Category Archives: faith

The Jesus Challenge week 1

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Like many other followers of Christ, I often have a hard time applying the actual “following Christ” part. Sure, I live a pretty good life, go to “church” and Bible class 3 times a week, pray and read my Bible, but if I’m honest, there’s more to following Christ than this. That’s why, when I first saw my cousin Danny’s facebook post about the “Jesus Challenge 2013” I was immediately interested.

Simply stated, the Jesus Challenge 2013 is a Facebook group started by Danny to challenge us to ACTUALLY LIVE like Jesus! Every week for 2013, he will post a short passage from the life of Christ along with some brief thoughts, a challenge, and a prayer. The challenge is to help us apply a characteristic that Jesus exhibits. Then you can post your own thoughts, receive encouragement and the like. I LOVE this idea! It’s a very easy way to help you be like Jesus in your daily life!

Last week, I thought I had the challenge in the bag without even really trying. It seemed so simple. Like Jesus noticed the little children, he also noticed others who often get overlooked and he made them feel special. The challenge: to notice people in our daily lives others often overlook and to let them know you noticed them. I thought this would be very simple. Kids, I notice them, I work at a preschool, it’s hard not to notice and appreciate their special gifts. The poor, they’re all around us and my heart breaks for their situations, and I try to help when I can. The addicted, I have family members who struggle with addictions. Etc. . . I honestly thought this was going to be an easy week. WRONG!

Friday, I began to notice someone, and it truly makes me feel ashamed. It may sound trivial, but it’s not. No unnoticed person is trivial. I noticed my UPS man. Actually, a friend noticed him for me. I have lived in the same house just one week shy of 3 years now. If you know much about my husband, you know he has a rather large personal theological library. Many, if not most of these books have been acquired from the Internet. Plus, that used to be how we bought diapers. Needless to say, when you have free 2 day shipping on Amazon, and you do a lot of online shopping, the UPS truck will be at your house…ALOT! Our UPS truck visits our house at LEAST once a week, and often more than that. I have had conversations with our delivery man several times and even told him how I got diapers so cheaply. Needless to say, I learned his name Friday. From a co-worker, who was talking to one of the kids in my class, who’s father makes the UPS deliveries in town. My town, to my house. . . OUCH! What really stung is my friend knew more about him than I did and he isn’t even her UPS man. AND I didn’t even connect the dots and realize his child was in my class and had been since August. She connected the dots for me. Talk about a fail.

This all got me to thinking, like it should. I wonder how often do people slip in and out of my everyday life without me even noticing? How many opportunities have I missed to share Jesus with someone just because I didn’t notice? I think it’s safe to say I pretty much failed the challenge this week. I only say “pretty much” because I did realize who I was not noticing but I haven’t had the opportunity to let him know how much I appreciate the great job he does, and how his child makes my days easy and enjoyable.

I plan on carrying this challenge out, for this week as well as my entire life. I pray that my eyes are not closed to the people around me and the opportunities I have to share the love of Jesus with everyone around me.

Do you want more information on the “Jesus Challenge 2013” or want to join me in this challenge to be more and more like Jesus? If so, follow this link to the Facebook page: Jesus Challenge 2013

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The Passing Shadows

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I absolutely love fantasy stories and movies.  Naturally, my favorite is the stories of Middle Earth by Tolkien.  I love the whole world he imagined and wrote about.  I also love how Peter Jackson brought that world to life.  It is such a great story of good vs. evil, but it is so much more than that.  


As a christian, I often feel like I am on a journey through Middle Earth, carrying the “Ring of Power” around my neck.  Sometimes, when I see all of the evil around me, I get discouraged and feel like there is no point in trying to make a difference.  I get bogged down and don’t want to continue my journey.  I think that is why the following scene in “The Two Towers” speaks so much to me.



Frodo has lost site of the goal.  He thinks he can no longer go on.  He feels the task is too hard for him.  Then Sam steps in, and reminds him what is at stake.  He reminds Frodo that the shadow is passing, and “A new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”  He redirects Frodo back to the goal of a new day that will come when evil is destroyed.  


As awesome as that is, my favorite part comes next, when Sam states his realization for why certain stories “stay with you.”  He said, “But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.  I know now.  Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.  They kept going because they were holding onto something.”  


Sometimes, we all need a Sam to remind us the shadows of life on this imperfect world will eventually pass.  Evil will be destroyed, the new heavens and the new earth will be, and the sun will “shine out all the clearer.”  But, for our story to mean something, we can’t give up and turn back.  We need to hold on to something to help keep us going. 


As I am writing this, an old folk song from India keeps playing in my head.  I’ve sung this song so many times, but it always reminds me, even in the darkest of days, that with Jesus, there is no turning back.  God doesn’t want me to turn back, just like He didn’t want the Israelites to turn back when they were in the wilderness.  Turning back is foolishness.  I need to put my hope in Him, and keep going.

I have decided to follow Jesus.  

I have decided to follow Jesus.  

I have decided to follow Jesus.  
No turning back.  No turning back.  
The world behind me; the cross before me.  
The world behind me; the cross before me.  
The world behind me; the cross before me.  
No turning back.  No turning back.  
Though none go with me, I still will follow.  
Though none go with me, I still will follow.  
Though none go with me, I still will follow.  
No turning back.  No turning back.  
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back.  No turning back.  


Pretty much the entire book of Hebrews is about not giving up and motivating each other to not turn back.  It’s about holding fast to the hope we have in Jesus, no matter what comes our way.  Don’t give up!  Keep going!  We have something to hold onto, because He is faithful until the very end.

Hebrews 10:19-25
English Standard Version (ESV)

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

He Never Disappoints

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Recently, I was disappointed.  I wasn’t disappointed in myself, although that happens quite often, but I was disappointed when something didn’t turn out the way I thought it should.  That got me to thinking.  


I started thinking about all of the things that have disappointed me.  Usually it’s something I have done or said that disappoints myself.  I know better, but I do or say it anyway.  It’s disappointing because I know I am better than whatever I did or said.  Therefor, I disappoint myself.  Sometimes it’s my job, or my friends.  Sometimes it’s my husband, or a certain situation.  Whatever or whoever does the disappointing, it never feels good.


My mind usually doesn’t stay in the same place for too awfully long.  I have all kinds of thoughts just racing around in there.  It’s unusual if there isn’t a million ideas trying to come out at once.  So after I thought about the things that disappoint me, I tried to think of things that do not disappoint me.  The one and only think I could think of was a given, but I never really realized it is the ONLY thing that doesn’t disappoint.  Kids, relationships, the Church, jobs, books, and movies, they all can disappoint you.  I could only come up with one thing that cannot and will not disappoint you. If you haven’t figured it out, I’ll make it easy: God.  


God never disappoints.  God NEVER disappoints.  That idea is so calming.  God never disappoints.  Even now, thinking about how perfectly true this is, I get a smile on my face.  No matter what is going on in my life or in the world around me, God will never disappoint me.  No matter how many problems are thrown in my path or how much I am hurt, God will never disappoint me.  


In the darkest times, He’s there lighting my way.  In the happy times, He’s there rejoicing with me.  In the sad times, He wipes the tears away.  He is always there to help me through whatever the situation.  He never disappoints.  In Him, there is no evil.  He doesn’t cause the bad things to happen.  He never disappoints.  Disappointment comes from some inadequacy, or failure.  He is perfect, never failing, all knowing, all powerful.  God will never disappoint.