Made in His image.

Made in His image.
Photos courtesy Jan Ethridge Photography

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What I Know About My Savior

Normally this is a place for our dance ministry to post about upcoming events, share news about performances, and offer insight and encouragement to our dancers, and others, through devotions grounded in scripture.  This past week has been filled with so many twists and turns, mountains that refuse to go away, and obstacles that make you want to give up, both for myself, our dancers, and others close to me,  that I felt God leading me to stop and reflect on His promises.

They enemy would have you believe you're alone in your struggles, but here's what we know to be true from God's word:

1. Our Heavenly Father loves you right where you are. (Romans 5:8)
His love is not conditional on you getting your "act together"; it's not a reward held out for good behavior or something that can be taken away from you if you make a wrong move. He loves you where you are, today! It's incredible! He is crazy about you! Yes, you! Inside and out. There's nothing you could do to make Him love you any more or any less. He delights in you. The God that created solar systems and every living creature is crazy about you!

2. Jesus has paid it all. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
It is an amazing transformation when you put your trust into the Man that died on the cross to free you from sin. We are all so broken and lost in things we have done, guilt-ridden or love-depraved.......until we choose to surrender it all and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. And then guess what? It's over! You are free! Free from the guilt that liked to creep back in every couple of weeks, free from judgement, free from condemnation, and free to experience the fullness of God's love! Jesus paid it all and our great God says He has removed your sin from you as far as the East is from the West. When you are in Christ you have been made new! So don't go back and dwell on the things that your Lord conquered. Continue to seek after Him in every part of your life and you will discover a freedom that nothing in this world can match.

And as a child of God, there are so many more promises made to you. Cling to them when doubt or fear come knocking.

3. The Lord is your strength. (So lean on Him! You don't have to do the fighting.)
4. Nothing can separate you from His love. (Nothing! Period:)
5. He works things out for the good of those that love Him.
6. He delights in blessing you!
7. He is the King of Kings! (So there is no problem too big for Him to handle.)
8. He will never leave you or betray you.

So when times are rough, circumstances confusing, hope depleted, or you just don't know where to turn, stop and meditate on the promises of your Heavenly Father who loves you. Talk to Him and cast all your burdens and worries on Him through prayer. And as you spend more and more time in His presence you will start to recognize His voice more and more.

"In this world you will face tribulation, but take heart! For I have overcome the world!"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Life of Purity


​​A Life of Purity 

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16
 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

​What does the word pure make you think of? Pure gold, pure honey, pure water, pure white snow...they have all maintained their original form without anything being added. Pure is defined as “free from anything that would contaminate.” This Scripture says that we are to live a life of purity. What do you think are some things that contaminate our lives from being pure? Our senses are on overdrive with all of the filth that we see and hear on an everyday basis. We are inundated with a culture that elevates sexuality (especially outside of a marriage relationship) as something that is public and common. Words are thrown around that are rude, hurtful and demeaning as comedic and common language. 

​So how do we remain pure when we are surrounded by filth? Sometimes it feels like you are wearing your favorite white clothes in the middle of a big mudslide trying to keep them unstained. 2 Timothy 2:22 says “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” We must actively pursue things that are holy in order to avoid being caught up in things that will pull us down. Sometimes that literally means fleeing, running from situations, people, or things that pull us down.

​ Often the impure things we crave leave us feeling empty and never really satisfy the need we have for relationship. They can become like idols (something that we put before God). Psalm 24:3-4 says “Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

​”They are days that I feel like my heart has become corrupted by this world and I feel guilty and unclean. God does not leave us sitting in our filth! We have a God that loves us, that sent His Son Jesus to this earth to die on the cross and free us from our sins. Scripture says that His blood washes us white as snow! Maybe you feel like you got caught up in the mudslide. You are not left there! Jesus can redeem any situation!

 He can take you out of the mud and wash off all the filth so you are sparkling white again. That is the beauty of grace; Nobody has gone too far that God cannot redeem their situation!So we must choose to walk in purity. Not because it’s a rule of being a Christian or because somebody told us to. We choose to because we love Jesus and don’t want anything to stand in the way of that relationship. What is one thing you would like to change in your life to live more pure? How can you begin to take steps toward that?

​“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8