"We have found the opportunity through Inspiration Ministries to express not just our feelings but also the words that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts to share with others. I see I.M. as a channel of communication between the church...read more
June, Issue 3
F ear not, for I am with you;F ear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I w ill help you, I will uphold you with my r ighteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10Download
Letter from the Editor
This is mythird fourth fifth start at writing this letter. So much for “third time’s the charm!” I reread the first two articles I’ve written this year, and I’m baffled at what was on those pages. I remember writing them, but I don’t remember writing them. I wonder what was different in my life then compared to now. What made it so easy for me to write about the hope we have in Christ; God’s faithfulness to His children; the unending love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness we find in a relationship with God; the extraordinary move of the Holy Spirit in and through us as daughters of God? More realistically, what is making is so difficult to write about those things now? The truth is that I’m probably not where I should/could be. I’m not doing the things God wants me to be doing – praying, reading the Bible, fellowshipping with other believers. I have become complacent – somewhere I often found myself while growing up, just going through the religious motions. But it’s not where I want to be. And it’s not where God wants me to be. He wants me to be chasing after Him. To be pursuing His heart and His will. He wants to me to love and honor and serve Him. He wants me. He wants me for who I am, the good and bad. He wants me, with all my sin and baggage and lack of motivation. He wants me to take a step of faith. He wants me to act on the love He has bestowed on me, and the grace He has bestowed on my life. Just as He wants all the same for you.
When I first sat down to put this all together, I had no idea what I was going to write. I didn’t necessarily feel like I was in the right “place” to be encouraging or inspiring or hopeful or anything else. That’s why it has taken as many tries as it has. God has interesting ways of calling me out of denial. This is one way.
And if all that wasn’t real, I don’t know what is! One thing you can always expect from me is real. Real honesty. Real brokenness. Real struggles. Real salvation by the blood of Jesus. Real emotion. Real everything. Real. I don’t want to seem like a hot mess of a person, because that’s really not the case. However, know that I’m not sitting on my high-horse of judgement thinking I’ve “arrived,” either. I’m not perfect. Even as a woman living for Christ for the past several years, I still struggle and live moment to moment sometimes. I still need the reminder that I am called to be different, a peculiar person. I am called to love God first, and to also love others. I am called to be intentional with my talents, gifts, and life.
One of the things that is consistent in my life is music. If you come into my office at any given moment, I will have music playing. It makes it easier for me to block out the unnecessary noises, thoughts, and lies in my life, and to funnel in positive, truth-filled words to encourage my spirit. So as I was sitting at my computer trying to figure out what the Holy Spirit wants me to write this month, this song came on called “Keeping Score” by Francesca Battistelli. Here are some of the lyrics: lyrics: “I know you're thinking that you've finally gone too far / And you're certain He'll be closing the door / But you've gotta believe the things you've done aren't beyond His love / He's not keeping score / If His love is big enough to move any mountain / His love is big enough for you, just accept it.”
I’m so glad God doesn’t keep score. He doesn’t keep a record of my wrongs. He doesn’t remind me of my life before I chose to live a life that glorifies Him, that exemplifies Christ, or even times when I did something not so Christ-like since then. God is not a God of malice or guilt or shame, but a God of love and forgiveness and transformation. We have the opportunity, through the blood of Jesus Christ, to be new creatures! We have the opportunity to move past our previous lives, forgetting who we were and what we did and said, and move forward to the life God has for us as His beloved daughters, focusing on our future.
God has blessed Andy and me with a friend who reminds us that we are NOT who we used to be. He sent this to us recently in an email: “We are who God says we are and nothing else. We are not the sum of our mistakes, we’re not recovering addicts, we are not murderers, liars, cheaters, etc. We are BRAND NEW. We do not bear any label, good or bad, anyone would try to put on us. We are brand new creations who are more precious to our Father than we will ever know. So precious that Jesus would rather die for us than live without us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” We need to be intentional about acknowledging, believing, and putting our confidence in who God says we are. We have value only because He gives us value.”
This value described above is for anyone who is willing to submit themselves to the Lord; to take a hold of salvation through Christ; to live a life of devotion to the One True King. This value isn’t something we lose or gain based on our “relationship status” (which is probably labeled “Complicated” for many of us) with God throughout our life. Once a child of God, always a child of God. But I imagine you will feel, as I do, less “valuable” when your life is just “fine.” Not bad, not good. It just is. So I encourage you to be intentional with your life – Be hot or cold; not lukewarm. Say “yes!” to Jesus and mean it. Don’t let your circumstances keep you out of the race. You are not disqualified! You are valued.
Side note: Check out “One Day at a Time” and “God Mail,” written by ladies behind the walls! That’s an answer to prayer for me! Also, you will find sections labeled “I Truth” Verses. These verses were given to me as part of a study of the book of Hosea in the Bible. They are verses that we can use to speak truth into our lives when Satan tries to tell us lies, when we face uncertain times or poor circumstances. I encourage you to memorize these so the Word of God may be written on your heart for later.
Feeling valued and wanting the same for you,