God’s Not Dead

Gods Not Dead I am a Christian youth leader.  I have a heart for teens.  I love the butt faces.  The broken ones, the ones that give me a dirty look or the “lady you don’t know me and you’re not chipping through this” look when I first meet them.

This Sunday as a group, the youth went to see a movie, “God’s Not Dead”.  (God’s Not Dead-Official Movie) I was game, I thought it would be great for some of our teens to watch because it was addressing some apologetic arguments that may at least start some dialogue.  What I wasn’t expecting was how this movie would impact me while I watched it unfold.

The movie is about a young man who is a Freshman at a university.  He is attending his first Humanities class which happens to be Philosophy with an infamous Atheist professor.  The student, Josh, didn’t do this on purpose, he fit Philosophy into his schedule puzzle and did not have any other alternative than to attend this class.  During the first class, Josh is met with a decision, as his professor ruled the class with fear, that if you want to argue the existence of God, you will put your grade also your academic career into jeopardy.  The professor suggested that all of the students sign a statement stating that

“GOD IS DEAD”

so that they can put this argument to rest and move on to more important topics and not have to waste any of the semester “rehashing” the argument of whether God exists or not.  Josh is extremely convicted and nervously states to the professor that he cannot do this.  This, of course, ignites the “debate war” between him and the professor with the remaining students as the agreed upon jury.

While Josh is presenting a very good argument for the case of God, there are several other story lines going on that interweave with one another.  One of these stories is the one that really hit home to me, it was one that I struggled with when I was unsaved and a baby Christian, it is one that rears its ugly head still sometimes.

It was the story of an extremely well-off, charismatic, everyone loves him and wants to be him character.  He looked on the outside like he had everything going for him.  The story led us down a path were he had a very sick relative and we are met with a scene in which he is speaking to his relative and he is expressing how he has everything and doesn’t believe and she loved God her entire life and now she is only a shell without thoughts and doesn’t even know who she is.  He is justifying his life.

“You prayed and believed your whole life,” Mina’s brother says to their mother, almost as an accusation. “Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!” Then, in a moment of unexpected spiritual clarity, she does. “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God,” she tells her shocked son. “Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.”

The devil doesn’t care how he locks you up and keeps you from God, he just wants to facilitate that however he can.  If he keeps one from God, that is his only “M.O.”, to try and hurt God.

So many people think that just because we are children of God, that our lives are perfect and God will provide riches and health all the time and if He doesn’t then either we were not really living without sin (impossible) and this is our “judgment or karma” or it justifies the behavior for the selfish and lost.

You see, this is where we get things so extremely wrong.  God is not concerned with the treasures on Earth, it all belongs to Him anyway.  He is concerned with our heart, our character, and dependence on Him with complete surrender.  These are the things that build treasure in Heaven which is where our eternal treasure is held.  You don’t get to take your fancy car or house, you don’t get your designer shoes or embellished jeans.

Our circumstances are not punishment, they are the result of a broken world.  They are an opportunity for God to use what is meant for destruction into GOOD in our lives for His glory! It is an opportunity for us to lean on Him as our HEALER when we are facing a doctor’s report that appears to be terminal.  It is an opportunity for us to realize that He is our true PROVIDER when our account looks bleak but somehow we get through the month in the positive not our job or our paycheck!  It is an opportunity for Him to restore relationships again as the mighty COUNSELOR!

Surrender What do you need to turn over to God in your life?  What are you holding onto that God is trying to take from you so that He can turn it into a victory for His glory?  What are you afraid of, His plans are so much better than we can even imagine for ourselves!!

Advertisements
Posted in Faith, God, Hope, Surrender | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

God of Miracles – My Little Guy

8 Weeks

8 Weeks

I am not good at pregnancy. I know some women LOVE being pregnant, that is so awesome…wish that would have been my experience but alas it was not. I have some complications that make my body begin to contract 24/7 once the baby reaches a certain weight which is right around 6 months. No fun for the person cooking the little muffin. So when our youngest daughter turned 4 years old, my husband began making hints that he desired a son and wanted to try…. I was not a willing participant.

I am no math expert but 50/50 is not the odds I want to gamble on when it is 10 months of baby growing.

So after 2 years of hinting, talking, persuading, praying (Trev not me…I was stuck in my ways), God told me during my own prayer time, that I was to try for a baby and that He would bless us with a boy.               Ok, those are odds I can deal with.

AND THEN NOTHING……..

I did not become pregnant for almost a year. It was extremely frustrating and was a whole ‘nother opportunity…to believe and have faith in God, for the baby He promised, when it just wasn’t happening!!  I can totally feel Sarah, and I was only waiting for a year!  How impatient we are sometimes!

So finally pregnant, we went to our doctor, the same doctor who was with me for our two daughters and she was so thrilled for us!  She immediately brought us into the sonogram room after the office “positive”. I was chattering away, this is normal Christina, Trevor was cracking jokes about how he had to talk me into it, and Dr. S. was strangely quiet all of a sudden….

“What is wrong?”

“Christina, you have a perfectly formed egg sack but there is no baby. I have been looking and it is just empty. At 9-10 weeks I would see something. We need to schedule you for a D&C so that you don’t get an infection.”

WHAT?!?!?!?! My mind was reeling, I am looking at Trevor for help, I am feeling dizzy and I know that my God told me that we were having a baby….what the HECK is happening?????

Trevor very calmly asked a question, I have no idea what he said but I remember him asking at some point,

“Is there a test to be sure?”

So reluctantly, because she was so sure, and didn’t want to get our hopes up, she said that we could take the hormone test. She told us to go now, and 48 hours later I would go and do it again. The hormones should be doubled if I am truly pregnant.

We left hand in hand and Trevor said, “We are not claiming this, God said that we were having a boy, and we are.” I took the first hormone test at the lab and we went home.

What I didn’t know was that my husband was bound by faith and holding onto God’s promise and he immediately called our pastor and bestest friends Jerry and Suzy. Jerry and Trevor set out to fast and pray in agreement that God would provide. And that is EXACTLY what they did. We had a leadership meeting and the leaders in our church laid hands on me and I so believed, there was just PEACE. Trevor didn’t even think or talk about the alternative.

Dr. S. called and asked us to come in after she received the 2nd hormone test result. She didn’t give us any indication of the answer on the phone. Now a little background on my doctor, she is Jewish. We told her the promise God made. She knew us personally after the last 9 years. She also didn’t hold much hope because she saw the perfectly formed empty egg sac 4 days prior.

So as we sat in the cold, white room, both lost in our thoughts waiting for the DOCTOR’S REPORT, we still believed our God was bigger. Dr. S. walked in and I couldn’t read her face at all. She sat down and opened the file and said,

“Christina, I am going to do an office sonogram again. Your test results came back but they didn’t quite double. This could be because your body is starting to reject the miscarriage. I just don’t want to get your hopes up unnecessarily.”

We walked over to the next room and I began to get prepared, looked at Trev and he was full of peace.  It calmed me.

Dr. S. squirted that cold stuff on me and began to take a peek.  The screen was turned away but I saw a smile turn up on her lips and I knew my God had come through.  There in the egg sac was my little guy jumping around 9-10 weeks old.

God’s hand had placed him there.

I had seen the empty egg sac, I have had 2 other daughters and been shown the heart beat at our initial doctor’s appointment.  There was no baby.  That I know for sure…BUT

Trev and I leaned on God, we held fast to that promise.  God hears the cries of His children, and He comes through.  We may not understand how or why He comes through the way He does, but He does.

Now my baby boy is 7 going on 8.  He loves God like no body’s business.  He is a worshipper, I smile when I hear him singing out to God.

Micah and Me

Just a couple days ago I had the pleasure of answering questions about why Jesus dying on the cross saves him (Micah) as we snuggled on the bean bag chair.  He knows the story, he can relate them verbally but he wanted to REALLY understand.  We talked about consequences and how Adam was perfect and would not have died but God gave him a choice out of love to be obedient and depend on God fully.  That when Adam decided he knew better than God and ate from the fruit of knowledge and became aware of good and evil (God’s knowledge) he realized that he was able and did sin (pride).  The consequence for sin is death.

We were not meant to die.

Because we all came from Adam, we are also sinners.  Our consequence is death.  There is no one that does not sin on this earth.  Jesus never sinned.  He would have lived FOREVER on Earth had he not been put to death on the cross.  Death was not deserved by him.  He chose to die.  He died because He remembered me and you…..He remembered when He would put Micah in my empty egg sack.

When He died, God was able to raise Him from the dead because death was an unjust consequence for Him.  Because He sacrificed His eternal life on Earth, He became the FINAL sacrifice.  No longer did we need to sacrifice animals to take on our sin as a scapegoat any longer.  As long as we believe Jesus’ sacrifice we are REDEEMED, RESTORED, RANSOMED back to God.  This is what Jesus has to do with me and you.  We cannot reach “holiness/perfection” without His sacrifice of blood covering our sin.

Later that night, I asked Micah if he had ever said the sinners prayer.  He told me, “no”.  I asked him if, “he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart and accept Christ as his savior?”  He told me, “yes”.  He couldn’t believe that Jesus had done this for him and he said the sinners prayer with me as we snuggled in bed.

Thank you, Jesus!  Thank you that you are with me, thank you for the cross, thank you for your sacrifice.  I love you with all of my heart and I will not stop declaring my love for you and what you did until I find final rest in your arms.

 

Posted in Hope, Miracles, Peace | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

I Prefer Vanilla, and You Prefer Chocolate…What Does God Think?

Crazy working mother

So just like every working mother, I am a crazy lunatic in the morning.  Running around trying to dress myself, dressing and keeping on task a very active and easily distracted 7- year-old young man, making sure everyone has lunches made, my two teens are up and ready to start their day and helping my husband (who works from home mind you) with whatever it is that he believes I just do a little better than he….

So fitting in me time with God, ends up being a worship/prayer session on my 25 minute commute (which I can’t complain about because it actually sets the tone for my day) and doing my Bible reading for the day at the 20 stoplights between my home and the office.

Today was no different.

As I was singing Third Day’s, Glorious Day this morning I was talking with God about which miracle He wanted me to write about first.  I was going through the many I have in my thoughts and instead of confirming a specific one, God took me on another journey as we conversed.

Yes, I converse with God.  I ask or He speaks and I listen.

He reminded me of what I spoke to the youth about last Sunday.  “I have a friend who…believes all religions lead to God”.  Ok, where are we going with this, God, I thought we were talking about the miracles you have performed first hand in my life.

His plans are above mine though and I am (usually LOL) always so willing to change course with Him because I know it is going to be SOOOOO much better than what I planned, so I asked Him to reveal what He wanted to say.

As I was talking to the youth on Sunday, I was explaining that counterfeit religions, although they appear to be GOOD and SIMILAR to following Jesus, there are certain differences that makes them different.  They cannot ALL be right, each religion believes that they have the answers to eternity and they all desire the same thing:

Harmonious,

Peace,

&

Holiness = Wholeness

even Atheism desires these things, atheists just want to live the good life, make a difference and die at peace knowing they finished and left a mark on the world.

So how do we find the truth?  Let me pose this consideration with you, the same one that I posed to 20 teens on Sunday….All religions other than Christianity are WORKING to reach God.  That is right, they are doing good deeds, trying to be a good person, working towards perfection, trying to be good enough.  Trying to have their heart outweigh the feather on the scale, trying to be good enough to reincarnate to a higher class, trying to be good enough to make it to Heaven, trying to be good enough to leave a legacy.

So why is being

GOOD ENOUGH,

&
NOT PERFECT,

NOT GOOD ENOUGH???

Heaven is perfect, right?  That is the definition, holy, perfect, impure…..because God is impure.  If you have a vat, making white paint….and you add even a small amount of black…so small that you cannot even see it….will the white paint be WHITE?  No!  It may be close, but it will not be WHITE.  This is the same with living with God…in order to reside in Heaven and be in God’s PERFECT presence, we have to be PERFECT!

Now I ask, have you ever met someone perfect?  I have many acquaintances and friends that are “good people” but I mean, never did anything “wrong”.  Never got mad at some one in a store or over the phone (basically being their judge), never lied, never had a lustful thought over someone they were not married to, never were jealous, desired something someone else had, were never ungrateful….you get my drift.  You don’t have to do REALLY bad things to be IMPERFECT.

So now I ask you, all of the other religions are trying to be “good people” and do “good things” for what?  TO HELP THEMSELVES REACH GOD!  Yes, there are some that just innately do good deeds, but it is because they feel good about themselves after they do it.  Again, they do it to HELP THEMSELVES!

As a Christian there are two fundamental differences that no other religion on the Earth shares:

1.  God came to pursue us in our damaged state we didn’t have to do anything to reach Him; He sacrificed His son, Jesus, who was perfect (death is the consequence for imperfection or sinful nature) on the cross and Jesus was resurrected because DEATH WAS NOT DUE HIM….He was perfect!!

2.  Christians (should) do good works to Glorify God and express HIS goodness, they have nothing to do with our salvation (we have already received it once we accept Jesus as our perfect savior!!!)

We do not have to do anything in order to receive our gift of Heave and reconciliation with our Creator, God.  Now, sounds like the easy road, huh??!!

No!  I assure you, as Christians, it is a daily struggle to do what God says is the right way.  We are just as imperfect, damaged, unworthy, rude, jealous, etc. as non believers.  BUT, with God’s help, and He promises never to forsake us, we are a new creation after we accept Him and His spirit lives in us and will direct our steps towards holiness.

Light in darknes

We do good works because we love God, and want to show the world the unconditional love that was shown us as a sinner by that same God, NOT because we receive something in return.

So as I was talking to God this morning, and as He guided me in what to write and I agreed to write what He asked, He confirmed this message as I pulled up to the stoplight at Hwy 192 and Crabapple Road and read the next scripture on my daily reading:

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, SO that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:16 NLT

Coincidence?  I think not.

 


 

Posted in Hope, Obedience, Peace, Truth | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

God of Miracles

Pursuit

God has been talking to me lately about all of events in my life and in my family and friends lives that have no other explanation but His divine intervention.

So many of my Christian friends, who have been Christians their whole lives, have never had a touch from God.  I mean a real tangible, there is no other answer but that was GOD here on Earth, taking the cup from me and providing a miracle.  I have only been a believer in my Savior Jesus for 12 years and I have had the hand of God on me so many times, tangibly that I cannot count them on my fingers and toes.

WHY?

AM I MORE BELOVED THAN MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS?

No, I tell you.  God wants to touch you.  God wants to speak to you and hold your hand and stroke your hair.  God is there waiting.  He desires to reach out to you and you believe that it is Him, we are is children.  Think of how amazing it is when your child reaches for you because they know you are unconditionally there for them….

BELIEVE HE IS HERE IN THE NOW

and He will answer.  I promise.  I am living proof.  My salvation depended on Him making himself known.

So over the next few days, I believe that God is asking me to share some of my personal stories of His hand and some that have happened in my friends lives.  I hope that it gives you encouragement and that you ask God to reveal himself to you.  He pursues us like we have never been pursued even in our unworthiness and mess.

XO

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.”
Psalms 23:6 (NLT)

Posted in God, Hope, Miracles | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Malaysian Airline….Wormhole, Blackhole, warning sign, rapture preview?

As I spoke to my bestest friend this morning, my sister….my sister who on that October day in 2001 raced me to the front of the church to give her life over to Jesus, I posed the question as we were contemplating several different topics of conversation as we do,

“What if the Malaysian Airline is an initial warning of what is to come, the rapture I mean….?

She was silent as she thought about this as she normally does when I pose my sometimes ridiculous theoretically questions to her at 8:00AM on my way to work….way before her stay-at-home mommy brain is normally awake.

“hmmm….I wonder, I guess anything is possible…”, she said.

“but what if the Devil is getting nervous….I mean really nervous…what if he is trying to cause confusion when the REAL rapture happens?  What if he is creating a situation to dilute and have non-believers recollect that this has happened before when millions or billions of people vanish when Jesus comes back. He is the father of confusion…his purpose is to “steal, kill and destroy”……

So again I pose the question to you….how could a plane just vanish?  Without a trace in a world where our government can track us where ever and whenever by face recognition and cellular service?  Is this a preview into the confusion of the post-rapture world?

Posted in Rapture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment