From General to Bond-Servant


Do You See?


As I sat on my bedroom floor reading Ezekiel 8 with my cup of coffee, I was struck by how it was written over 2,500 years ago and yet seemed to be speaking directly to us as the modern church. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Of course this passage would still apply to us, since “all scripture is inspire by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

And when the Bible says all scripture, it literally means all. Every single one. No exceptions. Every single verse is needed to equip us in our current day.

So why did this passage surprise me?

Possibly because I had read Ezekiel many, many times before in my life and yet I can’t remember this chapter at all. I had read it, it didn’t sink in, and I moved on.

Not this time though; this time God stopped me. This time I paused and meditated on it. This time I saw how deeply it applies to us as the modern church. This time I noticed the phrase in chapter 8 that God asks Ezekiel four times and the repetition grabbed my attention:

“Do you see?”

Just as God spoke that to Ezekiel four times in that one chapter, I felt Him asking me – “do you see? … do you see? … do you see? … do you see?” When God is so intent on getting my attention and asks me the same thing four times in a row, my heart’s desire is that I be able to respond with a resounding “YES!”. But what was God asking Ezekiel, and us today, if we see?

As Ezekiel was sitting in his house with the elders of Judah, in captivity in Babylonia, The LORD brought him to Jerusalem by a vision. The Lord took Ezekiel to four locations, starting with the north gate of the Temple court and then bringing him deeper into the sanctuary of the Holy One of Israel with every stop.

He showed him the “seat of the idol of jealousy” (possibly a high place) at the north gate entrance, idolatrous carvings within the court, women weeping for the idol Tammuz at the gate of the Temple, and then 25 men bowing to the sun in front of the altar of the LORD. Each abomination was closer to the physical presence of God in the Holy of Holies and closer to His heart.

The Lord showed Ezekiel sins of idolatry that the people thought were secret and He showed him sins of idolatry that were public and for all to see. Every time God showed him one of these abominations, He asked Ezekiel “do you see?”

I believe God is asking that same question of us today. He wants to expose the idolatry within His church. He wants us to see that whether the idol worship is being done in secret or in public, that nothing is hidden from His sight.

And the reason that God keeps asking if we see is because God wants us to care.

He wants us to care when His people are not worshipping Him the way HE desires (the high places) – in spirit and in truth.

He wants us to care when His people are secretly worshipping created beings instead of the Creator (the idolatrous carvings) – money, fame, sex, self, etc.

He wants us to care when His people are following traditions of the culture around them instead of His ways (weeping over the idol Tammuz) – turning His church into a mere business or list of programs.

He wants us to care when His people are in His very house but instead of turning their eyes to Him, they turn their eyes to and worship something else (bowing to the sun) – Jesus and His gospel not being the very center of every heart and every service.

God sees these things and His heart breaks. He loves His bride too much to let her stay in her idolatry and wayward worship. He longs to bring her back to a singleness of focus on Him and to her first love. He will not be silent. He now speaks to us through this passage of scripture from so many years ago and asks us the very same question: “Do you see?”

We must receive that question and ask ourselves:

Do I see? Do I see the ways that the church is breaking God’s heart? Do I see the ways that I am breaking God’s heart? Do I care enough to actually say something? Do I see the weight of importance that God puts on it and do I view it the same way? Do I cry out to the Lord to search my heart and see if any of these things are found there? Do I care enough to pray until revival happens in my heart and in the church? Do I care enough to give myself no rest and give the Lord no rest until He establishes His bride as the praise of the whole earth (Isaiah 62:6-7)?

I believe this is what God is saying through Ezekiel 8.

Christ came to forgive our sins, but to also set us free from them. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. He came to bring abundant life to us; life that is all caught up in Jesus and not in self. He came that we might know Him and have relational intimacy with Him. He came that we could experience His true grace, which breaks every bondage of sin and shame and brings victory that could never come from our own strength. This is the true gospel. Anything short of that is a façade.

Oh fellow believers, this is too important to ignore. We cannot turn a deaf ear to the agonies on God’s heart. We must be still, hear His question, and then ask ourselves – “Do we see?”

He Will Accomplish It

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6

I won’t lie to you. I’ve been home from Ellerslie for a month now and it hasn’t been the easiest time. Besides the busyness of the holidays and settling back into work, I got a bad cold that laid me out for a few days and seems to be coming back now, and I will be traveling soon to go to a second funeral. My grandfather passed away my last week in CO and my grandmother passed away just a few days ago. It’s hard to lose both of them so close to each other, but they were both believers and are now in the arms of their Savior.

Not easy doesn’t mean bad though. It has been a stretching time, filled with lots of failures, lots of apologies to my family and to Jesus; but also lots of peace, lots of abiding in Christ, lots of receiving forgiveness, lots of growing in faith, and lots of trusting the Lord. I am beyond thankful for the faithfulness and goodness of my Jesus. He has held me through so many hard times in the past and is continuing to do so now.

One of the amazing things about Jesus though is that He not merely holds us, carries us, comforts us, and loves on us, but that He lives through us. He isn’t just a backseat driver, giving us directions and a comforting shoulder, but He is actually driving our car. Or He can be, if we let Him. He doesn’t desire to be God beside you, but to be God in you. He doesn’t just desire to carry you, but to live through you and enable you to walk.

And that leads me to how comforting and encouraging Philippians 1:6 is to me. I am most definitely a work in progress, but God has promised to perfect (complete and accomplish) the good work that He has begun in me until the day of Christ Jesus. God is the one that has begun this good work and He is the one perfecting it. It has nothing to do with my ability, my strength, or my resources. It has ALL to do with God’s ability, His strength, and His resources. My job is to be like the Philippians – humble and obedient.

Their work in the gospel (see my last blog) exemplifies this. They gave no thought to themselves, but poured themselves out for Christ. And as they participated in the gospel, they allowed God to use them as He saw fit. They allowed Him to begin a good work in them and Paul is fully confident and persuaded of the fact that He will continue to perfect it.

Paul uses the phrase “the day of Christ Jesus” or “the day of Christ” in almost all of his books to refer to Christ’s second coming (made specifically clear in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy). So not only is God the one who began this good work and who will continue to perfect it, but He will do it until Christ returns.

What a promise! God will not stop working in and on me until Christ returns!

If I stagnate or fall, it is not because God is focusing on other people or because I have tapped out all there is to Him. No. He is infinite. His goodness is infinite. And there is no limit to how much of Him I can have or how much He can work in me and use me. If I stagnate or fall, it’s because I took my eyes off of Him, did not humble myself before Him to allow Him to work through me, or did not respond in obedience when He directed me.

But God’s desire is to continue this good work in me and I can fully trust that.

He will reveal Himself to me in His word. He will show me more of His magnitude and brilliance, so that I can’t help but keep my eyes fixed on Him.

He will continue to lovingly show me my shortcomings, while showing me His perfection, to encourage me to humble myself before Him.

He will direct me – sometimes with a whisper, sometimes with a shout, and sometimes with a 2×4 – but I can trust His voice if I stay listening for it.

I have full confidence in my tendency to stray from my first love. But I have even greater confidence in my Jesus’ desire for me and His ability to continue and complete His work in me. He will lead me to the passage of Scripture I need to read. He will show me the perfect blog at the perfect moment. He will guide someone to send me an encouraging text or verse. He will direct me to encourage or minister to someone, filling me as I pour myself out. He will remind me of His faithfulness throughout my entire life. He will give me new eyes to see His blessings in my life, my family, and my church. And He will do a million other things.

How do I know this? Because He does it every day. And He doesn’t change. So He will continue to do it.

Oh friend, if your heart has become cold or you feel like you are standing still, be encouraged. God has not started a good work in you that He is not able and willing to complete.

Look for His faithfulness, goodness, and love. If you don’t see it right now, ask Him for fresh eyes. If you aren’t hearing His voice, ask Him for fresh ears.

If sin or apathy has separated you from Him (Isaiah 59:2), repent and walk in His forgiveness. True godly sorrow brings life and leaves no regret (2 Corinthians 7). Repent for sins of commission (God told you not to do something and you did it anyway) and of omission (God told you to do something and you didn’t).

Feast on the Word of God – read it, meditate on it, and memorize it – so that you can intimately know your Jesus and so that God can replace lies you are believing with truth.

Pour yourself out for the gospel. You don’t need to pamper yourself when feeling worn out, let God do that for you.

Humble yourself before the Lord. If you need more grace in your life (everyone raise your hand) then you need more humility. God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6) and He dwells with the contrite and lowly of spirit (Isaiah 57:15). Humility is not thinking you are worthless, but rather unworthy. We have worth because of Jesus and yet are unworthy of Him. We can never deserve His grace, His love, His forgiveness, His plans for our lives. But He gives us those things anyway. Meditating on that truth should cause us to humble ourselves before the Lord and receive His grace. If it doesn’t, pray and pray and pray that God will help you to humble yourself before Him.

As you and I do these things, God will be perfecting the good work that He began in us. Here’s to an awesome 2017 of God doing just that!

Love you all and am praying for you as you walk the narrow way 🙂

In All My Prayers…

“3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,”
Philippians 1:3-5

Hello again! So, as I’m taking you on my journey through Philippians, this week I want to discuss verses three through five of chapter 1. They are three of the shortest verses in the whole book and yet packed with truth.

As we discussed last week, Paul’s theme for this epistle is: JOY! And oh what a convicting theme that can be for many leaders. Well here, Paul starts with his usual greeting – “I’m thankful for you and I’ve been praying for you”. Which is the same way he greets most of the churches and people he writes to.

But his greeting to the Philippians is special in the fact that he tells them something he doesn’t tell any other church or person that we have in the Canon. He tells that he always prays with joy in his prayers for them and that he is thankful for them every time he remembers them. That is some serious high praise.

I don’t think Paul is just being polite in what he says here, but is in earnest and being sincere since he doesn’t say that to anyone else. He prays for others all the time, but there isn’t the same joy and thankfulness every time he prays and remembers them.

Why such praise for the Philippians? Oh, I’m so glad you asked 😉

Paul tells us in verse 5 that it is because of their participation in the gospel from the first day until now. ‘Participation’ is a greek word you may have heard before – koinonia. The NASB translates that word as ‘fellowship’ 11 times out of the 19 that it is used in the New Testament. The KJV translates it ‘fellowship’ even more often. It can also be translated as sharing, contribution, participation, communion, and partnership.

It is what Luke tells us the early church devoted themselves to in Acts 2:42. It is what Paul tells us we have with Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 1:9 and what we have with the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 13:14. It is personal. It is relational. It is the sharing of your very life with other believers, those who have the same Spirit of God in them as you do, or with God Himself. Koinonia is how we prove that the church isn’t supposed to be superficial and fragmented. We are to have true fellowship with one another, sharing our lives with each other and having spiritual intimacy with each other as we spur one another towards good deeds.

THAT is how the Philippians shared in the gospel with each other and with Paul. They were in true fellowship in the gospel. It was personal to them. It was their entire life. There were no areas of their life that it didn’t impact. And there were no sacrifices too big for it (you can peek ahead and look at 1:29-30 if you want).

This is why Paul was so thankful. The Philippians koinonia’d (pardon my conjugation) in the gospel from the first day until “now”. They gave everything in their life for the gospel when they first heard it and they continued on in that. They didn’t give up. They didn’t let up. They continued to Koinonia in the gospel, despite any obstacle, suffering, trial, or hardship.

I can’t tell you how much I long for Jesus to be able to say this very thing of me. One day I will get to see Him face to face and oh what an explosion of joy it will be. I will get to see my best friend, my closest confidante, my very life itself. And I know that He will be filled with joy also. What I long to hear is: “JULIANNA! I’ve waited for this day for so long! Well done good and faithful servant. Not only were you one of my best friends on the earth, but you were faithful. I could entrust my heart and burdens to you. I could entrust my gospel to you. You koinonia’d in the gospel until the day of your death. Welcome to My Father’s house!”

Oh brother and sister in Christ, may this be our heart. May we be faithful in our participation in the gospel. Always. Not giving up and not letting up. May we keep our spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. May we love each other and Jesus with a passion – delighting in fellowship with both. May we revel in sufferings and trials, because of the fellowship with Christ that they produce. May we be like the Philippians.

That is my prayer for myself and for you. May it be your prayer as well.

Like always, love you all!

What You Can Learn From a Two Verse Introduction

New Venture


Different people have prayed for years for this one thing. I’ve prayed on and off for a while for it. And God finally answered our prayers through laying the idea on a teen’s heart and he has spearheaded the entire venture.

24/7 prayer.

For one week my church will be crying out to God for revival in our own lives, in our families, in our church, in our city, and in our nation. Most of your reading this are part of this exciting week and have signed up for a 30 minute or hour time slot, so that at least one person in our church is praying every minute of the day.

I’m thrilled to see what God will do in us as we seek Him this week, how He may continue the 24/7 prayer afterwards, and the prayers that He will answer. I know this is a big step for a lot of you though. I’m still learning how to stay focused for long periods of prayer by myself, but what I have learned I would like to pass on to you. Whether you are part of this 24/7 prayer initiative or you just want to start setting more time aside in your life for intercession, I hope that these ideas and tips bless and help you.

Don’t Get Relaxed:

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t get the exact amount of sleep you need every night and naps are a luxury you don’t get often. Our culture, with its addiction to media, has also trained our minds to have short attention spans and not be able to focus on one thing for very long. Because of those two things, don’t get relaxed when you are going to pray for a long time. Recliners and beds are not the best place for this type of prayer (unless you physically have to).

Get up, walk around your house, walk around your neighborhood (or around your work building if you’re praying during your lunch break), kneel by your bed. But don’t lay back and think that you’ll be immune to the sweet, sweet call of sleep while praying. The disciples kept falling asleep during some of the hardest hours of Jesus’ life and His question to them was “could you not stay awake to pray for one hour?” Don’t be like them and lay down to pray. Realize that there is an intense battle going on for whatever God has put on your heart to pray for and that though our spirit is willing, our flesh is weak.

Have Faith:

James 1: 6-8 says that “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

We are now heirs of the promise and co-heirs with Christ. All the promises of God are amen in Christ for us (2 Cor 1:20). But we must have faith and not doubt if we want our prayers answered. If you feel you are doubting, read the promises of God in His Word out loud (Rom 10:17). Tell your spirit that you refuse to doubt, just as David spoke to his soul in Psalm 43:5.

And most importantly, ask God to pour out His grace on you and fill you with faith. Ask Him to give you His heart for what you are interceding about. We may get weary about praying through something for the umpteenth time, but God never does. Ask Him for His passion, will, fire, and desperation to fill you as you pray. Then be prepared for your heart to change as you pray .

Be Prepared:

Memorizing scripture is great for intercessory prayer because God loves to be reminded of His promises. Praying through a verse or passage is an easy way to know what is on God’s heart and so pray according to His will. If you don’t have many verses memorized yet, then find a few that speak specifically to what you are praying about and write them down on note cards. I find this helpful, even if I have memorized the verse, so that I can remember and pray through every Word.

Praying through scripture is one of the best ways that I have found to stay focused during prayer. It gives me a guideline to pray for, opens my heart to pray for more than I would come up with on my own, and fills me with faith as I pray. Spend a few extra minutes to get prepared before spending time in prayer and you will notice a big difference.

At the end I have some of the scriptures that I will be praying through during this week of 24/7 prayer. Use any for your own prayer time that you wish or find some others that God shows you!

Example of Praying Through Scripture:

Matthew 9: 37-38

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Lord, You promise that the harvest is plentiful. I don’t see it right now,
but You promised and You cannot lie. I hold You to Your promise.
Open my eyes and the eyes of the church to see the harvest. Help
us to walk in faith that the harvest is here and that You have prepared
their hearts for the gospel. Lead us to the people who You have prepared,
God, and that are white for harvest, and anoint us to bring them into
Your Kingdom.

God, send out workers for this harvest! Burden my heart more for the
lost. Burden the hearts of the people in the church for the lost.
Burden the hearts of those I work with, that are Christians, for the lost.
Spur us on Lord! Show us the times that we can be sharing the gospel.
Give us ALL boldness to share the gospel and to pray for people.
Help us to draw people out to lead them to a knowledge of the truth.
Pour out repentance. Give us no rest and help us to give You no rest
until You bring in the harvest.

Jesus, remove anything in me, anything in us, that would keep us from
putting Your Kingdom and Your righteousness first. Remove the dross
from our lives so that we can be ready vessels for Your use. Remove
addictions and idols, especially the idol of self, from us so that we seek
and depend on You above everything else. Glorify Yourself in us!
Bring Your Kingdom here!

Scriptures I’m Praying This Week:

Acts 4: 29-31

Colossians 3: 1-4

Isaiah 55 (whole chapter)

John 17: 21-23

Matthew 9: 37-38

Psalm 63

Songs for Worship:

Breathe On Us

Build Your Kingdom Here

Spirit Break Out

Here’s My Heart Lord

From the Inside Out

Too many others to name…

Other Resources:

Wrestling Prayer (book on prayer)

Hunger for God (book on fasting)

Some awesome blogs on prayer

Helps to Holiness by Samuel Brengle (Chapter 18)


Happy Praying!

One Gift You Might Be Using Wrong

Life would be so much easier without it.

I’ve said it and I’ve heard other people say it. It’s true. If God had created us not having a sex-drive until we got married, life would be far less complicated.

Fornication? Gone. Lust before marriage? Gone. Most porn issues? Gone. Babies out of wedlock? Gone.

Easy Peasy.

BUT, maybe our Creator God knows something we don’t. Since His foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Cor 1:15), maybe His ways are best. He did create sex and romance after all. And He created us with a sex-drive. He didn’t have to. He could have made humans’ procreation unenjoyable and the only reason to do it to extend the human race. He had a reason for creating it though and as His servants, our job is to search the scripture for it and live by it.

The truth is that God didn’t give us a sex-drive for ourselves. He gave it to us for our spouses and to glorify Him. Just as our bodies are not own, since we have been bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20), so our sex-drive is not our own. All of our being belongs to the Lord at the moment of our conversion, but our body and sex-drive also belong to our spouse. Whether you currently have a spouse or not.

1 Corinthians 7: 3 – 4 says that: “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (NASB)

If my sex-drive is not for me, but for someone else, that means that any use of it that is selfish in nature is sin. Selfishness and our sex-drive (and therefore selfishness and sex) should have NOTHING to do with one another.

This is big. Don’t miss it.

This means that purity is not just not having pre-marital sex, not looking at porn, and not lusting. It means that purity is also not looking forward to the day (if you’re single) that you will be satisfied sexually, because your sex-life as a married person will be about satisfying someone else. It’s not that you won’t be satisfied, but it won’t and shouldn’t be your goal.

God’s kingdom is an upside down kingdom. The first shall last. The last shall first. The greatest among you should be a servant. And so on. This applies here also. God is our shepherd and provider. In His Kingdom we never have to fight for our fulfillment or satisfaction, it’s a by-product of loving Him and living a poured-out life.

One day, when I’m married, I won’t need to worry about being satisfied sexually, I will only have to worry about my spouse and about glorifying God. In the meantime, my worry doesn’t have to be on myself either. I don’t have to be worried about feeling lonely, or my physical desires, or anything. If I keep my heart and mind on Christ, He will take care of me. And He will provide a way out from every temptation.

All the sudden we can see that the issue with lust and porn is that they are inherently selfish. It is all about gratifying ourselves and not the one person we are supposed to spend the rest of our life with. Selfishness is addictive, just like any other “self” sin (i.e. self-pity and self-righteousness).

And addictions can only be broken by the Lord: when we are found In Jesus and have surrendered everything to Him.

Walking in freedom has to start with repentance (sorrow over sin, confessing it to the Lord, and turning from it). But if we don’t realize that the main sin we are repenting of is selfishness, how will we be able to truly repent?

I know this is an awkward topic.

I’m sorry.

…. But not really.

Jesus wants more for you though than you wearing a purity ring and being “technically” a virgin on your wedding day. He wants more for you than you repenting for not being a virgin and living the rest of your days by cold showers and snapping a rubber band on your wrist. He wants more for you than you just having an average sex-life with your spouse.

Whatever your current circumstance, Jesus wants more for you. He offers more to you. As you pour out your life to Him, He will fill you more and more so that there is less and less room for self.

Singleness can be filled with poured-out living for Him. Not just getting by, but living the abundant life He came here to give you. It can be filled with ministry, scripture memorization and study, learning helpful skills, and serving your family (talking to men and women here). Things that you might not have as much time for if you were married and had a family. It can be filled with thoughts, attitudes, and actions that will honor your future spouse, no matter when they come.

Marriage can be filled with poured-out living for Him and your husband or wife. The abundant life is available to you here too. You can learn how to truly put other people ahead of yourself (in the bedroom and out). To look to the interests of other’s instead of your own (Phil 2:4). To rejoice in serving, even when not notice or appreciated. To grow in your marriage being a symbol of Christ and the Church – which is an amazing testimony to the world!

The sky is the limit here. But only when we view our sex-drive with thankfulness. It is God’s opportunity to get rid of selfishness in you. It is His opportunity to teach you to depend on Him more. And it is His opportunity shine through you.

Love to all you singles and marrieds.

Baptized in Butterflies

“Baptized in butterflies…”
“Uh, what did you just sing?”
“That’s what it sounds like to me,” She scrutinized the piano music in front of her and flipped the page. “Oh, it’s ‘baptized in blood and fire!’”
Cue laughter.

Worship practice a few years ago, while we were about to learn a new song.

Person that misunderstood the song lyrics?
She’ll remain nameless.

But hint: she has been one of my best friends for over 11 years and we claim that we are twins, separated at birth (our mothers just never realized).

“Baptized in butterflies” has remained a hilarious inside joke between all of us on the worship team. And that song has turned into one of my church’s (and my own) favorite songs. The lyrics are so powerful and full of truth.

As we are about to celebrate Good Friday tomorrow and Resurrection Sunday in three days, I wanted to share this song with you all. If you haven’t heard it before, enjoy! If you have heard the song before, I hope that some of my comments and questions will help you meditate on the greatness of Jesus and His resurrection in new ways (video linked at the bottom).

This may be a pretty long post. But meditating on God’s grace deserves a little time, don’t you agree?

“Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise)”

[Verse 1]
This is my revelation
Christ Jesus crucified
Salvation through repentance
At the cross on which He died

Do you ever think about how Jesus was a real person’s name? A person who was fully God and fully man. And that Christ was a title, meaning the Anointed One (read Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:16-21)? He was the long awaited Messiah. And that Christ Jesus died. He didn’t pass out from pain. He died.

He took on all of our sins… ALL. And then paid the penalty for them on the cross. Such horrendous filth was on Him that the Father had to turn His face away.

Is that old news to you? Or is it a fresh revelation every time? If this precious news is faded and worn out to you, which can so easily happen, please ask God to make it new again this Holy Week.

[Verse 2]
Now hear my absolution
Forgiveness for my sin
And I sink beneath the waters
That Christ was buried in

We finally have a way out from going to hell. Our sin against an infinite God is considered an infinite offense and deserves infinite punishment. But we have a way out.

Salvation is through repentance, as we fall upon the cross and turn away from our sin. God forgives us and wipes our records clean. But please realize that you can’t walk away from sin in your own strength. You must be IN Christ and walk in His grace and strength.

What are the waters that Christ was buried in? Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12 say that we have been baptized (sunk beneath the waters) in Christ and that that baptism is a baptism of death. Just as Christ was crucified, we are called to allow God to crucify our sinful nature. You can’t crucify yourself, a 2nd party must do it for you.

If you are holding on to old patterns and strangleholds of sin or worldliness, allow God to crucify them. As you remember Christ dying on the cross, ask God to crucify anything left in you that is not of Him. Yes, it’s painful… but don’t worry, Holy Week doesn’t end in death…

I will rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live

Christ rose from the dead! Literally. He.Rose.From.The.Dead. He paid the punishment for our sin on the cross and then 3 days later He defeated sin and death, once and for all, by rising from the dead. There was an earthquake. The soldiers fell to the ground in fear. His grave clothes were empty. Over 200 people saw Him over the next 40 days.

There was no mistake. He wasn’t dead anymore.

“Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2:12 (NASB)

We are IN Jesus, if we are Christians. That means we are baptized into His death (though ours is not physical like His). But it also means that we are baptized into His LIFE. We live now. We are raised in Him. We were dead and now are alive. We are partakers of eternal life, as we know Christ deeper and deeper until that one beautiful day that we get to see Him face to face. Hallelujah!

Are you about to jump out of your skin with thankfulness yet? If not, wait for the verse three. I promise you will be then.

[Verse 3]
I stand a new creation
Baptized in blood and fire
No fear of condemnation
By faith I’m justified

We have been crucified with Christ and raised to new life in Him. We are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). We stand new before our heavenly Father. We can now have the relationship with Him that He created us for and has been longing for since creation.

We are baptized in butterflies. Or blood and fire. However you want to interpret the song.

But really, we have been baptized in Christ’s blood and the Spirit’s fire. Christ’s blood justifies us. We stand before God clean and with no condemnation. The Spirit’s fire is cleansing and sanctifying us.

When the devil tries to condemn us, we can now shut him up. We have no fear of condemnation, because our salvation does not rest on our fickle selves but on the majesty, grace, and power of our Creator Jesus! And He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).

Rejoice, my friend, in this new life.
Be thankful for God’s grace.
Marvel at the cross and resurrection.

I rise as You are risen
Declare Your rule and reign
My life confess Your Lordship
And glorify Your Name

Does your life declare Christ’s Lordship? Does your mouth declare His Lordship? If not, why not? You are a new creation. You are not bound by sin any longer.

Your Word it stands eternal
Your Kingdom knows no end
Your praise goes on forever
And on and on again
Oh what a great God we serve! Do you ever forget? Remind yourself. Read the Word, that stands eternal, and allow it to remind you. We serve an everlasting God who deserves everlasting praise.
No power can stand against You
No curse assault Your throne
No one can steal Your glory
For it is Yours alone
Have you tried to steal glory and praise that was rightfully God’s? Repent and give it back to Him. If you are wallowing in sin, defeat, and gloom, maybe you need a fresh reminder that God has defeated sin and death and that NOTHING can stand against Him. His grace is truly, sincerely, and irrevocably, sufficient for you (2 Cor 12:9).
I stand to sing Your praises
I stand to testify
For I was dead in my sin
I will rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live

Praise God this week! Praise Him for His death. Praise Him for His life. Praise Him for rescuing you. Praise Him that you don’t have to struggle with fear anymore. Praise Him for sitting you with Jesus at the right hand of the throne of God. Praise Him for giving you every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Praise Him because He is worthy! Praise Him with all that is within you! Praise His Holy Name!

Have more than a happy Easter everyone, have a glorious Easter as you celebrate our risen Savior.

If You Don’t Have This One Thing, You Don’t Have Anything

I got the magazine in the mail almost a year ago.

It’s one of those huge things that your alma mater sends you to remind you of what a good time you had at college and make you feel like you should donate money.

I did have a wonderful experience in college. Thank you, alma mater. But I didn’t like the theme of the magazine. In fact, I got so worked up that I thought through an entire blog I was going to write about it. But the magazine promptly got hidden under piles in my room and it wasn’t until just now that I unearthed it.

What was the theme?

The meaning of life.

What is the meaning of life? Obviously, they presuppose, no one can know for sure. However, they claim, you can create meaning in your life. Here are some of the examples that people wrote about: Freeing prisoners from life sentences, providing education, showing love, being grateful for every day, doing good in this world, leaving the earth better than how we found it, showing compassion and serving others. Many good things, but still empty to me.

I refuse to believe that no one can know the meaning of life. I refuse to believe that those things are all there is to live for. Am I too picky? Do I want too much? Am I unrealistic? I almost started asking myself those questions.

But before I could, a verse popped into my head. Oh how I love God’s Word hidden in my heart. I love that one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to bring those verses to my mind when I need them most. The verse put my heart at rest and my mind at ease.

How could a single verse do that? Can a single verse tell us the meaning of life? I believe the answer is yes!

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17: 3, NASB).

What else could be the meaning of life except for having eternal life? And how do we have eternal life? This verse tells us. By knowing Jesus!

What I love about this verse, though, is all the hidden depth of the Greek language in the little word “know.” Know here is not a noun. It is not a list of facts. It’s a verb! (I can tell how excited you are.) I’ve hated grammar since I was a child, but this verb thrills me to pieces.

“Know” being a verb means that it is saying eternal life is the action of knowing God. A verb makes this word relational and experiential. We are getting to know a person, not just a list of facts.

That is why Jesus came to earth. To die for our sins, to rise from the dead, and to bring us to reconciliation with the Father so that we can know Him! He gave us His Word so that we can know Him. He longs to spend time with us so that we can know Him. He wants us to experience life, so that we can know Him.

I beg you, don’t miss this. If you are serving God or reading the Bible, and it isn’t all about knowing a person, you will end up wasting so much time not experiencing eternal life. I can say with confidence that I do know the meaning of life, because my Creator God told me. And that is to KNOW Jesus.

Love you brothers and sisters in Christ.


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