Not so bold and unashamed of the Gospel.

A lot of Christians, including myself, like to quote Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” We wholeheartedly believe this and this may be true for us to a certain extent, but we have to remember who these words were coming from at the time. Paul, the author of Romans and of many books in the Bible proclaimed the Gospel in a hostile time. To be baptized and to say Jesus was God was a one way ticket to prison or execution. Living in America we can’t quite grasp the severity of proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior because there is no persecution other than being told we’re bigoted and judgmental. Paul writes these words while he is in prison, believed to have been waist high in human waste. The state of his living was not good, but this man meant his words. He lived these words out, hence the horrible conditions he was in.

My pastor this morning emphasized the importance of the Gospel, the Word of God, it has power. It saves and changes lives and it is by hearing the Word that people open their eyes to the reality of their sin. Wearing crosses whether tattooed or by jewelry, going to church, or wearing t-shirts that say we “<3 God” doesn’t hold any power like the Word can. People need to hear the Word of God, Jesus was the Word and we think just by living for God that people can read us. Yes, we are a light separated from this dark world, but because we are the light we need to shine truth on God’s Word. People are in darkness and on their way to hell because we’re too afraid to speak up. We want the approval of man to the point we neglect Jesus’s lasts words and mission to go make more disciples. Will we offend people? Yes. Will we annoy them? Yes. Will we push certain people away from us? Yes. Could we lose our friends? Yes. The things that will happen to us on this earth don’t even compare to what these people will suffer for eternity – separation from God.

Francis Chan’s book Multiply touches base with the fact that Christians will walk away from church services with conviction and almost pat themselves on the back for feeling bad. It’s like that’s what we’re looking for, when we leave church are we moved with emotion? It seems like that’s our only goal. We should be moved to action, we should be out there getting our hands dirty. Satan has us where he wants us, complacent Christians who feel conviction, but do nothing about it. We’re not a threat to Satan. I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning I want Satan to be like “Oh no, there’s that woman of God!” I want him to feel threatened.

With my uncle being laid up in ICU after heart surgery, practically on his death bed, my dad has raised hands held high in prayer over my uncle. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this was in front of working nurses, people who are trying to help on my uncle get back to health. I have been so moved by my father’s faith and him being unashamed in public prayer. I feel so ashamed of myself, Jesus is risen and I’m afraid to proclaim that to people? Do I read my Bible every day and pray? Yes. To the world’s standards my walk with God is good, but I know that is far from the truth. I need to trust in Jesus despite my circumstances and walk out in faith knowing that His Word, when preached, will not return void.

We all have seasons Jesus needs to walk us through and I’m not telling you to look for sin, but if you’ve been complacent… ask the Lord to challenge you and break you of the things you’re putting your trust in.

^^ Please take the time to watch this video by Kari Jobe called “Forever”. It is such a beautiful song! So much truth.

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Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

I’ve been praying for people’s salvation more than lately and asking God for wisdom in sharing Himself to others. As Christians we need to love others when sharing the Gospel, but we need to be honest in that love. If I’m beating around the bush about God and not being honest about hell, then I’m acting ashamed and afraid of their reaction. We can tell people that Jesus loves them night and day, but if we’re ignoring the reality of their sin and where it’s leading them… we’re only preaching prosperity Gospel. The realization that we sin and fall short of the glory of God should make us fall flat face to the ground in grief. It’s ONLY when knowing we’re a sinner that we need God’s grace. It’s not just accepting His love, it’s knowing you are eternally depraved yet unconditionally forgiven. 

We try saying we’re not ashamed of the Gospel, but aren’t we when we care more about other people’s opinions? People in this world are always first to preach their ‘passions’ and ‘beliefs’ on us, but Christians get put down for it and we’re not allowed to? We need to stop letting the World dictate who the church is and listen to what God says about His church. Amen?! I’m preaching to myself here.

“Be still and know that I am God…” – Psalm 46:10

 

Here lately my mind has just been bombarded with health issues and doctor appointments, but days like today make me feel renewed. I’m guilty for not never going outdoors much, but I’m taking advantage of the gazebo my dad just bought for the backyard and sitting under it most times doing nothing. Today I’m with my laptop while the wind tousles my bangs in front of my face trying to glare into the already hard-to-see-computer screen. It’s peaceful out here. Any time I look out into nature, the sky, trees, the sound of birds chirping… it just takes me back to an appreciation of God’s creation. He’s so big and so thoughtful about everything He created, everything has its own function in life. It’s the harmony of it all that makes it so beautiful. Our God is a God of details, this God knows the number of hairs on our head (even when it’s thinning). He tells the wind where to blow, isn’t that amazing? Nothing surprises God.

Sometimes we wonder how God can help our chaotic lives, but if He can keep the world in motion, I’m pretty sure He has us when the doctor tells us bad news or no news at all – meaning more doctor appointments and money if the pain is still there. 

I’m supposed to be getting ready right now because I have a long day ahead of me, but I just wanted to write this blog real quick to encourage people who never take quiet time to themselves. Be alone. Be quiet. Be still. Make time to pray and clear your head of the junk you’ve been thinking about all week. Don’t wait until you’ve had a nervous breakdown to be alone in your room crying with your face to the floor. Do we need those times? Yes, once in awhile, but if you find yourself doing it more often than not… Be still and know He is God :)!

On a lighter note, I want to share a picture that made me laugh today. I hope it makes you LOL too hehe… ❤

Image

Hey girl, there’s freedom in Christ.

love

 

 

 

I thought I’d share my Facebook status with you this morning since it’s a bit lengthy and blog worthy haha… I hope this encourages someone today.

Sometimes being realistic about things makes you cynical. As a Christian woman I want to focus on the truth or ‘what’s really real’ because there’s a ‘justice’ there. While trying to look through this lens of ‘truth’ I tend to ignore the lens of grace, God’s grace. His grace is sufficient in ALL things and in ALL people.

I don’t even know if this makes any sense, but I woke up this morning with a hateful attitude and I didn’t feel like keeping that attitude with me all day… so I took time to pray. It’s SOOOO easy to stare at someone else’s sin and ignore our own. Judging people by our own scale of righteousness only condemns us, not them.

I think this post is more towards women this morning and me just wanting to encourage you that your opinions of something or someone is NOT worth it if it makes you a prisoner to being miserable. Before I was saved, if I got mad about something I took pride in being a B word. In fact, I’d call myself that quite often because I felt empowered not to deal with anyone’s crap. However… we’re kidding ourselves because the B word mentality is just us building up a wall to not get hurt by anyone in this world. The thing is we do care about things more than we’ll admit to. We have a lot of emotions and quite frankly don’t know the first thing about handling them. Whether you’re a Christian or not, I just want to remind you there is FREEDOM in Christ. He takes those thoughts we don’t know what to do with and renews them so we can see things from God’s perspective. When we look through the lenses of grace and love, we’re not defeated or weakened, we’re doing the hard thing that NO ONE wants to do.

Seriously, we’ve all been here and maybe some of us are here today.

My thoughts as of lately.

God's grace

I’m sure everyone is getting tired of hearing about the Paula Deen situation, but it quite frankly stirs an anger in me because this world doesn’t know how to give grace. Despite where you lean on the situation, if you screwed up would you want people to forgive you? At the end of the day, people can kiss my b-u-t-t if they don’t like what I have to say. I don’t live my life to please anyone, nor do I need to explain myself, lime light or not. We’re accountable before God, not man. A big difference between man and God is that God can look at our deepest darkest more horrible sins and still forgive us. Man  on the other hand will knit-pick the heck out of the tiniest things and magnify them and hold them over our heads. Big difference. God>Man. Just saying.

Moving on… :).

On the bright side of things, I’ve been in my Bible again reading the book of John. I had to watch myself the other day because I tried to speed through my readings to make up for lost times. That’s a big no-no because after I read it I was like… “What did I just read…? O_o” If you’re just trying to read to cross it off your list, then your heart is in the wrong place. Soak it all in, even if that means only reading a little bit a day.

Well, I’m going to go relive my childhood through watching The Little Rascals on ABC Family :]. Have a blessed night everyone and don’t forget to tell people you love them.

– Ashley

Misconceptions about Christianity.

BACKGROUND: After a series of nightmares and endless tossing and turning, I woke up this morning feeling like I had been hit by a train. I felt awful so I put the heating pad in the microwave, took 3 IB profen, and started to pick up around the house. That last part has to sound crazy to most people and it did for me too, at least this morning because I had the intentions of hugging the recliner while I wallowed in my pain. After picking up around the kitchen I turned on the television thinking “okay I’ve done some stuff, so I’ll sit down after I hear the microwave go off.” Yeah, about that… that didn’t happen either haha. I kept making my way around the house, slowly feeling the headache go away, and then heard the local news saying the Pope decided to resign.

If you’ve been in the faith long enough, one of the things that should have came into your mind is the book of Revelation/ End Times/ Rapture/ Anti-Christ/ False Prophet/ Prophecies. Whenever it comes to strong authorities or leadership in this world, I can’t help but believe those will be the people who will be responsible for helping God’s prophecies come alive. It usually only takes one topic as such to get this girl’s mind going. Shortly after I received a message from my sister asking me about the book I had been reading, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan, the wheels started to turn more. Everything in my thought process this morning kept going back to God. Inevitably I think about people who aren’t saved when I get on this one track mind.

I decided there was way too much on my mind this morning to make a Facebook status out of it, one that would probably get over looked any ways. At least my thoughts have a few cents more value on here. The reason I’m writing this blog…. *drum roll please*… if you read the title, yes, it’s about misconceptions about Christianity. Don’t ask me how I got there, I just did haha. When I come to to these random thought processes I honestly think it’s the Lord trying to get something across through me. You may beg to differ, but with God anything is possible.

The few misconceptions that stood out to me were:

1.) Jesus Christ – in the words of C.S. Lewis, He is either a “Liar, lunatic, or Lord.”
I don’t think there are enough people in this world who take the time to actually ponder about who Jesus is. Most people lean on the thought that he was a good prophet. When people say this, it leads me to think they have never read the actual Word of God – The Holy Bible – KJV  (Kings James Version) – NKJV (New King James Version) – ESV (English Standard Version) – NIV (New International Version). John 14:6 says that Jesus is the ONLY way to God. He died a criminals death on a cross to take the burden of our sins – to make us acceptable before God. Can someone really say a good prophet would do this? A liar? A lunatic? Christ did not die in vain. He took the punishment we deserve and He is currently sitting at the right throne of God in heaven, He is a Sovereign God who deserves our never-ending praise and devotion. That is who Jesus Christ is.

2.) Grace – the definition or what comes to mind when you hear this word. 

Before being saved, when someone said the word ‘grace’ it made me think of people who dance ballet ‘with grace’. Something peaceful, serene, slow, light handed. Dictionary.com even defines this term first as…

  •  grace [greys]  noun, verb, graced, grac·ing. noun “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action: We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice. Synonyms: attractiveness, charm, gracefulness, comeliness, ease. Antonyms: stiffness, ugliness, awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.”

Some people may even think of it as the thing you say before you eat dinner. However, the grace that God gives is free unmerited favor. Meaning it is a gift, not anything we can earn or deserve. It means we are forgiven because Christ has taken our place. The best example of grace is how we constantly spit in God’s face, but His grace makes Him long-suffering and ultimately puts up with us. Again, not because we deserve it… but because He is God. It’s non-existent in our society to give others grace because we’re more prone to be bitter, vengeful, unforgiving, hateful, etc.

3.) Sin – Don’t do this and don’t do that. Hello legalisticcc!

This is actually addressed in Scripture and it’s called hypocrisy. The biggest people back then to make up these lists of dos and don’t were called Pharisees. These people were super-religious and thought they were holier than thou. They did everything right in their eyes and even in the public eye. They would even go to lengths of making sure people knew they were fasting because their appearance would be dreadful (fasting would usually show on their faces). These exact same ‘religious’ people nailed Christ to the cross. They accused him of blaspheming God and summoning demons. Christianity is more than the 10 commandments, it’s about our hearts. Do we think we’re fooling God with our works? No, of course not. Some people think they can abuse the grace of God yet proclaim Him on Sundays and call themselves “Christian”. Sin is not just about doing bad things, it’s also about not doing good things. When we’re given wisdom by God, we’re even more accountable because we know better. Sin is a heart thing.
4.) Church – Money scandals and hypocrites?

I find it sad that a lot of people blame bad churches for being the reason why they don’t attend. You wouldn’t believe the excuses I’ve heard, especially when it comes to tithing. “Ohhh churches are just after my money.” I can see where a few bad news stories might make one apprehensive, but the real reason is that they just don’t want to go or they just don’t want to tithe. Churches aren’t just the building and they aren’t perfect. The church is the body of Christ and it’s made up of believers imperfect believers. Another excuse that people use is that people are hypocrites within the church. I’ve heard Matt Chandler preach on this and his response to that was “Yeah and you’re one of them.” We’ve got way too much time on our hands to be nit-picking the church. If you find yourself in drama at church, examine your heart. Have you been going for God or the social aspects of it? And if you care so much about what other people are saying, are you letting that outshine the truth of God’s Word? God’s opinion is the only one that matters. As believers we are to live above reproach. Humble ourselves. Forgive others always – no matter how bad. Rebuke in love. And pray about it.

This blog isn’t directed towards atheists, I’ve read way too many discussion boards from Ray Comfort’s blogs and posts to know they have “read the Bible front to back” “researched Science” or what have you. They think they have it all figured out and there’s no talking to them because any kind of truth you give them, they want proof. The fact is, one of us is right and one of us is wrong. We can’t both be right. I believe in the God of the Holy Bible. Please do not make excuses when it comes to God. We’re never promised tomorrow and that ‘proof’ you need will cost you your soul. I’d rather people not wait till judgment day to figure this out. If you have any questions or comments, please list that below and I will be glad to talk to you. God loves you my friend!!!

Your worth.

In a world flooded with advertisements, music, newspapers, television, movies, radio, what have you… we’re constantly being told what a person of any kind of worth looks like. Popularity, wealth, success, relationships, friendships, beauty – these are all things that define us by the world on the radar of worth. Striving to be all of these can wear a person out, not just physically but emotionally. Who can be all of these things or even one of them? What about times in our life where we have nothing going for us? What are we worth? When depression seeps in we either pull the trigger, develop an addiction to a drug, or become a hoarder.

You get my point. We run from our feelings by tapping into other things that consume our time. Why is it that we let things that CONSTANTLY change in our lives define who we are as a person? Or what about our happiness? Sounds circumstantial. You can only muster up ‘looking on the bright side of things’ for so long till you start to question things. For the woman who hasn’t found a man yet, will you be happy when you get married? What about when things start to suck and he disappoints you because he’s human? Someone might say that’s time for a divorce, but to me, that’s just another way of running from a problem that’s a lot deeper.

I love the fact that people are now standing up for their weaknesses and flaws. Examples: It’s okay to NOT be a size 2; having a disease doesn’t define one’s strength. Those are good things to realize and bring awareness to. But what about things that are not so good? I feel like people take this and go 10 steps deeper and start taking perversity and justifying it. Having an identity crisis means it’s okay for a man to start wearing women’s clothing. Maybe you don’t feel like anyone relates to you, so you marry a chicken. The Bible even talks about how we trade wisdom for foolishness.

Dude read Romans 1, it tells us how mankind became corrupted verse 1:25 says They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” This isn’t a gay bashing blog, it’s about a deeper problem. Our sin. Before I get too off track, the point I’m trying to make is that we take the weird or flawed things about ourselves and use them to boost our ego. We’re taking the lemons from this life and making lemonade. That can be a good thing but also deadly. You could either be sipping something sweet or poison. See we can either be self-centered morbidly or be arrogant and think the sun shines out of our butts. Either way we’re constantly putting the focus back on ourselves.

I love seeing the beauty in things and in people, but don’t be the type of person to worship it. True beauty comes from knowing who you are in the Creator. That your worth and foundation for happiness and purpose in this life is based on the cross where Jesus died. That’s where all of God’s wrath and love poured out all at the same time. Bottom line, this world brings attention to flaws and can either make you arrogant or completely insecure. When you get the focus off yourself and look at your flaws for what they are and your strengths… you see them in a different light. I see grace and an area to grow when God exposes my weaknesses to me. I don’t want to run from my problems anymore. I have a God that is willing to carry me through them. He knows we can’t do it on our own.

Don’t be so prideful to think that if God really loved you, He would accept the way you are and you wouldn’t have to change. Coming to Christ means denying yourself. People paint Christianity as God being okay with our sin, that He requires little or no committment from us, that God is only there to make us happy. If you read in the New Testament, Paul was constantly in prison. Are you telling me he missed the picture? Following Jesus is not easy, but best believe if He calls on your heart to come in a relationship, that you answer knowing it won’t be easy. I can’t see my life without Christ and the reward of knowing Him in those dark moments of my life make it worth it. I use to be alone in my troubles, but now that I’m saved I have a Savior who shares in my suffering and gives me strength to live for Him. You can’t abuse His grace, live how you want, repent, and have the cycle start over. What kind of relationship is that?

God is such a loving God, the verse on my phone the other day was Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you…”

Where has your focus been?