Living my Best Life as a Believer in Christ with Physical and Mental Health Issues
Hi! I'm Keri Payne. I am an author, hobby entrepreneur, artist, wife, mother, friend, believer in God, and survivor. I am living my best life with God's help as I struggle along with physical and mental health issues. "One day at a time" as the old saying goes, until I have finished my course!
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Philippians 2:15
Have you ever had a pair of holey socks? You know those socks that get a hole in them at the most inopportune time? The hole starts out small and as the day goes on, it gets bigger and bigger. Contingent on where the hole is depends on the struggle you could end up with. The worst-case scenario is a toe constantly struggling all day to keep itself tucked inside the hole. A day wrestling with the uncomfortable feeling. Growing up it was a common joke that if you had a sock with a hole in it, then they were your holy socks. Socks set aside and worn for Sunday worship. The joke, of course, was twofold. The holey versus holy definition. The vision of an imperfect sock being considered holy in a sacred sense makes you want to laugh. A play with words, but a vision we all can associate with.
Who am I to be holy? Me? The older I get the more I feel and look like an old worn-out sock. Full of holes from multiple surgeries, unraveling nerves as the hint of a tight spot. Stretched here and there from running errands, getting groceries, taking the kids to all their activities, or taking on church jobs to fill in all those missing people who are no longer there. Most days I feel useless and overworn, that I am not even worthy to be pulled out and considered suitable for any occasion. Yet God says I am Holy and without blame, how is that even possible? Its possible but its not what we have done, but who He is! As a child of God, an accepted believer in the Savior Jesus Christ, we are holy and without blame in front of our God. So let me paint this picture for you.
Here I am a worthless, worn-out sock. I’ve been through the highways and byways of life. I have been in the trenches under heavy fire. I’ve seen the frontlines of grief and loss. Scared, battered, bruised, stretched, and hung out to dry by friends and family. Then comes along this perfect man. I can see there is something different in him. Everyone stops in awe and respect when he comes by. I am drawn to him and the mystery that surrounds him and I want to know more. Others around me tell me of his story, of his grace, of his perfect spirit. They tell me rescue stories like I have never heard before. Stories of hope, stories of love, and stories of miracles that none can explain. All those stories have one thing in common. Once they each had faith in this perfect man, he came straight to where they lay. Worn-out, in the trenches of life he gently picked them up and washed them clean. Cleaner than the day they were created! They became holy, sacred, and physically pure with a touch of the Master’s hand. The old worn-out sock was gone and in its place was a designer brand with the Lord’s logo on it. Physically pure, morally pure, no holes in sight. Clean without spots, like it’s never been worn. Its color so intense and significant no fault could be found. It was perfect! Gone is the old, and front and center is the new. No longer are they holey, but holy!
When our God sees us, that is what he sees. He sees a new person. Washed clean of all our faults, struggles, imperfections. We are beautiful with the stamp of the Savior fastened securely to our souls. We are His and He is ours. There is no blame that can be found in you. Nothing! We belong with Him and to Him. He can’t deny us! Now if that is what God sees when He looks at me, then I am so thankful that I called out to him when he passed by my way. I am thankful for those that told me of His love, grace, and miracles. I am so thankful that I once was a holey sock, so that I could now be a holy sock!
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9
When I think of being “chosen” I am brought back to the days of a school yard lineup. During recess a group of us who wanted to play baseball would line up. We would choose 2 people to be captains of a team and from there they would take turns choosing from the rest of the group who they wanted to be on their team. One by one names would be called as the captains picked, who they thought were, the best players first. As I stood in line waiting to be chosen, I would pray not to be last. Because last meant you were not qualified to be on a team. Last meant you were just a body to take up space in the outfield. In the outfield the only action you could count on was the fly balls or ground balls that only required catching, running and throwing. Every opportunity you get to catch a ball was a new chance to prove you belonged in the infield. Once you belonged in the infield you could move up in the lineup. The hopes of being chosen first was closer than before. The “in” crowd where most all the action took place and to feel worthy was the goal. Every missed attempt to catch that ball and get it where it needed to go in a timely manner just proved you still belonged where you were. The outside looking in.
If I was to apply that reasoning to being chosen by God then it brings a sense of sadness. Who am I to be chosen. What do I have to do to be considered worthy of God? Does God pick out who is worthy to be saved and who is not? The fact is chosen means something different in the Biblical sense. Chosen in the Bible sense means elect. Not elected as in voted into office, but elect as part of a group. What group is that you ask? The group who has personally “chosen” themselves to accept, believe, and follow Christ. Once you decide on your own with free choice, you are considered the chosen. Part of the elect group that is a part of Gods family. It isn’t about standing on the sidelines waiting to get chosen, or standing in the outfield waiting to prove you are worthy with the next fly ball that comes your way. Gods elect is anyone who has chosen to enter the field of their own accord. Regardless of who they are, where they came from, and what abilities they have. All of this comes together because you personally chose to enter the field and become a part of the team called THE ELECT. What I love the most about this is the view God has from the owner’s box in the stadium.
As God looks down into the stadium, he sees all the souls that have chosen to enter the field. He sees a group of souls that he adored when they were first designed in their mother’s womb. They entered the field on their own free will to chose Him. The team isn’t there because they were forced or dragged in, but from their own choosing they decided to believe in Him. To trust in the Owner of this team. To live with Him forever. To grow with Him. To learn more about Him. To pursue a personal relationship with Him. To face battles together, not only with The Owner, but with a group of believers with one common purpose and goal. God is looking down on a group of Souls that have left their sinful nature they were born into, to conquer life with Him. You chose Him and He is standing there in the owner’s box with overwhelming joy. Joy in your choice, joy in who you are and who you have chosen to be. Joy in the relationship that will come and grow stronger over time. He sees your future and your hope. He sees someone who he has something in common with. Someone to spend eternity with. He sees a family like He never had before. A family that chose Him! He sees you!!
I am sorry I have been MIA for the last month or so. I’ve been struggling with a lot going on personally that I have been dealing with. Back in August, I started out with a 21-day post of who does God say I am. The more I got digging the more things came to light in my own life. I became foggy headed and not able to focus. When this happens, I know that I need to take a step back and wait on the Lord to direct me. Sometimes I may only have to wait a few hours, or days. This time it took much longer. The Holy Spirit slowly helped me see some truths. So, we are going to start over from the beginning on “Who does God says I am?” or better yet… “God says I am _________”.
When I first started this, I went to Pinterest and printed out a list of who God says I am that had a Bible verse for each word. As I began studying, the Holy Spirit did not speak to me through the verses that were given. The verses didn’t line up to a foundational teaching of Who God says I am, but rather verses that just included those words. It was confusing and left me feeling foggy and confused. I decided to stop blogging and truly take the time to search out this information with guidance from the Holy Spirit. So, if you have your Bible, please take it out and mark this passage so you can return to it and do your own study on it. Ephesians chapter 1.
What most amazed me was that I left this study to look at another I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to and they both intertwined. I did not realize this until I started writing this blog today! God was working in me this whole past 2 months in my study time and I didn’t even know it. God works even when you cannot grasp or understand it. That awe that comes when we see it, is Gods way of showing us He is there and it isn’t just by chance or mistake, but part of his divine plan for us!
Ephesians chapter 1.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Within this chapter we find who we are in Christ. How God sees us “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Whether we are Jewish or gentiles, if you acknowledged your sinful state, believe in him and confess it to the Lord in prayer; then you are sealed. Once sealed you are then seen as the following…
Blessed, chosen, holy and without blame, adopted, accepted, redemption, forgiven, ability for wisdom and prudence, an heir, predestined, and sealed. As we move forward let’s take a look and break down each word God says about us. We will search the truth in Gods word and find out truly How God sees us. In knowing how God sees us, I pray it will bring you to a place of joy and confidence and silence the doubt we struggle with in our minds every day! Let’s get started!
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 28:20
When I think of courage, I think of the cowardly lion standing and holding his tail in the Wizard of Oz movie. He is bashful, and afraid of everything. The tears that fall down his face are of sorrow and fear. Just a whim of suggestion from anyone around him and he believes whatever anyone says as truth and his fear is overwhelming. Courage. All he wants is a little courage. He knows what it is and he has a desire for it, but he just needs someone to give it to him, because he cannot conjure it up on his own.
Courage in the Greek definition means to fasten upon, to seize, be strong, help, fortify, to bind and restrain. If I was to fasten upon courage to seize it. That means that God has given us the ability to do so. The ability to stand strong, but how do I do that and not let the fear override me?
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God hath created us with a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. A mind that can decipher the difference between truth and lies. Fear grabs us when we believe something that is not true. A falsehood that is contradictory to our beliefs. Just as David says to Solomon, to be strong and of good courage, fear not. David is telling his son that he has the God given ability to stand firm in what he believes and to carry out the job that God has given him to do. That God will be with him every step of the way until the end.
To have courage and not let fear override us means we have to take an active part in what we believe is true. Just as Dorothy and her companions shook with fear as they entered the realm of the oz, because they believed the wizard to be something greater than he was, so do we often do in life’s struggles and battles. Are we gonna jump on every word that someone says to us, false teachers preach to us, or bad thoughts that overtake us? Or are we gonna pick up our Bible and take it to heart and stand firm in what the pages say we are in Christ? Gods word has the power to instill us with courage just by reading it and taking it to heart, especially when we feel as though our courage is failing and weak. God says that we have the courage to fasten upon, to seize, to be strong, to ask for help, to fortify our beliefs and bind and restrain them upon our hearts. You are courageous! You have the ability to seize the day, to stand firm in your beliefs, and the time to search for truths in Gods word to keep you strong!
The greatest thing about this is that God knew that we would have to face fear. By knowing that he equips us with courage. The power to seize and stand firm without wavering when necessary. To do this without guilt or shame. He also supplied us with the Bible to find truth in so we are confident in what to stand on. There is no greater joy I have found then standing firm on a truth that I know will last a life time and will never waiver. Truth that gives me strength and confidence in my God and creator! Truth that when I lay down my head for the night can bask me in peace to know that my God will stand with me and watch over me and will help me fight the good fight!! God has done so much for us!!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me today to stand on the truths of who you are and what your word shows me is true. Instill in me the courage to seek these truths out and face everyday fears that keep me from growing in you. Thank you for the ability to tap into your courage and allowing me to have access to it whenever I call out to you!
I ask these things in Jesus name, Amen.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John15:1-11
Well, I can tell you right now, that joyful is not something my family would say that I am. I don’t even think God is looking at me right now and seeing anything joyful about me! The mundane routine of everyday life often leaves me in a sad state. Conjuring up joy seems to take so much effort and a lot of money these days. Everything cost and the goal to being joyful can only happen outside of my circumstances, or doing things that produce those joyful endorphins, right? What does God see in me that is joyful? Because, I don’t feel it!
Did you know there are 187 verses in the Bible that include the word joy? When reading over each one, I found that 95% of them talked about lifting up our voices with joy. That makes sense to me, because when I am full of joy my first instinct is to sing. My heart is so full that my body just automatically breaks out into song. Not always in tune or with much grace, but it’s almost like I cannot help it. One definition of joy in the Hebrew language means blithesomeness. Say that 3 times real fast. What in the world does blithesomeness mean? Well according to https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/blithesome it means to be so lighthearted that you don’t have a care or worry in the world! Wow! What would that be like to not have a care in the world? Most importantly, how can I obtain that?
In Nehemiah there is a verse that keeps coming to my mind when I think about joy. It’s a verse that is sewn into a quilt my sister-in-law made for me. Nehemiah 8:10… for the joy of the Lord is your strength. This definition of joy means to rejoice. The rejoicing of the Lord is my strength. So, if I was to take these two verses and their meaning and put them together, this is what it would say…
To obtain the joy of blithesomeness and not have a care in the world, I need to take time rejoicing in who God is and what he has done for me. In return it will give me strength. It will not just give me strength; it will sustain my strength! God also gives us the promise in Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy (a shrill cry) cometh in the morning. We will have moments of sorrow, moments of dealing with Gods anger over our sin, but as believers in him, we are favored (accepted) and he finds pleasure in us. This pleasure sustains us and carries us to a place of life. Not life on earth, but life in heaven! What I also love about this is the promise that joy always follows sorrow! Always! It may not seem like the sorrow will end or the plucking away of the dead branches in our lives will every cease, but God promises it will!
Am I joyful? Yes, because today I am going to meditate on all that God has done for me, all that he has brought me through and all that he continues to promise to accomplish in me! Mostly I am going to concentrate on the love He has for me and shows me as I wake up everyday to a fresh start! That makes me joyful! And keeping my faith and trust in Him makes Him delight in Me!
He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Psalm 18:19-23
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Most everyone knows John 3:16 and can quote is by heart. Today I want to not just know it by heart, but know it TO HEART. There is definitely a difference than “by heart” and “to heart”. “By heart” means that we can repeat it and have it in our memory. “To heart” means that we have taken it to our heart the true meaning of this verse and it brings us immeasurable comfort, joy, and peace.
I asked a group of teenage girl’s what love means to them. The list included, kindness, caring, forgiveness, gentleness. They said it was a feeling, an emotion, that we have towards another person. When we started digging deeper into our emotions, we realized that our emotions change constantly all day long. Our emotions are so sporadic and scattered that we cannot rely on them to carry out the necessary task of loving someone. So rather than love being just an emotion, we realized love is a choice. It is something we choose to do. We make a conscious effort to accept another person for who they are and treat them based on our choice to do so and not through the emotions that we have in their presence.
God’s love for us is a choice. God doesn’t love us on a whim or whatever good or bad thing we have done that day for him. God chooses to love us every day whether we are in sin or not. God sent his only son to pay for our sins. This required his son to experience fear, anxiety, pain, loneliness, betrayal, bullying, embarrassment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and mental abuse. Jesus went through all of this to pay the cost for our sinful nature we are born into. Our sin, His sacrifice.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:8-9
Even when we were sinners, God chose to love us. Commendeth means to take a stand; to exhibit favour. He took a stand and showed the whole universe just how much he loved us! Not on a whim of emotion that will change with the passing of time, but as a choice that is constant and never changing. He took a stand for us, and sent his son to take our place for punishment. That is how much he loves us!
We are not a whim in Gods eyes. God chooses to love us every day, without fail, and within our sin. We can’t say that of ourselves. Someone hurts us, or makes us upset and we take our love from them and move on. God just keeps coming back over and over to prove his love for us!
One last thought for you to think about this week. God chose you just as you are, covered in sin, covered in shame, covered in regret. The person you are that is broken, confused, hurting, not worthy, arrogant, proud, and maybe even hard hearted. God chooses every day to love you!! Not for what you have done, but simply for who you are! You are his creation, his reason for existence, his joy, his sorrow, his pain, his victory, his peace, his adoration. You are all these things to Him and if he had to do everything over again, he would still choose this path of creation and sacrifice! He would still choose you!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3
In the verse we see blessed mentions 3 times. The first is talking about God who is blessed. This definition of blessed in the Greek means adorable. It is saying God the Father is adorable. I think of a baby kitten and how adorable and easy to love a baby kitten. The definition of this first blessed is saying God the Father is also that easy to love. To picture God as an adorable kitten, so to speak, and how easy he is to love when we get to know him better and spend time with him. The second blessed is talking about how God has blessed us! This definition in the Greek language means to speak well of. Also, the word blessings mean to speak in elegance with reverential adoration. God is not also adorable, but he thinks we are! He talks about us and sees us with adoration, love, respect, and high esteem. He doesn’t go around heaven pointing out every mistake we make or talking about what we have done or what sins we have committed. God is the giver of blessing who talks about us in heaven as if we are precious to him and deserving of acknowledgement.
God who is easy to love, love us in return and speaks about us with great esteem. So right now, I want you to think of someone who you love and adore. This could be anyone. This person would definitely love you in return. Think about that love and adoration you have for each other and now apply that to God times 10! That is how much he loves and adores you!!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for the gift of another day, I thank you for the adoration you bestow upon me, even when I feel as though I am not worthy or deserving. I pray Dear Lord that I will continue to remember when life gets hard and I make mistakes that you still love and adore me as no one else can! I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.
Want to know how to find out the Greek/Hebrew definition to bible words on your own. Check out this app link below for android. There is also one for apple users as well, just go to your apple store and search Bible with Strong’s or Strong’s Bible Concordance.
I have touched on black and white thinking a lot, as I believe this is a big issue with Christians experiencing high levels of depression and anxiety. I believe it’s a pandemic of the society we live in and not a Biblical truth to live by. I have sat through many lessons and some sermons where the teacher and/or preacher have said we must live in a black and white state of mind when following God. This has caused me such great anxiety and chaos within my mind that I have struggled to find peace in it and even grow. I know that God in not the author of confusion. Black and white is a worldly term used to view a person’s life. Black and white says its either right or wrong, good or bad. It gives security to place judgement based on external appearance or the surface level of a person. You look, you see, you decided ifs its good or bad and judgement is placed. Anxiety and Depression are considered to be placed in the black and white theory as black or bad. It is something we should avoid and we question others who experience it, and judge their level of faith in the process. Thus, judgement is then executed at surface level and the true depth of what God is working in someone’s life is ignored. The true question we often leave out is, how does God see us? God does not see us as good or bad. He sees us as his children. Children that once they have accepted Jesus as their savior, are covered with the blood of Jesus sacrifice for our sins. We are seen blameless and whole in Gods sight God does not see us as good or bad, black or white. We are growing members of his family, adopted by his grace and faith in Him. (Ephesians 1:1-14) We are His and He is ours!
Black and white is also a place of fear. Fear is a tool that false teachers use to drive others to submission. Or, a way for preachers and teachers to get a quick conversion. A way to hit us in our emotional body to get us to conform to spiritual rituals. I do believe that it does take some to realize the fear of their circumstance to shake them into thinking about their spiritual well being as it says in Jude 1:22-23. Some are saved with compassion and some with fear. Regardless if it was compassion or fear that first led us to question our spiritual state, we need to realize that believing in God is not about a ritual or religious ceremony or acts you perform to stay in God’s good graces. It not a way to get God to see you as good or bad. Believing in God goes much deeper than that. Deep into the heart and soul of a person and wrapped up with a person’s core belief system and moral ethics. So, I want to set the record clear on black and white thinking and dig deeper in God’s word to get the answers. So, what does it mean to be a child of God?
To be child of God is a choice. A choice to believe by faith (unseen proof) in God with hope of a promised end. This is the first part called justification. It’s a life changing decision to not only believe, but to commit your heart to it. The second part is called sanctification. To live that belief every day. To study and understand the battle we are truly facing in this world with Satan roaming and seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). To face those battles with God by your side to grow you and change you in ways you never thought possible. To enhance character traits (fruits) that will help you root out the lies of this world and give you a foundation of truth to stand on. The only thing that stops us from escaping the life of black and white is the truth of who God is and what he has done and your choice to believe it. So, what I am going to do is give you some biblical truths about what it means to be a child of God. To be justified or live with justification. These are non-negotiable, foundational facts the Bible states are what you need to believe to be a Child of God. (OR as the world says it, these are the black and white issues to becoming a believer in Christ.) I ask that you read and really think on these 6 non-negotiable truths the Bible clearly states you must trust in to be a child of God.
Salvation-Romans 10:9-10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. 1 Peter 1: 3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Faith and creation– Hebrews 11: 1-3, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Bible– John 12:48 – He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Love– 1 Corinthians 13Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing .And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 John 4:19-21 We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Obedience with Sacrifice– 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. Luke 9:23-26 And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Growth- 1 Peter 2:2-3 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Hebrews 6:1-6 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Conclusion– 1 Peter 1, Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
These 6 things are non-negotiable to be a child of God. Salvation, which is the acceptance, belief, and confession of your sins and belief in God, his son, and the Holy Spirit. Faith and creation, that God existed before the world and created it and with faith (hope of things not seen) we believe in God. That the Bible is the infallible word of God. That we love as this is the greatest character trait and foundational truth that God bestowed upon us. That we love God and others. That we are willing to be obedient with sacrifice. To choose to lay aside the old man and commit to following God and look to him for guidance. Lastly, to grow in knowledge of God and his ways, and look to him for guidance and the purpose he has for your life. Growing is a huge part of the next step of Sanctification. The next phase of a Christians life. But commitment to growth must come first. Lastly, is the conclusion of how this all comes together in 1 Peter 1. Salvation in all is simplicity, yet we tend to make it harder than it truly is. I hope this has given you some clarity on what is non-negotiable when it comes to salvation and give you peace to know that it’s not what you have done, but believing in what God has done for you!
If you feel solid in your salvation and in these 6 truths, then I recommend continuing in my next blog titled Is Black and White Thinking a Biblical Truth? 2…coming soon!
Most people know that I live on a farm. Everyday you never know what will transpire. Every animal has its own sort of personality. Babies come in the spring time, new kinds of animals are added occasionally, and mishaps are bound to happen. With mishaps there is usually an animal involved that has a lot of personality or stubbornness. One particular animal comes to my mind and that is Wild Bill. Wild Bill is a fairly new addition to the farm. He is a goat. I have been after my husband to add a goat or two to our farm family to help keep the briars and shrubs down in the sheep pasture, as the sheep are not so fond of them. I was thinking of a couple of pigmy goats. There are small and cute and the grandbaby and neighborhood kids would love them. They could interact with them and pet on them and it would be so great! Then I got a call one day from the hubs and he said, “I found you a goat, we are going to pick him up this weekend.” To say I was tickled to death is an understatement. I just knew that I had lost this battle with my hubs over getting a goat. “I hate goats,” he often would say. “They are nothing but trouble.” Well in my mind, I was thinking of those cute goats at the petting zoo and how friendly and easy going they seem to be and couldn’t see what the fuss was all about. Then we got Bill. Wild Bill that is! On the first day home we kept wild bill in the barn within the sheep pasture. We do this with all our new animals when we first get them home. We put them in a safe space to calm down, relax, and get used to their new environment and get used to us as well. Then once they are calmer, we will turn them out. By then they are just so glad to be out with other animals, they tend to join in without complaint and we don’t have to worry about them running off! But then we have wild bill. Wild bill has a unique personality. You know the one animal that looks at you sideways when he sees you. You wish you could figure out what he is thinking. With every step you make towards him he steps back one. Every now and then you may get close enough to see his eye color, but that is about as close as you will get. But the one thing I did not count on with wild bill, is his fleshly desire for shrubbery. I knew goats liked shrubs, grass, weeds, trees, and everything green. Yet, wild bill has an over zealous desire for shrubs. Not just any kind of shrubs, but the ones that can only be found on the other side of the fence.
Now, I know what you are thinking. I bet wild bill won’t stay in the fence. Well, that is part of it. You see wild bill will partially stay in the fence while the rest of him is outside the fence eating shrubs. To paint a picture for you let me explain it like this. In our sheep pasture we have a woven wire fence that goes all around it. Woven wire is made into small squares. This fence is to keep predators out. To protect the sheep. Well, as the sheep put their heads within those squares often to reach the greener grass on the other side, they have no horns to get stuck and they can do it without issue. When wild bill does it, he gets his head stuck because of his horns and in a fit of wanting to get his head back in the fenced area, he begins to scream and cry with abandoned for help. A cry we hear all day long as we continually over and over again to rescue wild bill from the trap of the fence. On an average day we would have to go out there and get him unstuck 3 to 5 times a day. No matter how much time he spends stuck and how much he agonizes over the situation, he continues to do it again and again. He never learns. So, my genius hubs, who is the farmer and I am just the farmers wife, has a solution to the problem. He takes a blue pipe, and tapes it to wild bills horns and gives him a crown fit for a pasture king. With this crown being wider than the holes in the fence, wild bill can remain stuck free. His internal desires for greener shrubbery become a distant action and his mind concentrates on what is in front of him and not on the other side of the fence. A crown of humility, yet a saving grace! As, wild bill lost his beautiful crown the other day and I raced to free him again and again, it reminded me of my own fleshly desires and what lengths God goes to not only heed my cry, but protect me from making the same choice over and over again.
Just as wild bill has the fleshly desire for things outside of his circumstance, we as human have those same desire. We each have things we desire that are honest and pure, but we each also have things we desire that are not so honest and pure. These things usually are not good for us. They can distract us from our daily lives, pull us in a direction that is away from Gods will for our lives, and keep us from growing in our daily walk with God. Fleshly desires also keep non-believers from choosing to follow Christ. Their desire to stay with what feels good to them often overclouds the rational mind of what it may be doing to their soul. We live in a society now that caters to instant gratification. The standard of this life, as a whole society, is to look down our noses at people who do not accept the desire of the flesh as a guide to live this life. I was born this way, life is not fair, God does not care because he won’t deliver me. All these statements have become excuses for us to live by our desire and not by the rationality of what our desires can do to us. The time has come that we all must acknowledge this and make a choice to stand for something. To stand firm with what we know is true or give in to our fleshly desires.
I struggle everyday with the desire to stay in my dream world or get up and face reality. For years I would spend it in this dream world sleeping my life away. It brought me good endorphins and wrapped me in a fuzzy blanket of blissfulness. Anytime during the day when reality became too hard, I would whisk myself away in my mind to that far away dream land for a moment of bliss. My fleshly desire to not deal with reality and hard times, left me in this constant state of fleshly desire. It became like an addiction to me. Something to always fall back on so I would not have to face the reality of my circumstances. Until one day, I got deeper and deeper that my dream world could not rescue me anymore. You see, that dream world and that fleshly desire can only serve me for a little while. Then the reality of life has to take over at some time and I have to face the choices I have made. I have to accept my life as it is and acknowledge my fleshly desire, and face it head on. With doing this I can change and grow, and learn how to cope with life in a healthy manner that lines up to my core beliefs. When I fail to acknowledge it my heart and mind become overtaken with my desires and resentment, hate, selfishness take over and there is no place for anything else. It becomes a lifestyle that leads away from truth and surrounds me with the blindness of the lies of my desires.
Just as Wild Bill continues to let himself be consumed with his fleshly desires; he has a farmer father that comes to the rescue. He tries to protect him. He places a crown on his head that others deem as inhumane, yet the ultimate goal is for his safety and protection. You too may be one of those that often lets your desires carry you away to places and circumstances that hinder you from growth. You have a heavenly father that may give you a crown, or a thorn in the flesh to keep you from going back to those dark places that will leave you trapped and empty. Are you gonna claim God as not being fair, as not caring, or are you going to see the truth of the matter and humble yourself to admit your fleshly desires?
Its time we each get off the couch, stop making excuses, and get busy growing in our faith. Start reading our Bibles more, get back in church, get back to fellowshipping with other Christians, continue to stand for what is right in Gods eyes and not conform to our own selfishness and fleshly desires! Without this, our children have no hope! So, parents give them a foundation they can stand on that will stand the tests of life. It may be hard at times to follow but, in the end, it will give them a chance to live victoriously and full of hope!
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:16-17
I woke up this morning with my brain in a thousand different places. You have seen the quote that says my brain has 15 tabs open, 6 are constantly running, 3 are all about numbers, and the computer screen is foggy and I can’t seem to accomplish any progress. This has been me over the past few months. Another analogy I heard the other night brought me to a better understanding and even my husband could get it. In the back of my brain, with all my clutter and thoughts, is a catalog system. As things happen and I deal with them in my life, I catalog the files to their proper draw. Yet, at this moment I feel as though someone has come along and dumped out a couple drawers and I cannot get those files back in order. Someone being triggers. Triggers with experiencing new pain, trigger of trying 2 new medicines, trigger of not sleeping good, trigger with a troubled relationship, trigger with insecurities, trigger of not being in control. The files in the drawer are dumped out. I am trying to place them back in their proper drawers so that I can get myself together and move forward with the 5 projects I currently have sitting around. Instead, all I can do it focus on the edge of the fog and see housework and chaos with several naps ahead just to get through the day. Day after day, I struggle to cope, struggle to just go with the flow and let the files remain on the floor. All mixed up and no place to call home and be safe. The system is out of order and it’s driving me crazy. Be still, comes to my mind. “Keri, just be still and let me put them back in order,” The small voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me. Yet, the wave of anxiety doesn’t seem to lessen much. Until, one morning a glimpse of clarity breaks through and my next step is so clear. I know what I have to do. This step is easy, but what if the next step is not? What if the next step requires me to do something hard and confrontational? Am I going to do it so I can put that file back in its proper place? Or, am I gonna avoid it and try to cram it in the back of another drawer that it will never fit in?
Sometimes, the way to picking up the pieces it not a glamourous path. The clarity that came was to stop taking the new medicine. They are not working and they are causing more trouble than not. That one was easy. Next file, experiencing new pain. Well, I can either proceed with trying to heal and figure it out, or I can ignore it and see if it goes away. Because this is a big trigger for me, the best move is to try figuring it out. One doctor’s appointment later and physical therapy ahead and that file is on its way to the drawer. Next, is control and relationships. For me, this time, it goes hand in hand. What is bothering me? Why am I so stressed? Why is my peace so hard to find in this relationship? Especially when it has been a safe haven in the past. As I work in trying to decipher what is the beam in my eye versus the splinter in the other, I am faced with a difficult decision ahead. A tough conversation that could either help or hinder this relationship. As I place it back on the floor to pray over it a little longer, to be sure of what I need to do, the next file on the floor catches my attention. The file that says you are not doing enough. This file is right next to another one that says, “phone call asking you to take a new position on a committee to do the Lord’s work”. Then the next card on the floor says, “What about your book? What about your blog? What about your ministry with them?” Before I know it, I am overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. I drop the files back on the ground and I let them linger. Thirty minutes later I try placing them together on the ground to see how they feel together. I place “Not doing enough” with the “Book, blog, committee job” and I become overwhelmed instantly. No matter how I arrange the files they all bring me chaos, confusion, and nothing is back in a drawer safe and neat. Something is wrong with these files. I just cannot put my finger on it. This is where I need help. I need to get a different perspective on these files and make sure I am seeing things clearly. So first, I pray. I pray and ask God for wisdom, for clarity, and for peace to know what to do next. Then, I reach out to my support group peoples and after a long talk with my amazing husband the clarity comes. It all boils down to some tough decisions, opening up a drawer that says no, and dealing with the fact that I have a huge misunderstanding of what serving God looks like. Stuck to the back of the file that says, “Not doing enough” was a file that says, “Every sermon, every word, every look, every job, everything is about you!” That haunted file that I thought I dealt with long ago, was somehow among the others. The file that should be under false beliefs drawer. The root to all my chaos lingered in that horrible file that tends to creep out over and over again.
My false belief drawer is half way full. As I read and study my Bible and face daily struggles, I work out those false beliefs and I put them in the drawer. The thing is that some of those false beliefs I’ve had for long time seem to slip out. As Satan throws a lot of arrows and triggers my way, he will slowly slip one of those out of that drawer and throw it in the pile as I am not looking. Sometimes those files are just so deeply rooted they have a way of coming out all on their own. But God! Through it all God has a way to deal with those deeply planted beliefs that keep us in chaos. I remember that God is in control and the best way to deal with those deeply rooted beliefs is to face them head on. Every time they come up; I try to remember that it is for my good. God is still working on me. He is the potter and I am the clay. Every false belief that creeps up he continues to keep his hands on me and work me until they come to the surface and those imperfections slowly come out. Then another, and another. He is so patient, and loving and kind. He is in no hurry as we are. He can see the big picture. He already knows what I will become, he just has to keep his hands steady on me to help get through and adjust. Adjust to a new way of thinking. Adjust to a place of acceptance for who I am. Adjust as I keep taking those filing cards on the floor and place them one by one back in their place so I can focus again on the big picture God has for me! The big picture is to hold water. To know that I am washed clean! That no matter how dirty or damaged I am he will restore me one piece, one ripple, or one file at a time.
The file that says “Every sermon, every word, every look, every job, everything is about you!” can be placed in the false belief drawer as I slowly believe that God has an individual plan for me and my family! My husband so clearly stated, “confusion is not what God wants. If it is something he wants you do to then you will have peace about it and not confusion. If it brings confusion then it is not for you! Also, if God has a bigger purpose for you than your family will be lead in that direction also.” That is so true. God would not take me to a place and leave my family behind. The pressure to believe that all these things were about me, my failures, and things I should be doing left my family out! Lastly, I thought, “Who am I to think that everything is about me? Am I that conceded?” The truth was on the outside that’s what it looked like, but it wasn’t so much on the inside. It wasn’t all about me, but with the observation of all the files on the ground, my anxiety was creeping higher as well as my depression. When this happens, I am more sensitive to all things. My major flaw in my personality was creeping up and I take everything as face value with no boundaries. Everything I hear, everything I feel, every challenge that is presented in the pulpit, on the radio, by my loved ones, or in my head, I take upon myself as my responsibility. But what is my responsibility? Where do I put up my boundary?
Galatians 6:5 – For every man shall bear his own burden.
1 Corinthians 3:8 – Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
These verses tell us that we each have different gifts, abilities, and talents, as well as our own burdens. It also says that the one that planteth and the one that watereth are one in the same. It is talking about ministering Gods word. No matter the conviction or responsibility you feel led to concentrate on we each have a job to do. We are to do it to the best of our abilities because they are equally important! Whether its serving the lost, the sick, the anxious, or the well-seasoned Christians. My personal conviction and responsibility is to the believer and helping them to navigate this life and the trials they face. To help them fight the great fight and finish the course, but most importantly to do it while keeping their faith. This is my responsibility, my burden. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving out the non-believer, but all scripture is profitable to Gods kingdom. All concentrations in ministry have the ability to convict, convert, to help those struggling and give them hope! Because hope is the true message that we all have in common!!
As I place this file of “not doing enough”, and “everything is about me” back in its spot in the false belief drawer, I will take out some brand new 3×5 index card and start a new one to place in my core belief drawer. One that says, “It’s okay to say no.” Another that says, “confusion is not from God.” Another that says, “Teaching God’s hope, no matter in what concentration, is enough!” I can feel the peace fall over me and a little sprig of joy starting to sprout and the day it looking like clear skies ahead. Those other files still on the floor are tough, but with God, I will handle them one at a time and with His help and guidance. It gives me hope to know I will not have to deal with them alone, and no matter how many times those drawers get emptied it is not hopeless. This is life, this is my life, this is my journey! I will embrace it and thank God for one more day and one more opportunity to put the old and the new files in their place until I get to see Him face to face!