Tag Archives: Christian

Resolute Obedience

[Resolution::a formal expression of opinion or intention made; the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method or procedure.  synonyms -> resolve, determination, perseverance, tenacity, strength or fortitude.]

Shortly before the beginning of 2015, God simply posed two questions.  It is from these two questions that I will live in the year 2015.

The first question was, “what are you passionate about?”  What do you have a longing for?  What is in your heart to do and experience?  Once I have the answers to this, I know that I am to live out of that.  Intentionally and resolutely obedient to that which He placed in my heart.

When the question was first posed, I immediately thought of the cultures of the world.  Since I was 16, I have had a fiery passion and interest in the nations of the world.  Once this was quickened to me, He unfolded some simple steps to live in that passion.  The first being: read the books that I have collected regarding other cultures!  So simple.  He sees that passion lying dormant in me and knows that taking steps toward it in 2015 will empower and encourage me.

The second question was, “what do you love to do, but don’t do enough?”  Now, this seems another simple question.  And, as sad as this seems, the answer that came to mind was “laugh!”  I see that in the past few years, a seriousness and stress has entered my life where joy and laughter used to reside.  God was simply saying to me::be aware of this so that you can take the steps each day that release joy/laughter instead of stress.  He is so loving that He wants me to resolve to live out of joy!

Now, these are just the questions that were posed to me and two of the answers that came.  There are many more.  I know that He is calling me to examine my heart [along with the Holy Spirit] so that there will be more answers to these questions and a more empowered way of living in 2015.

Be Blessed,

Crystal

Heart of a Pharisee or a sinner?

While reading and re-reading Luke chapter 7 the past weeks, I am overwhelmed by so many facets of Christ that merely 50 verses bring to my mind and heart.  I have been particularly drawn to the experience in the house of one of the Pharisees.

Scripture says that “one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with Him.” Christ went to the house of the Pharisee and shortly after, a woman in the city – which was a sinner – brought an alabaster box and stood at His feet.  This may be a very familiar exchange, but it never ceases to flood my heart upon reading it.  I close my eyes and I envision this woman, a known sinner, who comes before the King of kings with her meager offering.  She breaks the alabaster box, perhaps reflecting that her heart was broken, and poured it out upon Him.  She wept and washed His feet with those tears, more of her brokenness overflowing upon Him.  He received her brokenness.

Let that sink in. He received her brokenness.  He didn’t send her away.  He didn’t say she wasn’t refined or perfect enough yet.  He received her. Now, let that sink in and wash over you.  He receives you.  He receives you.

However, the Pharisee spoke within himself, “this man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner.” This Pharisee could not imagine a man of God that would receive such a broken vessel.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this happening is as follows:

None can truly perceive how precious Christ is, and the glory of the gospel, except the broken-hearted. But while they feel they cannot enough express self-abhorrence on account of sin, and admiration of his mercy, the self-sufficient will be disgusted, because the gospel encourages such repenting sinners. The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman’s repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character. But without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Saviour has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him…Let us keep far from the proud spirit of the Pharisee, simply depending upon and rejoicing in Christ alone, and so be prepared to obey him more zealously, and more strongly to recommend him unto all around us. The more we express our sorrow for sin, and our love to Christ, the clearer evidence we have of the forgiveness of our sins. What a wonderful change does grace make upon a sinner’s heart and life, as well as upon his state before God, by the full remission of all his sins through faith in the Lord Jesus!”

A deep question has permeated me::do you have a heart like this Pharisee or a heart like this “sinful woman”?  Do you have a heart that is too proud to acknowledge your origin and your need for Christ?  Or, do you have a heart that will pour out all to Him, beckoning the only One that can receive your brokenness and your whole?

Let Him say of me, “her sins, which were many, are forgiven; for she loved much.”

Be blessed,

Crystal

“Season’s” Greetings

Season’s Greetings.  Such a common phrase this time of year.  But it is the first word that has me thinking.  A bit of a tricky word…Season.  I have found that this year I have been painfully aware of the Seasons of life.

{Season = an appointed occasion}

It is easy to just go with the flow.  To go with the current of what all those around you are doing.  If all the fish are swimming downstream, best not to swim against the current.  Right?

To that, in the year 2014, I would say Wrong!  In years past, I would have been on board with that line of thinking.  Because, if everyone else says it is time for ________ then it surely must be.  I have found this year that God is shouting at me…shouting that I must be in the right Season.

I would further state that there is a specific Season for us individually, but also a Season for the corporate Body.  The trickiest part is to see how they align.  Or, even better, being in a corporate Season that doesn’t appear to align but “sticking it out” because it is where God has placed you.

My encouragement to you is this::actively and intently listen.  Listen for His still small voice, or His loud booming voice.  Just listen.  He will show and tell you what Season of life it is for you [and your family].  He will also show and tell you how to function and live in that Season.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” ~Ecclesiastes 3

Be Blessed,

Crystal

appreciate, relish, savor

Appreciate::to be grateful or thankful for; to value or regard highly; to be fully aware of
Relish::pleasurable appreciation of anything
Savor::to give oneself to the enjoyment of

When you look at these three words along with their definitions, you may wonder what connects them. I see the connection as addressing a deep need. I see that there is an immense need in our culture to appreciate, relish and savor what we are doing, becoming and experiencing.

You may see each day as a project. A tool by which you will accomplish the items on your “to-do” list. If seen this way entirely, you will tend to complete one item only to follow up immediately with the unfolding of the next.

Have you ever completed a task, completed a process [emotional or mental even] or seen a change in yourself and stopped to take it in? To appreciate, relish and savor it? Imagine the impact in the expectant hush.
Imagine that God has begun a work in you [which He surely has]. You begin the process of unfolding, of allowing Him to change you. Once you see the fullness of the change, you may want to say “okay God, what’s next?” Instead, take a moment of pause to allow your heart, soul and mind to fully be grateful…to fully value and acknowledge the process…to allow yourself to find pleasure and enjoyment in the completion of the journey.

As this lifestyle is beginning to unfold in me, I feel a deep stirring of excitement and delight. Knowing that He is bringing me closer to experiencing life to the fullest and embracing the beautiful balance and harmony of His ways. That stirring will only grow with each pause to appreciate, with each interlude of awareness, with each stay in enjoyment.

Be blessed
Crystal

Delight

“When the True Self breaks through, a new and impassioned approach to life often makes itself known. We tap into an inner radiance that I call delight. I’m speaking of a unique kind of response to life that can coexist with our most painful realities. I’m speaking of the joy of saying yes to life in the core of our being. I believe that the capacity to delight in life is deeply carved by our waiting. ‘When I planted my pain in the field of patience,’ wrote Kahlil Gibran, ‘it bore fruit of happiness.’ Delight can become a way of life, a way of journeying.”
– Sue Monk Kidd, from the book When the Heart Waits

When we allow ourselves to go through the process and journey that the Lord has invited us on, we will come to a place of seeing and embracing who He truly made us to be. Each one of us has a distinct process, a distinct journey. This is not usually the “easy way” in life, but rather a narrow path that we must choose to walk with Him by our side. He will whisper, ever so gently, the areas that we must discard, that we must embrace, that we must overcome. In this journey, we will come out in fullness. We will come out into a place of delight. Able to dance in the joy of life [despite what our circumstances may be] because He is dancing and delighting with us.

If you feel God calling to you, beckoning your soul to come away with Him, heed that calling. You will see great fruit from your surrender.

Greatness through Serving

Matthew 20:25-28 reads “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I love this portion of scripture, as Jesus brings an earth-shattering truth to the forefront. Many desire to be great in the eyes of humanity and God. However, Jesus spoke forth a beautiful truth::whoever will be great, must be a servant.

If you look at the definition of the word “minister,” it means to run on errands, an attendant, a waiter [at a table or in other menial duties]. The word “servant” means subservient. And when Jesus states that the Son of man even came to minister, that means an attendant, to wait upon [menially or as a host, friend or teacher].

In our current structure [be it the church, workplace, family life, what have you], many believe that in order to gain you must be in front of the crowd, all eyes on you and carrying the loudest message. I beg to differ. Jesus simply stated that in order to be great [strong, mighty, exceedingly great], you must humble yourself and attend to others. If our Lord and Savior was an attendant, host and friend then why shouldn’t we be?

The most phenomenal closing to His statement is that because He was walking in a lifestyle of a minister [attendant, host, friend], He gave His life a ransom for many. I love the depth of the word ransom here::something to loosen with, a redemption price; to break, destroy, dissolve, melt, wreck, crack, a shattering to minute fragments, and to give vent to joyful emotions.

If, as a servant, Jesus brought the fullness of redemption and destruction of the hold of sin on the lives of men, then what can we accomplish in that same lifestyle of servant-hood?

Let us embrace a heartfelt attitude of serving others, not for the outcome of greatness, but knowing that our Lord Jesus walked in a life of serving.

“A great man is always willing to be little.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings,
Crystal

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Good Day, All!

I decided to write about the moments in the past week that my daughter has astonished and humbled me with her faith.  My daughter’s name is Daliah and she is 3 years old.  This last week, my husband got sick from a co-worker and so I knew it was only a matter of time before it passed to Daliah and then on to me.  I was hoping that I was wrong, but this did tend to be the pattern.

Well, I came home from Church last Wednesday night and, sure enough, Daliah was sick.  I spent that night nursing her ailments.  The next day, she kept saying “I’m sick”.  Knowing that our words hold much power, I reminded her that Jesus will heal her, we just need to ask and believe.  So, we prayed that she would be healed.  Later she told me the first of my lessons for the week: “mama, Jesus is going to make me better because Jesus loves me!”

The following day, she told her grandma the same thing and now she is all healed!  Then on Saturday at Church, she was talking to a gentleman that had an accident at work in which he lost a finger.  He was explaining this to her and afterward she told him, “when God is happy, He will give it back to you.”

It is amazing how God uses all of His creation to speak of His goodness and miracles, even “little babes”.

 

 

 

 

~Crystal