Tag Archives: gospel

A Closer Walk: Looking For Pain’s Logic

I could see the logic.

I mean, there are awful things going on in the world… and there are Christians who are suffering… dying… everywhere.

Where had I gotten the idea that the Bible taught I would always be kept safe from trouble?

When I started to search the scriptures again, it painted an honest and accurate picture of men and women who believed and trusted God, and yet suffered pain and loss, and sometimes even death. The scriptures were full of dirges and laments; songs of passionate questioning, pain, and deep sorrows.

Why had I believed that these songs would not someday be mine to sing?

I was being childish.

Who did I think I was to be entitled to a pain-free-life?

forgivenessI had wanted to only follow a safe God… a God who would always protect me from all hurt, in all circumstances. I decided I would listen more carefully to some of the teachers I had followed. Sure, they taught the Word of God, but I was beginning to see that they predominantly taught only one type of Truth. Yes, there is victory and prosperity for those who obey, trust, and believe… but sometimes, there is also sickness, suffering, sorrow, and loss.

As I began to honestly look at the stories of Joseph and Job; Isaiah and Jeremiah; the disciples of the early church, and the Apostle Paul in particular, my eyes beheld the worst kind of suffering. I had been taught that Paul was one of the greatest Christians that ever lived, and yet he suffered terribly for his faith. (And, who could have done more than he had?) Why had I believed that if I just, did enough… prayed enough… believed enough… declared enough—God would protect me from all harm? Wasn’t all my doing a sort of idoltry? Rub the magic lamp, or say a sincere prayer, and the genie will pop out and do my bidding?

performance condemnation trap

Wasn’t I really idolizing my own comfort; hoping for a way, or a formula, to manipulate God into giving me the comfortable and safe life that I wanted?

What selfish foolishness.

My eyes were open alright, and I was beginning to see, but I didn’t like what I saw.

(No, not one bit!)

I began to wonder if maybe, I really deserved all the bad stuff that had happened?

(Now I was really depressed.)

journal

SING!

Oh, My dear child, how I see you struggling to walk in freedom, but dear one, your jailers are not the condemnation of those around you. That is why you still struggle so.

(No, Sweetheart.)

The one who keeps you bound—is YOU!

Let Me explain.

making bricksYou grew up in terrible slavery. So did your parents, and their parents, etc., etc. Generations of “brick-makers” just like the children of long ago, enslaved to the Egyptians, making bricks. But you are no longer in Egypt child, yet you still have the voice of the evil taskmaster in your head. Instead of shouting, “Clay! Straw! Water!” he whispers, “Try harder! Do more! Perform!” and so you obey, and do, do, do… to the point of exhaustion.

But honey, I set you FREE.

What does My Word say?

“Who will set me free from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.”    Romans 7:24-25 The next time your old task-master whispers, “Do more. Try harder.” and you are tempted to begin laboring, by bending your back in the “brick-pits of performance,” remember who bought your freedom. (Me!) I have released you from “performance-condemnation” forever!

free to be myself

Remember the song…

I’m under the blood of the Lamb; who covers the guilt of my past. By the mercies of God, Holy and righteousness I stand. I’m under the blood of the Lamb; I’m safe and secure from the enemies hand…Sing, Sweetheart, sing…

Your song!

a closer walk

 

“So now there is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

 

God Is Real & The Bible Is Truth with Kim Bond

A Closer Walk: Good News Daughter

father and daughterI am a daughter who loved her dad.

But here’s the thing.

My Father was not good at expressing his feelings or the things that really mattered to him, and that deeply affected our relationship, and how we related to one another.

Unfortunately, for both of us, because my dad had a dysfunctional relationship with his parents, there wasn’t anything in the emotional file drawer when it came to giving or expressing the unconditional acceptance and love I needed.

My grand-father, who was also emotionally remote, barely noticed his younger son while he was growing up. Now, add an abusive mother to this dysfunctional equation, who had been raised by an alcoholic father, who had been abusive to her, and you have the sum total of my father’s own broken and bruised childhood.

Poor dad, he tried, but he just didn’t “get girls” who needed to be affirmed as well as taught.

my poor dad

How was this guy who had been tasked with the entire job of rearing a couple of daughters (who were an enigma to him) supposed to cope? How was he supposed to communicate a kind of love and affirmation he himself had not received?

Is it any wonder that broken people raise broken people?

I believe it is impossible for someone to draw water from an empty well, so this crippling brokenness gets passed on from one generation to the next.

That is, unless we get a whole NEW SELF, and with it, a true image of who we are meant to be!

royal inheritanceGod calls Believers “more than conquerors” and if we have a relationship with His Son, then we have a royal inheritance. We have Kingdom privileges that are to make overcoming “the norm” of our everyday lives.

Yet, most of us live our daily lives way below our privileges and Kingdom authority, and let me tell you, that was definitely me!

And I desperately wanted things to CHANGE.

I wanted more hope, more love, more joy—more you name it! I had been doing, doing, doing, for years by attending church, singing songs, signing up for classes, seminars, retreats, etc. etc. All my doing on the outside looked great. But on the inside, where we all have to live 24-7, I was a wreck!

broken insideI wanted the abundant life Jesus promised.

I wanted to make a difference in this world.

I was tired of talking about it or dreaming about it—I wanted to actually do it!

Do you remember the Bible story of Gideon and how he lived fearfully quaking in his boots down in a wine pit stomping out grapes? Then suddenly an angel shows up with an assignment saying, “Mighty soldier, the Lord is with you!”

Mighty?

Hiding out in a hole in the ground?

Yes, we are MIGHTY, because God sees us as we will be.

broken womanEach day I would look at my mess, shake my head in disgust, mumbling and complaining in my heart, while doing a mental inventory in my head of all my failures and impossibilities—all the “why’s” God could never use an unholy wreck like me.

Then, this Abba-God shows up speaking to me again, redirecting my focus, because to Him?

All my ashes and misery were completely beside the point!

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ISN’T IT GOOD NEWS?

Stop, right there.

“O, Crier of Good News…” that’s you!

Nevermind your arguments. I’ve heard them all. (And more than once.) Not today. No excuses. No reasonings. No fears. No! Let’s just sit down together and for once quietly discuss this.

fearful broken womanFirst, I know your fears—every one.

Why discuss those again?

And all your good reasons for “Why you can’t.”  I know those too—all your so-called failures and weaknesses? Yes, we’ve talked about those.

Or, should I say, you talked while I listened. Good thing patience is a fruit of My Spirit.

Today, I want to talk and I want you to listen.

Come, let’s reason together.

You are making this way too complicated.

When there’s good news with your friends or with yourself, don’t you share it?

Even on The News good news is GOOD news!

You are just the “teller” Sweetheart—just The Crier.

your broken piecesDo you worry so much over what others will say when you share your other stories?

And, let’s talk about our stories; the things I’ve done for you; the ways you have changed.

Hasn’t your life changed since I’ve become a part of it?

Isn’t that Good News?

Crier of Good NewsSo I tell you, you are My Crier of Good News. That is who you are! Any other definition is making it way too complicated.

Don’t be afraid.

It’s Me.

It ‘s you.

I like our story!

a closer walk

 

“O, Crier of Good News, …shout from the mountain tops!Shout louder—don’t be afraid!”

Isaiah 40:9

North Vietnam: Under The Cover of Light

Under The Cover of Light was a difficult book for me to read. I mean, Vietnam was my war. Guys from my graduating class of 1969 were signing-up for military service before they finished their senior year!

And yes, I will never forget the funerals that took place in our little town.

Vietnam War POW

Vietnam was up close and personal for me.

Yet as tough a “read” as this story was for me, I am so glad I read this book. There are eternal lessons for all of us in Jerry Curtis’s seven and a half years of horror as a POW in North Vietnam.

The book has lots of military jargon and that really slowed me down, but once I got past all of that, I began to identify with the timeless truths woven throughout this story. The transformation that our prayers bring. The unity forged in the fires of shared suffering.  The inability of anyone or anything to keep us separate from the keeping power of Christ’s love—even in a pit from hell dubbed—Briarpatch.

Jerry Curtis asked all the questions any of us ask when we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control.

But, in one of his darkest moments a fellow POW reaches out to him and he realizes,

“…the sacrament through the walls led Jerry to understand that wrapped up in any explanation as to why believers might experience horrific circumstances in their lives was OPPORTUNITY—opportunity to fulfill a God-glorifying task, heightened by or as a direct result of the horrific event itself. The tragedy either brought others across a believer’s path who needed to receive God’s light FROM the believer or who needed to see God’s light THROUGH the believer. Then, once engaged, that person perhaps would become a light bearer too.

Jerry realized he had been a conduit for God’s glory to an unknown and unseen prisoner, and an eternal truth surfaced in his mind: the deeper the darkness, the more brilliant the light.”

I am so glad I read this heroic story. We need to be reminded that there are still heroes in this world.

Honestly, the accounts of torture are tough to get through, but the spiritual message from this man’s experience is one we can all grow and benefit from.

My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for sending this complimentary copy in exchange for my review.

Under The Cover of Light is available on Amazon or at your other fine book retailers.

Heaven Bound, You’ll Want To Watch This One!

I just watched this great Christian Movie on a new DVD release from Fishflix called, HEAVEN BOUND. This flick is loads of fun, and definitely a family friendly film, kids and their parents will love.

I’ll admit I don’t usually watch Christian comedies, but okay I confess, I laughed out loud more than a few times!

Michael Joiner and Nancy Stafford play Ted and Josie Talbott, a down-n-out married couple so desperate for money, they make an ill-conceived plan to rob her wealthy boss. Unfortunately, they picked the wrong mansion. Her boss is a religious man who is equally desperate to “save a soul” before he goes to the Great Beyond. He traps them inside his house, and won’t let them go until they’ve made a decision to follow Jesus!

Heaven Bound spoofs Christians and the silly things we sometimes say and do in trying to bring the unbelieving world our Gospel message. Yeah the movie’s jokes are silly, but it’s all done in hilarious fun, and after some crazy antics this film gets down to the nitty-gritty of delivering an honest-to-goodness salvation message.

Chiefly, that we in the church just need to genuinely love folks, and not be afraid to show them how much we care.

Main cast  characters include Michael Joiner (The Grace Card) and Nancy Stafford (Matlock) and Danny Vinson (Walk The Line) with Victoria Jackson, Bonnie Johnson, and Will Ford also making appearances. Writers Marshal Younger and Torry Martin from (Adventures in Odyssey) deliver on laughs and a message I think parents will heartily approve of.

Movie Heaven Bound

The movie received Five Stars from Irrelevant Magazine as well as BEST COMEDY from ICVM, BEST FEATURE FILM from Delco Film Festival, and was an Official Selection of CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW and KINGDOMWOOD. You can purchase the Heaven Bound DVD at Fishflix or on Amazon.

This film is rated Family Approved 12+ but I think the movie is also appropriate for families with children ages 4-10. It could set up a whole family dialog about the importance of honesty.

My thanks to Drake Films and Fishflix for sending me a complimentary DVD in exchange for my review.

 

Abandoned Faith: Enlightening & Hopeful!

Abandoned FaithWhen you first look, Abandoned Faith is not a book you expect to be brimming with hopeful strategies. Yet that is exactly what this book delivers! It provides lots of facts with correlating interviews and surveys on millennial’s and the many problems they face.

I don’t usually enjoy reading a book filled with lots of statistics. Yet as I read this one, I began to see how all that information could help parents and churches by giving them the “how  to” in developing an effective prayer and action strategy to reach these kids .

  • Abandoned Faith brings hope to parents  and churches who are despairing over what to do about their wayward millennial’s.
  • It encourages them to release all shame for past mistakes, surrendering their millennial’s to a God who is able to bring them back home to the Faith.
  • It invites them to stand on the irrevocable promises found in God’s Word because He loves millennial’s and He will be faithful to them.
  • And finally, it provides creative ideas for reaching out with real and tangible ways to provide help for our millennial’s.

I loved that!

It’s obvious the authors have a deep and abiding love for these young adults. I appreciated their frankness, and at times, bold and brutal honesty. The ways they addressed the failures of parents and the Church head on. Perhaps it is time for some much needed “tough love.” Today’s Church needs more effective ways of reaching out to our millennial adults. Ways that are relevant to their unique needs. I think this book provides a good starting point.

When interviewing Mark Hall, someone McFarland considers a front line expert on millennial’s, he asked Hall if he was optimistic that millennial’s will be the generation to bring revival to America. He responded, “[Christian] millennial’s love God and accept that Jesus is the Son of God. But they are not in love with the church. They will not give as cooperatively through the church budget as they will a particular cause. They are online givers for the most part but will give where they see ‘fruit.’ Can millennial’s bring revival back to America? If we continue to embrace the exclusivity of Christ, maintain authentic relationships, confront pluralism, and preach the gospel, then yes, spiritual renewal will come. Don’t expect a breakout event like the old crusades where sporting venues were packed out. Expect it to look more like the church in the book of Acts.”

The book of Acts? Wow! Now that statement gives me REAL hope!

My thanks to Focus on the Family and Tyndale House Publishers for sending me this complimentary copy and requesting my review. Abandoned Faith is available now on Amazon.

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The Warrior

11d4cc66fd62f24a6213348bfb996d9fNEW SONG #7

Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? Song of Solomon 8:5

(verse 1)
Oh, Abba! What words can I write
To sing new songs of sweetest praise?
To tell of victories in the night
And how a victor’s shout is raised?

Who is this? Her brow so bloodied?
Coming out of desert grim?
What has happened to this warrior?
Who will hear her soldier’s hymn?

(chorus)

Soft she sings—as hard she leans
Her Savior only strength and shield
From darkest battle’s she has gleaned
Truth, that Freedom’s sword will yield,

Only when the battle’s over!
Only when the victory’s won!
A warrior never quits, or surrenders,
‘Til Father whispers, “It is done!”

(verse 2)

Not ’til then can sword be rested
Not ’til victory has been found
Not ’til soldiers metal tested
And enemy’s surrendered Holy ground!

She turns and lifts her sword now skyward
To honor her Father’s Holy Word
Remembering day when He first called her
Broken Vessel—so absurd!

(verse 3)
And now scarred lips and heart once broken
Gladly she lays at nail-scarred feet
Here to sing! Her Victor’s token!
Her song declares—enemy’s defeat!

She raises voice in song of praise
To tell of desert battles won!
Her sword surrendered at His feet
A Freedom Fighter she’s become!

 

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The Gift

Some things matter in this life.

Many things don’t.

Figuring out what does, and doesn’t, makes all the difference in how you finish.

Many of us have had a rough start.

We don’t have any control over that.

But it’s how you finish that will tell your real story.

How will you finish?

We each must decide for ourselves.

What matters; what we choose to care about, that will tell our final story.

Where we invest ourselves?

That will be our legacy.

I have seen people choose wisely and I have seen people choose foolishly. But, mostly? I have seen people choose much less than they could have had.

And that is the saddest part.

The closer you get to the finish line it’s not the what of life, or the where, but the Who in your life, that begins gathering great importance. If you don’t get The Who figured out, and by that I mean, your relationship with Jesus Christ? Trust me; the rest doesn’t amount to a worthless hill of beans.

The Bible asks all of us,

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
—Mark 8:36 NIV

This life is as uncertain as shifting sand in a hurricane.

Eternity?

That’s a very long time, to get it all wrong, living in the FOREVER of mistaken and dismal choices.

This world only gives you one certainty.

God gives to each person the right to choose where they will spend eternity.

No one makes this choice for you.

Only you get to make this decision.

The Bible says, you brought nothing into this world, and you will carry nothing out with you.

I have seen that for myself. Seen people leave as naked and as empty-handed as they arrived. We leave with only what we have sent ahead.

God holds out to you,

  • THE GIFT—of His grace through His Son’s shed blood on a cross for your brokenness and sin.
  • He offers you Heaven and an eternity of joy and purpose with Him.

You can’t have Heaven any other way.

And your choice?

Your choice will stand for all eternity.

Choose wisely caterpillar.

Reach out and take His Gift for you.

 

 

 

 

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My Good News

 

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“O Crier of Good News.” that’s you.

(Yes, it is.)

Nevermind your arguments. Besides, I’ve heard them all, and more than once!

Not today. No excuses. No reasonings. No fears. No.

Let’s just sit down together and for once quietly discuss this.

First, I know your fears—every single one.

Why discuss those again?

And, all your good reasons “why not”? I know those, too. Your so called failures and weaknesses? Yes, yes, we’ve talked about those, or should I say, you talked, I listened.

Good thing patience is the fruit of My Spirit.

Today, I want to talk, and I want you to listen. Come. Let’s reason together.

You are making this way too complicated.

When there’s good news with your friends, with yourself.

Even on The News good news is good news!

You are the “teller” SweetHeart, just the crier. Do you worry so much about what others will say when you share your other stories? And let’s talk about our stories; the things I’ve done for you; the way you’ve changed; your life has changed since I became a part of it.

Isn’t it Good News?

So I tell you, you are My Crier of Good News! This is who you are. Any other definition is making it way too complicated.

Don’t be afraid.

It’s Me. It’s you. I like our story!

 

 

 

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Who Me? Out On A Limb? (gulp!)

takearisksign-quote-motivationalsigns-entrepreneursigns

I just finished up a bible study group called, “Open Your Bible.”

Mostly “the basics” but I enjoyed the coffee and fellowship time we had together at our local Starbucks.

(Which was the real point for me.)

I really didn’t think this study could hold many surprises, but I was wrong. The writer positively stunned me with her last “lesson” for us. It was so good I wanted to share her thought with you.

She said and I quote,

“… the truth I have come to believe is this: Sometimes, the very best thing a Christian can do is close her bible and do what it says.”
I spend a lot of time behind a desk reading my Bible, reading books about the Bible, and writing books about the Bible…So much time, in fact, that I missed an entire season of my close friend being so sick from Lyme disease that she couldn’t get out of bed.”
She goes on to say, “You guys, I was too busy reading my Bible to go visit my sick friend.”
She finished with this, “Sometimes I’m more comfortable living IN the pages of Scripture than living them OUT.”  (emphasis mine)

Oh, yeah… out there. In the real and messy world.

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Their bibles are where I think most of the Western Church lives out its spiritual life.

We like “the safety” our nice clean, air-conditioned, padded seats provide us.

I believe most of us are supremely content to “live” in the pages of our Bible, rather than out there, where the world is hostile to our beliefs.

Our fears and insecurities make us impotent.

What was it Jesus said about Salt

And Light?

Yet, we appear to do little but criticize and complain about a world intent on destroying itself.

We shake our heads in sad dismay, as we turn away, running back to the safety of our meetings, singing along with all the ones just like us.

Look, I know no one likes looking foolish. No one likes being ridiculed or rejected. Yet, I can’t help remembering a sermon I heard many years ago, and all the uncomfortable questions the guy delivering it asked me.

  • If not YOU—then, who?
  • If not HERE—then, where?
  • If not NOW—then, when?

whetheryouthinkyoucanoryoucantyouareright-motivationalsignquotes-henryford

This is not a time for passing the buck! This is OUR time. We are His Church. We are charged with delivering His message. And lest any of us forget, we will give a full account of ourselves to Him someday—face to face.

So, yes, you might blow it.

Yes, you might get it wrong sometimes.

Yes, you will definitely encounter ridicule and rejection.

But, didn’t He tell us?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18 KJV

Here’s another thought. You might fall flat on your face, but you just might score! You might get it right. And, “Oh my goodness!” you might just make a huge difference in someone else’s broken world!

Out on that breezy limb, that’s where the best fruit is…

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Just think of it! You… bearing fruit; becoming a harvester; for Him.

He’s given you gifts!

It’s time to share them with this big ‘ole muddy, bloody, hurting, mudball!

Yeah—you were born for THIS!

Time to rock out for the Kingdom…

Until the whole world hears!

 

 

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Beloved Prodigal… (Part 2 ~ Resume)

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A WOUND DRESSER’S RESUME


Can you believe it?

I actually asked God to make me a Wound Dresser.

Man!

What was I thinking?

My prayer seemed so spiritual at the time.

I smile and shake my head today—remembering. Little did I understand the mountain of “woundings” that would come with God’s “Yes.” And, this roller coaster… this assignment of His!

QUALIFICATIONS AND PREPARATIONS FOR A WOUNDRESSER:

You know that cute little question, “Got milk?”

Yeah, well my question to you goes like this:

  • “Got a painful past?” or maybe,
  • “Got a trail of tears and broken dreams?”
  • Or, “Got so much guilt and shame you hate the mess you see in the mirror?”

Congratulations, you too, have all the qualities and experience required to be called as a woundresser!

My “prep” for this Calling:

  • I asked Jesus into my heart at seven while at a Christian summer camp.
  • That was the year my mother “bailed” on our family, announcing that she would no longer be responsible for being a wife, or mother.
  • For me, childhood was over. At seven I began my job as the female caregiver of the family.
  • Five years earlier My mother had had an affair with the pastor of our church and gotten pregnant by him.
  • Our family put on a good public face, still went to church, but we were very BROKEN from that point on.
  • Mom simply stated to me years later, “No forgiveness ever asked for. No forgiveness was ever given.”
  • Dad regularly reminded all of us, he would also be “bailing” just as soon as the youngest was done with school.
  • Meanwhile, we lived with their daily battles, and constant threats of abandonment, from the only one, doing any parenting.
  • Like I said in an earlier devotional, I have lived with angry people all of my life. Angry was my normal.
  • Grew up in a fire-breathing church, where I heard about hell and the anger of God, but little about His love.
  • God is just like your angry father… okay, check.
  • Shook the hometown dust off my shoes and went down the prodigal road.
  • I believed God was “out there” somewhere—but He sure didn’t care what happened to me.
  • If my father, who I could see didn’t care, why would a God I couldn’t see care? Check.
  • Lived a wild life for ten years doing my own thing and I’ve got the scars to prove it!
  • There were several car crashes I miraculously walked away from.
  • Years of ongoing depression episodes that had me thinking suicide was my only option for relief.
  • (Yes, you’re right. Some drown. Some are rescued. I don’t know why. Two of my cousins took their own lives.)
  • I, too, have had years of prescriptions for tranquilizers and muscle relaxers looking for any relief.
  • More years trying to drown all the pain in alcohol. I felt like I was the one drowning. But the pain? Lived on.
  • I won’t even go into all the “joys” of living as a “liberated” woman. What a lie that was!
  • At twenty-eight, after another night of heavy drinking, I awoke to find I had passed out leaving candles burning and almost set my place on fire.
  • Realized I could have set the building on fire and hurt a lot of innocent people in the process.
  • This is where I hit the bottom.
  • I made a “private plan” to end my life and be “done” because I saw no hope—anywhere.
  • I grew up in “church”; saw the hypocrisy; wanted no part of that again.
  • I simply wanted my pain to end. If it meant ending me—so be it.

God, however, had another plan.

Like the Apostle Paul, I had my own Damascus Road encounter with God. (See Coram Deo)

He showed up.

I believe, He showed up because He saw one beleaguered girl, searching for love in all the wrong places.

He showed up because He knew I didn’t have a clue about who He really was.

And He showed up because He knew I wasn’t going to come to Him.

In short this prodigal had to be—fetched.

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I didn’t come to my senses like in the story of the prodigal son. [Luke 15] Nope.

In my story, I am like that lost sheep.

The one where Jesus tells of leaving the ninety-and-nine “good” sheep, to go out and rescue the one who has wandered away.

God had to come after me because, just like Paul, I was so sure I knew who God was.

And, just like His Apostle I was certain—God didn’t care where I was, or what I did. So He decided to show up that day and introduce Himself. He barged in on all my “certainty” and shook me up so profoundly, I couldn’t ignore Him anymore even though secretly? I think I still wanted to.

ed22d31b128a5597c4b7d22c5a215a34Instead, He tenderly took this battered old heart of mine and began to teach me about His deep and abiding LOVE for me.

And, wonder of wonders, He also began to reveal how He wanted to take all the broken pieces of my life and use them.

Use them? My life. (It still stuns me!) How could a Holy God use such an unholy mess like me? When I looked at my past I saw only a junkyard—full of broken, wrecked, dreams. But when God looked at me… He saw potential for His purposes.

His Love is mercy wrapped in GRACE—and it is SO undeserved.

And, so amazing!

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