Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Women's Ministries, Writers

Your View: Windshield or Rear-View…

Are You Looking Out the Windshield or the Rear-View Mirror?

I got the idea for this discussion topic from a sermon I heard the other day on the radio.There’s a reason why the windshield on a car is so large and the rear-view mirror is so small.

We need to have a wide view of what is out in front of us so that we can see where we are going. The point of driving somewhere is to move forward to get where we intend to end up. We don’t drive backwards to get to our destination. Right?

I know these concepts are not mind-blowing or something new…but I think it’s a good reminder every now and then to take notice of where our attention lies.

Rear-view mirrors, and side-view mirrors for that matter, aren’t bad though…they are completely necessary.

When we look up to check the rear-view or side-view mirrors, that’s just it…it’s just to take a quick look to make sure we are not in danger of being in an accident or causing an accident as we move about the road. We are not to allow our focus to linger because if we do, we are bound to run into the car in front of us.

Our past is like those smaller mirrors.

There’s a warning bell that sounds in your heart or your head, when you’re about to veer off course.  It’s the alarm that alerts us to check ourselves. Are we about to make the same mistake for the millionth time? Are we about to say the wrong thing to someone…again…knowing it won’t work? Did we forget what happened the last time? And if the mirror checks don’t work, then when we drive over those little bumpy-things (I’m sure they gave a name!) that’s a physical AND audible alert that we need to correct our path or we’ll soon be in trouble!

When we look into the side mirror, we can see that car speeding up really fast to our left and make that quick decision to WAIT to move over.

When we look into our rear-view mirror, we can see that car speeding up behind us or flashing their lights at us, and decide we need to move over and let that person go on their merry way albeit too fast and not get involved in their crazy. We can also see the red lights of a fire truck or police car, alerting us to move over because there’s trohbke ahead!

So how does that this translate into our spiritual life?

What side glances get you off track?

What kinds of things do you think you should be focusing on in your “front windshield”?

Let’s look at some scripture that talks about looking forward or behind.

Proverbs 4:25-26 (AMP) “Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure.”

 Right there in scripture ~ “…look directly ahead…”  When we direct our gaze straight ahead, like through a large windshield, we will see the path that clearly leads to integrity!

Hebrews 11: 23-29 (AMP) “By faith Moses, after his birth, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful and divinely favored child; and they were not afraid of the king’s (Pharaoh’s) decree. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of the Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt; for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God]. By faith he left Egypt, being unafraid of the wrath of the king; for he endured [steadfastly], as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them (the firstborn of Israel). By faith the people [of Israel] crossed the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; but when the Egyptians attempted it they were drowned.”

 I love that these verses in Hebrews remind us that it is not simply looking ahead & fixing our gaze on the Lord; it is through FAITH that we can accomplish this daily task.

 We are also instructed in God’s Word to take His direction for our life very seriously. When He tells us not to look behind us {dwelling on past sin; obsessing over something you think you’ve missed out on; staying stuck in a cycle of unforgiveness; etc.} then He means it!! 

Genesis 19:26 (AMP) “But Lot’s wife, from behind him, [foolishly, longingly] looked [back toward Sodom in an act of disobedience], and she became a pillar of salt.”

God also shows us through scripture how He provides the way out of a situation. One that is getting a bit frightening or unsettling. In Genesis 22:13 (AMP) we see just that…“Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering (ascending sacrifice) instead of his son.”

 Let go of the past and start moving forward! Maybe it’s an actual physical move out of the environment you’re in (work, neighborhood, state…). Maybe it’s a shift in your heart ~ an attitude you’re having is causing disruption in your spiritual life. 

Luke 9:61-62 (AMP) “Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Don’t linger on looking into the smaller windows. Look through the bigger lens of God’s Word…through His windshield!

Blessings,

René

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Filled to Fullness

Hello there friends!  It’s Tuesday and I’m posting my first “blog bite” of the week!  It has been so great to connect with many of you over the past month.  But I don’t want to keep waiting until Monday to write and post….so I’m going to send out “mini posts” throughout the week as a daily encouragement to stay in God’s Word and to keep trusting in Him!

With this weeks’ blog in mind, “What’s in a Name?”, I chose this verse to encourage you with today ~

Ephesians 3:14-20 (NIV)

A Prayer for the Ephesians

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

When we are filled with the goodness of God, goodness will flow out of us.  When we have the strength of the Lord, we are capable of handling all that comes our way.  When our feet are firmly planted on His path, we are free to become exactly who He created us to be! What a true blessing it is to know that God can do amazing things through us, because we have Him in our heart!  Keep your heart, mind, soul, and body on track with the Lord today and He will see you through!

Blessings,
Rene’

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries

Freedom in Christ

What does “Set Free in Christ” really mean?

This phrase has slowly been creeping into the Christian arena with the sense that we have been set free for freedom’s sake.  Added to that are other variations I’ve heard: “free in Christ”; “freedom in Christ”; “I’m free”; “Set free to be me.” But what does all of this really mean?  Can I live how I want to and have my own agenda as to how my life proceeds because after all, I’m a Christian and I’ve been set free!?  Am I free to operate purely in a mode of my choosing filled with love, justice, creativity, and happiness?  Am I free to listen to the beat of my own drum and declare my individuality to the world because I’ve been set free?

Before we go any further, let’s start at the most important place to see where we need to be headed….God’s Word!

Romans 8:1-2(ESV) establishes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

A few chapters later we are reminded in Romans 6:23(ESV)For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I don’t really have to go on here ~ God’s Word is very clear regarding what kind of “freedom” God is talking about.  The freedom that we live in as Christians is a free gift from the Lord who died on the cross to save us from certain eternal death due to our sin and bring us back to complete and whole restoration and relationship with Him!  We did nothing to earn or deserve this privilege.  We are given this gift simply because we are loved by the amazing Creator of the Universe, who desires to have us restored to Him.

Take a moment and let that truly sink in deep to your heart and your mind.

The salvation that comes when we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior does not, in any way, open the flood gates of individual personification of who we think we are and the ability or even the right, to do what we want to do.

I’ll admit, I’ve laughed at the old saying, “Sometimes it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”, however, in light of my relationship with the Lord, it’s not that funny.  Too often, this is our mentality.  What this statement is communicating is how we still at times function with a selfish nature, from which we make our life decisions.  When we do not maintain an established connection with how Christ desires for us to live, the “I want what I want and I want it right now” attitude rears its ugly head.  That path, my friend, is a dangerous one ~ one that I’ve stumbled down on more than one occasion; one that you can come back from but with more wounds that need to healing.

To be free in Christ means ~ we are free from sin and death; and that we can be restored to relationship with God.

To be free in Christ does not mean ~ we can take Scripture out of context; we can act according to our personal will and convictions; we can interpret Scripture to our own sensibilities to justify our lifestyle/attitudes as acceptable behavior.

John 1:1(ESV) begins with one of the most profound truth statements of the New Testament, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

If we take scripture out of context to use for our own purposes, we are essentially taking Jesus out of context from who He is within the Trinity.  Jesus cannot be separated from God the Father or from the Holy Spirit.  They are inseparable!  Just as every verse recorded in the Word (the Holy Bible) cannot be extracted from the intent with which it was originally written.

I’ve recently been reading a fantastic book by Jen Wilkin1 called, “Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and our Minds.”  It’s been refreshing to remind myself that God’s Word is presented to us in its entirety ~ not in pieces.  One of my favorite teaching moments from this book is found at the bottom of p. 27, “Any study of the Bible that seeks to establish our identity without first proclaiming God’s identity will render partial and limited help.  We must turn around our habit of asking “Who am I?” We must first ask, “What does this passage teach me about God?” before we ask it to teach us anything about ourselves.  We must acknowledge that the Bible is a book about God.”

Such a great reminder of what our perspective must be when we read God’s Word.  For when we know WHO God is, and how we are to follow Him and become more like Him, that is when we genuinely discover WHO we were created to be.

2 Corinthians 4:2(ESV) admonishes us to remember this very thing, “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”  Other translations use the phrasing, “nor handling the word of God deceitfully;” instead of the word ‘tamper.’ I hope that you are getting my heart here ~ we are to mindful of honoring the purity of the Scriptures.  They are not there for us to reinterpret or conform in order to make us comfortable in our life.

The finest examples of following God’s will (in my humble opinion) are found in John 5:30(ESV)  “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” ; and John 6:38(ESV), “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”  These are Jesus’ words to the crowds as He told them in no uncertain terms that He had authority as the Son of God because God the Father had given it to Him. Jesus was giving them a peek into the fact that He had come to earth to fulfill the prophecy’s of the Old Testament.  These two verses undoubtedly show how the foremost factor in all the decisions Jesus made was to be determined by the fact that He was firmly connected with His Father, confident that His Father’s will was accomplished.  Jesus’ primary motive was to follow God’s will, in that He should become the Savior and be able to offer us eternal life.  To gift us with true freedom.

Jesus is fully God and was fully man ~ yet He humbled Himself to give us the perfect portrait of what following God’s will must look like.

When King David (of the Old Testament) was in the deserts of Judah, he penned what we read in Psalm 63:1-5 (NIV) , You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”  If we are to engage in this manner of thinking, in this style of praise, we would not have room in our life to exalt our own selves or decide that we could be “free” to live how we pleased.

I Peter 2:16 (ESV) encourages us ~ Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”  These are incredibly powerful words written to embolden us to be subject to the authority of Jesus Christ in order to experience true freedom IN Christ.  Preceding this verse, the writer expresses the joy in the truth that “…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (vs. 9)

There are many verses in God’s Word that speak to freedom, submission, honor, and delight in the salvation we have in Jesus ~ after all, the Bible is a book about God; who He is and why He sent His Son to rescue us from the depths of hell.  There are not, however, verses in God’s Word that convey any notion that we are (in today’s lingo) “free to be me.”

What a celebration of Freedom we can participate in with Christ!

~ we are set free from Satan’s rule and earthly dominion

~ we are set free from the laws of the Old Testament

~ we are set free from the wrath of God we were due because of our sin nature

~ we are set free from the terror of death and eternal separation from our Heavenly Father

~ we are set free to live within the boundaries of spiritual liberties gifted to us by Jesus

~ we are set free to live in holy communion with the Trinity

~ we are set free to live fully into the person we are created to be!

Thank you my friends for walking down this road with me.  My prayers are with you as you discover in a fresh new way (I hope!) what it truly means to have Freedom in Christ!

Blessings,

René

  1. Wilkin, Jen (2014). Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and our Minds. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.