Category Archives: Kuert Life

How To Overcome Disappointment

DISAPPOINTMENT

Recently Stephen and I spoke at one of our supporting churches in Winter Park, Colorado. Clearly it is one of the most beautiful places to connect and minister ;-) It makes me miss living in Colorado so much!

The Pastor asked us to share a little bit from our experiences in this season and on the topic of how to overcome disappointment. We have faced a lot of trials, mainly in physical health in the short time we’ve been married. We’ve walked through a lot of disappointment in this season in plain view of others, but some of the darkest moments we’ve been alone and have learned a lot to help others through their challenges. We want you to know that you’re not alone!

Here’s the main passage that we used in Luke Chapter 24 to illustrate a few points on how one can overcome disappointment.

Read for reference LUKE 24:13-35
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven mile from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

This is one of the most powerful chapters in the whole New Testament. It was the resurrection, the premise of the Christian faith! It should have been an exciting day.

Jesus has been preparing his disciples: “And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” Luke‬ ‭18:31-34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It was almost like these two men had their fingers in their ears saying “la la la… I can’t hear you.”

They don’t understand what Jesus is saying. They had their own ideas of how things are supposed to happen. Not too unlike any of us, they wanted God to do things in a certain way at a certain time.

Their expectations of what they thought Jesus meant were disappointed by what actually transpired.

“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:21‬ ‭
Maybe they thought that He was setting up a kingdom, that He was going to drive out the romans, eliminate the heavy taxes, and that Jesus would be the president of a new empire and they would all have cabinet positions. It would be payback time!

That’s not what Jesus did. He hung on a cross for the redemption of sin.

Was Jesus the one to redeem? Yes, but there are two different definitions of what “redemption” looks like.

When their experience didn’t match their expectation, they experienced disappointment and extreme disillusionment. When we experience disappointment, we can fall into the same mindset.

Here’s a look at a 3 things we’ve learned to do to overcome the ongoing residual effect of disappointment.

1- We must overcome the tendency towards cynicism and unbelief:

Faith is the central premise of Christianity.
“…the just shall live by FAITH
Romans 1, Galatians 3, Hebrews 11, Habakkuk 2 are all clear teachings on faith.

We often look at faith in the primary area of acceptance and adherence to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet there needs to be an ongoing continual walk in our daily lives. 

The two towns, Jerusalem and Emmaus are only 7 miles apart. This shows us they’re walking not by faith, but by sight.

They had lost faith in what Jesus had said.

It was Resurrection day. The women had found a rolled away stone. Jesus’ body wasn’t in the tomb. They had a vision of angels with a message that he was alive. It’s the third day. Peter only found the grave-clothes.

These two men would’ve known these things, yet they were walking AWAY from Jerusalem because they didn’t believe.

There was a lingering effect from being wounded by disappointment. God didn’t live up to their expectations of what they thought He would do or HOW they thought He would do things.

Recently I (Bailey) cut my tendon on my right index finger while scooping out coconut milk from a can. I had surgery to permanently stitch the tendon and the scar on the surface has healed really well. The surgeon and my therapists aren’t as concerned about the tendon rupturing again or the finger being permanently damaged. They’re concerned that the scar tissue would form too much and entrap the tendon and nerves around the repair causing a greater injury than the initial cut.

I thought about how wounds in our lives can be like this. Maybe we are removed from the situation that caused the initial hurt, but the residual effects of the wound can keep growing.

Scar tissue is a great reminder that you can’t always see someone’s pain. On the surface you or someone else might look alright, but you never know what’s going on in someone’s heart.

God wants us to come to Him with our questions and our pain. He is not your problem, He is your provision for healing.

“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.”- Hosea 6:1

“For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD.”-Jeremiah 30:17

2-We must overcome a tendency to isolate ourselves from healthy relationships and from God:

When people get wounded and hurt the tendency is to pull back and retreat.

We see this with these two guys  left the larger body of believers that they were connected to. We know from the book of Acts, that there were 120 gathered together on the day of Pentecost. That means that there were at least 118 other disciples that could have encouraged them and ministered to them. Yet we read that they are by themselves on a road to Emmaus and apparently lonely enough to talk with a stranger about their woes.

With every step they’re walking further and further away from people who could encourage their faith.

The problem with isolation is that you make yourself more vulnerable to the enemy.

Instead of isolating ourselves, we need to stay connected to the body of Christ.

Luke 5:17-26 tells the story of the paralytic man being lowered to the ground.

There were 4 friends who did whatever it took to get their friend to Jesus’ feet.
The weight of carrying another person is not easy.
That stretcher required 4 people.
We need to be willing to go beyond our own comforts to help people in their trials.

Set in place some healthy relationships in your life now so that when storms come there are some people strong enough around you who will carry you back to Jesus.

We need to ask ourselves: what kind of friend are we to others?
Are we the kind who when people are isolating themselves that we pursue them anyway?
Are we moved in compassion to help those hurting around us?
Are we willing to tear through roofs and do whatever it takes to get them to the feet of Jesus?

It’s a lot easier to point our fingers and start blabbing our mouths instead of carrying someone’s weight as they face disappointment and isolation. We can speak words of life and encouragement to prevent them from discrediting Jesus’ love for them.

You need to know that even if you feel no one is there to “carry” you, that you’re not alone.

What is so beautiful about this story on the road to Emmaus is that even though other friends and disciples aren’t with these two guys, Jesus is. He comes at a critical time and intercepts their unbelief with truth. He reveals Himself to them even when they’ve cut themselves off.

Cleopas’ name is never mentioned anywhere else in the Bible and it’s a unique point that Jesus knows your name and where you’re at with your faith and will always be pursuing you to remind you that He is faithful.

HE IS NOT TURNED OFF BY OUR QUESTIONS OR BY OUR WEAKNESS. He instead meets us in our weakness and reveals Himself to us.

You also have to know who He is and who He says you are in seasons of abundance so that when storms come, you know the truth.

In a season of disappointment, everyone will give their opinion on who God is and what is happening to you. The first person who will knock at your door is the enemy. If we don’t learn to press in and learn the voice of God in seasons where we aren’t encountering as much resistance, we won’t clearly recognize the lies that the enemy throws at us when we’re being shaken. Others will speak to you about who Jesus is from their wounding and from their offenses so you have to know who He says He is and who you are in Him. Don’t allow distractions to keep you from building a firm foundation of hope and truth that keeps you from building upon the lies of self-hatred, condemnation and doubt.

You’ve got to as I like to say “bulk up” in the word during seasons where there aren’t as many storms. As athletes train for their sporting events in off seasons, we must bulk up and study God’s word and listen for His voice so we aren’t shaken when difficulty hits.

3- We must overcome the tendency to rush God’s purpose and timing:

In a day where our microwave can deliver our food to us in a matter of seconds, it is easy to find ourselves resistant to and inpatient with the timing of God.

We can’t impose our time-table over Gods sovereign purposes.

We see with these two guys that they rushed the promise Jesus made.

Jesus has made clear promises that on the third day that he would rise from the dead. It was the third day. They waited as long as they thought prudent. The roads would’ve been dangerous at night. It was 7 miles to Jerusalem to Emmaus. If they walked at a brisk pace of 15 minutes a mile or 4 mph,  then it would take 1 hour 45 minutes to complete their journey. Jewish sunset is around 7 pm. So let’s say it was 5:15 pm when they started their journey. It’s clear that these men waited until what was likely the last possible minute that they would’ve waited before walking to Emmaus to arrive before dark.

Jesus is going to appear to the disciples later that night.

In a very real sense these guys were just hours away from their breakthrough!

Instead of waiting and holding onto promises, they forsake it all and walked away right before the moment of breakthrough.

To encourage you, His timing is always perfect.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”-1 Peter 5:6

“At the proper time…”
When is that?
We may not know, but we can rest assure that He does.

When I (Stephen) was a senior in college, I was walking into the chapel on campus one day and clearly heard God say to me,” you’re going to meet you wife here”. I have honestly only heard something that clear a handful of times in my life. I walked into the chapel service that day thinking I’d “find her”. I looked for the pretty girls raising their hands in worship. I graduated that Spring and there was no wife. I moved back to Kenya and again there was no wife. I ended up moving to Burundi in the middle of a civil war and again, there was no wife. I pastored a church in Tanzania and by this point I’d long forgotten the word God spoke to me some ten years prior. I returned to the United States in the summer of 2010 and the next Spring I was asked to return to my alma mater  to share a message with some college mission students. We met in that exact chapel building and there on the front row was this beautiful red-head sobbing while I shared stories of Kenya. I came to find out she has loved Kenya since she was a little girl and God moved on her heart that evening. We hit if off, began dating, and it wasn’t until we were engaged that I even remembered God’s word to me that day 11 years earlier.

His timing is always perfect and when we take the timing into our own hands, we can miss what He has for us.

_______________________________________________________

We can see how we can relate to and learn from these two travelers. But why would Luke choose to conclude his book this way?

Well, here’s the rest of the story: resurrection was just warm up for Pentecost.

In other words Jesus wasn’t setting up a monument to His suffering; He was mobilizing a movement to reach the world.

The message of the resurrection wasn’t for the disciples alone; it was for the world.

That movement was going to be birthed in Jerusalem NOT Emmaus.
The Holy Spirit was going to fall in the upper room NOT in their supper room.

The crucial problem is that they were headed the wrong direction and were about to miss God’s purpose!

They needed to be reconnected to other believers.
They needed the spark of faith to be reignited.
They needed a new awareness of Gods timing and purpose.

In order for that to happen they needed a burning heart.
“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”-Luke 24:32

Here’s the thought for us to take away from this story:
Our hearts can continually burn even during times of great sorrow and suffering.

The lie of the enemy is this: if you are going through tough times then your heart will invariably go cold or at least lukewarm.

Jesus shows us that’s not the case.
Jesus warns us that in the last days hearts would grow cold.

“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”Matthew 24:12 

We are seeing it left and right in this hour. This isn’t the hour to be apathetic and slow of heart. This isn’t the hour of fear and indifference with double minded allegiance.

Jesus continually revels Himself to us so that our hearts might burn within even in hardships. 

He’s doing this to bring about full healing in our lives so that we can then become His witnesses to the world.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”-Revelation 12:11

In order to live this scripture out and overcome disappointment, we must accept Jesus’ full work on the cross, share our testimony with others of what He’s done in us, and have a burning heart so that our lives are not our own.

Jesus’ evidence that He had died and rose again on the cross was His scars. The scar on my(Bailey) finger won’t ever go away. It’ll always serve as a reminder that I cut my hand in the kitchen. Yet once I walk through the necessary steps of physical therapy and regain function, it’ll serve as a testimony of healing for others. Likewise when we allow full healing, our scars will serve as a sign we’ve overcome disappointment and be a source of healing for those struggling to find Jesus through their pain.

 If you’re interested in hearing the message, you can click HERE.

Madagascar House Hunters International

madagascar (1)



For those who only want to know the air date for our episode of Madagascar House Hunters International, it’s October 5th at 9:30pm central time and then October 6th at 12:30am central time on HGTV ☺️

If you miss the live program, you can view it here after the air date.

IMG_9306

Filming a scene at the Nehemiah Project!

We love Madagascar…

We had a blast filming and working on this project!! Stephen has been connected to Madagascar from missions work in East Africa and we were excited to move here as a married couple. We wish you could see ALL of the country and ALL of our beautiful friends there, but this will be a fun episode with a glimpse into the uniqueness of this amazing island.

Questions for Christians about Abortion and Pregnancy

 

Questions about Abortion and PregnancyTo say that I am disgusted with the recent events of Planned Parenthood and how they’ve treated countless women and unborn babies is an understatement.

The illegal business of selling body parts of these precious unborn ones makes my heart heavy.

Precious women everywhere who’ve already grieved the abortion process are once again revisiting their decision with a new wave of grief of wondering if their baby’s body parts were sold off. It’s heartbreaking reading some of their stories. We need to pray for them and be a place of safety and love.

In light of these horrific details of PP and their unrepentant comments, I’ve been thinking a lot about alternative solutions to abortion that I’ve pondered the last 8-9 years or so. Where can someone in need find a better solution?

If the government cut funds to Planned Parenthood and a list of other companies supporting them stopped and they were forced to close their doors tomorrow, where would all of these women go? PP provides general health care for women too, not just abortions.

**Let me clarify to those who’ve stumbled upon this and don’t hold the same spiritual beliefs as I do. I am not being insensitive or judging ANYONE who has had an abortion or who thinks that this is a good idea and should be the women’s choice. I can’t imagine some of the trauma and heartache associated with the decision of having an abortion and I’m not taking it lightly. I just believe that there is a better way and while I’ve not ever found myself the victim of rape, incest, sexual trauma etc., I still believe there is FAR better care and redemption than what PP is doing. Through my personal relationship and healing with Jesus Christ, I know He is the best solution.

So it is with the above clarified that I ask these questions to the believers reading this.

1.CHURCH—are you ready to handle this situation?

You’ve prayed for abortion to end right? You’ve prayed for the ending of abortion since 1973. Within that time, over 55 MILLION babies have been aborted right here in the USA.

What if PP closes? What if some forms or all forms of abortion become illegal? Are you ready to handle the pregnancy crisis?

This will NOT mean the usual flow of pregnancy crisis scenarios that you’ve dealt with before. If an abortion takes place roughly every 90 seconds in the USA, we’ll have huge crisis on our hands.

Please don’t answer with a “No, but…” statement like “No, but I know where to refer someone.” That’s a great start, it really is, but it’s time to evaluate what YOUR PERSONAL part is for you/your church (pastors) to play in this. I say that with all the love and kindness in my heart. Some hurting person needs you to be prepared to give the answer of hope that you/your church carries.

Even if PP doesn’t close and every form of abortion is legalized, this is an hour for the Body of Christ to stand up and BE the hands and feet of Christ in a HUGE WAY!

2. Are you/or is your church aware of the demographics in your city?

This might sound irrelevant, but Planned Parenthood knows these and specifically targets lower-income areas to build their clinics. Yes, they provide more than abortions and it makes sense to have cheap or free services in these areas, but abortions are still the prevailing service. These demographics are majority African-Americans and Hispanic groups. Talk about racism in our country—abortion is by far the leading factor of preventable death in these minority groups. As a believer this PROVOKES me to be a solution.

These areas might be areas to look into planting a Pregnancy Crisis Outreach or something of that nature if there is not already one established. Consider inviting people in this area to your church (yes that would mean providing transportation), conducting free health screenings as an outreach, or partnering with a local church that is actively reaching out and helping women who are facing the decision of abortion. I’m not suggesting that EVERY church needs a Pregnancy Crisis Center like they NEED childcare and parking spaces on Sunday mornings, but I believe every church CAN be actively involved.

3. Are you educated on abortion, pregnancy crisis, adoption and are you acting in compassion? Are you educating others?

One of the biggest ways that Christians miss opportunities to be a light on this topic is by being uneducated and not stepping out of their comfort zones to action. We need to help these women, not throw stones and say how awful an abortion is. That’s not helping these women or saving babies lives. Congregations need to know where there is a safe place for women to go to in their city. They need to be informed on how they can get involved in foster care, caring for pregnant women, and adoption as well.

4. Are you offering solutions to those around you and are you willing to BE a solution?

Once you are educated of where safe places for pregnant women are in your area, share that information with others. Many women say that if they had a better solution, they wouldn’t have had an abortion. If there had been a family willing to cover pregnancy/birth expenses, they would’ve carried the baby full-term. If there had been comfort and acceptance outside of their broken situation, they would’ve kept the child.

Maybe Jesus is asking you to be willing to take in a young mom or adopt her child. It’s definitely something to pray about and evaluate.

5. While I completely understand the necessity of rules in churches and Christian schools and I certainly don’t think we should celebrate sexual sin, where do we draw the line and help?

 

Some friends of ours were once youth pastors and they had a teen get pregnant. The wife decided to throw a baby shower for the teen in a way to love on her and show support of her keeping the baby. There was a long story behind this teen’s decision and her home life was quite awful. The response the church took and the ridicule this couple faced was definitely NOT reflective of the cross of Christ.

I agree that we shouldn’t celebrate sin, but how can we come alongside girls particularly in our Christian schools, youth groups and churches who find themselves pregnant? Do we just kick them out? It takes two to tango…what about the guys involved? Let’s start here and evaluate what we could do better or differently.

6. Are we truly setting a standard of sexual purity in our own lives? Are we creating a culture of this in our churches?

We all know what makes a baby ;) And while some cases of pregnancy crisis are horrific in nature like that of incest or rape, the majority of pregnancies aren’t. The majority of abortions aren’t a result of an extreme situation either. We need to be teaching on sexual purity and most importantly living lives in the freedom we say we’ve found in Christ. THEN we can truly help lead others into everlasting hope in Jesus and true freedom.

7. Are you willing to give to support this cause?

If your church or a church in your city were to start a pregnancy crisis center or an outreach, would you be willing to give your finances to support it? How about your time? Would you be willing to provide a home for a pregnant mother with nowhere else to go? Would you be willing to give up your plans to take on a (another) child?

8. Have you prayed?

Do you pray for abortion? Do you pray how you can be involved in adoption? Do you know where the abortion clinic(s) are in your home town? Does your church know how to pray for this topic?

If we believe prayer works and we believe in the One with whom we are speaking, then we can rest assured He’ll guide us as we pray.

 

I am not saying that ANY of these are convenient or comfortable, but what if it is what Jesus is asking of us?

I love the Body of Christ and believe in every one of you. My prayer is that we would pour out the love we’ve so freely received in our hearts. As a missionary, I’m thrilled that I get to be connected with some many incredible churches across the USA. You are the hope for this generation and you hold the answers to the problems we face today.

Church: I believe that YOU HOLD THE ANSWERS. I believe Holy Spirit has already been moving on hearts to be prepared for an hour such as this. With so much passion in my heart, I deeply desire to see the church rise up in this area and be the solution these hurting families need. What we’ve done so far is not enough. If abortions become illegal, that doesn’t end the number of unwanted pregnancies, problems with the foster care/adoption programs, heartache over trauma, and the list goes on and on.

We must pray.

We must strategize.

We must work together and be the solution.

 

Here are some additional resources I am personally connected to and can highly recommend. Please feel free to add more in the comments below for your local area.

http://www.christianadoptionconsultants.com/

http://bound4life.com/

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/love-and-sex/abortion/abortion

Becoming Content with the Here and Now

Roses

There are many things that SOUND glamorous.

Getting married.

Having a dream job.

Traveling.

Raising kids.

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N.

The problem with these lovely things is that we’re always living for the next one. We’re rarely content with the here and now. Or let me say that I am rarely content!

For years I kept jobs where I had enough flexibility to travel and do mission trips or occasional weekend trips. If I stayed still for 6 weeks, I’d get a traveler’s “itch”. Now in the past 3 &1/2 years I haven’t stayed still for 6 weeks and not longer have an itch to scratch. The thrill of travel and the desire to travel is more draining to me now as opposed to it holding thrilling adventures. I’d rather STAY PUT. I look forward to being rooted somewhere someday.

We always want what is NEXT.

What someone else has.

What we THINK we need.

I’ve been living in this mindset of what’s next for far too long now.

Today as I sit in Tulsa, Oklahoma desperately needing to load up my car in the 90 plus degree heat, I’m putting off my drive back to Missouri.

I woke up wanting to be in Africa today. Wanting to NOT have to go to yet another doctor’s office, but that’s what my day has for me. A quick stop at the doctor’s office and then 3-hour drive by myself.

There have been too many hindrances to what SK and I WANT to be doing. What we feel like we NEED to be doing. The things we know are in our future that we assume SHOULD be happening RIGHT NOW. (woah Bailey—calm down the all caps!).

Waiting is one of the hardest places to trust the Lord.

It’s easy to trust when things are going the way you planned for, expected and agree they should be going. It’s really difficult when it’s everything opposite to your timing and desires.

For most of us, we’re in seasons where we’d readily welcome the right spouse to come into the picture, that beautiful baby we are carrying to just hurry up and “be born”, or our boss to give us “that” promotion we’ve been dreaming of and working towards.

What if in our dreaming and hoping, we are missing the here and now?

What if we are single and our spouse is about to walk into our lives and we’ll forever be in a relationship and we are missing out on the independence and experiences of being single?

What if that baby (who can’t stay in there much over 40 weeks without exiting anyway) is about to come and we’ll have sleepless nights and a child to be responsible for and we’re missing out on enjoying the days of carrying the child inside of us?

What if the hard work we’re putting into our jobs is producing deep character and skills that wouldn’t be forming if it weren’t for being “under authority”. Once we get a promotion, our role will change and new challenges will come, but the things we’re learning here today could end.

I saw these 3 beautiful roses my husband gave to me yesterday across the room this morning and instead of rushing out the door and leaving them behind to die, I sat down to let their beauty inspire me to write.

How does a rose bloom? One petal at a time.

It doesn’t unfold every single layer all at once or you’d miss the beauty of a rose. It has layers and layers that continue to one by one peel back and reveal more beauty.

When you first see a rose all curled up and small, it’s not that attractive. Its appeal isn’t in the beginning form; it’s in the unraveling, the slow process of seeing the layers comes together to bring forth its splendor.

Our lives are like that.

Each layer, each unraveling piece helps make the beautiful story of our lives.

Some days I am in pain. Other days I feel great sorrow. Not every day feels pleasant, but no matter how dark any given day is, that doesn’t mean tomorrow doesn’t hold promises of beauty within it. Each petal itself isn’t perfect and pretty, but the overall unfolding of the rose is splendid.

I need the stretching of being opened up. I need life to force my dependency on Christ and not on my own. It’s good for me to admit my own frailty and draw near to Him.

SO it is with a deep breath inhaleexhale … that I can step back and choose to be content today.

I’m letting these gorgeous roses remind me of the delicate magnificence of life.

Enjoy today. Enjoy tomorrow.

Realize that each day and phase of life while it might not be the most enjoyable is pulling back another petal to make a way for more beauty to come forth.

Rejoice in the One who causes the unraveling beauty in our lives.

**Thanks honey for my lavender roses—they’re my most favorite as are you ;-)

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Would You Find a Toothless Woman Beautiful?

 

IMG_9316I climbed into a ditch yesterday to get eye level with a woman who had been looking my way. I was the only white female around and with my ultra white skin and this long auburn hair, I’m sure that I stood out more than I realized.

It had been a dream of mine for about 2 years to stand where I was standing. There are factories nearby my house and many Malagasy people work there and eat out on the streets on their very short meal breaks.

There is a harvest in my backyard basically and I wanted to go and love on them.

I had just shared with the people on the love of God and the way that it has changed my life. There were tears as I saw glimpses of God’s heart over each one who listened to me.

I spoke with and prayed for several at the end of my sharing time and I kept my eyes open for anyone else whom God might want me to pray with.

My translator stuck by my side and thankfully he is a bold young man who loves Jesus so he went along with my leading him person to person.

After many smiles and warm prayers had been offered, I knew it was time to go and greet this one who was continually looking my way. I climbed down onto her level and smiled.

I began to ask her name and if there was anything that she needed prayer for.

There was indeed, so I asked her like the others I had prayed for if I could hold her hand.

Her eyes widened as she heard my translation come through in her mother tongue. She looked back at me and covered up her smile.

This white girl wanted to hold her hand.

Then I said what a beautiful smile she had. To which she shook her head like any woman who’s insecure and being complimented would do.

The only difference between her insecurities and maybe a friend back home is that she is missing most of her teeth.

Not only that, but the remaining teeth were rotting.

I meant what I said though—that she had a beautiful smile.

She was beautiful. Far more than the so referred to ideals of beauty that only masks what real beauty is.

Here she was not hiding who she really was. There was no escaping that she’s grown up less fortunate than anyone I know from the USA. There’s no hiding the fact that she’s not had access to proper dental care or hygiene. Her wrinkles on her young face reveal many harsh days in the sunlight working and the physical stress her body has endured.

We prayed for her specific needs and I also encouraged her that she is a daughter of God just like me. That there might be differences in our lives naturally, but we are the same value with Him and we are loved by Him.

We continued to talk and I watched as her countenance changed. How her eyes softened more and received more love like sunlight to her heart.

I repeatedly told her how beautiful her smile was and each time it grew broader and brighter.

Her sister came along, not missing any visible teeth and was equally as beautiful. We talked and prayed and then they thanked me and walked away.

I thought about this dear smile.
This toothless face and the precious sight it is to my Father in Heaven.
I thought of the joy that Jesus has over this one who to the best of her knowledge loves Him and worships Him.
This one who He paid the price for in dying on the cross.

Then I thought about the social media world and it’s view on beauty.

I’ve never seen a popular post of a picture of a woman with no make-up and saying many comments of “Wow you’re so beautiful!”, “GORGEOUS!”, “Ow Ow super-model friend”.

I know I’ve often remarked on my friend’s posts of wearing no make-up, but it’s not the normal and pictures of women without make-up is by large, rare.

I’ve never seen people get all excited over some woman’s outfit that is just “plain Jane” or one that is mismatched, has holes, and is tattered like my toothless friend.

The reality is that we don’t see beauty like God sees it.

We look for the no wrinkles, flawless, put together, something we can all desire type of beauty.

We post about the latest trends, style the latest haircuts and colors, and keep one another in a constant comparison trap. All the while the true beauties of the world get pushed out of sight.

Back to my original question, would you find a toothless woman beautiful?

You might answer yes particularly if you can picture this Malagasy woman I have described and have a sense of compassion. BUT is your “yes” based on sympathy and feeling sorry for her? Is your scale of beauty adjusted to fit someone who’s life is lived in the dust and dirt of Africa? Or can you confidently saw yes because no matter if you are looking at this precious one or the woman next to you at work, you see true beauty. You see it in the ones that others would call “ugly”. You see beauty in the faces of those who would never grace a magazine about beauty and style. You see it because you’ve seen the one whom “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”. (Isaiah 53:2)

There was nothing in Jesus’ nature that marked beauty or denoted an attractiveness like a King, yet the beauty of His love and life is far greater than any person will ever have.

When we see His beauty and gain His heart, we see the beauty in others, even if there is ugliness in their hearts that makes them unkind.

Beauty isn’t in a perfectly set of straight teeth or in a perfectly arched eyebrow. It certainly isn’t in an expensive dress or in the shade of hair dye.

Beauty is in the heart of God who created everything and said that “It is good”. He created you. He created me. He created the sunsets, the rainbows and the stars. And he calls things beautiful like my toothless friend.

Don’t be afraid to climb down into the ditches of life and to search out beauty where few are brave enough to explore. You’ll find great treasures of beauty there hidden just to reveal themselves to you.

Similar articles: here

Awkward God

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Have you ever had an awkward moment where you’ve tried to hug someone or something?

Like where one of you goes in for a high-five and the other person goes for a hug?

Or in the “side-hug” world there’s an endless amount of awkward interactions as you try to read where someone is going to lean in. If you’re like me, you inevitably move your head the opposite direction and miss the hug entirely or clash heads 😁.

I’ve been known to give awkward hugs! Growing up, my mom’s side of the family joked about my hugs and all imitated the “Bailey hug” where it wasn’t a full on embrace and I patted their back.

Despite my awkwardness at times, I do love hugging people and affirming them via physical touch.

When you have an awkward moment with someone particularly over a physical interaction, it’s hard to rebound out of that awkward state.

Particularly when hands are accidentally hitting the wrong places and…eeeeek!

I have a friend who when I first met them I thought that this person was the definition of awkward.

It seemed like everything they did was to create an awkward scenario or to make others feel awkward. They were successful!

Before we became friends, I’d been introduced to them a few times and I once heard them speak in front of a group of people. They opened their speech with,”Wow! This looked a lot different in my bathroom mirror…” Everyone who knew this individual laughed since it was funny he had been rehearsing in the bathroom mirror prior to this engagement. Meanwhile I was thinking, “What?! Why would you say that at the beginning of an important speech??! Aaaaaawkward!”

The following day I met this person and they were actually going to my favorite country, Kenya, for a mission trip. We bonded over that and began a friendship. We would both later be in a close young adult community group and attend the same church. I love this person today and their family and I find their humor amusing now and no longer misunderstand the hilarity of the awkwardness.

As I was thinking about the idea of awkward interactions and laughing at past social blunders I’ve made, I began thinking about how many people have had awkward representations of God in their lives.

Many have encountered God exclusively through people being awkward or not realizing they were making a poor representation of Jesus.

Maybe they’ve experienced someone full of JOY and delight in the Lord, but as my friend I mentioned above, to others it comes across fake or insincere.

There are certain aspects of Jesus that explained in a way that is unattached to the deep love He showed on the cross, can come across strange. Outside of a relationship with Him, His ways often feel like a list of rules and a path that leads to unhappiness.

When we have an awkward interaction with someone, we often avoid them the next time that we see them or at least approach them hesitantly.

I wonder how many people have had an unpleasant experience with individuals claiming to follow Christ and were left with a bitter taste in their mouths that keeps them from seeking Him further?

I wonder how many people attended church or were once committed to Christ, but because of the hurts caused by other believers they have since left Jesus behind associated with the faults and follies of others?

I wonder how many people have had a brief touch of intimacy, or of closeness with Jesus, but it felt awkward and like they didn’t know what to do with that intimacy. Maybe it’s like the hug scenario going wrong when it felt awkward and prevented them from seeking vulnerability with Him again…

When we get close to Jesus, to Him alone, not what our Pastor has said or what others say to us about Him, there is a real transparency that takes places. And let me be honest it’s awkward.

It’s awkward because my flesh desires its sinful nature and getting its own way.

I’m used to being self-justified and defensive of what I want, believe and desire.

In my sinful state, I’m not used to being transparent, “naked”, if you will before the living God who gave His life for me.

How could I ever be worthy to look upon the One who took my sins?

How could I ever learn to “lean into Him” properly and not bump my head?

He is perfect. And I…I’m just me.

Yet I’ve found that in the acceptance of His work on the cross, there is His grace.

There is a redemption for all of my sins and short comings. There is healing for all of the wrong mindsets and beliefs I’ve had about myself, about Him, and about others.

In His embrace I actually don’t find unrest. I find peace for my weary soul and empowerment in my spirit to be near to Him.

What if I’d turned away from seeking Him because of one uncomfortable encounter? What if I had just partially opened my heart and partially surrendered my life to Him?

I know it would be an even greater loss than not giving my “awkward”  friend a second chance.

Yet what feels so much safer is to stay closed and to retreat not making myself vulnerable. It feels awkward to open up my heart, expose the real me and ask the living God to search me.

However, the only things that are truly awkward is when I am attached to and find identity in that which was meant to destroy me–my sin.

I wasn’t made to serve my flesh and the lusts of it.

I was made to serve Jesus Christ and to worship Him freely with a surrendered heart.

Don’t believe the lies that you’re meant to embrace shame, guilt, or rejection.

Don’t shy away from opening your heart to the One who created you in His image.

You were meant both to feel safe in His love as well as to reflect His love.

I just want to encourage you to push past the awkward feelings of surrender and vulnerability with Jesus.

Even if you lean in the wrong way once or twice or feel like you’re doing it wrong, Jesus doesn’t shy away.

He’s there with open arms ready to extend His love time and time again…

When Serving My Husband is a Chore

Spring 2015

Disclaimer: this is a vulnerable post but I share this in hopes that if you find yourself even remotely in my shoes, that you’ll find humility to repent and ask for forgiveness. 

My husband has the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen. They’re so deep and I always tell him that they remind me of horse’s eyes which he doesn’t take as a compliment, but I mean it as one–ha ;)

He picked out his latest pair of glasses  last year all by himself and I think they’re handsome on him and frame his eyes well.

The sweet man has struggled with his eyesight since he was a little boy.

Meanwhile Miss 20/20 vision over here has never struggled with my sight…even though I faked my eye exam at school in the 3rd grade. I wanted attention, ahem, I mean glasses…clearly another story for another day.

Sometimes when Stephen and I are in deep conversation and I want to see his eyes, I’ll notice smudges on his glasses.

While he’s talking, I gently remove them, wipe them clean and place them back on his head.

I likewise often find myself pushing his glasses back up on the bridge of his nose ;-) they often slide down.

I am always pleased to do this because it allows me to see him well.

Tonight, we were discussing a passage of scripture and really diving into some depths.

The reflection of a lamp and his smudges were annoying me because I couldn’t make full eye contact.

I grabbed them as usual and it was then that God spoke to me.

“Why don’t you view every act of service to your husband like this one?”

In other words,”why do you gripe, complain, and nag at him instead of joyfully serving him in other areas?”.

I lost what Stephen was saying.

I gulped down the pride I felt coming up in my own heart.

I now saw his soft eyes again.

Eyes full of love.

Full of passion for Jesus.

Full of incredible compassion for me.

I knew I needed forgiveness.

I quickly searched the areas I hate serving him in.

Things like reminding him that toothpaste is on his mouth.

Why he can’t wear a particular shirt because it’s wrinkled.

((Hello I could have it ironed anyways))

The list goes on (my point is not to expose a list of annoyances), but they’re all small simple things like wiping his glasses.

Yet wiping his glasses I do from a place of compassion.
He can’t see the way I can see.
Why is any other area I could serve him in any different?

Maybe because I’m the big sister of two brothers, the reactions I have at times felt justified as I was used to being “helpful” ;-)

Maybe I felt like I was helping him with his appearance or other areas I saw his need for my input.

Instead of quietly serving with a heart of love like he does with me day in and day out, I’ve honestly nagged.

I’ve often viewed serving my husband as a chore.

I’ve not looked at helping him with his wardrobe as a joy.
Sweet man is 6’3 with a 29″ waist on his pants…Being an American who was born in Kenya and having a thin frame, he’s a natural runner and let’s just say this presents challenges with his clothes.

He grew up on the missions field in Africa and spent his single years on the field where he literally gave shirts off of his back (still does). Instead of caring what people think about his outward appearance, he focuses on what truly matters internally and eternally, while I’ve found fault with outward things.

I’ve not looked at the areas that I have the ability to help him with as joys.
I’ve sometimes seen them as obligations and annoyances.

Not all of them, but enough that the conviction was strong.

I looked back through his clear glasses into my favorite pair of eyes and I was overcome with joy and love.

I asked for forgiveness for being so cruel at times and not serving Him in love. I cried.

I read a Facebook post a few days ago of a father of 4 kids sharing updates on his children.

I’m particularly engaged in this family’s posts because of their beautiful story and service in ministry, which is too long to go into.

Their eldest son has had some rather extreme physical challenges. I remember praying when Stephen and I were newly married as this young man’s life hung in the balance.

Today he’s doing much better, but is still fully dependent on his parents.

The father wrote about this particular son, “He’s been fairly happy. My main selfish concern is that I want to go on a vacation with my wife. But, if he is happy, I’m happy. Years ago I had a breakthrough when changing his nasty 12-year-old diaper. I told him “it’s an honor to serve you son,” and broke down crying. I’ve said it ever since when changing a diaper or showering poo off of him. I wonder how the Father thinks about us?”

This post planted a significant seed in my spirit.

One that only 3 days later would blossom to show me how selfish I am.

How very little of a joyful servant I’ve been at times.

I’m so thankful that my Heavenly Father gets down in the dirt in my life. He sent His glorious Son into my mess to serve me joyfully with love.

He sacrificially laid down His life for me.

He’s given me a husband who beyond my wildest imaginations is a wonderful picture of His servant hood and love.

Stephen has stood by me in some of the most crazy scenarios you wouldn’t even believe.

Only 2 and a half years of marriage have presented us with major health challenges and chaos of our often far too adventurous life ;-). Yet through it all, he has faithfully served and faithfully loved.

I am thankful.

I am thankful to have him.

Thankful to love him, to be his wife.

And I’m incredibly thankful that I can serve him with joy realizing God wants to move through me to love on him.

I’m sure I will continue to annoy Stephen and I’m positive some days especially when he famously has toothpaste smeared on his beard that I’ll be frustrated.

But I pray the revelation of knowing there is One who has gone before me in perfect love stays etched in my mind and spirit.

I pray that beyond “in sickness and in health”, that I can serve my husband with joy, seeing him as the gift he really is. Not diminishing it in my own selfish ways.

I pray that you too would love those whom God has placed in your life and serve them like Jesus would.

That you would wash the “poo” off of them and wipe the smudges off of their glasses so that they too can see His Perfect Love.

 

Related Posts;

Cinderella Says the F Word

Offense Like Magnets

Why I’m Praying for the Terrorists

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Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved loved LOVED Kenya.

The reason I fell in love is still unknown. I can’t recall how I first learned of Kenya or my first thoughts of Africa. This is how far my deep love goes back.

I was determined to save all of the African Elephants who were endangered! ;-)

Then as I grew up, became a follower of Christ and received His heart, I wanted to go to the people of Kenya.

God would orchestrate my life to pray for my beloved Kenya and one day marry a man who grew up as a missionary in Kenya.

While I’ve not technically lived there, I’ve spent about 4 months there in the past 3 years and if it were up to me, I’d be living there.

When devastating things happen there, it hurts my heart. Even though I’ve not lived there my whole life, I’ve loved Kenya most of my life.

Bloodshed of any kind is awful…I can’t think of anything more tragic than murder. Losing one’s life because of the anger and hatred of another’s soul.

Yet, for those in Christ there is hope. 

Hope in this life. AND hope in our death.

While the way we might physically die could range from peacefully in our sleep to a horrific act of torture, followers of Jesus will leave this life and enter eternity with Christ forever!

To those who don’t know Jesus, there is fear in death and an eternity spent in separation from Him.

My heart absolutely breaks for the university students, the security guards, and policeman who lost their lives in Garissa Kenya yesterday. Those who died for their faith are incredible heroes of “whom the world is not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38).

Yet there is hope. In the midst of great sorrow and pain, there is an assurance. That the blood of the saints is a sacrifice that speaks louder than death.

I’m praying for the families, friends and loved ones of those who died.

I’m praying for the other students who witnessed and walked through such trauma.

I’m praying for Kenya, that she’d be united and for the Body of Christ there to move in God’s power and in His love.

I’m also praying for the Islamic terrorist’s families.

I’m praying that they see the light of Christ through this. That somehow they wake up out of the darkness they’ve given themselves over to and find real life in Jesus.

Praying that the sorrow of losing the ones they love would draw them to a sobriety of finding real unwavering love.

I’m praying for the leaders of Al Shabaab to be convicted of their sins. To have encounters with Jesus Christ. To surrender their lives to the way of the cross.

Why?

Because while my brothers and sisters were received by Jesus into Heaven yesterday, four radical Islamic gunmen went to hell.

Sparing a radical moment of salvation in Jesus in the last breath of life, these men vowed allegiance to Allah until the end.

They are now separated eternally from Jesus…

That breaks my heart!!!!

Yes, I’m grieved and deeply saddened over the loss of these beautiful Kenyans more than I could say. And again I’m praying for those effected by this horrific event.

But my prayers are also extended to the terrorists.

Those wickedly deceived into thinking their sacrifice of life was worth something  “good”.

Two types of blood were shed yesterday.

One that pleased God, brought glory to His name through their martyrdom, and then those who gave their lives in vain without knowing Him.

I hate that this happened. I hate that there is pain and suffering in this world.

But I do not hate the terrorists.

They only killed the bodies of men, but they couldn’t kill their spirits.

These gunmen however lost their bodies AND their spirits.

I’m disgusted by the act, but moved in compassion over their souls…

The reality is that the devil doesn’t care about those serving his purposes. 

The devil is not willing to preserve their lives eternally for any good purpose. There will be no reward, no end to the suffering faced on earth for those living for him and not for God.

He used these four gunmen to try to strike fear into a nation’s heart. To try and take out God’s people and to drive others away from accepting Jesus Christ.

But he must’ve forgotten one thing.

He played this card on Easter weekend.

Right before Good Friday, the day representing Jesus’ death on the cross where He died for the sins of the world. Right before resurrection Sunday where Jesus rose from the grave having DEFEATED the devil and death!!!

I am praying that Muslims across Kenya, Somalia, and the world would come to know the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ this weekend! Praying for them to know real love. The deep life changing love only found in the one who died for their sins and sicknesses.

I am praying for the terrorists who are being used of an enemy who doesn’t care about their destruction and their end. Who have given themselves over to darkness of mind and action.

May their lives not be lived in vain and destruction.

May they not spend their eternities apart from the One who died for and loves their sinful souls…

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

Pray with me

1. That the revelation of Jesus Christ would be revealed in the terrorist’s lives and families.

2. That the love of Christ would replace shame and fear in their hearts. That His love would abound in their lives.

3. Pray for their forgiveness–that just like Jesus prayed “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”,  that grace and mercy would be extended to these and that they would call upon the name of the Lord, be forgiven and saved.

 

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”-Matthew 16:24-25

“Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” -Acts 21:13

 

Offense Like Magnets

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As I was falling asleep the other night, I felt God bring up an offense I had in my heart. I was surprised that it was in there and confused that I hadn’t even realized it.

Here’s the scenario that played out…

I was out for a meal with some people I know and love dearly.

I’ve struggled to eat out because both SK and I have food allergies and have even had food poisoning on more than one occasion.

It’s definitely easier to just eat at home!

It can be exhausting explaining to people who don’t have food allergies/irritations why you really CAN’T eat just anything.

The whole reason I’m in the States right now is to get my health under control and I try to avoid foods that’ll trigger my body.

So here I was having placed an order I felt safe about and was specific with my requests to our young waiter.

My food rolls out soon and it’s not quite what I requested.

I always hate asking and having waiters check and make sure it’s safe, but when it’s not what I ordered it’s not worth becoming ill.

A friend sitting next to me knows our waiter and apologizes for my requests by saying, “sorry she’s being all high maintenance over here…”. 

Several nearby people heard this person and looked my way.

In the moment I was just slightly embarrassed but didn’t give it much thought.

I ate my food and had such a great time with those I was with.

I’ve interacted with this person who made this remark, prayed for them and never thought of their comment that night.

Until Holy Spirit brought it up. 

I’d prayed earlier that night like I have many times, “God if there is any offense in my heart against anyone, please show me…”

As I’m drifting off that night, I see this scenario play out and I feel the tiny sting of not being understood and feeling embarrassed in front of a group of friends.

Then I realized I had an offense.

Obviously it wasn’t a huge offense.

It was easy to pray this one out and release that person.

But I realize it had stuck to me.

Like a magnetic pull, this offense hit a vulnerable place in me and stuck. No, more like it clung to me.

I was its prisoner, but I had a choice to let it go.

There are major situations that can cause us much pain and heartache in this life.

There is no shortage of cruelty or craziness in our world unfortunately.

While there are times that we might be slighted by a large offensive scenario, it’s usually the day in and day out offenses that take their toll on us.

As a Christian and one who prays to keep her heart un-offended, I can recognize the LARGE battles.

I sense the luring ways of a wrong doing vying for me to lose my cool and become offended.

It’s the small offenses however that subtly come along that can easily go unnoticed.

When we keep these areas of our lives unchecked and/or we are defensive about something, feel insecure, or vulnerable, we are attracting offenses to our heart like magnets. 

When we don’t deal with these hurts as the opportunities come to be offended, they begin to pile up and create an offended heart.

My husband always says that offenses literally build a fence around our hearts.

When we have a fence erected, we are not able to let others love us or let our love flow to others.

The offenses in our hearts keep God’s perfect love out as well.

The picture at the top of this post is of my husband and a missionary colleague trying to get into our Bible School property in Madagascar, but the fence was stuck.

There was a large rock placed behind the fence that wouldn’t allow anyone in.

It was a GREAT security measure from unwanted guests, but behind that fence was a container that had Stephen and I’s personal belongings we had shipped overseas and we wanted in.

We wanted to get past the fence, but until someone on the other side moved the rock, we couldn’t get in.

Who or what are you keeping out by the offenses that  you’re holding onto?

There are treasures inside of you that this world needs.
Beauty that God Himself has placed within you to share with this world.

What are you attracting in your life? Are you attracting offenses because your heart is wounded?

What would your life look like if you attracted love and repelled offenses?

 

Other blogs on dealing with offense found here

5 Reasons Why Jesus Isn’t Like All Christians

5 REASONS WHY JESUS ISN'T LIKE ALL CHRISTIANS

I have a great primary care doctor.

When I deal with her directly, I am always treated well, have great advice and assistance.
However, when I deal with her staff it’s an entirely different story.

They often don’t follow through or follow-up with what the Dr. has asked them to do.
They usually aren’t knowledgable to answer my questions.

And on my last visit, the nurse was literally YELLING at the front desk people about something in front of all of us in the lobby.

Had I no knowledge that this doctor was truly excellent and kind, I wouldn’t stick around.

Sometimes I feel that what happens with my doctor’s office staff happens with Christians.
Those who are supposed to represent Him aren’t always portraying a correct picture to the world.

Now before I go any further, I want to say I am a huge fan of the Church, Jesus’ Bride, in all of her components, world-wide, cross-denominationally. I cheer her on because she truly is the heart of Jesus Christ and the means of which He uses to share His love and truth.

It’s just that sometimes she misses the memo.

Sometimes she loses sight of her first love.

She is clearly in the midst of her own transformation of glory and sometimes looks like a mess.

While the Church as a whole is demonstrating that Jesus is alive and moving in the hearts of His people, there are some places that are pretty messy.

The reality is that people are imperfect, BUT they are the means by which Jesus left His message to be spread throughout the world.

People, His Church, are His #1 plan. There is no “Plan B”.

These people who were left to spread the good news were people from all walks of life. Some were liars, some were former tax-collectors, while others had just denied Christ at His time of death. They were then entrusted to tell the entire world that Jesus loves then and died for them and that they too can be forgiven of their sins.

Wow! Quite daunting for sinners saved only by grace.

And so the story goes with a lot of believers today. Some are discipled well and know Jesus rightly and live a life in surrender to Him.

Other Christians are “babies” in the Lord and make a lot of big mistakes (oh do I have stories from my life…!!!)

What we ALL have in common as Christians is that none of us will ever truly be perfect.

So long as the world looks exclusively to Christians and not to Christ for their relationship with Him, they’ll always find reasons to not accept Christ.

What a Christian’s life has the ability to produce is the fruit of the spirit, a deep love for Jesus, compassion for people, and a passion to share His message of salvation and redemption to a lost and hurting world.

Let’s take a look at a few areas that show why Jesus isn’t like all Christians;

1. JESUS EMBRACED WHAT THE FATHER SAID OVER HIM.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,  that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 

When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives and invite His Holy Spirit to come live inside of us, we are welcoming the true creation that we were designed to be to take over us.

When Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, the Bible says that the Heavens opened, a dove descended upon Jesus and the Father spoke ,“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Jesus heard the affirmation of His Father saying;

1. You are mine. You are my son

2. I love you

3. I am well pleased with you.

Jesus went from that place to the wilderness for 40 days of fasting and he was tested by the devil.

Because Jesus knew what the TRUTH was of His identity and what the Father thought about Him, he was able to stand against the lies the enemy brought.

Many people believe that Jesus died for their sins and they have made Him the Lord of their lives, but they haven’t accepted the identity of Heaven and they still embrace the lies and accusations of the enemy as their identity.

This produces a lot of broken examples of who Christ really is and dilutes the power of His identity to transform people’s lives.

We must know that there is a greater hope in Jesus to embrace the love and affirmation of the Father and walk into a new life in Him.

2. JESUS’ HEART BEATS FOR PEOPLE.

I know and have met Christians who did not like being around people nor embodied love and compassion for others.

I myself have had bad days where I know I’ve not exemplified Christ in my actions towards others.

Whenever we see Jesus in the scriptures interacting with people, it was obvious that they were the priority.

Sure He rebuked them and challenged them, but it was because He wanted their lives to be changed and transformed.

He poured out His entire life loving and serving others.

He truly is the ultimate example of a servant leader.

All He did was for others including the ultimate sacrifice that He gave of dying for the sins of the world.

When we get to know Jesus and listen to His heart, we see how passionately it beats for others.

When Christians are consumed with themselves and try to preserve their lives, they are ignoring the heart beat of Jesus.

If you’ve been turned off to Jesus because other people haven’t reached out or loved you and shown you truth, please know that is NOT His heart.

Irregardless of how others may act, He is passionately pursuing the hearts of mankind to reveal His truth and love.

He is the ultimate lover of our souls and through His eyes, we can see others rightly and be moved in compassion to bring Christ’s love to them.

3. JESUS BROUGHT HEALING.

Everywhere He went, Jesus was healing people.

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Acts 10:38

While physical healing is incredible, (trust me I know because I am believing for my own body right now) there are definitely other types of healing.

Some need emotional healing and mental healing.

Others have been wounded spiritually and need a fresh touch from Jesus Himself to heal the wounds others created.

When people are hurting and in need of healing, they often feel isolated and alone.

Fear is usually another strong component and they are doubtful that God wants to be near and heal them.

I think of the lepers and how Jesus healed them. The outcasts of society met Jesus face to face and received their healing! WOW!

 Luke 6:6-11 shows us a time where the religious leaders of the day opposed Jesus healing someone because it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath. Mind you they weren’t Christians but it is a similar reaction some believers might have today.

“On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.  But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”

What would it look like for Christians to be so moved in the love of Christ to pray for and stand with those around them needing healing? To not be intimidated by what others might think? To not be held back by a legalistic spirit?

If you’re in need of healing in any form, know that Jesus wants to heal you. He wants you healed and whole and it is the other reason He died for you.

He is reaching out His hand to heal and to restore…

4. JESUS WASN’T AFTER BEING POPULAR.

While Jesus called many to come and follow Him, more chose not to follow Him and commit, than those who became disciples.

He didn’t change what He was saying to appease His followers.

He spoke truth and He spoke it plainly.

The only ones who truly followed Jesus to the end, to the place of the cross were the disciple John, Mary Magdalene, and His mother.

If we were evaluated exclusively by how many people followed us to the end of our lives, Jesus certainly wouldn’t be our example. 

I think that if a Christian is not rooted in the truth of Jesus Christ, they will seek popular opinion and strive to maintain followers often at the cost of compromising God’s word and not being bold about the truth of the gospel.

Often when we are seeking to be popular with man, we lose sight of carrying the heart of God TO mankind.

5. JESUS FORGIVES

Forgiveness is a huge area that many people, let alone believers have a hard time grasping.

This message is so powerfully displayed in the new Cinderella movie and I think this is why this blog entry of mine, Cinderella Says the F Word, went viral so quickly.

If anyone had a right to be offended, it was God. Yet He sent His son to die for us.

Then Jesus completely laid down His life with His last breaths crying out, “Father FORGIVE them, for they do not know what they’re doing”.

 There is no greater forgiveness than from the One who created us, the One whom we have all sinned against laying down His life and forgiving us from ALL of our iniquities. 

When we get offended in this life and hold onto bitterness and anger, we aren’t forgiving others the way that we have been forgiven.

There are horrific things that can be said and done and such cruelty in this world.

People across the world are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ and it’s an injustice.

Yet, they are forgiven when they make Jesus their Lord. They are eternally with Jesus FORGIVEN from all of their sins.

If we’ve been forgiven of everything, who are we to withhold forgiveness to others?

As people face difficult situations, it is a difficult thing to forgive and release others especially when we don’t understand the forgiveness that has been extended to us.

Bitterness and offense are not becoming on anyone, especially those who are Christians who know the forgiveness of Christ.

Nothing you have done is out of reach of the forgiveness of Christ.

Others might not forgive you and there will be natural consequences of sin in this life. Yet, even in a prison cell, you can be forgiven.

 

My prayer is that whomever you are reading this, that you would know how incredible the love and salvation of Jesus Christ is. That if you are already a Christian, you would accept the identity of Heaven for your life and walk in Christ’s character and nature. That you would grow in maturity continually in your walk with Jesus.
If you aren’t a Christian, I pray that you’d see the truth and the light of Jesus’ life and make that decision today to follow Him even if His church isn’t always perfect. He is perfect and that is enough to follow and begin to love others as well.

Christians are continually being transformed into the image of the One who created them and loved them. Let’s be like Jesus, embracing our cross daily, denying ourselves, and living passionately in love with Him. Our world needs this type of Christian.