Thursday, March 18, 2010


The other night during our crusade, Bro. Jack Daniels preached on the storms of life and it touched me. A few years ago, my family went through quite a storm (though I'd like to label it a category 5 hurricane). But in the midst of that on-going battle, though I had my "up" moments and my "down" moments, I found incredible strength in the promises of my Father. It's very easy for those of us who have been brought up in Church, to look at the Scriptures and simply believe that the promises of God are true. But I'm learning that it's when we are at a point in our life where those promises are all we have - it's THEN that we understand them more and see them for what they truly are. We, then, don't just believe they are true, we KNOW they are. We know because we see them and we feel them. Even when things don’t make sense, we're to hold onto the promises of Scripture. 

Hebrews 13:5 -
"...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Isaiah 45:2 -
"I will go before thee..."

Exodus 14:14 -
"The LORD shall fight for you...."

Deuteronomy 3:22 -
"Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you."

Deuteronomy 20:4 -
"For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."

Judges 6:16 -
"And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee..."

We so often ask "Why?" We long to know why "this and that" happens. We want answers and we want to see clearly but there are times when we must walk on in the face of the unexplained and incomprehensible. Some things will go unanswered until eternity. What I'm learning more each day is that I must trust Him. I must trust without hesitation, without reservation. I must trust Him implicitly and leave the “why” to His infinite wisdom. My wonderful Savior, who holds the universe in the palm of His hand, sees every tear, knows every fear, and - get this - HE CARES! What a marvelous God! :) He rides the winds and calms the storms. He holds all in his hands.

In life or in death...He is GOD and He is to be praised.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed,
and press for prayer that it may be removed;
if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment,
and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.
If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me...then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I ask to be delivered from trial rather than for deliverance out of it,
to the praise of His glory;
If I forget that the way of the cross leads to the cross and not to a bank of flowers;
If I regulate my life on these lines, or even unconsciously my thinking,
so that I am surprised when the way is rough and think it is
strange, though the word is, 'Think it not strange,' 'Count it all joy,'
Then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If my attitude be one of fear, not faith....then I know nothing of Calvary Love.
                                - Amy Carmichael

Genesis 28:15 -
"And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."

Matthew 28:20 -
"...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deny? Never. Burn Me Up!

This woman is one of my biggest heroes. Her story is one of many stories in Christian history that is a glorious testimony to the power of a consecrated life; a life yielded to our God. Taken from my upcoming book, I want to share her story with that you will burn for the name of Jesus Christ!

Maeyken Wens was a young woman who lived in the city of Antwerp in Belgium. She was the wife of a minister and mother of two sons. Known for her faithfulness and devout commitment to the Lord, she was loved by all and considered a God-fearing and pious woman of God. On a spring day in April, in 1573, Maeyken was taken and confined in the severest prison in the city. While in prison, she was pressed and demanded to apostatize her faith. She refused.

She wrote many letters in the following months.

In a letter to her husband, Mattheus, she wrote: We ought to thank the Lord in adversity as well as in that which is agreeable to the flesh; for if the Lord takes all from us, He takes from us no more than what He has lent us, for it belongs to us no longer….Oh that I could always thank the Lord as well when the flesh suffers adversity, as when it prospers - then we can thank the Lord indeed…

Truly the Lord has said, "He that does not forsake everything is not worthy of me;" for the Lord well knew that it would come hard to the flesh. But I hope that the Lord will also help me through even as He has helped many, and for which I can simply trust Him. Oh, how easy it is to be a Christian, so long as the flesh is not put to the trial, or nothing has to be relinquished; then it is an easy thing to be a Christian.

Through months of severe torture, she continued to remain steadfast and unmovable. Her faith did not falter throughout physical torments, and no matter how many tried to persuade her to renounce the name of Christ, she would not be swayed. After six months, her sentence finally came and she was to be burned at the stake in the public square of the prison. The execution was to be carried out within twenty-four hours.

Though trembling in the flesh, Maeyken was fearless in spirit. That night, she wrote a final farewell. To faithful friend and fellow Christian, she wrote: I do not have much, and hence I cannot give much. And now I can also not write much, because I have been sentenced; nevertheless I was so full of joy, that I should not be able to express it with the mouth, the Lord be forever praised for, the great grace He has shown me, who has feared so much. Oh, what a strong God we have, compared with what we see the wicked have. Oh, let us have good courage; we shall devour our enemies like bread.

To her eldest son, Adriaen, she wrote: Oh, regard not the great multitude, or the ancient custom, but look at the little flock, which is persecuted for the word of the Lord, for the good persecute none, but are persecuted.…My dear son, be not afraid of this suffering; it is nothing compared to that which shall endure forever. The Lord takes away all fear…

The following morning, she was brought out for her execution.

To prevent her from testifying to the crowd or singing songs of praise, her tongue was fastened to her palate with an iron screw. While the witnesses gathered, she was placed at the stake and then burned to ashes. Her son, Adriaen, was among the onlookers. However, he lost consciousness and remained on the ground until the execution had been carried out. When he awoke, he went to the place where his mother had been burnt and dug into the ashes until he found the screw which had held fastened his mother’s tongue shut. He kept it in remembrance of her.
Maeyken Wens was a true heroine and valiant servant of Jesus Christ. While most people would have tried every excuse to avoid such a horrific death, Maeyken did not flinch at the verdict. Though many would have begged for mercy, she did not. Her name lives on to this day.

It goes without saying that men and women like Maeyken Wens had tapped into a supernatural, unexplained power that transformed their very existence and shook the watching world. They were unmovable followers of Christ. In the midst of intense pain and torture, they fixed their focus upon the God they had forsaken all to serve. While we boast of our faithful attendance at Church, they risk everything simply by believing. While we shy away from persecution, they welcome it as a privilege. While we think of every plea bargain and loophole to prevent any discomfort, they stand firm upon the Word of God that says “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us

Monday, March 15, 2010

Missions Quotes

"'Not called!' did you say?
'Not heard the call,' I think you should say.

Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. — William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

Friday, my fiance' joined my uncle, my aunt, my cousin and a team from Branson, MO and flew to El Salvador where they will spend a week doing all they can to lead souls to Christ. And I say amen! My only problem is that I'm not walking the streets with them. But God wants me here and so I am content. But my thoughts and prayers are over there with them as they speak, preach, sing, and share the love of our great God.

All of us are commanded to GO! You may not be called to go work and serve in Africa, India, Haiti, China, or El Salvador, but you are told to GO! It could be your backyard; Your school, your home, your work, etc.  If you are unable, then send someone or pray for those who do. In some form or fashion, in some way - we are to reach people for Christ. I pray you will GO!

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light" — John Keith Falconer

"God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply" — Hudson Taylor

"God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him" — Hudson Taylor

"Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?" — William Carey

"The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become." — Henry Martyn, missionary to India and Persia

"We are debtors to every man to give him the gospel in the same measure in which we have received it" — P.F. Bresee, founder of the Church of the Nazarene

"In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been" — Robert Moffat, who inspired David Livingstone

"If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?" — David Livingstone

"Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us." — Keith Wright

"This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!" — Keith Green

"If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a king" — Jordan Grooms

"If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn't it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death." — Dave Davidson

"In our lifetime, wouldn't it be sad if we spent more time washing dishes or swatting flies or mowing the yard or watching television than praying for world missions?" — Dave Davidson

"People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives ... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted." — Nate Saint, missionary martyr

Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is — where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge." — Robert C. Shannon

"I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond!" — Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China and Thailand

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Am I Willing Enough?

You might say that lately I have been reevaluating, and soul searching; searching myself and my heart. Inner housecleaning, for lack of a better word. Things that should not be there need to be removed. I have been looking at everything in my life and asking myself if such-and-such is worth it, if "this" or "that" is important, etc.

Is this attitude of mine damaging my testimony or is this friendship Christ-centered?

If not, how can it be? What can I do for this person to spur them on to Godliness?

Is "this" desire MY desire for myself or GOD's desire for me? Is this hurting or distracting me away from my relationship with the Lord? Does this take too much of my time?

Am I compromising? Am I slipping into a mediocre version of Christianity that I, myself, have created?

Is my life built around Christ or am I trying to just fit Christ into my life? How far am I willing to go to be all the Lord wants of me?

Question after question....and it has brought me to here. :) A time of inner cleansing and thinking of how much more time I can spend growing in Christ, and of how much more I can do for the Kingdom of God. This poem, that I wrote a few years ago, has been on my heart for the past two days now. Since I am currently at a state of "questioning and soul searching" I have to say that this poem says what I'm at a loss for words to say, and the words below capture many of the questions, that we all need to ask ourselves every day.

Am I willing enough to serve my Lord
Though I may serve alone?
To choose the path of Christ
Forsaking all that I have known?

Am I reluctant to follow His words?
Am I ashamed to live as He?
Or have I chosen to be steadfast
And be all He desires of me?

Do I have within a faithful spirit -
One that believes with little doubt?
Will I blindly walk by faith,
No matter what may come about?

Do I posses a servant's heart
Or do I seek glory or fame?
Is my mind fastened upon God alone
Or set on some worldly aim?

Do my actions, thoughts, and deeds
Reflect what He has placed inside?
Am I living a life that is set apart
Or one that is ruled by pride?

Am I a vessel God can use
To do with as He sees fit?
Or do I run and reject His call?
Do I refuse to yield and submit?

Am I willing enough to serve my Lord?
Am I bold enough to be
That which my Eternal God
Desires of me?

© Kristen Lisemby 2005

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Commitment of a Christian

I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed.

I have Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, back away or be still.

I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, promotions, positions, possessions or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence and labor by His love. My past is forgiven, my future is secure, my face is set, my goal is heaven, the road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, but my Guide is reliable and mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I will not shut up or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and preached up for the cause of Jesus Christ. I must go tell till He comes, work till I drop and give till He stops me. And when Jesus comes for His own He will have no problem recognizing me in a crowd; for my banner will be clear!!

             - Unknown

Don't Wait! Go!

Psalm 82:3-4
"Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked."

Luke 10:33, 37b
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him....Go, and do thou likewise."

John 20:21
"Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Make The Choice

This devotional I read not long ago was so inspiring and encouraging to me that I had to pass it along.

Joshua 24:15
"...Choose you this day whom ye will serve;..."

We cannot travel east and west at the same time. We cannot in the same movement clothe appropriately for the Arctic regions and the tropics. We must make our choice and ignore either the one or the other. We cannot be both refined and the vulgar. We cannot be pure and impure. We cannot move horizontally and vertically in the same movement, onward in the companionship of the world, and upward in the companionship of the Lord.

We too commonly believe that we can have two masters, and that it is possible to render service to both. We split up our life, and divide our inheritance. We give a portion to Mammon and a portion to God. I have seen a shopkeeper selling his goods on the Sabbath, and paying his respects to the Lord by retaining one shutter on the window! That one-shutter expedient is very common in other concerns besides Sunday trading. A woman lives a worldly life and wears a crucifix. A man makes money as he pleases but never misses the sacrament. The home never hears the sound of worship, but the family Bible is always on the table by the window.
"No man can serve two masters." The Lord demands our all.

Abraham Lincoln once pointed out that no nation could endure half slave and half free. This truth applies to individuals no less than to nations.

He who pursues two hares will catch neither. - Indian Proverb

Profound and true!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Want To Disappear

On a day like this, I want to crawl beneath a rock
A million miles from the world, the noise, the commotion
That never seems to stop
On a day like this, I want to run from the routine
Run away from the daily grind
That can such the life right out of me
I only know of one place I can run to...

And I want to hide in You, the way, the life, the truth
So I can disappear
And love is all there is to see coming out of me
And You become clear, as I disappear

I don't want to care about earthly things
Be caught up in all the lies that trick my eyes
They say it's all about me
I'm so tired of it being about me...

And I want to hide in You, the way, the life, the truth
So I can disappear
And love is all there is to see coming out of me
And You become clear, as I disappear

I would rather be cast away
Separated from the human race
If I don't bring You glory
If I don't bring You glory

For the past month or so, God has placed in my path more subtle messages on this one reminder - it's NOT about me! (I know what you're thinking, "Oooh, touchy!") So many of us, myself included, would love to stand up and say with an ultra-confident smile, "Well! I'm glad I'm not one of those people who think only of themselves." Hmmm.... we're so blind sometimes. I know I am.

Getting out of the "it's ALL about me" attitude is harder than you think. It is a daily dying to self choice. It is a daily surrendering. It is a daily yielding of one's being to Christ. And it's hard to do because our flesh screams "NO!!!!" at the very thought of giving up control of anything in our lives.

Our human flesh has a tendancy to be completely self absorbed. We have the natural flare of the dramatic when it comes to Christ living and working through us. We try to think of every loophole and plea bargain just to remain in control of ourselves. But we forget that Christ did not save us ONLY for us to enter into Heaven. He also came and died so He could live His life THROUGH YOU! Why is it that so many of us think that by saying yes to Jesus once, that gives us the green light to say yes to the world and to ourselves for the rest of our lives? Why is it that so many of us assume that because we live good lives of integrity and somewhat high morals, that makes us somehow superior? Why is it that we have no concept of "dying to self"? Why is it that so many of us give no thought to the people around us who are dying lost, without hope....without Jesus?

We can come up with some "great" excuses:

So-and-so's spiritual condition is none of MY business!

Everybody makes their own choices, I made mine. If they want to die lost, it doesn't hurt me.

I don't want to push them away.

Well, that's not my calling. I'm no preacher, you know.

On and on it goes. My friend, it IS our business. As a Christian, we are ambassadors of the Most High God and King, and it is our job to see to it that everybody we know is a Christian. If they are, we should edify and encourage them in their walk! If they are not, then it should be a priority to do everything in your power to lead them to Christ. It should burden our hearts if someone we know is not in the fold. It should hurt you. It should concern you. If it doesn't, then something is wrong. I used to be afraid of pushing people away until I realized that you can't push them any farther away from God than they already are right now. We should not be Christians who say we are living for Christ, but rarely say a word about Him in our day-to-day conversations. Let us not be Christians who care only about our own lives, think about our own comfort, our own safety, our own success, our own image, our own wealth, or our own needs (or wants). Let us DIE! Let us crucify our flesh. Let us run a million miles away from everything distracting. Let us run away from routine, from mediocrity, from monotonous, dullness, from the watered-down, modern day Christianity that we somehow have gotten used to. And there's only one place to go - into the cleft of the Rock of Ages, which is Christ. I want to hide in Him because it is in Him that everything becomes clear...our purpose, our reason for existence, our path, our strength - EVERYTHING.

And the more we hide in Him, the more WE disappear.

John 3:30
"He must increase, but I must decrease."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

5 Ways To Get Closer To God

"Five Ways to Get Closer to God" by Rebecca St. James


“That’s our instruction Book for life, His Love Letter to us,” Rebecca says. “Every day when we’re on the tour we have devotions. It’s a challenge to find time to be in the Bible, but it is a very big deal to me. So every day, whether it be backstage before I go on, in the motor home on the way to a concert, or here in the hotel room I set aside the time to feed my soul with God’s Word.”
“If we’re committed to living God’s way,” Rebecca continues, “we’ve got to be digging in the Bible, because otherwise we don’t know how to live.” God’s Word can change your life!


“Never stop praying,” Rebecca emphasizes. “Realize the awesome fact that we get to talk to the Creator of the world! You know, that He listens to us and He speaks to us, and that prayer is a massively powerful thing.” Prayer is a huge part of Rebecca’s life, the easiest of the five steps for her. “I pray before everything: interviews, going on stage, writing, entering the studio, everything. And I always pray at the beginning of the day to commit the day to God. I try to be conscious of Him and offer up prayers, praises, or prayers for other people throughout the day.”
Rebecca and her family have seen amazing miracles happen through their prayers since coming to America from Australia in 1991. “I’ve seen how powerful God is,” she says, her voice filled with awe. Believing prayer should be a non-stop thing, she explains, “We must foster a lifestyle which encourages praying continually for other people, and praying that we’ll have Jesus’ heart and Jesus’ attitude. Continually keeping that line of communication open. Being more God conscious than self conscious. We need to keep that conversation going.”


“We can’t stand alone,” Rebecca says. “We need people in our lives who are going to challenge us and ask us how our walk with God is going.” On the road for weeks at a time, she keeps in touch with a few close Christian friends by e-mail or phone. Like Karleen, her friend back home in Nashville. “It’s so cool,” Rebecca shares, “She’ll talk about something God’s doing in her life, and I’ll talk about something He’s doing in mine. And there’s encouragement and accountability in that relationship. We’ll pray together and talk about different things. I always have a friend on the road with me, too. God is really showing me that I need that.

Rebecca also travels with her parents, siblings, and various cousins when she’s on the road. “My relationship with my parents is wonderful; there’s such a friendship there,” Rebecca says warmly. “I feel like I can talk about anything with my parents. Especially my mom. My mom and I are really close. And my dad too, but it’s a different relationship with Dad. Just a wonderful relationship with both of them. We talk about a lot of different stuff; we can really open up. They give me advice and wisdom. Without my family I would just go crazy!”
Rebecca talks about the importance of having close Christian friends in her song “Side by Side” (the remix version): Friendship is just a massive thing, because you need those people around you. Especially in today’s age to keep you accountable, to lead people, to be there, to lift you up in prayer. We can stand together. We are our brother’s keeper. *


Watch what you feed your soul. “If there are things we’re watching, reading, or listening to, putting in our minds that we know God doesn’t want, we’ve got to get rid of them,” Rebecca warns. “We can’t let them hang around or they’ll hurt our relationship with God.” Rebecca doesn’t buy secular music or go to secular concerts. "I want to fill my mind with things that are going to help me. That’s why I listen to Christian music.”
Music isn’t the only junk we have to watch out for. Rebecca goes on to say, “I heard once that Billy Graham was asked if he could do anything over again in his life, what would it be? He said he would watch less television. And that’s Billy Graham!” Rebecca laughs. “So I just think we can live without television. There’s always something else we can do that would be more encouraging for ourselves or other people.”


Find a Bible based church where you’ll grow and get fed spiritually. “For us it is a challenge to get to church because we’re out on the road so much,” Rebecca laments. “But when we’re home we definitely go out of our way to be in church. Sometimes we’ll be on one side of America Saturday, and we’ll catch the midnight flight, or the five or six AM flight, on Sunday morning to get back for church. It’s a real important thing for us.”

Rebecca and her crew occasionally attend a local church in whatever town they’re performing. Other Sundays they have their own church services, since their team consists of as many as 24 people.

Being in fellowship is a great way to learn to share God’s light and His Love with the people around you. So, if you’re tired of the ups and downs of your spiritual life, and you want a deeper Christian walk, take Rebecca’s advice: “The Christian life might not be the easiest one, but it’s the best one. It’s the most wonderful one. And it only gets better as we daily pursue God with a passion. God will use us to make a difference.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

What Kind of Christian Am I?

A Sudanese Christian boy has his knees and feet nailed to a board and he is left to die. When rescued he says he forgives the man who did this because Jesus was also nailed and forgave him.

A Vietnamese pastor is sentenced to two years in prison. When he is offered an early release, he declines stating that he has a group of new Believers in the prison he has to disciple.

A Colombian missionary is kidnapped and told she only has two hours to live. She tells her captors that if she only has two hours to live, she wants to spend it telling them about Jesus.

The persecution of Christians around the world is a tragic reality. Our brothers and sisters are beaten and tortured simply for their faith in Jesus Christ. And some pay with the ultimate price. However, in the midst of this persecution is some of the courageous stories of faith.


This brief "article" mixed with over an hour of surfing the World Changers website last night has me asking this question:

What kind of Christian am I?

Am I a Sunday-morning Christian? Am I a Churchgoing, good person Christian? Am I a "I don't all those really bad things" Christian? Am I a Christian only by my words...and not my actions? Or am I a sold-out, unmovable, God-seeking, God-fearing, bold and committed Christian? One who lives for God alone; One who lives for His applause only, not the applause, praise, admiration, or acceptance of other people; A Christian who knows his/her place and gets IN it. Am I a devoted Christian? A disciplined Christian? A Christian who will not be shaken, moved or swayed by the world's loud appeals?

What kind of Christian am I?

Reading the above, I almost cried thinking, Goodness, do I have the kind of Godly, selfless love in me where I would instantly forgive someone who nailed my knees and feet to a board?

Do I have the kind of Christlike mindset where I would forsake the comfort of an early release, choosing to stay longer in a prison so as to lead more souls closer to Jesus?

Do I have the kind of unwavering faith in me, where when I am to die in two hours, my only thoughts are those of my captors' lost souls?

I'd like to stand up, raise my hand, and shout YES I DO! with a very big grin. But I don't think I do. I'm almost ashamed to say that if I had my feet and knees nailed to a board, I would be angry at my enemy, and would probably be filled with bitterness. If I was put in prison for my faith, then offered an early release, I would probably take it immediately and not give one thought of staying to disciple those in my cell. If I was kidnapped and told I would be killed in two hours, I would probably spend those two hours shaking with fear and praying to be delivered from such a fate! I would probably wonder why such things would fall upon me. I would probably wonder what I did to "deserve" such horrible treatment. I would probably doubt God. I would, more than likely, question His ways of running things. I may even doubt His love. I'm not sure what exactly I would do, how I would be or what I would think, but I'm afraid I may succumb to such selfish thinking. And I wonder, HOW could I think of myself? How could my thoughts be on me and my comfort INSTEAD of on the souls around me who are on their way to hell? Instead of on Jesus???

How could I even be so haughty and foolish to think and believe that I deserve better?! My goodness....did not nearly all the great followers of Jesus die horrible deaths? Flayed? Sawed in half? Crucified? Crucified upside down? Beaten? Stoned? Beheaded? Burned? Bound in chains and thrown into the sea?

And I dare to say I don't deserve persecution! I dare to say I don't deserve to live and/or die in "this" or "that" way.

God help me.....

I've read stories of Christian men and women around the world who were attacked, speared, forced to watch their families murdered in front of them, burned alive, raped, tortured, humiliated and viciously killed.

Here I am, in an air conditioned building. I have clothes and shoes. I spent an hour getting ready this morning (complete with shampoo, conditioner, makeup, hair gel, blowdryer, and perfume). I have plenty to eat! I can drive to my destinations. I can go to Church whenever I want and not have to wonder if I will be caught and killed for it. I am free. I can sing a gospel song loudly outside or leave my Bible in plain view in the car. I have friends. I have a wonderful family. I have a TV, a stereo, an iPod, a phone, a camera, a laptop, etc. I have so many "luxuries" and so many blessings....maybe too many. And yet, I sometimes complain about my persecution. Someone hurt my feelings. Someone spread rumors about me. Someone doesn't like me. Ah me, I am persecuted!

*shakes head*

Although, it IS a form of persecution, it can't come close to the unimaginable horrors that Godly men and women - both young and old - are undergoing every day all around the world. And yet....when they are being beaten, burned, stoned, hanged or nailed to boards, they don't complain! Rather, they rejoice that they are counted worthy of such an honor! To be hurt and hated and despised....was not Christ? And they praise God for letting them be worthy enough to share such pain. They don't complain. They don't try to get even. They react in selfless love. They pray for their enemies. They pray for those that "despitefully use them" and they reach out to them, even when they are about to die.

What kind of Christian am I?

Am I bold about my faith? Do I put my God before ALL ELSE? Do my actions back up my words? Do I have a heavy burden for my friends, my coworkers, my family members - total strangers! - who are lost? Do I cry for them? Am I saddened when a Christian isn't living as he/she should? Am I brokenhearted when a lost person dies? Does any of it affect me at all? Do I have a desire to be close to God always? Am I ever satisfied with where I am in my walk, thinking I don't need to be any better? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to be the Christian God wants me to be? Am I willing to step out of my comfort zone and forget about everything except what Christ wants of me?

Am I willing to die for my Savior?
I would say yes, I am.

BUT, the bigger question is this:

Am I willing to LIVE for Him?

Not with words alone. Not with Church membership or Church attendance. Not with good intentions. But with the same passion as the greats. The same selfless love. The same perspective. The same mindset.

What kind of Christian am I? What kind of Christian are you?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Love is...Christ is...Am I?

At a Bible Study last year, one of the men of our Church brought out a very interesting view of 1 Corinthians 13 – “The Love Chapter” as it is most commonly referred to. He said, “anytime you see the word love or charity, place Christ’s name there and read through it again. After you finish, place your own name in the place of love.” It struck a chord with me and reminded me of Amy Carmichael’s “Calvary Love” quotations. We are to love with the same love as Jesus Himself. We are to live as He lived, talk as He talked, go as He went, and love as He loves.

Let us love….

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:

Love is patient. Christ is patient. …Am I patient?

Love is kind. Christ is kind. …Am I kind?

Love does not envy. Christ does not envy. …Do I envy?

Love is not proud. Christ is not proud. …Am I proud?

Love is not arrogant. Christ is not arrogant. …Am I arrogant?

Love is not hateful. Christ is not hateful. …Am I hateful?

Love is not selfish. Christ is not selfish. …Am I selfish?

Love is not easily angered. Christ is not easily angered. …Am I easily angered?

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Christ does not keep a record of wrongs. …Do I keep a record of wrong?

Love finds no joy in sin. Christ finds no joy in sin. …Do I find joy in sin?

Love delights in the truth. Christ delights in the truth. …Do I delight in the truth?

Love can bear anything. Christ can bear anything. …Can I bear anything?

Love never loses faith. Christ never loses faith. …Do I lose faith?

Love is always hopeful. Christ is always hopeful. …Am I always hopeful?

Love endures all things. Christ endures all things. …Do I endure all things?

Love never fails. Christ never fails. …Do I fail?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.
– From The Message Bible

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].– From The Amplified Bible

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