You Were Claimed Before Being Cleaned

The good news of the gospel isn’t just that God loves you, but that He loves you as much as He loves Jesus, and that when He looks at you, He doesn’t see your sin; He sees His Son. It’s good news that Christ cleanses us, but even better that He claimed you before cleaning you. He saw your mess and said, “You’re mine!”{Rom. 8:17; Jhn. 17:22-24; 1 Jhn. 3:1-3; Isa. 43:1}

“Hanging upon the cross, Christ was the Gospel.” ~Ellen G. White

Dirty Fingernails: For mechanics in Afghanistan filthy hands means finished repairs

Big Flavor, Served Plain

big flavor

Nothing can add to the cross.

Policing and modifying others’ behaviors won’t teach them of a crucified Christ and won’t coax them into relationship with Him. Adding anything else to the work Christ does in each person just messes up the flavor. As E.G. White noted, the shortness of time ought not be urged as an incentive to seek Christ. It savors of selfishness. Is it necessary that the terrors of the day of God be held before us to compel us through fear to right action? This ought not to be. Jesus [alone] is attractive [TMK, p. 320]. Heart Check: Why do we insist on telling Christ He’s not enough? [CLICK HERE TO READ MORE]

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He Chose The Mess

blood splatter crossToday, I went through a fire safety training where the demonstrator talked about how much of a mess it can cause to discharge a fire extinguisher. Of course, nobody wants to have to clean up a huge mess, but an even less desirable outcome is having nothing salvageable to clean up because everything was completely consumed in a fire. In conclusion, he said, “When you have to choose between a fire and a mess, choose the mess!” That simple phrase struck a chord deep within me.

I’ve previously discussed how messy the cross (Calvary) must have been and how messy God’s grace still is (CLICK HERE). To spare us from the wages of sin, which is death, to spare us from hell’s fire, we serve a God who chose the mess. He chose the bloody, messy cross, and although it’s been a mess, although I was a mess, He took the nails. He conquered death. He chose the mess! I hope you enjoy this song by CeCe Winans about how the cross wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. >>>>

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How I Almost Quit Christianity

HOW I ALMOST QUIT CHRISTIANITY

“If my only reference was the comments or actions of professed Christians, heaven is not a place I’d want to be….What started with my disdain for others’ bad behavior ended with repentance for my own…as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian stated, “A preacher who doesn’t believe he’s that bad will attract people who don’t think they’re that bad. And that’s bad…” Taking lightly the depths of my own depravity takes lightly the depths of God’s abundant grace…I’m a Christian. I have thorns. I need grace!” READ THE REST HERE…

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Boundaries: Forgiveness vs. Fellowship

boundaries

Forgiveness Does NOT Mean Access!

The 3-minute video below is the third part in a series on boundaries.  The first was about the purpose of boundaries – protecting the fruitfulness God expects from what He’s planting in your life (CLICK HERE to view). The second was about knowing if/when to set boundaries in relationships – it’s always when, not if (CLICK HERE to view). Below, I briefly address the question of how we know if we should forgive someone, and let them back “in” or restrict their access to us. This mixes two aspects, FORGIVENESS and BOUNDARIES – both are important, and both lead to healing and healthy relationships. See how:

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The Beautiful Things Project

up to you beauty

Last week I revisited an old place with a new perspective. When I visited this time last summer, all I saw was all I needed to see as I stood at the edge of the property, now overrun with tall weeds. I peered across at the dilapidated house, now crumbling even at the foundation, with missing windows, dangling doors, and a sunken ceiling. The ugliness on the outside compared very little to what ugly memories it held, so my heart was gladdened to see it decaying in the summer sun. I felt God clearly reminding me that He was doing away with old things, the old places of pain and shame in my life, and doing something new and beautiful.

This time, I took in the same scene, only the house was even more decrepit than before, the master bedroom having collapsed into the former den and only a shell of the building still there. But, even there, there in the dust, in the remaining hovel that was once a home, even there I saw beauty I’d not seen before. I saw plenty of old things, yes, but I saw new things growing all around, and that made me smile. I saw several sassafras trees and saplings and even took one home to remind me God is still doing new, beautiful things in old, ugly places. I’ll be sharing more of these beautiful things in The Beautiful Things Project, and I want YOU to join me!

Everyone has a story, and it makes all of our lives more beautiful to listen. Join me in The Beautiful Things Project where you can share YOUR beautiful things, things others may find ugly, things you once found ugly, or things re-purposed or restored. Watch the brief video below, subscribe, share, and send pictures and/or descriptions of your beautiful things. Let’s commit to seeing beauty in every single thing!

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grace

Grace Finds Beauty in Everything

 

Life Soundtrack

Find Me:life soundtrack

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Many of our most powerful life experiences are inextricably tied to healing melodies that have both stirred our souls and lifted our spirits, music that will forever have an emotional impact on us and be indelibly etched into the fabric of our lives. Here’s a compilation of what was shared with me along with my own #lifesoundtrack. I thank each of you for sharing and blessing my life!

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat when I wanted to give up on any hopes of healing…but God…TUH #butGod

“When [my sister] Lystra died. “I’m going to be ready” by Yolanda Adams was on Serious REPEAT!”

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat for much of my senior year of high school when the pain of my past threatened to eclipse God’s plan for my life.”

[FOR THE SAME SONG, DIFFERENT TESTIMONY BELOW:]

“I sang this song outside the office of the professor that took my full scholarship away because I couldn’t sign up for a class she wanted me to take. I was sitting in a desk in the hallway outside her office, singing, when SWAT showed up. She called them because I “intimidated” her. Well, maybe but, I got my scholarship back. #goodtimes

“After my abortion. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.”

“When I was pregnant and terribly anxious because of my heart condition I would listen to “He Has His Hands On You”. I also continually return to Keeping My Mind, Promise Keeper, Draw Nigh, and Breathe Into Me O Lord, from the Spirit of David album.”

 

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat for a number of days my freshman year in college. Some days I couldn’t even muster a prayer. What. a. GOD!”

“Speechless by Israel. Mannnnn”

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat when my water broke after just 25 weeks of pregnancy with the twins and the neonatologist came by to tell me what I can expect for them (bleeding on the brain, seizures, death, nothing good!) [they’re 4, now, btw, alive and completely healthy].”

“When I was tied up and gang raped, not supported, feeling worthless.”

“When reflecting on the miscarriage of my first child…”

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat for the four days between my doctor finding a lump and the negative mammogram results.”

“…this was on repeat when my life was completely broken…spiritually, mentally and emotionally and I just couldn’t turn anywhere else.” [1/3]

“But…AFTER THIS….” [2/3]

“And my favorite Andrae Crouch” [3/3]

This I’ve been meditating on for the last month. It’s completely repetitive (lol) but it was exactly what I needed.” [below is the version sent to me and a shorter version; both are great!]

“When I started to fight back against depression on a spiritual&practical aspect when the enemy tried to convince me it was too dark to pray Already Getting Better by William Murphy got me through those rough counseling sessions”

“When God gave me the strength to let go of the guilt of my past Daryl Coley “He’s Preparing Me” helped me understand that the assignment never changed ! God was preparing me the entire time”

“When I thought that because of my depression God finally gave up on me and stop speaking to me Marvin Sapp’s Speak to my heart and his rendition of “I Come to the Garden Alone” became my daily prayers”

“Reflecting on my last suicide attempt, i look back and remember the pain that had brought me to that point. now diminished greatly on most days, that pain almost rendered me unavailable, incapable, feeling unworthy to worship my creator. i truly could see no other way, no hope, no love, rejection , scorn, contempt, guilt……..i just simply could not have morning come one more day. And as my body fell to the ground, i looked into my husband’s eyes. he was afraid. i’ve never seen that look on his face again and i pray i never will. the vomiting, the ambulance ride, the hospital band that read my name but reminded me that i failed yet again. the anger for having to pick myself up and try to live one more time. i didn’t have a song then. didn’t have much of anything come to think of it. But i did have God’s love. Today, i am still amazed by just how much he loves ME.”

“‘Withholding nothing Melody’ more recently has been blessing me EARLY in the morning”

[FOR THE SAME SONG, DIFFERENT TESTIMONY BELOW:]

“The day before I was to share a very personal testimony, I had the thought, ‘I feel that urge to withhold some things,’ and within a few seconds, I saw a friend tweet, ‘Withholding Nothing.’ I felt God’s peace as I honored Him by speaking truth.”

“Can this be on the life soundtrack list? It’s just… so…relevant. to like, everything.”

I was truly, truly honored to share this day reflecting and worshiping with those who shared. I heard familiar echoes of overwhelming Love telling of a God who reaches into impossibly bleak situations and makes all things new. I hope you’re blessed by this playlist! All of the songs are compiled into a single Youtube playlist HERE.

Find Me:

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