Tag Archives: progressive sanctification

Meet Saintly Sally.

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Sally is on a journey down the Faith River, headed northward.  She met an Amazing woman named Grace who led her past the banks of Unbelief years ago, and is following the Sanctification Current toward her destination, a place called Maturity.

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Sally is floating right along in her boat, the S.S. Holy Spirit.  This is a very special boat; one that cannot capsize or throw her overboard.  Suddenly, Sally hits a wall.

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The river is dammed up behind a blockade that is keeping her from Maturity.  Being the experienced boater that Saintly Sally is, she grabs her Dam Demolisher.

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She finds the right ammunition, and POW!  The dam crumbles and Faith River springs forward with a HUGE gush.

Time goes by and Sally is really enjoying her journey.  She is demolishing her dams and waving to everyone that she sees on the banks, telling them how they should join her.  She is meeting other people on the river and helping them find their Dam Demolishers when they get stuck (sometimes the people forget they have them on board) and recounting stories about dams that she once demolished.  Her boat is moving her rapidly down the river toward her destination, and she begins to think that perhaps she has cleared her last dam and is headed full speed toward the finish, when a friend rows up beside her and exclaims, “Look out!  I see you’re headed for a big one!”

Incensed and embarrassed, Sally looks ahead.  She squints her eyes and starts to make out the outline of a large object up ahead.  “Oh, that thing?  No.  That’s not mine.  That’s someone else’s.  I’m done with those things.  Smooooooth sailing.”

Her friend looks at her, quizzically.  “You sure?  Because it kind of looks like you’re headed for…”

“Nope.  I really don’t feel like my boat is headed in that direction.  I’m sure that’s just something else.”

“Ooooookay then…if you say so…”

Sally’s friend rows away and soon Sally begins to wonder if that really is another dam up ahead.  “No way,” she thinks, “I am getting really close to my destination now!  Surely that isn’t for me.  Nope, nope, nope.”

SMACK.

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Sally winces as that old familiar feel of the cool concrete against her cheek begins to set in.  Sally is so upset that she is at yet another dam that she refuses to even believe it.  Over time, however, it’s hard to deny that you’re stuck, so Sally decides to make the best of it and just set up camp.  Friend after friend rows alongside her, asking her if she needs help finding her Demolisher.  “No, thank you,” Sally replies, “I’m doing just fine right here.”

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Sally’s tummy begins to growl.  She’s running out of supplies and is languishing in front of the dam.  Weak and tired, Saintly Sally reaches into her pack to see if anything is left to eat.  There, she sees it.

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One big fat slice of Humble Pie.  Now, humble is not Sally’s favorite flavor.  After all of these years, she still hasn’t really acquired the taste.  But, her options are running low.  She can either eat the Humble Pie and move along, or die right there in front of that dam.  She closes her eyes, plugs her nose, and takes a big bite.  She eats and eats and eats until she fills her belly up with that Humble Pie.  Slowly, her strength returns and she turns to face the dam.  “What am I doing!?” she says to herself.  “I don’t want to be stuck at this dam anymore! ”  Empowered by the Humble Pie, she picks up her Dam Demolisher and loads it with a good one.  “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!”  First a crack and then a break and then the wall comes tumbling down.  Sally grabs on tight to the hull of the S.S. Holy Spirit as the Faith River bursts through the void and powerfully surges forward.  She sees the banks of Unbelief flying past her as she follows the Sanctification current swiftly forward.  “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

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Sally laughs and shakes her head as she thinks, “Now that was a ride worth taking.  Why didn’t I just do that in the first place?”

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:3-9

Rice Cereal

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Kiara & First Peas, 6 months

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” Hebrews 5:11-6:1

My daughter, Khloe, is now almost 6 months old.  Last week she had her first bite of solid food (if you can call it that), rice cereal.  Now for those who don’t know, rice cereal is kind of like pulverized dried rice that, when mixed with liquid, becomes kind of a cream-of-wheat textured first food for babies.  For my highly-allergenic baby girl, I decided to start with rice.

Feeding a baby is so exciting.  I remember with Kiara watching her little face contort as I would give her peas or green beans, and how she would lunge toward the spoon when I fed her pears.  I can’t wait to give Khloe all the different kinds of foods and watch her reaction, but introducing foods is a slow process that takes a lot of patience.  Obviously, different moms do things in all different ways, and this is not one of those posts, but generally a baby will start with rice or a simple grain once a day and then build up to three times per day.  Then, once they master that for a couple of weeks, you’ll add a single ingredient fruit or vegetable.  You stay with that food for several days to watch for signs of allergies, and then you proceed to the next food.  You go through aaaaall the single ingredient baby foods, and then you start to mix them.  Quantities and flavors increase, and then after months of work, babies can have some liquified turkey and gravy.  Mmmm.  After all of this is done, finger foods start, and the little one begins munching on puffs or cheerios.  So, as much as I would love to give Khloe some puffs and watch her chomp chomp away, she would choke on them if I tried to give them to her now.  If I pureed a t-bone steak and fed it to her today, her body would most likely reject it.  It’s a process.  In the same vein, I can’t keep her on just milk forever.  She would start waking up all hours of the night (oh heavens no) and wanting to nurse more frequently.  At some point, a baby requires more nutrition than solely milk can provide, otherwise they may languish and could fail to thrive.

Believers are called to maturity.  Like little babies, we are to work our way up the food chain until we can put down the heartiest of carne asada burritos.  How many of us, though, get stuck on Mommy’s milk?  Can you imagine a grown woman with sippy cup in hand, strained peas running down her chin?  A large man perfecting his pincer-finger fine-motor skills one cheerio at a time?  Our passage of Scripture today talks about how the Hebrews should have been teaching the word already, but because they were slow to learn, that had to continually be re-taught the basics over and over and over again.  They couldn’t understand some of the incredible truths that God wanted to teach them because they were happy with their breastmilk.  Satisfied with their Similac.

I have to tell you that the more I grow in Christ, the deeper I dig into the word, the more just incredibly rich and meaty it gets.  I can read Kiara her toddler Bible and smile at the simple stories of Adam and Eve, or I can attend Sunday night service and hear my pastor explain why God killed the animals to provide a shedding of blood and a covering of skins as temporary atonement for Adam and Eve’s sin.  A full meal.  One I can walk away with feeling deeply satisfied.  If Kiara had heard that sermon, however, she probably would have just looked at me afterward and asked, “Mommy, why is Eve nakey?”

Hebrews says that those who are still drinking milk aren’t “acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.”  They fail to grow.  Their sanctification becomes more stagnant than progressive.  But we are given a hint about how to experience a growth spurt:  “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  There is a danger in thinking that one is as mature as she can possibly be when she really is just eating Step 2 organic peaches and brown rice.  She can think that she knows all there is to know, that she doesn’t need to spend time in the word or going to church or seeking God in prayer.  But just like the grown woman with her sippy, that lady is not going to receive the nutrition that she needs.  She is susceptible to falling for falsehood.  It takes “constant use” to have eyes that see the lies.  You’ve got to put your faith into practice.  Read, apply, pray, repeat.

Here’s the good news.  The Bible says that Jesus is the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2) and that we can be confident that “he who began a good work in (us) will carry it on to completion” (Phil 1:6).  God makes things grow (1 Cor 3:7).  Just like how Khloe is naturally progressing to need more food and more nutrition and is getting bigger and bigger, God will bring the growth and the need for more.  We just need to bring the spoon to our mouths.

Moms:  I’d like to add here that if you are a mother, you know that not only do you need to feed yourself, but it is your responsibility to make sure that your children are fed, and fed well.  You want them to start with the green stuff so they get a taste for healthy food.  If they only eat the candy and fast-food served up by the world, you’re opening them up to sickness and disease.  How much time do we spend thinking about our children’s food?  Think about how much time you spend in the kitchen preparing, cooking, supervising, and cleaning up their eating experience.  I basically live in the kitchen.  How much more, then, should we be thinking about their spiritual nutrition?  Just as a mom who doesn’t feed her children and leaves them starved is guilty of neglect, I would offer that we are guilty of child abuse when we do not ensure that they are eating their spiritual food.  You love your kids.  Get them to church, now.  Get them plugged in, now.  Get them reading, now.  Teach them about Jesus daily.  We certainly don’t just give them a snack once a week and hope that’s enough for them.  This is America, after all.  We’ve got supermarkets full of the choicest foods.  We are without excuse.  God has been speaking about this to me lately, and at the same time, my church has rolled out an incredible children’s curriculum that extends to the home throughout the week.  I’ve had some ideas on how to implement this daily with my preschooler and make it fun for her.  I’m learning this right along with you!  If you’re interested in resources for your kids, please do some research or contact me and I will help you track something down that is age-appropriate and would be beneficial.  With that, if you have any resources that you have found to be awesome for your kids, leave a comment and share with our other readers.  We need all the help that we can get.  Let’s strive for excellence and leave a legacy of godly children who love the Lord with all their little hearts and souls and minds and strengths.

You wouldn’t waste a prayer on this guy today.  He ate a bunch of carpet (again).  Oh, how we love him.  But oh, how frustrating it can be!  Under vet’s orders, we are monitoring him, and he seems okay, but we are praying specifically that no little carpet strands are stuck in his gut, requiring surgery (again)!

Love you all!  Press on to maturity knowing that God loves you and that your growth will produce much fruit–for you, for others, and for your kids!

XO

Miss Spears

**This post contains some graphic language and content**

“While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab.  These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.  So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor.  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.  And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.”  And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”  And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting.  When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly.  Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.  Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.  The LORD said to Moses, Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.”  Number 25:1-11

Ah, yes.  What a beautiful passage to begin your day with.  Perhaps I will make it into a beautiful graphic so that you can pin it on Pinterest!?

Here is the backstory.  God has brought the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt and they are wandering in the desert, waiting to inherit their Promised Land.  Their unbelief in God kept them wandering for forty years.  So, before the forty years was up, as the nation of Israel was about to be reconstituted in preparation for receiving its inheritance, the men start whoring with the Moabite women which eventually leads to them bowing down and worshipping, literally “yoking themselves,” to the god of these women, Baal of Peor.  God becomes rightfully angry at their blatant disregard of the commandments that He gave the people and sends a plague on them, while telling Moses that the men in charge would need to be killed and their bodies put on display to remind Israel of the jealousy of their God.  Meanwhile, people are dying of plague left and right.  As Moses and the entire nation are weeping and mourning right at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (where the presence of God resided as a pillar of cloud), some guy brings a Midianite woman back to the camp right in front of them all and takes her into his tent (Matthew Henry’s commentary says that the word alludes to the tent being a place actually set up for lewdness).  Phinehas gets so angry, so zealous for the LORD’s honor, that he follows the man in and spears them both.

If you are a believer, as God’s chosen daughter, he has called you to holiness.  But even though God’s love and provision is so obvious and evident in our lives, we have tendencies to wander and go “whoring” ourselves to things that we know we shouldn’t.  Subtle flirtation with inappropriate living turns into outright sin, which in time turns our worship away from God and sees us bowing down toward false “idols.”  Things get even more dangerous when the sin starts to include more and more believers, excusing each other’s behavior and joining right along, pretending like God’s standards of living don’t matter anymore.  Then we can get so comfortable that we’ll begin to flaunt our sin, right out in the open for all to see.  The sin becomes a cancer to us, a plague hindering us from receiving our inheritance, our Promised Land.  Our faithful God will send us warnings and leave us with two choices:  ignore His instruction and let the plague kill us off, or get some godly zeal and kill the source.  Drive a spear through it’s belly.  Defend His honor.

Do you recognize sin in your life and run toward it with a weapon?  He’s provided you with the best one available, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17).  Or, do you sit back and let the stinky life that God doesn’t want for you yoke you to junk?  Are you brave enough to be the one woman in the assembly who says, “not in my house!”  Or are you cool with the status quo?       Because of our good man Phin’s zeal for God, he was blessed, those around him were blessed, and his descendants were blessed with a “covenant of a lasting priesthood” (v. 13) which was made complete in Christ.  In Psalm 106:31, we see that “This was credited to him (Phinehas) as righteousness for endless generations to come.”

So, Miss Spears, can you think of some areas of your life that could use a righteous mortal wound?  Be brave in heart with these words from 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”  You aren’t alone, girlfriend, you’ve got divine power at your fingertips.  Put some sin to death as you delight in the knowledge that God has reconstituted you in preparation for your beautiful inheritance, your Promised Land.

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!  Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.  Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDbllO1LrvM

Exploring Your Calling- Part 2

Haaaaappy New Year!  

I hope you all had a great time celebrating last night.  I actually DID make it to midnight after 4 glasses of Martinelli’s!  Whoo!  I rang in 2013 with a bang- changing a poopy diaper.  However, I did get a great New Year’s Kiss from my man!

For all who are joining me in the Daily Bible Reading Plan, here is the link once again.  I hope you enjoyed your first day!  If you are joining me and haven’t already let me know, shoot me a note on the “contact” page so I can pray for you.

Yesterday we talked about the first step in exploring our calling– realizing that we can’t know who WE really are without knowing who HE really is.   This begins with Salvation.

So, He saves us, and then what happens?  What do we do?  The next piece in the puzzle of our “calling” is pursuing holiness.  God has called you to be holy.  “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim 6:11-14).

This “good confession” is the one we make when we are saved.  Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  So salvation comes from faith (which is a gift of God), followed by a spoken confession of your belief.  After that, Paul tells us to charge forward, fight a good fight, and take hold of the life that Jesus died for.  The one that we are called to live.  The one that we are supposed to keep without spot or blame until Jesus comes back (and He is coming back) again.  How do we take hold of this life?  We flee from “all this,” which in chapter six says is false doctrine, ungodly teaching, conceit, envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, constant friction, and love of money.  We flee from all ungodliness.  We RUN from sin.  We sprint toward godliness.  What is your run looking like?  Are you stopping to smell the roses?  Are you going for a leisurely jog?  Are you running in the wrong direction?  Or are you using that Olympic-level strength that He’s blessed you with to press on toward the finish line?

You’ve been called to holiness.  You’ve been commanded to fight a good fight.  “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave” (1 Cor 9:24-25).  I just LOVE this.  Paul’s saying, look, when you’re in a race, you don’t run around all over the place.  When you’re in a fight, you don’t just throw blows into the air.  No, you beat your body into submission and you make it work for you.  You use everything you’ve got in you to win the thing!

On Thanksgiving this year, our whole extended family had a very sophisticated and elegant evening followed by an intense arm-wrestling tournament.  Now, when you arm-wrestle, you have to put every single ounce of focus you’ve got into pressing against the opposing force, who is doing the same.  Loved one, you can bet your enemy is using everything he’s got to pin you down.  Plus, he plays dirty.  YOU, however, have been given much more inherent strength.  But if you don’t use all of your might to focus that strength, to press against your opponent, your arm is going to start falling back.  Press into Him, the One who gives you strength (Phil 4:13), and play to win.  Cheaters never prosper.  But if you want to win, honey, you’ve got to play the game!

Enjoy 1/1/13!!

XO

Anorexia

Anorexia

When I was about 8 or 9, I remember laying in my bed at night and just feeling…..icky.  I wasn’t sick, and nothing was particularly wrong, but I just felt weird.  Kind of sad.  Off.  Depressed, maybe (can a 9 year-old be depressed?)  I remember coming out of my room crying and sitting at the dining room table with my mom.  The conversation went something like this:

“Mom, I don’t feel good.”

“What’s wrong, baby?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sick?”

“No.”

“Did something happen?”

I’m crying and crying.  “No.  I just don’t feel good.  I don’t know why.  There’s nothing wrong.”

“Oh, sweetie you’re spiritually weak.  You need some nourishment.”

Now, let me preface this by saying that my mom is not your average mom.  She’s a believing maverick and has spiritual insight like no other mom I’ve ever met.  Back to the story, mom pulled me in and curled me up and started talking about how we have to have spiritual food or we starve ourselves, literally making ourselves spiritually weak.  I can’t remember all that happened next, but my guess is that she fixed me a mug of warm milk and sent me back to bed with a good psalm and a prayer.  Good ol’ Ma.

During his temptation, in Matthew 4:4 (and Luke 4:4, oddly), Jesus quotes Deuteronomy and says “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”  What does this mean?  This means that the physical is not all there is.  We also live by God’s word.  What happens to our bodies when we do not eat?  We starve.  We get sick.  We become weak and weary.  Our bodies zap ourselves of stored nutrients in order just to function.  If the Holy Spirit resides in you, and you aren’t feeding yourself spiritually, the same thing happens to you.  Spiritual anorexia.  Your growth is stunted.  You are left gaunt, debilitated, and ineffective.

If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit resides in you.  The Spirit in you is like a fire; the fire can be fanned into a flame (2 Tim 1:6), and it can also be extinguished, or “quenched” (1 Thess 5:19).    The Spirit takes residence in you to continually sanctify you, which means to set you apart as holy.  To move you further and further away from your sin nature.  To make you more and more like Christ.  To push you to increasing degrees of glory.  2 Chronicles 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.”  It’s the Spirit who authored the Word, teaches you the Word, and gives you the ability to apply the Word to your life.  This application results in increasing degrees of sanctification.  When we quench the Spirit (the word is used to talk about pouring water over a fire), we retard the transformation process.  We stunt our sanctification, and the Holy Spirit actually GRIEVES (Eph 4:30)!  Perhaps it was a window into His grief that left me feeling so……well, grieved that night.

The Word is at the heart of it all.  Man lives by bread and…what?  The Word of God.  It gives us life.  It quickens our hearts to the Spirit’s leadings.  It fans the embers into blazing wildfires.

How do you quench the Spirit?  You fail to study the Word.  To take delight in it.  To see it as God’s beautiful gift to you, His very words spoken to you.  The most jaw-dropping, amazing, awe-inducing life changes wait at the tip of His tongue.  His words are ALIVE and the Spirit quickens them to you.  He teaches them to you.  Shows you how they apply to you.  But most importantly, they show Christ.  They show His character.  His face.  His love and amazing grace and sacrifice for us.  The answer to everything.  For every question you have, He’s given you the answer….I AM.  “What is my purpose?” I am.  “Where should I go?” I am.  “What do I do about my kid?” I am.  The all-surpassing powerful God who called you up from the dead and poured grace over you and gave you life.  He wants you.  He wants you to want Him.

We want all of the answers without searching for them.  God isn’t a spiritual Google, a search engine.  He’s relational.  He designed us for intimacy.  I hear all the time, “I just wish He would tell me what to do.”  Or, “I just want to know His will.”  The answer is in scripture.  And, the answers that aren’t in black or red letters in the Bible are given to you by the Holy Spirit whose flame is fanned by you studying the Word.  Do you spend enough time there?  Any time at all?  Or, do you read it once in a while just to solve your own problems, or someone else’s problem, without studying it and delighting in it just to catch a glimpse of the glory of Christ?  He’s there in the whole thing, woven through the testaments and covenants and promises and prophecies with a deep scarlet thread.  The One and Only GOD who lowered himself to become a man and carry our junk and rebellion and died for it all, to bridge the gap between us.  How He loves us so.  We can quench the Spirit by carving out idols and choosing to worship our families or our kids or our jobs or ourSELVES instead of the One who created all of that.  Isn’t that a scary thought.  By quitting church and fellowship with other believers (Heb 10:24-25).  We can quench Him by wallowing in worry and anxiety, which is fear rooted in unbelief, instead of trusting and delighting in Him.  Of being more concerned about the spiritual life of our spouse than our own.  Of not giving Him a second thought until the going gets tough and we pull out some one-liner verse and read it a couple of times or post it on Facebook.  Maybe pin a picture of it on Pinterest.  Probably while saying to ourselves, “oh this is a really good one for so-and-so.  They really need to read this one.”  Really!?  The Bible says to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Phil 2:3).  Let’s stop worrying about what “they” need to read and worry about our standing.  Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  Think about the fact that we did absolutely NOTHING to deserve Him, and that our righteousness is filthy rags.  And AAAAAAALL of this, I say with my best southern accent as I sing ala Bobby Pinson… “Don’t Ask Me How I Knoooooooow.”

Are you feeling a little parched, love bug?  Are you feeling some hunger pangs?  Or is that pit in your stomach the echoing of gastric juices just waiting to consume a nourishing home-cooked meal?  We like the healthy stuff around here.  Good doctrine.  Too much junk will give you a tummy ache.  Okay, perhaps I’ve gone too far now.  Grab your Bible and a cup of something warm, curl up, and delight in your Father.  Give strength to your bones.  Here’s your Psalm.

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember as I pour out my soul:  how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Lord, thank you so much for your Word.  What an awesome wonder it is that you chose me, and that you’ve revealed yourself to me in scripture.  Thank you for the blessing of knowing you.  I want to know you more quickly.  Create in my heart a desire for your word.  Fan the embers of the Holy Spirit in me into a consuming fire.  I love you, Father.  Thank you.  In the name of your Son, Jesus!  Amen.

XO

Amy

Well Aren’t You Something

So I gotta start off with a confession.

When people hear that I cheered for the NFL, I generally get two responses.  One is either a “wow, that’s awesome” kinda thing, and the other is a grimaced half-smile that hides their “aren’t you a mom” and “aren’t you a believer” and “aren’t they scantily clad” kinda thing.

Yes.  Yes.  And, yes.

Clearly, I had not quite mastered the “modest is hottest” mantra (which, after child #2, is a much easier lifestyle choice.)

The reason I feel the need to lay this out to the public blogosphere is that the enemy has used this to shame me from my calling, and I wonder if anyone can relate.  It’s been a couple of years since the Lord pressed upon my heart the desire to write and teach.  Even to type it out now leaves me feeling, well, naked.  I tread lightly.  “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1).  The thought makes those vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies I just scarfed wanna hop back up my throat.  My husband, my dear friends, my mentors, my family…they all knew that the Lord had called me to write (partly because I couldn’t shut my big mouth about it…however the Lord knows this about me and has chosen to tell me anyway, so I figure it’s my accountability).  Problem was, I wasn’t doing it.  And no one could figure out why.

The darkness in the front of my brain behind my eyeballs was carrying a deep root of shame.  After all, how could someone whose heroes were John MacArthur, Piper, Chandler, Bethy and Kay be so….stupid?  Shallow?  Attention-mongering?  And how ridiculous is it to go vote with my four-month old and see my swimsuit shoot plastered in the polling place’s garage?  How could I possibly stand up and wag my finger at other Christian women and tell them how awful they were for seeing Magic Mike…when I was part of the problem myself?

Welp, we’re just gonna go ahead and extinguish them there flamin’ arrows right now.  It wasn’t right.  It’s not okay.  I don’t want my daughters doing the same thing (that is…unless the girls get some godly uniforms happenin’…but I digress).  But did I learn?  Yup.  And what the enemy meant for my harm, God meant for my good.  Why?  Because of this little phrase called “progressive sanctification.”  I’ve learned it the hard way.  And I’m here to knock it into your brain so that you don’t have to.

You see, mine is not a story of being saved by Amazing Grace and then radically altering everything in my own power and being a perfectly moral, good little Christian happily ever after. Nope.  My. Story. Is. MESSY. And it ain’t over yet.

Lock arms with me, girlfriend, as I flesh out my flesh and kill my sin and show you it’s ugly, putrid, rotting carcass.  Time to get real and admit the grotesqueness of our imperfection.  Time to be the same on Sunday as we are on Wednesday.  Imma be callin’ it out.  Rock the road with me.