Who Will Rescue Me?

There’s got to be more than this.  

It was an ordinary day about two years ago when this thought floated through my mind. I knew Jesus promised life to the full, but I wasn’t sure I was living it. Life was good by all earthly measures. We were in a sweet season in our marriage, our little family was growing and God was opening new doors. I knew I was His and my eternity secured. Yet, something deep inside insisted there was more life to be experienced.

At the time I was completely unaware of my own pattern of striving and hiding, and blind to the fear that fueled it. I was too busy living my life to deeply examine it. In the thick of striving and hiding, I was even doing what I thought was God’s will.

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Throw Your Hands Up in the Air

Get Into the Word: Hebrews 4:12-16


"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

 

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

 

Do you love God more than you did yesterday?

 

This question bothered me for the longest time because for the longest time, my answer was no.

 

Is it possible to love God more today than yesterday?

 

This past summer, Mike and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. I loved him the day we said I do, and I love him more today. After being his beloved wife for a decade, I better understand the pain he’s known, the battles he’s faced and the obstacles he’s overcome. I know the selfishness in me and the fear I’ve acted out of. And when I see how he loves me against the backdrop of these truths, I cannot help but love him more.

 

How do we do the same in our relationship with God? As we live a lifestyle of surrender.

 

When we allow God to reveal to us the depth of our sinfulness— which might be a shock to us, but never to Him, and with everything laid bare, we believe Jesus’ answers to our questions: Am I loved? Am I valuable? Am I enough? Uncovered, we believe Him.

 

Uncovered was admitting I would never reach the elusive mountaintop of enough with only my foothold loose gravel.

Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. We don’t need to worry about being uncovered; we simply need to acknowledge that before God we already are. We can live uncovered before God because we are clothed by Christ

God, who proved His love for us by sending Jesus while we were spiritually dead in the water, doesn’t need our attempts to prove we are worthy. Perhaps we could simply believe that in Christ we are proven.

We can be honest about what we’re afraid of, what we don’t want to face and how we’ve been trying to make it go away. And in that moment of being broken and bare, we ask Him to plant His truth in the wide open soil of our hearts where He can take root and bear fruit.

I do love God more today, not because He has changed; He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Now I realize I am not only saved by grace, but I only live by grace. It’s the springboard and the swimming pool.

And because of this, I have nothing to prove, and nothing to hide. I can live surrendered.

 

Talk to God:

 

HE: What truth will you declare about His name, His kingdom and His will?

 

ME: What will you ask Him to give, forgive and deliver you from?

 

WE:  What do you want Him to empty you of and fill you with His Spirit for?


Join the Conversation:

What does surrender offer that striving and hiding doesn’t?

That Thing You Do

It was a regular morning walk on a familiar path when a friend casually asked, “Why do you always do so much?” The question caught me off guard and within seconds I realized didn’t know the answer. I always assumed “doing so much” was to be celebrated. I had never stopped to consider what force was driving me.

Have you ever wondered why you do that thing you do?

There is a pattern to the way we respond to the fear that presses on our hearts. There are patterns in the way we answer questions about our worth, ability and significance, and in the way we respond to worry, stress, conflict, boredom and feeling overwhelmed.

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Since We're Broken

Why are you always trying to fix us? We’re fine.

These were my husband’s words in our first year of marriage, expressing his exasperation with my constant attempts to make our marriage better. I feared failure like the plague. For me, failure included not reaching my (and our) potential, and not putting forth my very best effort. Fear fueled my fixing.

I failed to realize God was after healing my heart, not simply fixing my behaviour.  

I didn’t know how to let Jesus heal. I was busy being my own Bob the Builder— Can we fix it? Yes we can! The irony and hypocrisy is that I, too, hate when I feel someone is trying to fix me. It’s nails on the blackboard of my soul. I don’t want to be fixed, I want my need to be felt.

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Broken Beyond Repair

When my son was only a few weeks old, eczema surfaced on his once smooth, soft, perfect skin. Everyone had a quick fix. We tried many products and solutions. For a short while, symptoms would appear to improve but then without fail, they’d return.

I wasn’t interested in simply symptom management so I kept asking, seeking and knocking. I found a doctor whose approach was different. He suggested the eczema was a symptom of a disturbance beneath the surface. After testing, he was able to pinpoint food sensitivities that were interfering with my son’s immune system, wreaking havoc on other systems.

It was more than a surface problem needing fixing, it was a condition needing healing. As he healed, the symptoms disappeared.

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It's Not What You Think [What is the Bible really about?]

What is the Bible about? Loaded question, I know. Can you answer it in one sentence?

 

If we know what the Bible is about, we know what God is about. And once we know a person, we then determine if we can trust them.

 

Over the years my answers have been all over. For a long time, the Bible was about how I was supposed to live and a constant reminder of how I didn’t measure up. My head knew it was good news but my heart didn’t quite feel the same. I was overwhelmed by guilt knowing I did not reach its impossibly high standard. But I’m hard-wired to strive, so I kept trying.

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Why We'd Rather Watch Netflix

Have you ever felt turned around or confused while reading the Bible?

Me too. I’ve skimmed over names I can’t pronounce. I’ve finished entire chunks without a clue as to what I just read. I’ve felt like one truth contradicted another.

Perhaps somewhere along the way we believed asking questions was stupid instead of smart. So instead of asking, we slam the cover closed, shelve the Bible, and go find something we can succeed at, like watching Netflix.

But then Netflix asks if we’re still there and we feel even less alive and satisfied than when we started. Why?

Nothing else can bring us to life other than Life Himself. Jesus says He is Life and His Words are Spirit and life to us.

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Lego & Learning God's Word [When opening your Bible isn't what you expected]

Lego & Learning God's Word [When opening your Bible isn't what you expected]

y four-year-old excitedly opened the box containing his new birthday present — a Lego set. His expression gave away his disappointment with the 144 individual pieces laying in front of him. He pointed to the picture on the box wanting to know where "that toy" was. 

Perhaps you've opened your own Bible and felt more like you're sitting amongst 144 individual pieces rather than "that toy." 

Thanks to technology, we have unprecedented access to the best Biblical teaching through videos, podcasts, and blogs. We get to see and hear a lot of "that toy" but find ourselves frustrated and overwhelmed amongst the individual Lego blocks we come across in our own reading of Scripture.

We have the privilege of receiving what someone else has taken the time to unpack and put back together. What we don't see is their long-time journey with the Word and their own struggle to understand, interpret and apply it. Even the most gifted teacher started with pieces and a set of instructions. 

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Say What? [Spiritual Cutlery: Interpretation]

Say What? [Spiritual Cutlery: Interpretation]

My 20-month old little man is exploding with attempts at communication. 

Some are simple to understand like "wuf" (I see a dog), "dada Acco" (daddy's at work), and "ma" (more), while others require more skill in the interpretive department. 

At mealtimes, he often makes a panting sound like that of a desperately dehydrated out-of-shape person exercising. I've had people look at me strangely, back to the little panting one, and then ask, "Is he okay?" 

I laugh and nod. "That means he wants a drink of water." 

Likewise, when studying Scripture, some passages can be a bit more straightforward when it comes to interpreting. For example, at first glance, "Be kind to one another," (Eph. 4:32) seems simpler to interpret than why 70,000 men died because King David ordered a census (2 Sam. 24:1-25). 

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Is the Bible too hard to understand and too difficult to live out?

Is the Bible too hard to understand and too difficult to live out?

My littlest man has been feeding himself since he was coordinated enough to get a fist full of food in the general vicinity of his mouth.

Recently, he was getting his hanger (hunger/anger) on, so I quickly buckled him into the seat and warmed up his lunch.

My friend scooped up a bite with his spoon and looked at me with surprise and confusion when he objected by turning his face away and pursing his lips closed. 

He wants to do it himself, I told her. 

She put his spoon down and only seconds later, he picked it up and happily shovelled his food into his mouth. He's my littlest big boy.

Recently, women I walk with have confessed to me that they don't know how to study the Word for themselves. This past weekend, we attended a conference together where quite literally, ever single session boiled down to, you need to be in the Word.

They know they need to; but they don't know how.

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C U L T I V A T E : preparing our hearts for Him

C U L T I V A T E  : preparing our hearts for Him

She threw her head back and laughed, then shaking her head, said,  “Mommy, it is God who makes me grow.”

These were the words of wisdom from my 3-year-old daughter when I asked her if she could stop growing up so fast. She already understood that growth was not of human hands. Silly me. 

Yes, God makes her grow. But would she grow and develop as intended if she lacked proper nourishment for her mind, body, and soul? The answer is obvious.

Yes, growth happens naturally, but she will not reach her potential without intentional nurture.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wrestled with what is within the realm of my responsibility for spiritual growth, and what am I to relinquish to God? Essentially, what is my job and what is His?

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The Secret Sauce {The "How" of Bite-Size Bible Study}

The Secret Sauce {The "How" of Bite-Size Bible Study}

“I’m actually looking forward to this,” he said as we drove toward the mountains.

I tried to conceal my excitement.

Of course we always look forward to a weekend away in the mountains, but what he was referring to this time was Family Life’s “Marriage Weekend Getaway” – a marriage conference, complete with all the feels.

After a decade of marriage, it was the first time the words looking forward could be used in the same sentence as “Mike” and “marriage conference.” And it did not disappoint.

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Special Announcement: Brownies & Bible Study

Special Announcement: Brownies & Bible Study

Have you ever ordered the White Chocolate Brownie on Moxie’s dessert menu?

Picture an immense, warm white chocolate brownie hidden beneath two generous scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream, covered by swirls of whipped cream and trails of chocolate sauce. It’s as decadent as it sounds.

Bible study can be a bit like this brownie. We desire Truth and we know we need it, so we order up a Bible study with a dollop of enthusiasm and a drizzle of good intentions. At some point, we find ourselves overwhelmed and we inevitably fall behind.

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Slow Cooker Summer

Slow Cooker Summer

Summer is a wonderful break in our regular rhythms. It is more relaxed and often spontaneous. For me less structure, can also mean less spiritual food if I'm not intentional. There is often a break in face to face Bible study which leaves a great opportunity for an online Bible study. I know summer is BBQ not slow cooker season, but when it comes to being with God in His Word, it's the long term committment, the slow cooker approach, that will shape us. 

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Our Need, God's Want: Mercy & Grace

Our Need, God's Want: Mercy & Grace

Have you ever thought God is sitting on the throne waiting to pounce and punish? It’s our natural tendency to think we’re going to get what we deserve. But the truth is, we don’t get what we deserve because Jesus already did. This is the great scandal of the gospel. God being rich in mercy withheld his wrath from us, and unleashed it on His perfectly holy Son on the cross in our place. It’s not fair. Jesus lived the life we should’ve lived, and died the death we deserved to die. I don’t think we’re able to fully fathom what we deserve because of our sin. In four short verses Paul manages to drive this point home with three mentions of the word grace. In case we still haven’t quite got it, Paul specifies this is not your own doing. Then again, says it’s a gift and then one more time for good measure, states it is not a result of works. Clearly, he was trying to drive home a point.

Why is it so important that we understand this grace gift?  

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Putting Him on Display

The Christmas my daughter was two, she was very into learning Carols. She was also at the age where she often asked probing questions. One day she was belting out Hark the Herald Angels Sing and she sang, “G’ ory to the newbown kin.” She then paused, looked at me and asked, “Mummy, what’s g’ory ”? 
 
In this instance it seemed inappropriate to say, hold on while I get out my Greek lexicon and exegete the meaning of this word for you. I paused, trying to think of how I could communicate this magnificent concept in toddler terms. All I could manage was, “It means… to recognize God for who He is.” She nodded and continued on with her caroling. 


As I read in this first chapter of Ephesians that all we’ve been given might be to the praise of His glory I looked at the definition:


Glory: The appearance of a person or thing which catches the eye or attracts attention, commanding recognition, looking like something; Equivalent to splendor, brilliance, attracting the gaze which makes it strong; 
 
Our lives are to catch the eye, attract attention, command recognition because we look like something.

Better yet, we look like Someone.

We weren’t chosen because our resumes would make good poster girls for Christianity. But I’ve concluded that we are intended to be poster girls for His glory because our lives are meant to put Him on display so He can be seen for who He is.  

When our identities are determined by our belief in Jesus, when we live securely with the seal and promise of the Holy Spirit, when we continually seek God because we know there is always more to Him than we currently know or have experienced, we put Him on display. Our lives are lived to the praise of His glory. Others will see and know of the forgiveness, redemption and hope that is available. 

This excerpt is taken from Walk in Love Through Ephesians. To sign up for this Bible study, or to learn more, click HERE.

Redefined.

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:1-14 (ESV)

The spiritual blessings we have received are better than any earthly gift we could ever ask for. God has the final say over who we are. He gives us what we need to be alive, now and forever. We have the opportunity to live life abundantly and we don’t need to wait for heaven for it to unfold.  


He chose you. He went looking for you when you weren’t looking for Him. He initiated work in your life because He wanted you. Not because you were a solid draft pick, or a good poster girl, but because of His great love. He chose you with good purpose. He set you aside for a particular purpose: to be holy and blameless, meaning, to be set apart and significant and free from anything that would make you unacceptable before Him. He adopted you. He decided ahead of time you’d be His. He planned on giving you a position of dignity as His child despite the fact that you didn’t naturally belong.  


You are redeemed and forgiven. That means you are never too far out of His reach. He’s never ready to write you off or surprised by your behaviour. When He chose you, He knew everything there was to know about you. Nothing that you’ve done can’t be woven into the masterpiece of your life by the master Artist Himself.  Sometimes we just want to forget the past and not dig into it or seek healing. However, God can redeem in the present, something that has happened in the past, and use it in the future if we will allow Him to do His work.  


Redemption and forgiveness are not rationed out to us. We have been given them according to the riches of His grace. As in, more abundantly than abundant bacon! There was no running out at that buffet and we will never exhaust God’s ability to redeem and forgive.  
We don’t have to guess what His big plan is. He clearly reveals it to us: “ To unite all things to Him. ” His plan was always to bring us home. And He went to serious lengths to make this possible: the Cross.  


Please don’t miss how this was made possible. Several times in this first chapter you have seen the phrases, “through Jesus” and “in Christ.” Our identity was sealed with the Holy Spirit the moment we heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, and believed in Jesus.  
When we are looking at earthly circumstances through an earthly perspective, it’s easy to fall into the temptation to believe there is much we haven’t received. It’s easy to think we are somehow lacking and good things have been withheld from us.  


But when we start to understand we are not merely physical beings but we live within an invisible but very real spiritual reality, we see that everything we would ever need has already been provided.  

What's your story? 

When did you first hear the gospel and believe in Jesus? What are your memories surrounding the moment that identity change took place. What changed that day? 

What hindrances stand between you and believing and living as though you have every spiritual blessing?   

Tony Evans describes faith this way: “Acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so.”  What would change in your present circumstances if you were to live in a way that reflects the truth of these realities? 

Currently, what spiritual blessings are you most grateful for and why? 

 Share a response in the comment box below!

This excerpt is taken from Walk in Love Through Ephesians. To sign up for this Bible study, or to learn more, click HERE.
 

My "Unanswered" Prayer of Faith

When my dad was sick, at times I thought, if we just pray with enough faith he will be healed of ALS. God could have instantly healed my dad physically but He chose not to on this side of heaven. This was the beginning of God opening up my spiritual eyes to what it means to have faith and what it means to be really be healed.

I thought praying in faith meant putting forth as much hope and belief as I could muster up into my solution to a problem. If I could muster up enough faith then maybe God would answer. God wasn’t limited to just physical healing and He certainly wasn’t limited by my short-sightedness. 

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