No Joke! He is Alive ... Forever! And So Am I!

No Joke! He is Alive ... Forever! And So Am I!

Last year, I posted this for April Fool’s Day. Even though Easter is several weeks away this year, this post is no less true. HE IS ALIVE & I am free!

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.
Matthew 28:6 NLT

Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.
John 14:19 NLT

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The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

Faith is a popular commodity these days.

There are "faith-based initiatives." We can name & claim something if we have enough faith. There is the faith that intellectually assents to what is assumed is truth. "The faith" can be a body of doctrines that a person holds to. Faith can be the means by which we can earn something with God. And on and on. 

But what is a true, living faith, according to God's definition?

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The Rest of FAITH: Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

The Rest of FAITH:  Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

About twelve years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit.

Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion & Relentless Faith as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.  

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A Living FAITH: What is it?

A Living FAITH: What is it?

What is a living faith? 

To understand a faith that is alive, vibrant, real and restful, we need to explore two verses and two questions.  Both of our verses contain the same interesting phrase, “yet not I.” And both are from Paul’s writings: Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 15:10.

1. What is “the faith” by which we live while on this earth? 

I am crucified [united with] Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

2. If God lives the life that only He can live in and through me, what about me? Do I do anything? 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God with [united with] me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

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The Rest of FAITH: Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

The Rest of FAITH:  Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

About twelve years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit.

Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion & Relentless Faith as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.  

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The Rest of the Gospel: Song of the Week {I live, yet not I...}

Gal 2:20; Col3:3

Gal 2:20; Col3:3

My UNION with Christ...I live, yet not I...Christ with and in and through me.  This song brings me to my knees in humble gratitude for this awesome truth:  I am not separate!  I am not alone, trying to do my best with God's help if I believe hard enough and ask Him correctly.

He and I are ONE!  You are ONE with Him too, O believing child of God!  Hallelujah!

Let's sing out this truth...

CRUCIFIED with CHRIST

As I look back on what I thought was living I'm amazed at the price I chose to pay And to think I ignored what really mattered Cause I thought the sacrifice would be too great But when I finally reached the point of giving in I found the cross was calling even then And even though it took dying to survive I've never felt so much alive.

CHORUS:

For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live Not I but Christ that lives within me His Cross will never ask for more than I can give For its not my strength but His There's no greater sacrifice For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live

As I hear the Savior call for daily dying I will bow beneath the weight of Calvary Let my hands surrender to His piercing purpose That holds me to the cross but sets me free I will glory in the power of the cross The things I thought were gain I count as loss And with His suffering I identify And by His resurrection power I am alive

And I will offer all I have So that His cross is not in vain For I found to live is Christ And to die is truly gain


That was for This: Marisa's Story

This is my young, beautiful, godly friend Marisa.   She is a sweet, gentle soul who loves the Lord, His Word, and her family.

I met Marisa in a Moms' Bible study/prayer group I was with several years ago.  And I fell in love with her!

Marisa is a hard-worker.  She has four children ranging in ages from 8 months to 8 years.  Just take a look at her delightful little cherubs:

Don't you just feel like grabbing them right off the screen to hug their adorable little necks?  Yet, as all moms know, those four precious kiddos, especially at those ages, would be a handful for any young mom.  But not only that, Marisa is homeschooling!

Let's just say, she's busy...and, I would image, tired!

Oh, to have a break!

Wait!  It's Saturday night and that means CHURCH! Ah, church, with its peaceful, uplifting hour or two of praise & worship and its nurturing from the Word. Surely, Marisa will have that much needed break as well!

But one such Saturday evening church service, the Holy Spirit had other plans for Marisa.  And she shared it in a comment on a previous blog post.  These are her words:

...I can find myself striving and striving some more to be what I think I should be, but it is ultimately Him in me that brings about any good.

And He is SO good to enable us to act upon the prompters He places upon our hearts.

One Saturday evening I had a distinct urge that I should go volunteer in the church nursery even though I hadn’t signed up for that particular date.

When I told the hall coordinator I could serve she started crying.

Her husband’s unbelieving parents had come to the service that evening and my offer allowed her husband to be free to sit with his parents during the sermon.

Does that amaze you, as it does me?  Here this young mom, who so deserved that much needed break, in a very real sense, died to her own self-interest.  Why would she do that?   In order that life could be offered to someone else.  She may not have even been thinking along those lines.  However, she followed, what I like to call, the Lord's Holy Nudge,* rather than her own self-interests and legitimate need for a time apart from kids.

She found to be true what Paul had written centuries ago,

[We are]...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 NASB

Only eternity will tell what "life" might have been birthed as a result of Marisa's responding to the Spirit's Holy Nudge.*

What about you and me, my friend?  Are we following those inner promptings?  They may not be our imagination, but rather the Spirit's call to die to our own convenience, comfort, interests, so that the Lord's life can be birthed in another.

If we do, we can experience, in and through our lives, the outpouring of the indwelling life of Christ:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 NASB

*More about the Holy Nudge in our next post.

 

That was for This: Living the "Not I but Christ" Life

I've been thinking a lot lately about how God works within us...through circumstances, people, thoughts, events, to prepare us for what's ahead.  Maybe that's what Paul meant when he wrote,

...God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 NLT

If that's true (and I believe it is), we can't take credit for anything...not even our praying and asking, not even our thoughts and desires.  Let me illustrate.

Early last month, I had just returned from a three week vacation, when I had to jump right into the beginning of school with its teachers' meetings, preps, and first week of class.  Then just as those preps and meetings were happening, I started getting sick.  To make a long story short, three weeks later my health finally began to turn the corner.  Needless to say, I was weak, under a pile of cleaning and laundry, when the Lord put a bizarre prayer in my heart,

Lord, make me spontaneously hospitable!

Now, why would I pray that?  I know that prayer didn't originate with me.  God Himself "set me up"!  In the course of my illness and recovery, someone had stopped by unexpectedly.  Later, I realized that I hadn't been as welcoming as I could have been.  Thus, my prayer!

They say you should watch what you pray for.  But my Bible says that it's the Holy Spirit that prays in and through us (Romans 8:26-29).

So you know what happened?  That's right!  Within days of that God-initiated and God-answered prayer, I got a phone call...right in the middle of my work week...with my house a wreck and with empty cupboards because of having been sick so long.  The phone call was a request for overnight lodging from my cousin for the following night.

"Well, of course!  We would be happy to have you!"

God Himself had made me more than willing.  He enabled me to quickly pull my house together and even have nutritious food ready:  chicken rice soup and vanilla cake with berries.  And best of all,  my husband John and I had a delightful visit with my cousin that evening as we listened to his adventures from his travels out West.

When all was said and done, I realized THAT WAS FOR THISThat prayer was for this overnight visit...giving me the desire and the ability to "pull it off."

I have many other stories of that was for this.  And maybe some of those will be for future blogs.  But for now, let me give you some Scriptures.  And then as you reflect on your own life, maybe you would like to share one of your that was for this situations.  You can do so in the comment section.  I would love to hear your stories as you give glory to the One Who is always working within us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:12-13).

 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is [united] with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:21 ESV

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20 KJV

For from Him [as the Source] and through Him [as the Means] and to Him [as the Goal] are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36 NASB

I live...yet not I, CHRIST!

U of A
U of A

About nine years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit. Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

signature of Jesus
signature of Jesus

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.   He struck up a conversation, and I found out that he was a chemist from Oregon.  Then the question came,  "What are you reading?  What's it about?"

When I told him about the book, he replied,  "You must be a devout Christian."

I replied, somewhat ashamed at my original annoyance, "Jesus is my Life!  I can't imagine living life without Him.  There's a Settled Presence no matter what I go through."

My Lord Jesus Christ IS my Life.  It wasn't always so.  Religious ritual, ministry, being a good wife and mother, health and physical fitness, and such have more often than not, taken top billing.  But as I get closer to the end of life on this earth, I realize more and more that all of that is not important compared to the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and being found in HIM who is my Life Philippians 3:7-11

As the Apostle Paul declared,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.   Galatians 2:20 ESV

Gal 2:20
Gal 2:20

What about you, dear friend?  Is He your Life?  Or are lesser things competing and winning out?  Surrender to Him by faith today...choose HIM!

Lately, I can't stop listening to this song...and singing it at the top of my lungs!  Would you like to join me and give Him praise?

Crucified with ChristAs I look back on what I thought was livingI'm amazed at the price I choose to payAnd to think I ignored what really matteredCause I thought the sacrifice would be too greatBut when I finally reached the point of giving inI found the cross was calling even thenAnd even though it took dying to surviveI've never felt so much alive. CHORUS: For I am crucified with Christ and yet I liveNot I but Christ that lives within meHis Cross will never ask for more than I can giveFor it's not my strength but HisThere's no greater sacrificeFor I am crucified with Christ and yet I live

As I hear the Savior call for daily dyingI will bow beneath the weight of CalvaryLet my hands surrender to His piercing purposeThat holds be to the cross but sets me freeI will glory in the power of the crossThe things I thought were gain I count as lossAnd with His suffering I identifyAnd by His resurrection power I am alive

BRIDGE:And I will offer all I haveSo that His cross is not in vainFor I found to live is ChristAnd to die is truly gain

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