What Would Be Your Answer if Jesus Came Today?

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

If Jesus came today, what worry that you are holding onto would be erased in an instant? Would it even matter anymore?

If Jesus came today, would you be able to tell Him about the people you pointed His way?

If Jesus came today, would you be confident or ashamed in how you are living your life for Him?

I read this verse today, and it really convicted me. I love my Savior, but how often is our time, talents, and treasures used for this world instead of pointing others to Him?

Not everyone is called to mission work or preaching. God gave each of us our own unique personality and strengths because they serve a very big purpose in His kingdom. We just need to pray to Him if we are unsure of what that is and ask for opportunities to present themselves where we can help. The best thing we can do is just be willing. He will open our eyes to those who are lost and provide ways we can love them and show them the love of Christ.

It may be as simple as providing a meal, raking someone’s leaves, offering an ear when someone seems like they are hurting, or inviting someone to church.

I was lost and searching until a friend invited me to church. That was all it took. My heart was ready to hear the truth, and God used my friend to get me to a place to hear it. She was open and willing to do what God asked, and my soul was saved.

Let’s not be ashamed when Christ comes but be confident we are loving people and pointing them towards His kingdom. We are His hands and feet. We just have to be willing to use them.

How Clean is Your House?

2 Corinthians 6:16King James Version (KJV)

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

I read this verse, and it hit me powerfully.  I read other Bible translations, but the King James Version illuminated the meaning the best.

“I will dwell in them, and walk in them”

Yikes! God is walking in me.  He is walking in you.  What does He see?

I guess on some level I knew this.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and God knows every thought and action even before they occur.  In a way I have been holding on to the idea that I had some control over when and how I let God in, especially the times I was thinking/doing something He wouldn’t approve of.  Even then He is walking inside my temple.

He sees my dirt and grime.  Am I giving Him a place He would want to stay?

Our homes have locked doors.  When people knock, we can choose if or how they will enter our home.  We could keep them standing on the front porch without opening our doors.  We could open the door a crack and make them stand there while we talk.  We could invite them into our entry way or front room that shows a level of cleanliness we  are not embarrassed by and hoping this will provide the illusion that the rest of the house looks the same, or we can have them come inside and wander the house without any fear of what they find.

A locked door won’t stop God from entering.  We can’t keep Him waiting on the front porch or only show Him what we want Him to see.  We can’t create an illusion to make Him believe the rest of our thoughts and actions are just as clean as the ones we are willing to show Him.

When we accept God as our Father and His Son as our Savior, our temples come with no doors or windows.  As Christians, we need to shine a light on our dark corners and sweep out the cobwebs that still lurk inside.  We can’t harbor darkness and accept bits of sin and evil into our lives because we create a space that does not welcome God.

“I will dwell in them, and walk in them”

This was a game changer for me in how I viewed my relationship with God.  There is no more hiding or covering up with sprays and perfumes.  He will see through it all and loves us anyway, so let’s offer up our hurts for His help and sins for His forgiveness.  He doesn’t want us cluttering our temples but rather clearing them out so we can walk with Him along a clear and unobstructed path.  

 

 

Who Was Your Greatest Influence and Why?

little me

I had to write on my Goodreads’ profile page who my greatest influence as a writer was and only one person owns that title—my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Topitzes.

My family and I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during that time and we moved away after my 6th grade year which was over thirty years ago.  I just texted my brother to verify the spelling of her last name and I floored him because he was just thinking about her last week!  Apparently she made an everlasting impression on the both of us.

Mrs. Topitzes told me that I was a great writer, and I owned her words throughout my life.  I was a shy, awkward kid, so her words gave me a purpose and direction and writing has been my best companion ever since.  Thank you, Mrs. Topitzes, for giving me my voice.

Our words have the power to change the course of a life.  Was it a teacher or someone else who changed yours and which direction did your compass point?

I would love to hear your comments and examples of how the power of words influenced your direction.

(Proverbs 12:14) “From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.”

 

Save

Have you found Grace?

I wrote this on a Christian Blog for my girls on Valentine’s Day three years ago.  It came up on my news feed, and I was struck by how much truth I still feel in these words.  I’ve needed his Grace to renew my life 1096 days since this was posted.  I can’t imagine the amount of heartache and sin I caused my Father during these last 1096 days, but I am forever thankful that I feel cleansed by His love and mercy and not loaded down by the pain I have caused Him.  Thank you, Father.  You are my first and forever Valentine.

 

“Love Letters for God”

2/14/14

Grace

To my Precious Daughters,

I begin my faith journey with what God has taught me about Grace. When we first discover God’s Grace, we usually have just crash landed from a nose dive straight into the dirt and find ourselves looking upward, dazed, wondering how things could have ended up so wrong. As we begin to unwrap this gift, after we have opened our hearts to receive it, we begin to realize just how undeserving we are. There is nothing we have to do to earn it. It just is. I want to share with you what I have learned about Grace from a God who has everything and can do anything but loves us so much He offers His Grace and forgiveness for the sins still fresh from the day all the while knowing the sins that we will break His heart with tomorrow are soon to follow. He listens to us, He forgives us, and He will do the same every day until we take our final breath. Grace is a mighty thing, my loves. Let me open up and share with you what Grace means to me.

Love,

Mommy

Dear Lord,

Where to begin? I know I thank you daily and often for your gifts, Father, but I know more times than not I take for granted all that you give to me. It starts with a breath. A heartbeat. A functioning mind and body. These things are miracles in and of themselves but acknowledging even the smallest gift down to the tiniest cell I know I don’t give you all of the worship you deserve.

My worship of you needs to begin with me on my knees thanking you for your Grace. My relationship with you has been an on again/off again relationship but never at your end, only at mine. When things are bad I will cry out for your mercy to protect me, but when things are good I take back the reigns, give you a mental high five for getting me through that one, and tell you I can now take it from here. Things go well for a while and then I end up on bended knee again wondering why I can’t sustain what you have preserved. It’s a lesson I repeat over and over. You never insert yourself in my life and always graciously let me take over when I ask but thank you for not stepping away from me when I do. I’m like a toddler not seeing the dangers but as my loving Father you are there to pick me up when I fall, and I always fall!

I heard recently someone describing what it meant for Jesus to be on that cross for the sins of all of humanity. I have often wondered how my sins could be washed clean so far removed from that sacrificial day. He described it as Jesus dying not only for the sins being committed at that very moment, but also for every sin that will ever be committed from that point to the end of time. I can picture each of our sins transforming into individual nails and the billions and trillions of nails coming together into a black, clinking, undulating cloud crossing the chasm of time straight at Jesus and nailing Him to the cross. The fact that He chose to take on this unimaginable task not as a God who could defend himself like a gladiator but as a human man is hard to fathom. He suffered all the while knowing 2000 years later I would continue to sin and multiply my nails to this ever darkening cloud. Thank you for protecting me from the nails that should have been pointed straight at me but instead pointed them in the opposite direction headed for a salvation plan centuries before I existed.

Even knowing all that you knew would come to be you created us anyway. When I had the desire for a baby I only focused on the pregnancy and holding that precious newborn in my arms. I wasn’t romanticizing a future with my now eleven year old stomping her feet in the kitchen making me feel like the meanest mom in the world because I was making her unload the dishwasher AND brush her teeth before bedtime. I gave birth to two, but you gave life to billions. Billions of us stomping our feet. Billions of us shaking our fists. Billions of us desiring more than we need while appreciating less. Billions of us inflicting pain on others and ourselves. I’m sorry about sin, Father. I don’t blame Adam and Eve, though. If it had been Adam and Crista, the story would have still ended up the same. You are an amazing parent, Father, and thank you for not giving me what I truly deserve.

Your Grace to me is a soft, white linen hovering over us, waiting for each of us to reach up and wrap it around our bodies. It’s light and airy and we become weightless in it’s enfold. It absorbs our stains, our pains, and our sins but it’s color remains a brilliant white. Only a God of the universe could clothe us with this type of material. This type of love. This type of Grace. It’s patiently waiting for the man torn by sin to reach up and accept your mercy and cover himself with your love and for the woman drowning in shame to slip on the robe of forgiveness and righteousness. It’s patiently waiting for that child beginning to know you to jump up and catch the corner of the white blanket to carry around until adulthood and sleep with as they enter into the kingdom of heaven. I see your linens, Lord, and I thank you for Jesus who washed them clean for us. There is freedom in your Grace and I’m clutching my robe with all that I have and all that I am. Thank you. Thank you for love so powerful that only Grace could be its name.

Love,

Crista

Matthew 11:28-30

New International Version (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”