10 Years of Sanctification

This April will be a special one. It will mark 10 years that I have been following Christ.

I truly can’t believe this anniversary has come so soon. That fateful day feels like just yesterday.

Many of my anniversary posts are just a recounting of my testimony, and while those are great, this time, I’d like to do something a little different.

Because while God opened my eyes to His glory and Lordship on April 25, 2010, I am not the same person I was in 2010, 2011, 2012, and so forth.

God gave me some kind of spirit of discernment early on in my walk (I never like prosperity gospel preachers and, back then, I really couldn’t explain why, but something [the Holy Spirit] told me to be weary of their teaching), but that same gift and zeal for sound doctrine was abused for a few years as I bullied brothers and sisters in the faith for not holding to the doctrines ol’ important me thought were most important.

I thought I was strong and able to “handle difficulty”, but I didn’t realize just how powerless I was until I was thrown into a barrage crazy trials some years ago. And yet, during some of the darkest times of my life (as a believer), I realized I wasn’t nearly as hopeless as I had been during an earlier trial in my life (one that happened before I was truly saved).

And those trials humbled me. I began to realize some of those Christians I disagreed with understood the love of God better than my own “clique” did. I began to realize it is okay to disagree on certain things. We are a family. Family will never agree on everything, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all brothers and sisters.

10 years is quite a vantage point.

From here, I can look back at things I asked of God and say “I am so thankful You didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted You to”.

It’s encouraging. And humbling.

My pastor recently said “I am not where I want to be, but thank God I am not who I used to be” and I couldn’t agree.

10 years ago, I thought I’d be this well learned theologian. I thought I’d written a book, be some kind of teacher, etc.

But 10 years ago, I was also too zealous for John Calvin and wasn’t zealous enough for Jesus Christ.

Am I still reformed? You bet.

Do I still think TULIP is the most accurate interpretation of scripture? Yup.

Am I still Cessationist? Well…I don’t really know. I’m beginning to lean Continuist, but I don’t really understand how the gifts work for the modern day church.

And that’s okay to say I don’t have all of the answers.

I do have one answer though: the Word of God is living and active, inerrant, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is the foundation for all of our lives.

As long as it doesn’t contradict something clearly laid out in scripture, we can have some friendly debates on things, but let’s remember that our unity is more important to God than getting to say we won an argument.

“Nobody has ever been argued into the Kingdom, but many people have been loved there.” – Chad Moore

Grace & Peace Saints,


Fulfill Your Ministry

One of my favorite Matt Chandler clips is the one where he talks about Mark Driscoll.

Chances are, most people nowadays don’t know who Mark Driscoll was. If you do, that’s awesome. But if you don’t, he used to be the pastor of Mars Hill Church. He was also the founder of the Acts 29 Network (which Matt Chandler now leads, ironically.)

Any who, if you do know Driscoll, you also know he had a pretty aggressive way of preaching (which I won’t get into now because it’s besides the point).

Well, in this clip, Matt Chandler is coaching pastors and, in essence, he tells pastors that, though Mark Driscoll is very good at what He does and God uses it, we are not all called to be Driscoll.

We can not emulate him and expect the same results because God didn’t call us to be Driscoll.

God calls us to be ourselves. 

We aren’t called to fulfill Driscoll’s ministry. We’re call to fulfill OUR ministry.

God has shaped you specifically for a specific purpose. Though it may be tempting to look at “success stories” and want to emulate them, the truth of the matter is that what worked for Matt Chandler, Beth Moore, John Piper, etc, may not work for you.

You’re not called to fulfill their ministry.

You’re called to fulfill YOUR ministry.

Your ministry may be at home, with macaroni and cheese covered fingers. And yes, do I know it gets tiring changing diapers and trying to constantly entertain children, but it may be where God is calling you for this season. 

Your ministry may be at that job you don’t like, surrounded by those people who always gossip about their sins around the water cooler. Sure, you can’t wait to get out, but maybe, you’re called to be the light in a dark place. You’re called to point one of God’s future saints to the light. 

Your ministry may be in a not-so-great marriage. We’re not meant to divorce one another at the first offense. Maybe God called you to a marriage that starts a little hard, but as time passes, you grow from the trials and your love becomes an example of God’s power and healing.

(And don’t read what I am NOT saying. I’m saying that, for some, the trials serve to strengthen a marriage. I am not saying not to divorce an abusive spouse. Just throwing that disclaimer out there).

Simply put, we are all called to different ministries.

Fulfill YOUR ministry.

Why You Should Sponsor A Child

By the time your done reading this blog, at least 150 children around the world will have died due to poverty.

(According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day because they lack the means to afford proper care).

Their deaths are preventable.

Organizations like the one I work for (Expect Hope) make it their mission to rescue children from poverty and provide them with food, clothing, shelter, access to healthcare, and most importantly, love.

But WHY does your sponsorship matter?

Well, for one, not every country is the United States. Many countries do not have the means to help orphaned children, so many of them end up on the streets, naked and begging for food.

Many of those same children are targeted by terrorist groups like ISIS or Abu Sayyaf who promise them the same things Expect Hope does, but asks them to pay a hefty price; psychological abuse and, at times, sacrificing themselves for the terrorist groups cause.

There is no Child Protective Services to call in many third world countries. There is no Medicaid, no Free or Reduced Lunch, and sometimes, there isn’t even an option for free “public school”.

There are children right at this moment, walking along the streets naked and barefoot, with tummies rumbling, lacking ONE thing above all else; HOPE.

You could bring HOPE to a child today. You can change a life forever.

Some may say “well, $35 a month is a big ask”, but is it really?

My HULU subscription costs more than that.

Taking my family of four to Chipotle just once a month costs more than that.

Buying three new shirts at Ross costs more than that.

The truth is $35 equals to about $1.17 a day. We spend more than that on Starbucks, McDonalds, or whatever brand’s coffee you enjoy.

Think about that. Skipping Starbucks for 8-9 days a month will literally rescue an orphan from property and give them HOPE.

You can literally be someone’s hero for just $35 a month.

If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, visit Expect Hope today and sign up to sponsor. Still have questions? Comment below and I’ll do my best to get them.

Somethings you just don’t have to pray for.

Jesus said when you care for the least of these, you cared for Him.

Will you?

All My Hope Is In Jesus

Today, I don’t have a fancy post. I don’t have a verse I want to focus on or a direction for a blog post. Really, today, I just want to remind you, my brother or sister in the faith, of one truth that God has been reminding me of lately:

God is good. 

Our God is so good and so trustworthy. Even in the midst of the most difficult trials, He is working things for our good. There is a freedom that doesn’t compare to anything else when we sit back and say, “My entire life, 100% of it, is yours Lord. Do as you will“.

This song has really reminded me of that truth, so today, I just want to share it with you and pray that it will encourage and inspire you as well.

May all of your hope also be in Jesus.

Grace & Peace,

I Should’ve Been A Lawyer

Anyone who knows me well knows that my life long dream was to be a lawyer.

In 5th grade, I told my classroom’s DARE officer about this dream and, in response, he gave me an outdated version of his rule book (which I actually read a few times). In middle school, I joined drama to work on my presentation and work on hiding my nervousness when I “performed”. In high school, I joined a debate team and competed in the Student Congress category to try to sharpen my on-the-spot debate skills. And when I went to college, I pursued a Political Science [PoliSci] degree on a pre-law track in the hopes to finally start working on my dream.

I should’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
I should’ve attended FIU Law and graduated from that too.
I should’ve moved to an apartment in Brickell.
I should be working on getting my last name on the company sign and becoming a partner.

I should’ve been a lawyer.

I wanted be a lawyer, but God didn’t choose to write my story that way. 

I know I just wrote a whole post about not looking at the past, but the death of this dream actually demonstrates an important point; God knows what is best for us, even if we may not think so.

See, I’ve worked at law firms; three, in fact (two big ones and one boutique one). At my first firm, I realized quickly that this dream wasn’t what I thought it was. I did my job (and then some), but the entire time, I couldn’t help but feel I was “working for the bad guys” (we primarily did Insurance Defense law, which basically means we were the attorneys for big companies doing their best not to pay people what was owed to them). I hated it. I had borderline panic attacks thinking about working for the rest of my life for people who were (legally) cheating other people and doing them wrong.

The two other law firms I worked for weren’t as heavily into Insurance Defense as the first one was, but something still didn’t sit right with me. I remember having a conversation with one of the associates at my second firm. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life (he had rightfully assumed I didn’t want to stay a receptionist/administrative assistant for my entire life) and I answered by summing up much of what I have written here.

And I will never forget his response for as long as I live; “The fact that you can see ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in this field means you are too good to be a lawyer“.

I realized something that day. It was not that I was “too good to be a lawyer” (we are all depraved and fall short of the glory of God), but I did realize that one of God’s gifts to me was a burden for justice in this world.

It’s what makes my heart race and my fist clench when I see someone treating another human being as “less than”. It’s why small comments made by Christians who “don’t quite understand grace” make me clench my teeth and can set me off (just read this post called “Grace & The Unplanned Pregnancy” to see that play out). It’s what fills me with anger when yet another black life is taken at the hand of racist men and all Christians choose to say in response is “well, all lives matter, you know!”. It’s what frustrates me when I try to show others where they could improve on social issues, but all I get in response is “you’re a demon worshipping liberal” (or some less dramatic form of that). It’s what makes me sob when I see families being torn apart because of fear-driven policy, yet others are focused on the fact that they entered illegally. It’s that feeling, the only time when I get legitimately angry at someone or something. It’s a fire deep in my soul.

And that fire that burns for justice has been there all along.

It’s what drew me to law in the first place. Through it, I believed I could change people’s lives for the better. Truth is, were I to pursue law now, maybe I still could. Maybe I could become an immigration attorney or a defense attorney and help people. Maybe I could do Intellectual Property law. Maybe I could do Corporate law and help different ministries and non-profits.

Maybe…but I still think God didn’t chose to write my story that way. 

Maybe He allowed me to do badly at school so that I wouldn’t waste 7-9 years of my life seeking a career I would end up hating. Maybe, he allowed me to hold a low-risk job at a law firm to give me just enough of a taste to know I wouldn’t like it. Maybe, just maybe, all of that training I did to be a better lawyer was meant for something else entirely (like apologetics, which I also love) and I was never meant to step foot inside of a courtroom.

No, God didn’t choose to write my story that way.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t do all the things I should. There are plenty of protests that I wanted to attend, but didn’t. There are ideas I’ve had (like one for a Christian political roundtable show) that I didn’t try to bring into fruition. Trust me, I may say I have an intense desire for justice in this world, but I also fail all the time at doing anything to bring change. I’ve stayed silent when someone made a racist comment for fear of losing my job (that person had the power to fire me on the spot). I’ve failed to write/call senators, etc. There are times when I did speak up, but there are also times when I haven’t. I have been guilty, more than once, of swinging too far to the other side and not acting Christlike towards brothers and sisters in the faith for their political beliefs.

And I don’t know exactly how any of the gifts God has given me fit into the bigger picture…but maybe, just maybe, it’s not for me to know just yet.

I should’ve been a lawyer, but I’m not…and praise God for that. 

Grace & Peace,


The “Golden Cows” We Still Worship

Right now in my “One Year Bible”, I find myself in 1 Kings. Over and over again, it amazes me to see the people of Israel, knowing very well the God they serve, choose to serve Baal instead. I mean, truth be told, this has been happening since Deuteronomy, but it seems to hit a peak in 1 Kings. No matter how many prophets God sends, the people are still so attached to their “false gods” that they reject the living God Himself. Even after He brings fire from the sky, and the people are terrified and say “The Lord, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:39), they still eventually forget about that ever happening (how do you forget that?!) and go back to their false gods.

While I am tempted to think “Oh, stupid Israelites! How on earth could you abandon the God that has done so much for you?“, I find that I myself have had times where modern-day “golden calves” have attracted my attention more than the Lord that rules over all. And the Church? They too have done the same. I think we all have times in our lives where we have let sins creep in. For some of us, they are small and secret and not always widely known. For others, they lead to a downward spiral that becomes obvious. While sins are an obvious “golden calf”, there are some less obvious ones that also can glitter so brightly, they take our eyes off of our Lord.

These are just some examples:

  1.  Politics (usually the GOP, but applies to Democrats, Libertarians, and any other political party): (As Matt Chandler would say, don’t email me. Hear me out before you get offended and hit that little “X” in the corner to close the window). I used to be Republican. I was a Republican for about 20 years of my life. I only watched Fox News and Glenn Beck. I get it. I thought Democrats were all demons or heretics and couldn’t possibly know Christ. I really do get it. But there is a difference between being a Republican (just because you agree with them on policy) and finding your identity in being a Republican. And the same goes for Democrats, Libertarians, etc. I know so many Christians that talk more about how “taxation is theft” than they do Jesus. They are known for being Libertarian, not for being Christ-like. I’m not saying they’re not saved or don’t know Jesus, but to strangers, they are known as “my Libertarian friend”, not “my friend who is Christian”. American Politics are an American thing, not a Christian thing. You understand that martyrs for Christ on the other side of the world don’t call themselves Republicans or Democrats, right? They don’t pray that America becomes more Republican ruled or more Democrat ruled. Instead, they pray for the people, that they may know Christ and bring Him glory. The biggest golden calf I see today is our partisanship. It’s okay to like politics (I love politics and I love debating, in love, with people), but it’s not okay to call other brothers and sisters in the faith “demons” because they don’t agree with you. YES, there are Christians who are Democrats. And YES, there are Christians who are Republicans. American politics are important, but they will not outlast the Earth. The Bride of Christ will live for eternity.  Which one has more value to you?
  2. Religion (and by this, I mean religious traditions more than religion itself): While I do mean religions like Catholicism that add something to the requirements for salvation that shouldn’t be there, I also mean adhering to things like “guitars are from Satan and shouldn’t be used in music“. I mean things like “if you’re not a Calvinist, you’re not saved” (I was guilty of worshipping that golden cow for a while). The Word of God is clear in some things, and we should always defend Biblical truth, but there are “close-handed issues” (“Who is Jesus?”) and there are “open-handed issues” (“Should I only wear skirts or can I also wear pants?”). Using the same zeal for the later that you would normally reserve for the former is wrong. Let me say that again: Treating someone’s decision to wear skirts (or not wear skirts), like you would treat their decision to say “Jesus isn’t God” is WRONG. Some Christians drink. Some Christians don’t. Personally, I fall into the “one drink maybe once or twice a year” category. I don’t shame the Christians that have a beer with dinner every so often, nor do I shame the ones that don’t drink. My husband doesn’t drink at all. I am a strong believer in Calvinism. It gave me a lens to view God in a way I never could. It made Grace that much sweeter for me. But for me to say someone who doesn’t believe in election (or, at the very least, believes “free will” and “election” co-exist) automatically isn’t saved is ridiculous. Shall we call on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation or should we call on John Calvin? Whose words do you treasure more?
  3. Reputation: This one is pretty straight forward and to the point. Sometimes, Christians will avoid being associated with “certain people” because they value their reputation more than they value the Word of God. They worship themselves over worshipping the Creator of the Universe. Case in point, a brother or sister committed a “big sin”. All of sudden, all those church friends suddenly are “too busy” to hang out. If they see them in church, they either don’t say “hello” or they make sure they aren’t seen saying “hello” (and this happened to me, so I know it happens). I could write a whole blog post on this alone, but to put it simply, make sure you aren’t valuing yourself over the Word of God. Jesus didn’t condemn. What makes you think you have the right to condemn? Point out sins (in love), yes. Win back your brothers and sisters, yes. But condemn? If you are without sin, go ahead and “throw the stone”, but if you are without sin, you wouldn’t need Jesus in the first place. 
  4. Race: This is a hard one to write. I really want to argue that some who value their race over Christ aren’t Christian to begin with, but perhaps this applies more to ignorance of racial tensions than it does those who are in the “White Supremacy” movement (the Alt-Right). While I would recommend that every Christian watch this sermon by Matt Chandler on the issue of Racial Reconciliation, I’d like to take a couple of his points (because most won’t watch it). If you are a Christian, then you should believe in the story of Creation; Being that we all came from Adam and Eve. That said…how, in any sense of logical thinking, could you look at someone of a different skin color and say “they are inferior to me?“. I’ve known people who profess Christ who have said things like this! Where is the logic in that statement? I do believe in Adam and Eve. I do believe we came from the same two earthly parents. How, then, is my African brother different from me? How is my Italian brother different from me? How are my Indian brothers, Chinese brothers, Australian brothers, Canadian brothers, Puerto Rican brothers, Brazilian brothers, etc, different from me? We are all the same, human beings made in the image of God. For example, the death of an African-American brother should pain and burden you the same way the death of someone of your own race would. If it doesn’t, this is the point that you need to admit to worshipping the “golden cow” of race and repent. Right now. Heaven will be filled with every race, nation, tongue and dialect. If that’s something you’re not comfortable with for all eternity, maybe it’s because you don’t know that God that made this so. And that, my friends, is a much bigger problem.

There are many other types of “golden calves” that we worship, but may it not be so, brothers and sisters! May we pray tonight for God to reveal to us the pagan gods of our lives and may we repent and seek guidance in those areas that we are weak. May our full focus, attention, and devotion be on the Lord, the Creator of All. May He receive all the glory and all the praise forever.

Grace & Peace.

Sight Through Stained Glass (Part One)

The other day, my daughter received an interesting toy at a fast food establishment. It was a set of cards with animal facts on the backs of them written in blue ink. However, the facts were hidden by a red pattern. In order to make it clear and legible, you had to put this red “glass” on top of the card. By doing so, the “red” in the glass would make the red in the card invisible, allowing you to read the text clearly.

Deep into my thoughts this morning, I remembered this toy as I thought about the way I viewed my life, which made me realize something: At times, I live my life by “sight through stained glass”. That is to say, I see the lives of others through this colored and tinted glass, a glass that removes the “bad” in the lives of others, leading me to think every one lives the perfect life I just simply can’t seem to attain.

Think “rose-colored glasses” in reverse.

My heart naturally lifts others to this “super human” level, all the while wondering why I am incapable of achieving the same ascension.

I am writing about this because I know I’m not the only one who scrolls through Instagram wondering how other people live these “perfect” lives. I know I am not the only one tempted to compare my life to the lives of others, tempted to believe the demonic prompting that “God doesn’t love me like He loves _______” because of what I am seeing solely through stained glass.

No, I know I am not the only one. So if that’s you, let me speak to you (and by doing so, I also am speaking to myself): The stained glass isn’t giving you the whole picture. You are seeing a distorted image. It is not real. Perhaps the events in the picture did happen. Yes, that could very well be true. Feelings can be real. Intentions can be real. But the perfect life someone else is living? That is not real. 

People fight with one another and they don’t tweet about it. People feel disappointed, slighted, used, cheated, etc, and they don’t “at” (@) the person to let them know this publicly (I mean, sometimes this happens, but usually not in the “Christian” world, so to speak). People don’t go on and on in their Instagram story to tell you about how their marriage is failing or how their kid is rebelling against them. Husbands don’t take pictures of their wives gossiping with the girls. Wives don’t take pictures of their husbands cheating on them.

You get the picture (no pun intended).

Remember when I said that I can raise others to a “superhuman” level? Well, one of those people I tend to forget to see as human is Matt Chandler. God always uses him to speak to me (through online sermons, anyway), so I tend to forget he’s also a human that struggles and gets tempted.

I recently saw this clip from one of his sermon series. You can watch it for yourself here, but he tells the story of when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was about to undergo chemotherapy. He found himself looking at a family Christmas card of a man he knew was an adulterer and coward. And what did he think to himself? What were his thoughts during trial and suffering?

“That clown gets health, but not me?”

Matt Chandler became human the day I heard that story. 

To quote him, he goes on to say “When we’re enduring trials, we become hyper aware of the prettiness of others lives and we begin to resent them. And James here, via the power of the Holy Spirit, is going ‘no no no, it’s all level in the end’. Don’t believe the Instagram hype. Everyone endures trials. Everyone struggles.” 

Matt Chandler, an incredible man of God, struggles.

Then I really sat down and began to mentally list all of my “heroes” and realized they all have human struggles, struggles that get lost in the day-to-day posts of perfect families, friends, churches, and homes. And wouldn’t you know, some of them even sinned?

C.H. Spurgeon, the man whose quote I write on every Bible I use? It’s widely known that he struggled with depression (so when I am in “my lows”, I can find myself in good company). Matt Chandler? He publicly talks about how his marriage was terrible for the first seven years (not to even mention the whole brain tumor thing). Friends of mine that I look up to? They are tempted by anxiety, lust, jealousy, envy, fear, etc.

And some of our greatest theological heroes? They weren’t perfect either. They messed up in big ways. Here is John Piper talking about some of his heroes and their moral failures:

“But here’s what we have in mind, Martin Luther and his virulent anti-Semitism. John Wesley was not your most attentive husband—neither was [George] Whitefield. Whitefield and Edwards both owned slaves. Edwards, one or two all of his life, probably. Martin Luther King Jr.—unfaithful to his wife repeatedly in his sexual misconduct. And, of course, the list could go on and on.” (Emphasis mine).

Everyone endures trials. Everyone struggles. Everybody messes up. Nobody is perfect.

I was getting really discouraged, thinking that I was missing the mark somehow and was flawed for being unable to attain “perfection” like others seem to do. For me, remembering that Spurgeon found himself in the same pits I recently found myself lit a fire in my soul that I haven’t felt in a while.

I can agree with Job when he says “Though He slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15).

We need to constantly examine our worldviews to make sure we have not believed a lie that will not only strip us of our joy in Christ, but will cause us to walk away from Him, believing that we are the only unloved ones. No, in the trials, we need to press further into Him, clinging to Him knowing that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t depend on our ability to hold unto Him anyway. He’s the One holding unto us.

And He will never let go.

Grace & The Unplanned Pregnancy

Last night, my church had a women’s meeting where we talked about Pro-Grace, a ministry that we have recently partnered with (I’ll provide a link at the end of the article for you to check them out, which I HIGHLY recommend, but I need you to read this whole thing first). While I was excited to hear more about it, something was said last night that angered me so greatly, I needed to calm down a bit before approaching this article.

I’ll tell you what was said later, but first, I need to tell you my story: a story of grace after an unplanned pregnancy. 

For the Christian who hasn’t been through an unplanned pregnancy, let me tell you what it feels like to be on “that side” of things.

The truth is, I had plenty of abstinence talks before everything happened. (I was raised in a very legalistic home, so I got that talk many times – trust me, I understood it). I made it through high school and some of college remaining abstinent.

But I made a mistake somewhere along the way.

(And while it is still somewhat uncomfortable for me to talk about it, after what I heard last night, I’m okay being uncomfortable if my story will convict others to act a little more like Jesus and a little less like a pharisee).

Let’s see this from my eyes:

I was 22 (almost 23). I ended up becoming pregnant. And my boyfriend? He was a youth pastor/director. He had just quit his “non-church” job, one he was doing well in, to devote more time to ministry. I also lost my job. They didn’t need me anymore, so they let me go. A million things ran through my head. My boyfriend would lose his position in the church (obviously). How would we get money? Where would we live? How were we going to do this?

And my friends? Family? Would people still talk to me after they found out?

The truth? Some did, but most pretended we didn’t exist.

My husband did lose his job as a youth pastor (rightfully so), and while it should be said that there were Christ-following believers that acted in grace and mercy (and I praise God for you guys to this day for that – you know who you are), there were many that didn’t. Many didn’t reach out. Many knew we were struggling, but it was no longer beneficial to be associated with us, so they stopped talking to us. To this day, I struggle with making new friends at church because I wonder just how many people truly understand grace and mercy.

And I got a good picture of just how misunderstood grace and mercy still is last night, but more on that later. 

Praise God that we were okay. My boyfriend (now husband) has management skills. He is an incredible leader, so when he went back to his old job (looking for a second job), they not only accepted him back, but asked him to quit the first job and paid him accordingly. That was God’s mercy and grace. God gave us a place to live. God provided many of the things we needed through family, friends, and hand-me-downs from people whose babies outgrew those items. God was so good to us. We ended up being more than okay. God was not quiet.

But the Church, the bride of Christ? The one that is supposed to emulate Christ? The Church was absent and silent throughout all of this.

Eventually, my (now) husband got an incredible opportunity to work for a place that paid well and had great benefits. I also started working at a different place (a place I enjoyed more, honestly). We were doing pretty well. We eventually went back to church (yes, the same church).

But things had changed. And some people wanted to make sure I didn’t forget that.

I have many stories, but I will simply tell you this one. My daughter was about to turn one. I was excited to attend a church event that many of my friends were also attending. My daughter was also being watched by my mother in law, so my husband and I were free to enjoy the evening baby-free (praise God for grandparents). Anyway, I saw an old friend of mine and walked towards her.

I expected a warm welcome, a “wow, I’m so happy to see you again!”, a “you’re back at church and I’m so glad to see that!”, but do you know what I received from this “friend”, a friend that I considered one of my “close” friends? A cold hug, a quick hello, and an “I’ll see you around” followed by her not talking to me again for the rest of the evening.

And words can not articulate how much that hurt. I was still “that girl”, the one that got pregnant and caused a pastor/director to fall. (And if you happen to read this and know I’m talking about you, just know I have more than forgiven you. I needed to share this. We all make errors in our judgments, but those errors can have devastating effects. But I have nothing but love for you).

I hope you’re still with me. You’re about to find out just what happened at that church meeting.

So now that you know my story, you know why the subject matter last night was sensitive for me. Anyway, because my church is a new partner with Pro-Grace, my pastor showed up at the end of the event and asked for comments and questions to bring to the CEO. As people spoke around me, I kept getting the feeling that people were missing the mark. I feel like God wanted me to share this story with everyone, but something stopped me from sharing. As women spoke at the end of the event, I prayed to God, asking for a “neon sign” if He wanted me to share.

He provided one.

One lady raised her hand and asked our pastor if we were doing anything to “help promote abstinence in our church”. She then followed that with “sign me up for THAT ministry!”,(implying that the other ministry wasn’t worth her time).

I can not even begin to describe the anger I felt after hearing that.

Was I the only one paying attention? Am I worshipping the wrong Jesus, one that goes to sinners and ministers to them in error? Should I be worshipping one of the pharisees instead, a “messiah” that says “forget the sinners, let’s all try to stay pure folks and get it right?”

That was my neon sign from God, but because I was so angry, I held back. Perhaps that was righteous anger. Perhaps it wasn’t. Either way, I stayed quiet and I didn’t share this story. I didn’t tell everyone that many people go through this, not just “poor kids who don’t know any better”.

I don’t want to assume she meant that with bad intentions. Perhaps she didn’t. Maybe she just didn’t choose her words correctly (because I absolutely think abstinence before marriage is the answer), but what if she would have told a young pregnant mother those words? That she wasn’t worthy of her time because she was no longer abstinent before marriage?

That’s what many people had basically told me when I messed up. I wasn’t worthy of their time. That’s not grace. That’s not mercy.

That’s not Jesus.

(And if you happened to read this, I also forgive you. We ALL need grace & mercy. So whomever you are, I forgive you because Jesus forgave me even after some terrible and pharisaical thoughts of my own).

I’ve made this post long enough, but let me end it with this: Jesus is a Lord of mercy & grace. Yes, He is also one of justice and He takes sin VERY seriously, but in His Word, it specifically says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Even more so, He is the Lord who spoke to that adulterous woman, a passage my church read last night. And what did He tell her? “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more”. And what did He do before He said that? He didn’t leave her because she sinned. He met her need. He handled the pharisees. Then He spoke to her.

He handled a physical need of hers before even speaking about her sin. 

I will leave you with that same passage to read, the very passage that inspired The Glass House Gospel in the first place. I pray that God opens your heart and speaks to you as you read His Word. May we never throw stones at others, especially in the name of God, when we are still so very sinful ourselves.

Grace & Peace.

(P.S. Here is the link for Pro-Grace. Please check them out and share them with your pastors. I strongly feel every church can benefit from them. Let’s become the alternative in the abortion debate. Let’s be Jesus in a place He is greatly needed.)

JOHN 8:2-11 (CSB)

At dawn he went to the temple again, and all the people were coming to him. He sat down and began to teach them.

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They asked this to trap him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse him.

Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only he was left, with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, he said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

(Emphasis mine)

No Longer Slaves

April 25, 2010 was the day I was born again. This year, it will mark a seven-year journey of knowing God. I usually write posts around this time reflecting on my walk with Christ over the past year, but I feel like this one needs to be a bit different. 

Yesterday, my church sang “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. I’ve heard it sung a couple of times, but this time, it really resonated with me.

My pastor’s message was about placing small “gods” on a throne meant only for God Himself. Even good things likes spouses and children can become sinful if we build our identity on them. As he said, “sin is placing our identity in anything other than God”. 

This past year (and all seven of my years as a Christian, plus a few before my conversion) really drove that point home. Looking back, I can see God lovingly prying my hands away from things I was clinging to instead of Him. At the time, I didn’t understand. Much like a small child who has been told they can’t play in the street, I was upset, wondering why God would allow such things to happen to me. I thought these painful events would end up being the death of me…but to the contrary, they ended up leading me closer to the true source of life; Jesus

In these past seven years, He has resurrected things. He has restored things. He has renewed things. He has breathed life into dry, dead bones and killed deadly, sinful habits that were once viciously alive. I have seen Him do miraculous things, things that couldn’t possibly have happened without Him.

There is no joy apart from Him. Suffering with the promise of being in His presence tomorrow is greater than trading Him for a short-lived happy moment. I can trust in Him during a storm because He will be there in the morning when the sun is shining again, arms wide open.

I’ll make this one short, but I’d like you to reflect on the lyrics from the song I mentioned earlier. They really ministered to me, so I hope they do the same to you:

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

We are no longer slaves to fear, brothers and sisters.

We are children of God. 

Grace & Peace.

I Want A King

“No, God. I don’t want what you have for me. I know better. I want what I want for myself instead.”

I want a king. 

For those who don’t know, I am currently going through the Good Morning Girls “1 Samuel” series (though, I am very behind, I am still going!). I’ve never read 1 Samuel before (yes, there are books of the Bible I haven’t yet read), so it’s interesting to see “new” parts of God’s word.

One thing I’ve consistently noticed is Israel’s rejection of God and His plan for them. Despite everything that God has done for them up to this point, they chose to focus on the negative and demand things from God. They are ungrateful, blasphemous, and selfish.

I don’t want to be Israel. Ever.

But the truth is, we are often like them. Maybe we don’t ask for a physical king like they did (even though they had the Lord as their King), but we ask for other things with the wrong intentions. We ask for more money, not to bless others more, but because we think it will make us “happier” to be richer. We ask for girlfriends and boyfriends, not to lead into marriage and paint a picture of Jesus and the church for the world, but merely to have someone there to meet our needs.

In essence, we say to God “No, I don’t like your plan. Mine is better. I don’t want what you have in store for me.

I want a king.

I want THIS relationship, THIS house in THIS city, THIS salary, THIS career, etc. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not wrong to pray for the things we want. Proverbs 15:8 says that “God delights in the prayers of the upright”. However, this should warn us to also pray for our hearts, that we would not value those things over God and over His will for our lives.

Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to have a “king”. It may be a season where those things, good in and of themselves, wouldn’t bring glory to God. Maybe we would end up worshipping them. Maybe God needs to keep them away temporarily to bring attention to a sinful part of our lives. There are many reasons why God allows certain things in our lives (and by extension, keeps some things away). Our ways are not his ways. We usually won’t understand right there and then what He is doing.

But He is doing something. Know this.

He may not give you the “king” you pray for. He may, in fact, give you something much greater; Himself. 

Grace & Peace.