Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday's Meditation: A Boss Your Heart Message

Thank you, Mr. Kirsten Walkup, for today's devo!
Create in me a clean heart
Kirsten Walkup
David is without a doubt one of my favorite characters in all of scripture. Of course I love Moses, Samson, Ruth, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc, but David stands in stark contrast to most other figures. Whereas we know bits and pieces of most of the major players lives’ in the Bible, virtually all of David’s life is laid bare in scripture, good and bad. With David, nothing is ever done “half-way”. When he’s victorious he’s slaying giants and cutting off their heads. When he fails he’s committing adultery and having the husband of his object of lust murdered. For better or worse, David was an “all in” kind of guy.
It’s been said that the truest test of one’s character is not how they deal with success, rather how they deal with failure. While David certainly had many great victories and was a tremendously successful king, he was far from perfect. David was also a man capable of great sin, a fact that was profoundly exhibited in his dealings with Bathsheba. You probably remember the story. Bathsheba was bathing on her rooftop (a fact that still has me scratching my head) and David was out on his balcony admiring the view when he happened to notice this striking young (married) woman taking a bath. Being the king, David figured, “hey, I could use another wife or concubine” and had her sent for. David became privy to the knowledge that she was married to Uriah, one of David’s most loyal soldiers, but he was undeterred in his lust and took her to bed. This set off a chain of events that led to Bathsheba becoming pregnant, David attempting to cover his tracks, and the eventual murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah (it always cracks me up when I hear people describe the Bible as a collection of boring stories).
Of course there was no way that David, king of Israel and servant of God Most High, was going to get away with his great sin. The prophet Nathan confronted David and essentially told him that he (David) had sinned against God and that all sorts of really bad things were going to happen to David and his household as a result of the things he had done, most notably that David would lose the son born to him by Bathsheba. What was David’s response to Nathan’s very stern and dire rebuke? II Samuel 12:13 tells us that David’s reply to Nathan was, “I have sinned against the Lord”.
David’s son would, in fact, die and David mourned his loss. For many people, knowing that it was their sin that caused the death of their own child would be enough to completely destroy their faith. But David was far from an ordinary man. Psalms 51:10-12 captures the essence of David’s heart, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” David’s prayer to God may be the perfect prayer of repentance. David fully recognized that he alone was to blame and his cry to God was completely devoid of any “woe is me” moment. He identified that he had allowed his heart to stray from God and immediately set out to boss his heart and make it right with God again.
Unless you’re reading this from prison (which is entirely possible) I doubt anyone reading this has committed adultery and then had the spouse of your lover murdered. In that, you have a leg up on the mighty king David. That said there is much to be gleaned from how David handled things after his sin had become known. When we stumble, the last thing we should do is try to cover our tracks and hope nobody notices. It didn’t work too well for David and even had his scheming been successful, Nathan still would have shown on up on his doorstep with a similarly dire rebuke because we cannot hide from the Lord, nor should we desire to do so. What we should do is the thing David should have done straight away. We should fall to our knees before God and ask him to purify our hearts and renew our spirits, and then we should immediately boss our hearts into turning course, as reversal of course is the truest definition of repentance.
When most people think of David, the first thing that springs to mind is that he was a mighty giant slaying warrior (never mind that he was a scrawny kid when he did that) or that he was a great king of Israel, which he was. But God saw something different in David from the very beginning when he had him anointed as king. At the time, David was the least of his household and even his own father held him in little regard. Yet when God looked upon the heart of this undersized, red-headed boy, he saw the heart of a man who would follow hard after God’s own heart.
As we go about our week, we would do well to remember it was the fact that David, though imperfect, directed his heart to follow God, and forced it to change direction when necessary. That’s what made David a great king and, more importantly, it’s what made him a man who was tremendously used of God.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Divine Love...

...has the strength to keep going when human love fails.

"My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart." --Psalm 73:26

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friendly Friday: A Boss Your Heart Message From a Friend

Fridays are for friends (bloggy or real life) to share their Boss Your Heart stories.  I'd love to share your message! Click HERE for more info!

Today's message is written by Victoria Wilguess, a 17-year-old suffering from chronic illness.  Thank you, Victoria, for sharing your message!

Only Temporary
Victoria Wilguess

This life is so temporary. If things are so temporary, why do we have such a hard time trusting God? Why do we ask, "when will this end"? In our hearts we know that the pain is temporary, but in our minds it seems like forever.

Four years ago, I got very sick. I was bedridden at the age of 13. Two years later, I saw a doctor across the country and was finally diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme Disease. I haven't attended school in over 2 years because of my health. I'm still trying to get into remission and praying that I don't keep relapsing.

From a worldly view, I have lost a lot. I'm sure each one of you have too. You might have lost a loved one, your job, or your health. At 17 years old, I never thought that I would struggle to walk. I never thought that I would have a disease that would require me to have a doctor across the country because no one in my state will treat me. I never thought that I would qualify for Make A Wish. I never thought that I would be admitted to the hospital an average of 18 times a year and even do IVs at home. Yes, from a worldly view I have lost a lot.

But from a heavenly view, I have gained more than I could ever imagine. My eyes have been opened to really understanding that God is good all the time. God has done and is doing so much in my life, and if I hadn't gotten sick, I don't know that I would trust Him as much as I do! I wouldn't realize how precious each and every moment is. At times, I still feel like Habakkuk in the Bible, and I'm sure you do too.

There are only 3 chapters and it is a conversation between God and Habakkuk. Habakkuk starts out.

“ How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted” Habakkuk 1:2-4

So Habakkuk is crying out to God, asking why His people are allowed to suffer. He wants to know how much longer they will have to suffer. God answers-

“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5

Habakkuk asks again why all of this is happening. God replies-

“But the LORD is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him." Habakkuk 2:20

Habakkuk then goes on to trusting God’s plan and praising Him even though He can’t see at the time what God is doing

“LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

Habakkuk ends with these verses-

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. ” Habakkuk 3:17-19

• This book shows us that it is okay to question God, but to do it with respect

• Sometimes to get to the point where we will trust God completely, we have to go through suffering to understand how much we need God

• We need to be still and wait for Him because He always has a plan and is always in control

• He is always on His throne no matter where we are in life

• I love reading this because I know there are so many times where I ask God how much longer? God I’ve been sick for 4 years, isn't this enough? But the more that I trust God and wait for Him, the more blessings come out of this and the closer I grow to Him.

• The first time I read Habakkuk it reminded me of the song Praise You in this Storm. I’m sure you all have heard it but these are the lyrics that I thought of.

"I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.


And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm"

So, what does that mean for us today? We need to boss our heart, just like Chrissie, and actually BELIEVE that God is still good through our pain, and that we will grow closer to God through our trials. We need to boss our heart to focus on heavenly things, not earthly things, because what we see is temporary.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

We can see that our bodies are wearing. We can see the grave stone of our loved one. We can see the violence in this world. But that will soon be over! In heaven, our bodies will not fail. In heaven, we will be with our loved ones forever. In heaven, there will be no violence or tears or suffering! Oh how I can't wait for that day! Until then, I will trust God, no matter how much I don't understand, because this sickness is only temporary no matter what doctors tell me.

"No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

In this world, you and I have so many more battles to fight. We might even lose some battles. But guess what? God has already won the war! How reassuring is that?! I pray that each one of us can boss our hearts just like Chrissie everyday!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

Thanks again for this opportunity!
Victoria Wilguess

One Day/One Lunch

We are honored to spread the news of what 15-year-old Addisyn Block is doing to help feed children in Ziway, Ethiopia.  Addisyn is quickly approaching her 100th day of eating soup for lunch instead of buying her lunch at school, and she's donating the money to feed the children at Adami Tulu Preschool in Africa.  Can you believe that just $3 will feed a child at this school for an entire MONTH?!?  And can you believe that this precious American girl has chosen to eat the same African-inspired soup every day for 100 days in order to help feed less fortunate children?!?  I think we should all join her on February 3 (Addisyn's 100th day of eating soup) and donate our lunch money to feed these children alongside Addisyn!  Way to go, Addie, we are so proud of you!!!

Amy Block asked if I would help get the word out about what Addisyn is doing.  I was HONORED to do so.  If the world was filled with people like Addisyn, there'd be no more hunger and starvation.  We could all learn something from reading the following post, which I'm re-posting from Addisyn and Amy Block's blog (Building the Blocks):

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor Proverbs 22:9
Every 5 seconds a child dies of starvation.
 And the truth is this, most days; this never even crosses our minds.
Perhaps that is because with a number like this- we don’t even know where to begin.
 But what if you knew where to begin? What if you knew what to do to make a difference?
 And what if that difference simply started with your lunch?  
What if all it took was One day and one lunch- to make a huge difference in the life of a child?
What if all you had to do was simply give what you would have spent in one day for one lunch?
If you are reading this today- yes YOU… I’d like to ask you to be a part of something big.  God usually preferred to work through people- people like you and people like me. You have two choice right now- you can click off this page and pretend you didn’t read this and go on with your everyday life- or you can choose to see that God brought YOU here- to read this- for a purpose- to be a part of something big.
Don’t worry,  I am not going to ask you to do something you can’t- I am asking you to do something you can. The Average American spends between $2.00 and $8.00 a day on lunch. If everyone who reads this blog post would simple choose- on February 3nd to give up their ‘lunch money’  and then donate what they would have spent on lunch that day to Lifesong  For Orphans for the Adami Tulu preschool  in Ziway, Ethiopia. Can you image what Jesus could do? A mere $3.00 feeds a child for ONE MONTH. Can you imagine the impact we could make- simply by giving being willing to make a small sacrifice for someone else?
But more than that… can you imagine how it would affect those around us as we say ‘enough’. Enough of over abundance. Enough of the waste. Enough of going on with our lives like we are the only ones that matter. Enough of turning our back to the needs of others in this world. Enough of pretending we don’t know what to do. If a 15 year old can think of something to give, then so can you and I. No more excuses- all it takes is one day and one lunch.

So mark your calendar for Feb. 3nd and spread the word about the One Day- One Lunch Project. Put it on FB, add it to your blog- ask your friends, coworkers and church family to join in. Let’s make a small sacrifice- to make one big difference.
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." ~ Mother Teresa
Donations can be given online at: please indicate it’s to go to the Adami Tulu Preschool.
Or mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
Indicate for the Adami Tulu Preschool

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy 13th Birthday, Madelaine Grace!

Oh how I wish every family could have a Mattie in it!  God blessed our socks off when He chose to share His beautiful creation, Madelaine Grace Patterson, with our family.  (BTW, the name Madelaine is a combination of my husband's name (Matt) and my name (Lorraine).)  Mattie is our only biological daughter, and she is the main person responsible (aside from God, of course) for our family entering the world of adoption.  Mattie begged God for years to give her a sister, and while we (her father and I) thought we were done having children and tried to convince Mattie for many years that she would  never have a sister, God was working behind the scenes to bring about His beautiful and perfect plan for our family, and, in doing so, God blessed Mattie with the sister she had prayed many years for.  Not only did He gift Mattie with the ONE sister she had begged to receive, but He chose to bless our family with a total of SIX girls!  I'm so grateful Mattie prayed for that sister she always wanted!

When we first prayed about adopting our very first daughter, Meribeth from Colombia (Nov. 2007), my husband's main concern was for our biological daughter, Mattie.  Mattie had been Daddy's Little Princess, the only girl in our family, and the only granddaughter on both sides of our families.  My husband was concerned for the way Mattie would feel about losing her status as THE princess in our family if we adopted a girl. 

I will never forget Mattie's response when she heard about the possibility that she could have a sister through adoption.  My husband and I decided we would pray together as a couple before we mentioned this idea to our biological children or extended family.  Well, the first morning after my husband and I committed to praying for God to show us if He indeed had chosen Meribeth for our family, Mattie walked into my room and saw Meribeth's photo as I was praying over it.  I gently explained that we were simply praying for this orphan in Colombia who needed a family.  (My hubby was gone to work when this happened.)  Mattie darted out of my room after hearing this news, so I continued to pray.  Shortly thereafter, I received a message from my hubby regarding an email he had received from Mattie, who was 9 years old at the time.  Here is the email that Mattie sent to her daddy (BEFORE we even had a chance to discuss the possible problems with the coveted princess position in our family):

“Dear dad, I cant believe what I just heard! I could have a sister!!! I realize that this will change my entire life, and I know your very concerned about me. But I feel like I don't even have to pray about this. I realize that everything will be centered around her, and I know I wont be the little ''princess'' any more, but I'm willing to change all that to be able to change both me and Luz Mary's life.”

(This photo is of Mattie at her princess dress up party for her 9th birthday, eager to give up her princess status in order to change 2 girls lives.)

And here Mattie is walking her sister to the car in Colombia shortly after we met Meribeth.

It still gets me choked up to see Mattie's response to the possibility of her world being rocked by adoption.  Yes, that is our Madelaine Grace, full of unconditional love, overflowing with grace, and a model of selflessness.  She never hesitated ONCE about losing her status as the one and only princess in our family.  It was Mattie's response to the idea of adopting Meribeth that God used to turn all of our hearts toward adoption.  Mattie modeled the ultimate Biblical response to adoption:  It's not about ME!  I care more about others than I do about myself.  I want to die to self and allow God to change my life by laying it down for another.  Oh the wisdom of a beautiful 9-year-old princess, leading her parents toward the heart of adoption!  Yes, I wish every family could have a Mattie in it!

Mattie before she donated 9" of her hair on her 9th birthday.

Mattie (who looks like she aged 5 years!) sporting her new hair cut at the age of 9.

Mattie has always had a heart for others.  From the time that Mattie began receiving an allowance (at the age of 4), she always spent that money on others instead of on herself.  (We chose to give our kids an allowance to help them learn money management.)  We always encouraged our children to give atleast 10% to help others in Jesus' name, but Mattie usually gave 100%.  Mattie always chose to give her money to help children, by donating to organizations such as St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Make-A-Wish, Compassion International, and then she decided to "adopt" a child who she gave all of her money to every single month for a year in order to give that child daily food, medical care, and an education.  And if she ever had extra money (like birthday gift money), she would choose to buy a gift or card for someone special instead of buying something for herself.  (And, believe me, I was not the one modeling such selfless, compassionate, generous choices!)  Yep, I wish every family could have a Mattie in it!

God's main commandment is to love God and love others.  I continue to be in awe of how Mattie models what this looks like.  God uses Mattie to teach our family how to live the way He wants us to!  Mattie genuinely loves and adores her Heavenly Father with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength, and she is such an inspiration and source of encouragement to all of us.  Click HERE to read about how Mattie read through the entire Bible in just 90 days.  (Mattie's birthday wish list is a testament to where her heart really is.  Mattie asked for 3 books for her birthday:  Knowing God, Systematic Theology, and The Bride Wore White.)  And when it comes to loving others, the way God commands us to (including loving those who are not so lovable), Mattie continues to be an inspiration to us all.  Mattie continuously puts others before herself, not because she has to, but because she wants to.  She loves people, all people, from newborns to the nursing home, she truly loves them all.  And not only does she love them, she SERVES them.  Yep, I wish every family could have a Mattie in it!

For her 6th birthday, in lieu of gifts, Mattie asked her party guests to bring a donation to help a local animal shelter.  Another one of Mattie's birthday parties, she hosted a baby shower to benefit the local Christian crisis pregnany center.  And on Mattie's 9th birthday, she chose to donate 9" of her hair to Pantene's wig program to give a woman with cancer a wig.  For Christmas 2009 and again in January 2010, in celebration of Mattie's 12th birthday, Mattie once again wanted nothing for herself.  She asked for contributions to Amy Block's Pass It Forward Fund/Abby's Wish in lieu of gifts for BOTH Christmas and her birthday.  Click HERE and HERE to read about this experience.  By the power of God, Mattie raised a total of $4,000 for the PIF fund by asking for donations in lieu of Christmas and birthday gifts, as well as baking and selling dozens of homemade pies, soliciting donations door to door, selling her iPhone (which was gifted to her), and pouring her heart into raising money to help another family, putting the needs of others before her own desires.  Yep, I wish every family could have a Mattie in it!
Mattie was ecstatic about donating $4,000 to Amy Block's Pass It Forward adoption fund!

Mattie is a true servant, not because she has to be, but because she wouldn't have it any other way.  If you were to step into our home at any given time, unannounced, I would be willing to bet that you'd find Mattie serving in some way.  Whether it be serving dinner, cleaning up dinner, doing dishes, giving kids baths, reading to little ones, scrubbing toilets, doing laundry, feeding the baby a bottle, or ministering to someone's needs, Mattie is most satisfied when she is serving.  And the most fulfilling part of watching Mattie is that she serves with a joyful heart, without having to be told or asked.  Mattie could literally serve her entire family and run our entire home, with joy.  Yep, I wish every family could have a Mattie in it!

I want you, the reader, to know that I am not saying these things about Mattie in an effort to boast about what an awesome child we've raised!  That is NOT the case at all, in fact, there are many times that I feel Mattie is "raising" us!  We have not been the role models that Mattie has been to us.  We have not served others the way Christ has asked us to, but Mattie has.  We have not put others before ourselves the way God's Word commands, but Mattie has.  We have not modeled unconditional love the way that Mattie has.  We have fallen short in more ways than I can count, but through it all, God has discipled Mattie and shaped her into the beautiful young woman she is today.  We cannot take any responsibility; ALL glory to God for His beautiful creation, Madelaine Grace Patterson.

Mattie, on your 13th birthday, I want you to know what an inspiration you are to all of us.  My beautiful middle child, I pray you will always know and believe that God has made you in His image, and you are an incredible reflection of God's beauty, inside and out.  We are incredibly blessed to call you our daughter, and we thank you for being you.  We love you forever and always, no matter what, beautiful one!  Happy 13th birthday, princess!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday's Word: A Boss Your Heart Message

Many thanks, D'Lane, for today's message.

Now and Later
D'Lane Moore

In my “former” life I was a teacher.  I have taught everything from Pre-K to 6th grade.  And once, a few years ago, I tutored a girl in Algebra I.  I do not usually tackle such “high math”.  I usually tutor what I know well and don’t have to study, kinder-6th grade subjects.  But last week I got a call from a mom who has a high school student in Algebra I who needs a little boost.  After some prayer I agreed to meet with her to see if I could help.  As I sat down to look over the concepts she is challenged I was worried I was going to have to teach myself everything all over again before I could help her.  I was pleasantly surprised to realize I remembered most of what I needed to know to make these math concepts accessible to a student.  I did need to look up a few things about graphing inequalities, but with the help of google and my husband I got it worked out.

You know what I realized?  That knowledge we gain is good both for the current situation and for later situations.  I did not have to start from scratch when I was preparing to tutor Algebra I this time around because I took Algebra I because I applied myself to learning during earlier seasons of life, such as high school and college.  And when the knowledge was needed later in life, it was there.

That got me to thinking about Bossing my Heart.  Bossing my heart is beneficial both now and later.  As I read God’s word every day I am learning more about Him, His story, His love for the world, His purpose for me, His plan, and His grace.  This knowledge is certainly having an immediate impact in my life.  But I realize the impact will not stop at the end of this Boss Your Heart Challenge.  I can just imagine a time, a few years from now, when my daughter thinks to ask a great question about God and his kingdom.  What will I say?  How will I respond?  Will I know the answer?  Maybe I will be able to recall exactly what God’s word says because it is a question I have often sought God about.  But what if I am not sure of the response?  I know at that moment I will remember something from the year of Bossing my Heart that will help me.  I might remember a verse, a story, or maybe just the fact that Matthew would be a good book to start looking for the answer.   I don’t know exactly what it will look, but I know that God will use this Bossing of My Heart for many, many years to come in many, many different situations.   

God’s word says in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

Dear God,
Use your word in our lives.  Make it come alive to us as we commit to read it.  Show us how you are using it in our lives today.  Allow us to see what a difference Bossing Our Hearts with your word can make in our attitudes, relationships, passions, and circumstances.  But don’t let it end there.  Place your word deep in our heart and mind.  Bring it to our memory in the days, weeks, and years to come when we need to hear your voice.  Help us remember your truths, commands, warnings, and promises and just the right moments.  We will be sure to give you all the glory both for now and forever!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday's Meditation: A Boss Your Heart Message

This comment (below) was left in response to THIS post:
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this message!  We are about to bring home 2 precious children (9&5) and the enemy is pulling at anything and everything to distract me and to question what we are doing.  Recently, he has attacked the area of my salvation.  So Thank You, I truly needed this.
I do have a question though.  And PLEASE know that I am not arguementative or playing "devil's advocate," I truly want to know what you think.
In the bible you read that God will spit the lukewarm Christians out of His mouth.  I read that Francis Chen says "all lukewarm Christians are going to hell."  And I read other respected Christian authors that say the same thing.  So...does that mean that the lukewarm Christians were never sealed in Christ?  I.O.W. -they never were truly saved to begin with? 
I take Lukewarm Christian to mean that they've just lost their passion for the LORD.  They believed and were completely in love with our Savior at one time, but now, their Christianity is just based on obedience and church attendance and sin management.  Does following  out of love make you lose your salvation?

I asked Mr. Kirsten Walkup (our Monday's Meditation contributor) if he would possibly provide a response to the comment.  I am grateful for his response, and I pray you will be blessed by it!  Thank you, Kirsten, for sharing your wisdom and prayerful insight into the Word of God. 

Security of the Believer
Kirsten Walkup
There have been few theological issues that are as frequently or hotly debated as the question “can salvation be lost?” Essentially there are two sides to this question. One side believes that a person can be saved one moment, and the “backslide” out of salvation the next moment. The other perspective is that salvation, once truly attained, cannot be lost. Having been raised in a family that attended a denomination of church that believed that one could lose salvation and having served on-staff at a church that shared similar views, I have wrestled with this question quite a bit myself. You see, while the organization I was a part of believed salvation could be lost, I’ve never really been comfortable with that idea. I just have never been able to reconcile the argument that God almighty would send His Son to die an unimaginable death to secure His people a “fragile” salvation. For whatever reason, I was unable to square my mind and heart with that notion. And don’t think I haven’t tried. Trust me, my life would be so much simpler if I just accepted whatever was being taught. My lot in life, however, is to question things. I know what I believe and why I believe it and from time to time that brings me grief, particularly when my views don’t square with the accepted norm. At any rate, in a moment I’m going to share with you why I believe that Christ did not give us a fragile salvation, rather one that we can be secure in. Before I get to that, let me say one thing. You may not agree with me and you know what? That’s okay. I’ve devoted much of my life to study of scripture and have prayed about this particular blog entry for a couple for days now. That said, I’m still a simple mortal man who is prone to error and I do not have all the answers…and neither does anyone else.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with the idea that someone can “’backslide” out of salvation is that it makes salvation conditional. In other words, you can have salvation so long as you hold up your end of the bargain. If you can’t do that then you’re out of the club. It essentially says that God saved us and now wants us to live up to a particular standard and if we fail at any point, we’re in danger of losing our salvation entirely. This type of “works righteous” salvation runs counter to what I believe the concept of salvation is really all about.
On the surface, I do get why people have the tendency to make salvation “works” based. After all, the Old Testament largely taught a works based system of belief. The Law of Moses was essentially a set of “thou shall’s” and “thou shall not’s” (gross over simplification). If you could follow it, you we’re good to go. If you couldn’t, you had trouble to deal with. The problem is that the law was virtually impossible to follow in its entirety…but that’s a blog entry for another time.  Anyhow, since Christianity owes so much of its heritage to the Jewish faith, and because our society is largely “achievement based”, it’s not difficult to see why it’s easy to equate salvation with works. The problem with that line of thinking is that it runs counter to what I believe scripture teaches.
I don’t know that there is a scripture that more clearly illustrates this that Romans 5:1-2. This passage says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Did you catch that? We’ve been justified through faith. Helping old ladies across the street, feeding the homeless, and being a decent overall individual are all fine and noble things, but they won’t get you saved and they aren’t the thing that keeps you saved. Salvation is the product of faith. It’s because of our faith in Jesus Christ that we have salvation and that same faith retains it. That’s it, it really is that simple.
The problem with espousing the “eternal security” doctrine is that you invariably run into someone who doesn’t believe the same way you do and has a different perspective on scripture. The typical counter they have to the salvation by faith perspective is, “you mean that once you’re saved you get to do whatever you want? Doesn’t your salvation also depend upon your obedience?” I believe that scripture does address these issues as well and we’ll take a look at those here in a moment. All of this doubt, however, does beg the question, where does this sense of uncertainty regarding salvation come from? Most every believer I’ve ever spoken to firmly believes in the sovereign power of God almighty and believes that He is powerful indeed. So why do so many believe that the salvation that God provides can be easily forfeited? I’ve addressed this earlier, but I also believe this to be a highly effective trap of Satan. You see, as a believer, Satan knows he can’t have you; you’ve already bought and paid for by Christ’s blood. So the next best thing to having your soul is to render you ineffective. If you’re constantly worried about the state of your own soul, you’re far less likely to be willing to reach out to others. After all, how can you strive to bring other to the saving knowledge of Christ if you’re not even certain you still have it yourself?
Romans 5:1 states that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. We have been justified through our faith and have been ushered into salvation through Christ. Paul also states that we have been granted “peace”. Some take this to mean a peaceful state of mind and a sense of calm feelings. Honestly, feelings have absolutely nothing to do with what Paul is referencing here. What he’s talking about is our posture towards God. The opposite of peace is war. Translation: before we came to the saving knowledge of Christ, we were at war with God, but now we are at peace with him. The war is over. Some take issue with this and state that they were never at war with God, but the simple fact remains that not receiving Christ as savior is tantamount to rejecting him, i.e. maintaining a warlike stance toward God, conscious or not. The point is that if you have not received Christ as savior, God is your enemy. It kind of puts a different perspective on it when it’s positioned that way, doesn’t it? God’s enemies have some very distinct and dire things waiting for them because God is very, very angry with sinners and those who tacitly or willingly reject Christ (I don’t have time to thoroughly explore this right now but Exodus 22:24, Deuteronomy 21-22, Joshua 23:l6, Isaiah 5:25, Ephesians 5, Revelation 1:9 are pretty good starting points if you want to dig a little yourself).
The good news for the believer is that Christ’s sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath and brought us into a peaceful relationship with God. Colossians 1:19-20 states, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”.  When we come to God, through Christ’s love, God can be at peace with us and we with Him. God’s wrath, rage, and fury were poured out upon Christ on the cross and He already paid the dept for our sins. You may be thinking, “This is great, but how does any of this mean that I’m still saved, even after I’ve stumbled?” I John 1:7-10 address this beautifully. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” You see, being at peace with God not only means that I’m saved at the moment from God’s wrath, but that the blood of Christ is sufficient to keep me saved, even after I’ve sinned as he “purifies us from all sin”.
That’s what being at peace with God is all about. Now only are we saved from our initial sins, but Christ, our heavenly high priest, maintains intercession on our behalf and His blood continues to cleanse us after we’re saved. God’s wrath is placated and we are free to enjoy a right relationship with Him.
There is much more to be said about this subject, but sadly, I fear I’ve already blabbered on too much as it is. There is a chance I’ll continue along this thread with my next entry but hopefully what I’ve offered is enough to bring peace to those who are troubled about the security of their salvation. If people ask, I’ll continue on with this next week, if not, I’ll move on to a different topic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friendly Friday: A Boss Your Heart Message From a Friend

Fridays are for friends (real life or bloggy friends!) to share their boss your heart messages!  I'd LOVE to hear YOUR Boss Your Heart message!  Click HERE for more info!

Today's Boss Your Heart message is from Kaleigh Anderson, a young lady who has a heart for the orphan.  Thanks, Kaleigh, for sharing your Boss Your Heart message!

Kaleigh's Message:

Love and Discipline

"...In process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass,—when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear..."
Genesis 4:3-13

"Too much to bear" ... really? I've always thought this a bit ironic. Um, Cain? You just MURDERED someone.
Yet how many times do we do the exact same thing?
How many times do we whine over discipline we deserved?
Discipline that we very much needed and yet was still far to generous.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

How often do we feel entitled to total mercy for our sins?
Mercy that we don't extend to those around us.
Yes, the gift of God, Jesus Christ, does now give us full grace and mercy through Jesus' blood if we accept it.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and find pasture … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:9

So the discipline we now receive is from a generous God that sees our sins through the blood of Jesus and who still loves us enough to continue to teach us. It is not a payment, we could never make amends, it is simply for our benefit.
He wants us to learn that nothing, even punishment, is "to much for us to bear"

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

He wants us to draw close to His heart and allow Him to work in ours.

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Det. 30:6

Like He told Mrs. Patterson to tell Chrissie, sometimes He needs to tell us to Boss our Hearts into better submission to Him.
Like Cain, in our humanness, we feel we don't deserve it, nor need it.
We like our hearts just fine, thank you.
Yet the Lord O so lovingly (sometimes through discipline) shows us how desperately we do need His loving guidance.
So when God brings discipline into your life:
Do you respond as Cain did with anger and arrogance?
Or do you see it as a loving reminder to grow closer to your Heavenly Father and as another opportunity to boss your Heart?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it
Hebrews 12:11

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday's Word: A Boss Your Heart Message

Thanks, D'Lane, for today's devo:

Experiencing God Fully
D'Lane Moore

Well I knew it would happen.  I didn’t know when or what the circumstances would be, but I knew there would be (and most likely will be) a day I miss Bossing My Heart through daily Bible reading.  It happened this Saturday.  I decided to sleep in, telling myself I would read my Bible during my daughter’s nap time, but some how the day slipped away from me and my Bible went unread.  Then came Sunday, it was a very busy day and I had the best intentions of catching up on my Bible reading, but some how that day slipped away from me too.  I did catch up on Monday, and boy was my heart in for some bossing!

I am reading through the Bible chronologically, so one of the readings I was catching up on was in the last few chapters of Job.   God has finally responded to all of Job’s self righteousness and chatter.  And when he does Job gets a full dose of God.  His eyes are open and he truly sees God’s holiness, sovereignty, and magnificence.  Job responds in chapter 42 like this,

 Job answered God:
2 “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
4 You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
5 I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
6 I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

WOW!!!  Job could finally admit who he truly was because he finally saw God for he truly was.  I L O V E when Job confessed his sin (verse 3) and his misunderstanding of God (verse 5).   But my heart God bossed big time by verse 6.  By not reading God’s word on Saturday and Sunday I was willingly accepting crust of hearsay and crumbs of rumors about God.  I was not experiencing him first hand through his word.  I was listening to his music on KLOVE, I was fellowshipping with his people at church, and I was listening to a great sermon.  Those things are not bad, in fact they are all great, but if they ever take the place of God’s own Holy Word in my life then they are out of place.  They are but mere crusts and crumbs compared to fully feasting on his precious word firsthand.

Do you know what happens next?  God restores Job!  And God can restore us!

I just want to encourage you about a few things-
*If you have fallen behind in your daily reading in this challenge, don’t give up.  It is worth the work and the fight to catch up and stick with it.  God will reward you with Himself!  What a great reward!
*If you have never experienced a relationship with God through Christ firsthand, only living on the crust of hearsay about him and crumbs of rumors about his mighty miracles in life, then ask God to truly reveal himself to you.  And feel free to comment or email your questions about this process.

Bossing our heart is a journey and we are here to encourage each other each step of the way; it doesn’t matter if it is your first step towards God or you are approaching the final years of your race.  Let us know how we can help.  

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for being all we need to satisfy every longing of our soul.  I cannot imagine the longings Job must have had after experiencing so much devastation, but I see that once all the religious talk was stripped away and he found himself face to face with you he was no longer overwhelmed with his circumstances.  He was overwhelmed by you.  God, overwhelm us with you.  Help us never to settle for hearsay and rumors about you.  Give us a deep seeded desire to want to experience you for ourselves, especially through your word.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To the Person Who Emailed About Not Feeling Saved

Some of you may have noticed that we didn't have a Monday's Meditation.  Mr. Kirsten Walkup has been ill, so he was unable to submit his weekly "Boss Your Heart" devo.  Please keep him in your prayers for healing.

Someone emailed me recently who was questioning their salvation, explaining how sometimes they wonder if they're really saved.  This devo, written by Sharon Jaynes and shared via the Girlfriends in God email, speaks to the questions that this reader had regarding her salvation.  (I'm sorry that I can't find your email, dearest reader, please know that I really wanted to respond to your questions, but maybe God intended for this devo to be the response He wanted you to hear.)

And now, here's the devo that speaks truth into the question of whether or not you're really saved:

January 17, 2011 
What if I Don't Feel Saved? 
Today's Truth
"I know whom I believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12 NIV).

Friend To Friend
Anna grew up in the church.  It wasn't a church that used the word "salvation" or "saved" very often and there was never a decisive moment she could recall "giving her life to Jesus," as she heard her more evangelical friends recount.  There was no "born again" experience that she could recall.  But she did love Jesus.  She'd loved Him for as long as she could remember.  But, she was not sure if she was actually saved.

Beth remembers walking down the red carpeted aisle of her church when she was twelve-years-old.  She filled out a membership card, signed up for the next baptism service and attended the catechism class for new believers.  She still remembers the feeling when she knew that she was a sinner who needed a Savior, and she wanted to follow Jesus more than anything.  Several years later, Beth packed her bags to go to college and entered the world of liberal teaching, wild sorority parties, and free flowing alcohol.  One night, in drunken confusion, Beth gave away her most valuable treasure to a boy she barely knew. In five minutes or less, her virginity vanished.  "How have I gotten so far away from God," she cried.  "I thought I was saved, but I guess I'm not."

Sarah had been attending a neighborhood Bible study for two years.  Most of the women there had no idea she wasn't a Christian.  "I put on a happy face, do my homework, and use the right lingo," she explains.  "I am really hungry to know God and I've asked Jesus to come in my heart dozens of times, but I just don't feel saved.  Why can't I get saved?"

Can you see how each one of these women has believed the lie that they have to earn their way to heaven? Why? Because they are depending on their feelings rather than the truth. 

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14).  Having believed, you were saved. Totally accepted. Past tense, finished, complete. 

In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul teaches us to put on the full armor of God.  The very first piece of armor is the "helmet of salvation." We've got to know that we have moved from rejection to acceptance, from guilty to forgiven, from condemned to saved.  If Satan can cause you to doubt your salvation, he will gain a strong foothold into your conquered territory.  Once you are saved, he can't do anything about the reality of your salvation.  You are signed, sealed,'re God's: signed by God with the blood of Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit for all eternity, and delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ.  Amen!

What does Paul mean when he tells the Ephesians to "put on the helmet of salvation?"  A helmet is designed to protect a soldier's head, and the helmet of salvation is designed to protect a Christian soldier's mind.  In order to have victory in the spiritual battle that we face every day, we must make sure that the helmet of salvation is seated securely on our minds and strapped snuggly in place.         
Once you accept Jesus as your Savior, Satan can't do anything about your position in Christ.  However, he can do much to try and confuse you or cause you to doubt your salvation.  Remember, he is the father of lies.  It's what he does.  It's who he is.  There may be days when you don't feel saved.  Well, rain on your feelings.  They are not the truth.  "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

You may not feel that you are saved, but you can know that you are saved.  Timothy wrote, "I know whom I believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."  Timothy had the chin strap of the helmet of salvation strapped snuggly in place and he knew he was saved no matter how he felt.  That's what faith is all about - believing God regardless of, or in spite of, our feelings.

So where's your helmet today?  Is it strapped firmly in place? 

Let's Pray 
Dear LORD, once again, I thank You for saving me.  Sometimes I don't feel like I'm any different than I was before I said "yes" to You.  But I believe by faith, regardless of how I feel.  I stand firm in the knowledge of my salvation, my eternal inheritance, and my identity as a child of God.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

Now It's Your Turn 
OK, here's the test.  You mess up.  Really mess up.  The devil says to can you call yourself a Christian?  You must not be a Christian after all?  What are you going to tell him?
After you've written down your answer, check out my answer at

More From The Girlfriends 
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's book, I'm Not Good Enough...and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. If you've been believing the enemy's lies that you are not good enough, totally worthless, would be happy if..., etc. and are ready to begin living in victory by believing God's truth, then this book is for you!  It's time to be set free to see yourself as God sees you: His holy, chosen, forgiven, and dearly loved child. Now that's a truth worth repeating. 
Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

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Matthews, NC 28106
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