not usually our response as Christians in America. We have to have a changed heart and a changed mind that leads to action. The kingdom of God advances when their is repentance AND belief.

He referred to this belief without repentance as Cheap Grace

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said,

“cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

What we should want is to fall so passionately in love with Christ that we can’t help but obey his call. Being in love with Jesus Christ means we can’t contain ourselves…we HAVE to tell people the good news of God.

The fact is many of us have been so in love with God at one time but STOP evaluate yourself. 

Maybe you need to fall in love with Him all over again.

Who do you need to tell the good news to before it’s too late? 

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Teresa
Are you ALL in?

 

Learning To Be The Light

It’s so much easier for me to keep to myself at school. SO MUCH EASIER!!! I know what the Lord is trying to teach me though…GEEZ!!!

I’m learning to be the light.

My passion is to tell people about Jesus and lead people to him.

I’m trying to accept the fact that evangelism starts right here.

I’m learning to be the light right where I am today. I pray that you are too 🙂

It’s so much brighter living in your world
Savior, what you did for me
You gave me something I want everyone to see
When we struggle and it all goes wrong, only you can make it right
So I say oh oh oh oh oh
I’m learning to be the light

-Ally

The little things

It’s the little things in life that bring me so much joy…
A text from my daddy.
New friends.
Laughter.

No matter how bad my attitude is about things, God wants me to be happy. He’s not thinking, she’ll get over it, he is constantly trying to make me realize how good I have it and how great he is!

I was walking to my classes today and kept hearing an annoying sound. It was driving me crazy…I looked in my bag and it was my baby brothers lid to his bottle hitting everything in my purse. I needed that reminder of how much The Lord has blessed me with the amazing family I have.
I’m so thankful for that.
For his grace…for everything!
I’m blown away by my wonderful parents that he has put in my life and all the great people around me.

Thank you God! You are good!!!

A time of refreshing…

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

-Acts 3:19-21

I am on vacation readying to head into the Canadian wilderness tomorrow for a week with a good friend.  I will be surrounded by God’s beauty everywhere I look and it is good for the soul.  It is so important to detach from the gadgets, gizmos and stuff of our daily lives and find time to be truly alone with ourselves.  I look forward to fishing and paddling on crystal clear lakes.  I find myself just mesmerized by it all and just how small I am in the backdrop of this immense wilderness.

While this setting is so good for me in so many ways – it does fall short in truly meeting the greatest need of my soul.  That is the need to experience God’s grace and presence.  While I may feel closer to God in his creation – the only thing that truly makes me close is Christ.  And what stands between me and God is sin.  It can be so disappointing to see how much compromise I can allow into my life.  This not only separates me from God – but leaves me feeling unworthy to go to Him for the very grace I require.  I thank God for His Word which speaks truth into me life and reaches beyond the lies of the flesh and the enemy.  Over and over He says to simply turn from our sin and return to Him and He will restore us.

LORD, I AM unworthy.  I have turned before – and I have returned to sin in my life.  As David said, I have sinned against God alone.  Help me to see that my sin is a total affront to you.  So, I turn AGAIN.  I run to you and fall upon your mercy.  I pray that you will truly restore me this week as I have many hours of quiet solitude to focus on you.  Meet me in this time LORD and restore my soul, mind, body and heart to you.  And help me to glorify you in all that I do.

Thank you for your restoration.  Help me to know it fully and live accordingly. Please watch over my family and bring me back safely to them – as a better father, husband and man.

Amen

I’m not where I used to be…

Whenever I get to complaining for long I try to remember complaining is wrong… I think that line is from VeggieTales…I’ll tie it in shortly 🙂

Lately people have been letting me see more into their lives and I am struck with the fact that I am so stinkin’ blessed. I complain A LOT…just ask my family. That is why that quote came to mind. It’s not even just that complaining is wrong…how can I possibly glorify the Lord if I am constantly finding something to complain about.

As a Christian that is what I have dedicated my life to, to glorify Him. Over the past few months I have learned to be less selfish, quick to hear, and slow to speak. I’m not trying to say that I am anywhere close to perfect in those places, but I am saying that I have seen growth in my life.

There is a song that says, I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be.

That’s kind of where I am. I don’t want to get stuck in the, I’m not where I want to be part though.

I want to encourage everyone reading this that the past is over and done with, and most importantly all of those past mistakes and regrets that you have can all be washed away by the ONE TRUE GOD!

Maybe for you it isn’t enough to hear that. You’re thinking, You just don’t understand. You don’t know what I went through. You don’t know what I have done. I don’t…but I know one thing, God is who he said he is. There is forgiveness. You want a promise to hold onto…

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23

Or maybe you know you are forgiven yet you keep asking God forgive me, forgive me, forgive me. If that’s you then check your faith. When you pray to God you’ve got to believe that He will be faithful. Now…let it go. It’s hard, but ask for His strength, and take it.

The Lord has AMAZING plans for your life if you just give it to him. And once we do we can complete that song…but I’m not where I used to be. Thank you Jesus!

My prayer for you is that of Paul’s,

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
If you need prayer check out the contact tab on the blog and email us. Whether you do or not, know that I am praying for everyone who reads this blog. 🙂
-Ally

Community

I have had a pretty easy life. Even so, I have learned the importance of community.  I am not great with words but I will try to get my thoughts down in a way that makes sense-not that what I am about to write is anything new..just a reminder.

I am a pretty private person, and my pride keeps me from sharing a lot of my struggles with others.  I like thinking that other people think I have it all together.  But the trouble with that is two-fold.  First, I can actually become a bit of a stumbling block for others who are struggling with my same (hidden) struggles.  Maybe they will feel like giving up or that they need to hide their own struggles so they too can seem to have it all figured out.  I’m sure I am not alone in saying the following: when I go into another persons house-especially another woman who seems to do everything perfect- it gives me comfort and actually encourages me, to see that they too might have that one room/closet that everything was shoved into so the rest of the house could look clean, or to see that unweeded area of their yard or that their child too throws a tantrum or that they have to work hard to have the fit body they have achieved.  I realize that my struggles are not unique to me and that we can actually support each other. Providing help, rest, or just sharing ideas.  God tells us in His word that we need friends and mentors.  There aren’t any struggles unique to only us.

So secondly, I become a weaker person by not being real.  I might snap at my family when things aren’t just so for company. And it keeps me from seeking God’s wisdom and help because I am so busy trying to seem perfect…I’m not saying that anyone actually thinks that by the way.  And I think by not being genuine it keeps other relationships more shallow.

I think community happens easier during a crisis-it’s kind of hard not to be real.  For me it is something I have to remind myself of during the easier times.  I am so encouraged by my family (both by blood and through Christ) and friends.  As I try to be more transparent I am able to be held up through prayer and words of encouragement.  And I find that the other people in our lives open up more as well-becomes a nice little circle that I think God intended.  We become stronger and smarter.

So all that to say-be real and intentional today when you interact with others…especially with God-He already knows us intimately and He loves us still.  With that kind of security we really don’t need to fear what others will think. Don’t make excuses or partake in little white lies-fess up and do better.  My sister-in-law used to always say (not necessarily to me), don’t be sorry-be different.  Well, of course we can be sorry for our mistakes but we most definitely should try to be different-God didn’t intend for us to struggle with the same sins our entire life-we just get stuck…mostly because of the excuses we try to make.  Hope this encourages someone today.  You are loved and accepted..you are a child of the one true king-so be courageous and be yourself and allow God to work in and through you 🙂

-Tina

Another step of faith.

The truth is it freaks me out that I’m going to start college in a few days.

While praying the other day The Lord put a piece of scripture in my heart. Lamentations 3:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord ! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:… “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’ 

Lamentations 3:21-26, 40, 41, 55-57

God is faithful. I can hold on to the promise that he is with me, and he loves me unconditionally! At the end of the day all that really matters is that I glorified God.

I was positive I was not going to pass the test to get into running start, and I said

Lord, if this is what you want, you know what to do…so sure enough I passed the test my first try.

I’ve been starting to realize that He just wants me to trust him. So I’m gonna trust you Lord. I’m gonna need you to keep me focused because I just know I’m going to be distracted so easily by schoolwork. I want to be bold in my faith. I want to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. I’m taking your hand Lord. I trust you.