Get your copy of my debut book this weekend at the Perryton Arts & Crafts Festival!

For those of you who live in Perryton and the surrounding area, I’m excited to let you know that I will have a book booth featuring my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, this coming weekend at the Perryton Satellite Center’s Annual Arts & Crafts Festival at the Expo Center.

My booth will be open at the following times:

  • Saturday, November 18, from 9 AM – 6 PM
  • Sunday, November 19, from 11 AM – 4 PM

Your name will be entered in a drawing for a FREE eBook when you join my e-mail list at the festival. There will be a drawing at the end of both days, so there are two chances to win!

Would you do me a huge favor, please?

Will you help me get the word out by sharing this announcement (with the buttons below) on your Facebook and Twitter feeds?

Thanks in advance!

It’s Gonna Be So Good!

I will never forget the afternoon I took my grandson, Logan, to 3 Sisters, our local self-serve frozen yogurt bar. You could almost feel the electricity of excitement exuding from his four-year-old body.

Right as we walked in the door—and with the biggest grin I’d ever seen on his lit-up face—he exclaimed, “This is gonna be sooooooo gooooood!!!”

Seeing this little guy filled with anticipation over the party his taste buds were about to throw thrilled his Honey to no end, as you may well imagine.

As we walked past the bar of tantalizing toppings toward the yogurt dispensers, his eyes and excitement grew. And he said it again: This is gonna be sooooooo gooooood! 

After I filled our tubs with a creamy confection, Logan made a beeline to the toppings. He picked out a few sugary sprinkles, but then he spotted the ultimate, the crème de la crème of all “little boy” toppings—a blue and white gummy snake, at least six inches long, a half-inch thick, and a red tongue.

I could hardly believe how big it was myself.

Can I have a gummy snake, Honey? 

That’s what I get for picking out a term of endearment for my grandparent name. A name I never get tired of hearing (well, mostly). A name that when I hear it, has a tendency to blur my good judgment.

I started to say, “No, it’s way too big. If you eat all of it, you will get a tummy-ache.” But he was so excited, I just couldn’t say no.

So instead I said, “It’s really big Logan. You can have one, but you can’t eat it all today.” (How could I resist that face?)

We ended up taking well over half the snake home, putting it in the freezer, and eating the rest of it later (I even helped). And thank goodness, there was no tummy ache.

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder. It seemed as though his anticipation of the enjoyment of the yogurt and its crowning candy reptile was more enjoyable than the actual eating of it.

Just this morning as I was hanging up laundry, I could smell the sweet potatoes baking in our oven and could hardly wait for them to be done. I love loading them up with cinnamon and pecan pieces and then savoring every delectable bite.

And there’s just something about that indescribably wonderful aroma filling your home on a cold November morning. It brought back sweet holiday memories.

As soon as they came out of the oven, I carefully peeled them, inhaled their fragrance as the steam rose off of them, and mashed them with a fork.

I should have worn a bib. I was drooling profusely.

And I wasn’t disappointed. My loaded sweet potato, hamburger patty, and cucumber lunch was scrumptious!

But just like Logan’s gummy snake treat, as delicious as my lunch was, I believe the anticipation of its enjoyment might have been even sweeter than the actual consuming of it. It certainly lasted longer!

Sometimes, the most enjoyable part of something we are looking forward to is the anticipation of it.

I’m not the only one who thinks that. Just ask one of the world’s leading thought experts, none other than Winnie-the-Pooh:

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”—A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

 

The moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were . . . Ahhh! Sweet anticipation.

Brain science has proven that the anticipation of a desirable event actually boosts a person’s happiness by lighting up the pleasure centers in our brain through the release of dopamine.

Anticipation is a gift from God that He has hard-wired into our brains to cause us to experience pleasure. Positive anticipation, that is. I will save the topic of negative anticipation and its effects for a later post.

In our day and age, with so much suffering going on in this world and in our own neck of the woods, we need to regularly experience the gift of positive anticipation.

The hope of brighter days to come.

There are people I know who are wondering how they are going to scrape enough change together to buy even one Christmas gift.

Friends who are preparing to undergo chemo treatments, wondering how their body is going to respond.

Others who are about to spend their first Thanksgiving and Christmas without their nine-year-old daughter who recently lost her battle with osteosarcoma.

Friends who still don’t know what happened to their teenage son—who went missing last year on Thanksgiving Eve (see Faith in the Midst of a Cloud of Unknowing).

My heart breaks for those who are suffering and my prayers are with them as they enter into the 2017 holiday season.

This will likely sound cliché, but I don’t know how anyone can survive the sufferings of this present time without the hope of brighter days to come. 

The mind-blowing hope that can only be found in the eternal embrace of Jesus Christ.

In Romans 8:13, the apostle Paul writes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (NKJV).

For those of you who are going through incredibly difficult times, this Scripture might be difficult for you to wrap your minds around.

But I want to encourage you to hang on. Hang on to every Word that He gives you about your glorious future in Him.

Here are five of my favorite Scriptures which speak about what believers in Christ have to look forward to:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5 NASB).

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28 NASB).

“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9 NASB).

“We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18 NASB).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:3-4).

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4 NASB).

 

Even though I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the pure ecstasy that awaits every believer in Christ in Heaven, I do know one thing for sure: It’s gonna be sooooooo goooooood!

Oh, and another thing: I’m convinced that there is no way our anticipation of Heaven could be more enjoyable than the actual experience of it!

Question: What is your favorite Scripture that empowers you to keep hanging on in the midst of incredible suffering?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

Also, if you would like to subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am In Christ IS Who I am!” please click here:

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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Faith in the Midst of a Cloud of Unknowing

How God is sustaining a Canadian, Texas mom while the search for her son continues

While many (including myself) in the Texas Panhandle are beginning to look forward to the 2017 holiday season, a cloud of unknowing continues to hover over Canadian, a picturesque community nestled in the rolling hills of the High Plains.

This coming November 23rd will mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Thomas Brown, 18 year-old-son (at that time) of Penny and Chris Meek of Canadian and Kelly Brown of Perryton, Texas.

Today’s post is not primarily about the details of Thomas’s disappearance. There are online articles you can read and videos you can watch if you want to learn more.

Today’s post is about a mother’s heart for her dearly beloved, deeply missed son and a longing for the truth about what happened last Thanksgiving Eve and the following early morning hours to come to light.

I am blessed to know Thomas’s parents personally. I taught with Penny for several years at Perryton High School and Kelly attends the same church we attend here in Perryton.

My heart goes out to both of them—along with Thomas’s older brother, Tucker, his stepfather, Chris, and the rest of their family and friends—as they continue to pray for answers.

To be honest, this is the kind of story you might watch on Dateline and 48 Hours, not something that happens in rural America, population around 2,500.

And especially not something that has happened to people you know and love.

My son, his wife, and two children live in Canadian. I’ve always said, “If there was any other place I’d want to live in the Texas Panhandle besides Perryton, it would be Canadian.” It’s so quaint and beautiful.

Quaint and beautiful, but not immune to heartache and tragedy—no matter how much we might like to believe we live in a protected bubble.

We live in a fallen world—a world where hurting people hurt people—a world that has been in existence since Adam and Eve first declared their independence from God (see Genesis, chapter 3).

As an outsider observing how the family is walking through this ongoing cloud of unknowing, I continue to be amazed at the faith and strength I see and hear in both Penny and Kelly.

A faith in their Heavenly Father, who sees all things—who is omniscient—who knows every detail about Thomas’s disappearance.

And a sustaining strength that can only come from Him.

When I asked Penny if there was anything that she would like to share through this post, this was her response:

We always ask for prayers for the family and Thomas. Thomas is very much loved and missed. 

My mom often referred to Thomas as Ferdinand the Bull. Thomas beat to his own drum. He never bothered anyone. He is the most tenderhearted young man that I know.

We pray for those who know and/or have information about Thomas’s disappearance.

I’m not judging, but making an observation about those involved that they do not have a relationship with Christ. If Christ truly lived in them, they would not have committed this act. We pray for their salvation. We pray that any hindrances that stand in the way would be removed.

We are very thankful for the communities of Canadian and the whole Texas Panhandle and beyond. This situation has been far-reaching. We are thankful for everything everyone has done. We are mostly thankful for prayers.

This season of my life has been life changing. I have a much deeper relationship with Christ.

 

I have a much much deeper relationship with Christ. Only God can bring this kind of redemption in the midst of a mother’s worst nightmare (see Genesis 50:20).

In my recent conversations with Penny, I have come to learn that she is no stranger to tragedy. Her dad committed suicide June 17, 1998 and her mom was killed in a car accident October 10, 2011.

Yet, through it all, Penny’s faith in Christ remains unshakable. What an amazing testimony of God’s sustaining love through such heartrending circumstances!

If this story has touched you and you would like to help the family, please pray for Thomas, the family, and that those who are involved and/or have information about his disappearance would come forward.

Another way you can help the family is to support the upcoming Thanksgiving Day fundraiser at Smokehouse Restaurant in Perryton, Texas, November 23rd, from 11:00 a.m. till 2:30 p.m.

They will be serving a free, traditional Thanksgiving dinner and accepting donations that will go to the Thomas Brown family.

If you have any information that could help solve this investigation, please contact one of the following:

  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC): 800-843-5678
  • Texas Missing Persons Clearinghouse at Texas DPS: 800-346-3243
  • Texas Rangers: 800-665-7168
  • Hemphill County Sheriff’s Office: 806-323-5234
  • Klein Investigations: 409-729-8798

For updates on the investigation, you can Like/Follow Help Find Tom Brown and Moms4Tom on Facebook.

God Built this House for Us in 1923!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since Steven and I signed the papers on our new old house. I still can’t believe we get to live in this 94-year-old home. I’ve said many times, “God built this house for us in 1923!”

Yeah, I know we were both born forty-one years after it was built, but God exists in the eternal now (outside of this time dimension) and knows everything. I believe Steven and I were on His heart while it was being built from the ground up.

I wish I could go back in time and watch it being built and meet the families who lived in it before us. The families who loved it so much, they didn’t paint the beautiful woodwork inside or change the ornate light fixtures and antique doorknobs .

We got married in 1997 with a mountain of combined debt, so buying a house was a seemingly elusive dream.  Up until we bought this, we lived in two different rent houses and a duplex for all of our married life.

All I can say is that God’s timing is perfect. He knew all along when this gorgeous, antique house would become ours. And the inside and outside face lift didn’t involve anything major. Mostly, it was just cleaning, painting, and replacing some light fixtures in the kitchen, guest bedroom, and bathroom.

If you would like to take a look at “Our New Old House,” please click here or on the above photo.

I just wanted to share a little bit of our personal lives in my post today. Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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What My Debut Book Has in Common with Fifty Shades

After reading the title of my post, “What My Debut Book Has in Common with Fifty Shades,” you just might need to pick your chin up off the floor.

No, I haven’t read any of the books in the Fifty Shades trilogy or seen either of the first two book-based movies. Nor do I have any desire or intention to.

For research purposes, though, I have checked out several online articles.

If you breathe air and don’t live in a cave, then you’ve likely heard about this twisted, sexually explicit series.

In a nutshell, Fifty Shades of Grey is about how an inexperienced twenty-something girl’s natural longing to be pursued and romanced drives her into the arms of a wealthy sociopath who convinces her to consent to sadistic sex.

True confession. There was a decade in my life (my early twenties to early thirties) when I might have been easily drawn into this erotic series—hook, line, and sinker.

During that time, I was on a personal quest—in hot pursuit of my Mr. Perfect—the one man who would ride into my life on a white stallion, sweep me off my feet, and whisk me away into the sunset of Happily Ever After.

Yeah, I really believed that life was supposed to happen like it did in the movies, the Harlequin and Danielle Steel romances, and soap operas. Nobody ever told me any different!

You might be tempted to label me as naive and gullible, but my craving for passion and romance was a very real, driving force in the destruction of my first marriage and the termination of my short and not-so-sweet second marriage.

In November 1996, I found myself a twice-divorced, disillusioned mess, living with the consequences of the choices I made. Choices that not only caused a lot of personal, emotional damage, but also resulted in tons of collateral damage.

And frankly, there is no doubt in my mind that my voracious appetite to be romanced would have also led to the ultimate demise of marriage #3 (now twenty years strong by God’s grace)—had it not been for God’s passionate intervention.

One early morning, five years into my marriage to Steven, I found myself whining to Jesus about the lack of romance I was getting from him. That’s when He immersed me into another grace reel:

Jesus and I were in a canoe on a very still river surrounded by beautiful mountains and landscape. He was rowing, and I sat facing Him, just resting. I noticed that the blue in His eyes matched the color of the sky and the river. Then He said, “I want to be your romance, Kim! Let Me romance your heart, and you will never be disappointed!”  

This grace-saturated motion picture launched me into a divine romance with the Perfect Lover of my heart and I have never been the same.

The one book of the Bible that Christ kept drawing me to during that time was the Song of Solomon, nestled right smack-dab in the middle of His holy Word. I believe God strategically placed it there because its message is central to His heart.

This highly symbolic and poetic book has more than one interpretation. Its literal interpretation celebrates love in an earthly marriage and has only existed within the last one hundred years. Many marriages have been strengthened through studies based on the Song’s literal interpretation.

Its allegorical (symbolic) interpretation, however, is its most ancient interpretation.

Orthodox Jews view the Song as a love story between Jehovah and His people, Israel, and is read every Sabbath and every year at Passover. But, because of its graphically sensual literal interpretation—it was at one time forbidden reading until the age of thirty. This was an attempt to lessen the chances of the Song’s poetic prose being read through carnal, rather than spiritual, eyes.

Another allegorical view of the Song—the one I strongly adhere to—is that it vividly illustrates the epic love story between Christ, the eternal Spiritual Bridegroom, and His bride, the church.

Its intent is to launch Christ’s bride into the depths of His fiery love for her as she meditates on it.

This symbolic view has nothing to do with physical gender, but everything to do with holy, spiritual union with the Perfect Lover of our heart (1 Cor. 3:17; 6:17).

In my debut book (released September 5, 2017), His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love: An intimate, interactive study of the Song of Solomon, chapters 1 & 2, I share my journey in coming to know Christ as my Spiritual Bridegroom and His greatest longing for His bride, the church: to experience wondrous delight in intimacy with Him.

Now, you might be wondering, What in the world does your book have in common with Fifty Shades?

I’ll tell you how in closing:

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love spotlights Christ’s Bridegroom love as the ultimate, eternal fulfillment of humanity’s longing to be passionately pursued by perfect, no-strings-attached love.

The Fifty Shades Trilogy, on the other hand, is a temporary, destructive counterfeit of that ultimate fulfillment. (I also see some other fascinating parallels that I will share in a later post.)

Dear reader, do you realize that your longing to be passionately pursued by perfect, no-strings-attached love was put there by God so that you would allow His love and His life to be your ultimate fulfillment?

You can find my book at Amazon, WestBow Press, Barnes and Noble, and several other online retailers.

If you would like to read more about my book and why others loved it, check out my book page.

Could I ask a favor? If you get, read, and interact with my book, would you honor me with an honest review of it at Amazon?

And finally, if you subscribe to my e-mail list, I will send you a FREE PDF of Who I Am In Christ IS Who I Am, a compilation of over 200 illuminating passages on the believer’s pure, holy, and righteous identity in Christ.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

My Morning Heart-to-Heart with Jesus

Two weeks ago in my post “The Secret to Savoring Christ’s Love” I shared a transforming motion picture that Jesus projected onto the movie screen in my mind while I was journaling—fixing the eyes and ears of my heart on Him in excited anticipation.

In this delightful grace reel, my Beloved vividly reminded me who I am in Him for all eternity.

As believers in Christ, holy and beloved, we need to continually remind ourselves who we are in Him (Col. 3:12 NASB). This is the basis for enjoying true intimacy with the One who has joined His Spirit to our new spirit forever!

Do you long to understand—to see yourself—as you truly are in Him and to express your true identity in Him continually, rather than walking by the flesh?

If so, then you need to enjoy regular times where you are resting in the truth of who you are in Him by grace through faith (Eph. 2:7-10; Gal. 3 MSG). (You didn’t earn who you are in Him, so you cannot “un-earn” who you are in Him. It’s a done deal.)

One of the ways that I continually remind myself who I am in Christ is through “heart-to-Heart journaling.” This could also be called “two-way journaling” or “dialoguing with God.” But I prefer the term heart-to-Heart journaling. Christ’s voice lives continually (without interruption) in the new heart of every believer in Him (Ezek. 36:26-28 MSG).

In heart-to-Heart journaling, I usually begin the conversation and then direct my attention toward my new heart (the eternal union of my new spirit with Christ’s indwelling Spirit) and remain open to what He might say in response to me. I believe my new heart dwells within my actual, physical heart.

For example, this is what I wrote in my journal this morning:

Tuesday, 10/17/17, 6:03 a.m.

Jesus, this morning, I want to thank You for a brand-new day in You on this earth!

Thank You for giving me a new spirit and joining Your Spirit to mine when I believed into You.

I thank You that our eternal union—our holy matrimony—is who I am.

I thank you that there is no such term as “me without You.” Our union is unbreakable. Inseparable. Forever.

You keep Your Word perfectly and You promise never to leave me or let me go.

You are Everything—my Source of Life—You are my living. You are my endless Love.

You are my Eternal Husband who loves me perfectly and longs to continually sweep me away in Your sweet love for me.

You are filled with joy over our holy union. You long for me to tangibly experience Your joy in me and allow it to be expressed through my life.

You are my Prince of Peace and long for me to experience Your contagious serenity because of Your finished work in me.

I am complete in You and You want me to rest in that knowledge.

Nothing in this world will ever satisfy me.

Only You hold the key to my heart.

Your patience toward me as I learn and meditate on who I am in You is indescribable.

I can rest completely in who I am in You because who I am in You is who I am forever!

Your kindness toward me and in me is delightful, unending, and uninterrupted. Nothing I do or don’t do changes Your affections for me.

When this world is harsh, hard, and critical, all I have to do is turn my attention toward You in my new heart and draw from the endless well of Your lovingkindness.

You are good. You are good. There is nothing bad in You.

I am in You, so there’s nothing bad in me. (It’s a new heart thing.)

You are forever faithful. You never leave me, regardless of what I do or don’t do.

Your faith lives in me, so I always have more than enough faith to live in day-to-day dependence on You.

You are gentle and tender toward me and Your gentleness and tender loving care permeate me.

You are yoked to me forever and are completely wise in every move You make.

As I look to You—as I look to our union in my new heart—instead of listening to the noise in my head, You cause me to walk in Your limitless love and power.

My Beloved, how can I ever thank You enough for all You have done for me and in me?

My love, you can thank Me by continuing to believe in and rest in My finished work—by seeing yourself as you truly and eternally are in Me and trusting Me to power your walk by My indwelling Spirit.

 

Dear reader, if you have a desire to hear Christ speak personally to you, I encourage you to get a journal (most of mine are the $2 ones you can get a your local dollar store) and start sharing what’s on your heart with Him.

You can be sure that the desire you are experiencing originated in His heart’s desire for you to tangibly experience His limitless love for you and His powerful life through you in your daily living.

Your decision to begin journaling your conversations with the Lover of your heart will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Happy journaling!

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that most weeks I try to post on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I am now entering a busier-than-usual season in my life where I will be promoting my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

I plan to post at least once a week on Wednesdays—either about His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, intimacy with Christ based on understanding your pure, righteous, and holy identity in Him, and/or what He continues to reveal to me through the everyday moments of life.

I also invite you to check out my archives. Most of my posts are timeless, Biblically-based personal stories and anecdotes.

If you don’t want to miss any of my posts and would like to receive a FREE download of my PDF, Who I Am In Christ IS Who I Am! click here to subscribe to my e-mail list. This way, you will be notified every time I post something new.

Question: Do you have a desire to develop the holy habit of heart-to-Heart journaling with your Beloved? If so, what would you like to gain by this practice?

 

photo credit: Anne Worner Fall In Love All Over Again via photopin (license) (edited by Kim K. Francis with PicMonkey)

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

What God Taught Me through Mrs. Stuart’s Cookies

Today's sweet and slightly spiritual lesson

I will never forget that day in Mrs. Brown’s third and fourth grade class (our school was so small, they combined classes). It was Dennis Stuart’s turn to bring class refreshments.

That’s the hallowed day when I was introduced to Mrs. Stuart’s No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.

All I could think as I was relishing every divine morsel and washing it down with ice-cold milk from my half-pint carton was Where have you been all my life? All ten long years of it.

To this day—if I even smell these mouth-watering goodies—I’m a goner. Any sense of self-control is just an illusion.

That’s when I try to rationalize my decision to indulge: Oatmeal is in one of the four major food groups, right? 

Can you relate?

I’ve spent lots of years trying to make No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies as delicious as Mrs. Stuart’s, but I think she will always be the “No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Queen” in my eyes.

Here’s one recipe I got out of my bright pink Perryton Full Gospel Church cookbook almost twenty years ago (Thanks, Edna Lee Grimmer for the wedding present and Alice Pingleton for the recipe!):

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1 stick oleo
1/2 c. milk
3 c. quick-cooking rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa, oleo and milk and bring to a boil. Mix in other ingredients, drop on foil and let cool.

I guess I have a lot of my mom in me when it comes to cooking and baking. I like to tweak recipes just to see if I can make them even tastier.

So, what follows is my tweaking:

Start with a medium-sized sauce pan on medium-high heat.

Just like the recipe says, add your 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of cocoa (any brand will do), and whatever you do, DO NOT substitute margarine for real butter! (Butter is always better.)

Then add 1/2 cup whole milk (the creamier the better!) and stir with a wooden spoon (not sure why wooden; that’s just what I’ve always used). Hey, that reminds of the story of the inquisitive daughter watching her mom bake a ham.

Anyway … bring all of those ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat, then add 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (don’t skimp with the imitation stuff here).

Now, here comes my biggest tweak in the recipe; one that took me a few batches to figure out.

Instead of 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 cup of nuts, add 1 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter and stir until it’s all melted in the chocolate mixture.

Then add 3 cups of oats (I use Old-Fashioned Oats because they’re just oatier—sorry, English teachers!) and stir well. (You could also add 1 tsp of cinnamon if you like chocolate and cinnamon together.)

Finally, drop by large tablespoons full onto a sheet of aluminum foil.

I double-dog dare you to try to wait until they’re cool before you get a taste. (Insert big smiley-faced emoji here.)

Now, lest you think I’ve done a 360 and gone all Betty Crocker (instead of Bible-based blogger) on you, God taught me a major spiritual lesson when I was trying to get these cookies to turn out like Mrs. Stuart’s.

When I followed the original recipe, my cookies were too soft; they didn’t set.

So, I reasoned that adding more oatmeal should fix the problem. Makes sense, right?

It didn’t work, though. They had more oatmeal in them, but they were still gooey.

That’s when I thought about exchanging the 1/2 cup peanut butter and the 1/2 cup of nuts for 1 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter.

Guess what? Making that exchange made all the difference! Mrs. Francis’ No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies ended up turning out pretty good. (Still not as good as Mrs. Stuart’s.)

Now, for the spiritual parallel:

When life stops working the way we want it to, what we usually do is add more “TRY” to the mix, thinking that should do the trick.

Instead, what we end up with is one big WEARY mess.

The thing is, God doesn’t want us to crank out our self-sufficient, natural strength and “try harder” when life gets especially hard. (He doesn’t even want us to live from our natural strength in the not-so-hard times.)

Rather, He wants us to acknowledge that the God of the universe lives in us 24/7/365 and exchange our “do it ourselves” attitudes with “God, I’m going to trust in Your supernatural strength within me to do it all through me!”

“God, instead of living my life for You, I choose to live from Your all-sufficient life that is inseparably fused to mine!”

What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?

Are you willing to exchange your 1/2 c. peanut butter + 1/2 c. nuts (your self-sufficiency) for 1 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter (God’s All-Sufficiency)?

All it takes is a little mental tweaking and a lot of practice. When you learn this way of living, I think you will find a skip in your step and a smile on your face a lot more often.

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed my somewhat silly illustration today. I’m wondering, has God ever taught you spiritual lessons through your day-in and day-out activities?

Everything’s spiritual when we are depending on the Spirit of Christ to live His life through us!

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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The Secret to Savoring Christ’s Love

As promised in my last regular post, “The Serious Business of Enjoying God,” I will be sharing a captivating “motion picture” my Beloved projected onto the movie screen of my mind almost ten years ago and how it’s still affecting me today.

I completely understand if you are sincerely wondering, How do you know it was from God?

Let me tell you how I know.

“By the fruit it’s still bearing and the fact that it agrees with New Covenant truth.”

It wasn’t the first motion picture He gave me. Or the last.

But this particular grace reel contains gems that, I believe, are meant to be shared with believers in Christ who have a God-given longing to savor (give oneself to the enjoyment of) His astonishing, one-of-a-kind love for his or her beautiful new heart.

Before I share it, I would like to tell you what led up to this enlightening, endearing experience.

  1. Reading about other believers’ impacting encounters with the indwelling Spirit of Christ made me hungry to also experience His love in tangible ways (I believe this hunger originates in His heart’s desire for those who belong to Him to be overcome by His love.)
  2. My longing to experience His up-close-and-personal love exceeded my desire to feel accomplished through marking off items on my seemingly never-ending to-do list.
  3. I turned on relaxing Christian instrumental music (See “Simple Devotion to Christ” for a list of my favorites).
  4. With my open journal resting on the pillow in my lap and a black gel pen in hand, I turned my focus toward a Thomas Kinkade print titled “The Garden of Prayer.” This ethereal scene invited me to step into its contagious serenity. (I could almost feel the warmth of the morning sun’s rays, smell the fragrant bouquet of flowers strewn along the water’s edge, and hear the trickling stream.) Kinkade describes the purpose for which he created this beautiful painting: My prayer is that this painted garden will be a meeting place for many that would speak to their God in the silence of morning.
  5. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself standing by the open gate, looking down the well-worn path for His coming. Then I started writing what I heard and saw:

How can I have more passion for Jesus? The way I grow in my love for Him is to grow in my understanding of His love for me. It takes the power of His love on my heart to love Him back. The secret to loving is living loved in Christ, my Spiritual Bridegroom!

When Jesus wants to empower me to love Him, He reveals Himself as the One who passionately loves me.

I wait in the Garden of Prayer for the One whom my heart loves.

It’s a beautiful spring morning, not too hot and not too cold. 

I hear the birds singing and the stream flowing gently beside the gazebo. I smell the fragrant flowers as a warm breeze makes its way past every bloom.

I feel my heart beating in anticipation of spending sweet moments with my Beloved. I can hardly wait until He gets here! I love spending time with Him!

I look toward the end of the pathway to see if I can catch a glimpse of His coming. Waiting is the hardest part, but so worth it!

I sit on the steps of the gazebo and close my eyes, dreaming of my Beloved. He is Perfect in every way!

I stand up and walk to the open gate, looking down the path once more. 

I see movement! I see the form of a Man at the far right end of the pathway walking toward the gate.

As He gets closer, I make out His face. My Beloved! He has come just to see me.

He is smiling the most radiant smile; joy is His countenance.

I cannot wait until He gets to the gate, so I run up the path to meet Him. As I approach, He opens His arms wide.

Like a child, I jump into His loving embrace.

He says, “My love, you are so beautiful! It is the desire of My heart to be with you.”

He holds me for what seems like a long time. I rest my head on His chest and feel His rapid heartbeat.

Then He kisses my forehead and says, “Let’s walk together.”

He takes my hand in His as we walk down the pathway toward the gazebo. As we walk, I sense that we are the only two people in the world.

As His hand holds mine, I feel the scar from one of the wounds He received on my behalf. It is a silent reminder of a love without limits, a love that stretches beyond time.

He squeezes my hand to let me know He is reading my thoughts.

He experiences great joy when I meditate on the truths of His undying love for me. Oh, what ecstasy! What delight! To spend time with the One my heart loves!

The open gate invites us into the garden. We accept by walking through it.

We drink in the lush scenery—the vibrant trees, flowering bushes, and the diamond-like sheen on the surface of an unhurried stream.

“I created all this so that we could enjoy it together, forever, My love. Every beautiful thing you see was created for your enjoyment.”

My heart is overwhelmed to know that I was on His mind at creation.

“But you need to know that not a single place on this earth holds a candle to your beauty.”

He points to the white calla lilies nestled within the greenery outlining the stream and says, “Aren’t they gorgeous? They are pure and white and look like the flame of a candle. They also look like trumpets heralding the beauty of My creation.”

He turns to me and softly whispers, “You asked Me what your new name was when I created you in Me on that crisp Autumn evening.”

“Your new name is ‘Magnificent Beauty,’ the meaning of the calla lily. You will trumpet My name and My love throughout the earth before My coming.”

“Your passion will burn brightly for Me as a candle illuminates the night. Your purity and holiness will stand out in a world where darkness tries to overtake the light.”

“You are My Magnificent Beauty, My love. Come and dance with Me under the gazebo.”

We dance together as one, swaying to the rhythm of His heartbeat. As I rest in His guidance, every twirl and turn is orchestrated by Him. Oh, how I love to dance with my Beloved!

He whispers, “My love, always trust in My leading; never try to lead.”

I nodded as I relax my left ear on His chest. I realize His heartbeat and mine are synchronized. When I’m dancing with Him, I feel the most alive!

We stop dancing. He says, “My love, let’s rest awhile.”

We walk to the steps on the other side of the gazebo, roll up the hem of our garments, sit down, and dangle our bare feet in the cool stream.

Oh, how refreshing and invigorating it is!

“Isn’t it fun to become as little children and play in the water!” He exclaims. I wholeheartedly agree. 

When He raises one foot out of the water, I see another reminder of the great price He paid for me.

He winks at me, reading my thoughts once again.

He reaches down, cups water in His hand, and splashes me with it. “I have made you clean,” He says. “Don’t ever forget you are pure, righteous, and holy.”

“Your heart is brand-new in Me.”

This is difficult to believe, especially when my behavior is less than stellar.

Understanding my unspoken struggle, He responds, “My love, your spiritual birth determines your identity, not your behavior. The more you focus on Me and your flawless identity in Me, the more your behavior will line up with who you really are.”

I breathe a long sigh of relief in response to His life-giving words and relax in His perfect love for me.

We lie back on the gazebo, and I fall asleep in His arms.

When I wake up, I see Him looking at me with tender love. He says to me, “You are My pearl, My most treasured possession. I never sleep. My eyes are continually gazing with perfect love on you. Trust Me with every detail of your life.”

I respond, “I do trust You! Cause me to trust and love You more!”

He replies, “My pleasure!”

We get up and walk hand-in-hand to the open gate. He raises my hand to His scarlet lips, kisses it, and says, “Until we meet again.”

He strokes my hair as I hug Him goodbye.

I watch Him walk to the end of the pathway until He’s out of sight.

I miss Him already and can hardly wait until He comes again!

I will never forget this impacting encounter with my Beloved. I look forward to many more as He leads me to fix the eyes of my beautiful, new heart on Him in wonder-filled expectancy.

(I would like to clarify that we are never separated from our Beloved. We are in Him and He is in us eternally, without interruption. The parts of this motion picture that might suggest separation are an illustration of the times when we are not intentionally focusing on our unbreakable union with Him.)

Dear reader, do you have a desire to savor Christ’s refreshing love in up-close-and-personal ways? If so, there’s no time like the present to enjoy His presence!

In my next post, I will share more about how you can position yourself to delight more fully in His eternal embrace.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

photo credit: Patrick Vierthaler Tenju-an 天授庵 via photopin (license)
Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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You’re Already a Godly Person

Today's guest post by Mark Maulding, author of God's Best-Kept Secret

Just this morning, I finished savoring Mark Maulding’s book, God’s Best-Kept Secret: Christianity Is Easier Than You Think. I can honestly say this book is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Most of the time when I finish a book, it gets put on one of my library shelves. Not this one. It’s going to remain within arm’s reach of my little brown chair in my library sanctuary—the place where I spend most of my time reading, writing, and enjoying Jesus.

God’s Best-Kept Secret is Mark’s warm counselor’s heart in a book. A heart filled with compassion for hurting Christians who are unable to make the Christian life work. A heart that longs to share God’s best-kept secret with struggling believers who are in the ideal position to give up their self-efforts and to begin resting in and living from the luxuriant life of Christ within.

And now, without further ado, here is Mark’s guest post, “You’re Already a Godly Person.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Understanding and embracing your identity in Christ, can transform your life. A pastor friend of mine tells his congregation often, “Do you want to know how I grow spiritually? I spend a lot of time thinking about who I am in Christ.” That is my secret to spiritual growth.

For many years, because I had a skewed understanding of who God really is and who I am in Christ, I strove very hard to become a godly man. My erroneous belief was that if I could get better and better at the spiritual disciplines, make more and more wise decisions, and live a holy life, I would one day become that godly man. That was one of the reasons I felt so stressed out and anxious about the Christian life. It was a lot of hard work and even after years of hard work on it, I still felt like a failure.

After God began to show me the truth about him and me, I experienced more and more peace in my life, especially from letting my behavior define my identity. But there was still this nagging voice which whispered to me occasionally that I needed to become a godly man. It was like a mosquito that just will not leave you alone.

One day I was alone in my car headed to work and I was thinking again about becoming a godly man, as I had for many years. It was in that moment that God whispered to me a wonderful truth that set me free from this bondage. “Mark, you’re already a godly man.” When he said that, it was as if the car suddenly got brighter because I saw immediately what Jesus was saying to me. He wanted me to know that I had been a godly man since the day I was saved at age 9. I could stop trying to be a godly man because in my identity in Christ I already was one. To be quite honest, it was a great relief. I felt like I could relax before God. The striving was over.

In my counseling and teaching through the years, I’ve discovered that is where many Christians are. They don’t know they are already godly, holy, righteous, loving, patient and so much more in Christ. So they strive to become that person when they already are that person. That’s clear evidence of living with a false identity.

Are you ready to let go of your false identity based on your behavior, feelings, and the opinions of others and embrace your true identity in Christ? Why don’t you start right now? Here is a suggested prayer.

Father, I have spent all of my life searching for my stolen identity. As a result, I have developed a false identity which has controlled my life. I now give up my false identity and choose today to embrace my true identity in Christ by faith. Please make this more and more real in my life as I agree more and more with your opinion of me. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

Are you discouraged by feeling distant from God no matter how much you try to grow closer to him? Reclaim the life God intended for you with God’s Best-Kept Secret! Learn more + get freebies and a sample chapter: godsbestkeptsecret.com

 

 

 

Mark Maulding is founder of Grace Life International, one of the largest Christian counseling and teaching ministries in America. A speaker, counselor, and leadership coach, Maulding is a regular blogger who is passionate about sharing the transforming message of God’s grace with a world in desperate need of it. He and his wife, Ellen, have four adult children, including a daughter with Down syndrome who, along with her three brothers, recently finished college. They live near Charlotte, North Carolina. You can connect with Mark on Facebook or his blog.

The Serious Business of Enjoying God

In my last post, “Could This Be the Day?” I shared how some Christian prophetic circles were predicting that Christ could rapture His bride, the church, during the Jewish New Year (5778) celebration—also known as Rosh Hashanah 2017.

Well, it came and went and Christ’s spotless bride is still here on planet earth.

If the word I use to describe Christ’s bride—spotless—bothers you, I believe it might benefit you to read a couple of my previous posts titled “Ready or Not, Here I Come (Part 1)” and “Ready or Not, Here I Come (Part 2).”

In a nutshell, everyone who has believed in (into) Jesus is already ready for His return. He or she is already a spotless saint. (The fact that we are “in” Jesus says it all. Their is no impurity or unholiness in Him, and we are in Him.)

Now, spotless saint, let’s move on to the serious business of enjoying our Beloved’s indwelling presence in the here and now.

The title of today’s post, “The Serious Business of Enjoying God,” is adapted from one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes: “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”

If the world is going to be drawn to Jesus through our believing lives, it will be through the supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control they see/sense emanating from us—the fruit of our intimacy with our Spiritual Bridegroom (Gal. 5:22-23).

In my prior posts, “How to Tune into God’s Live Love Stream,” “Simple Devotion to Christ,” “Pure Devotion to Christ,” and “Undivided Devotion to Christ,” we focused on 2 Corinthians 11:3, where the distressed apostle Paul is pouring out his heart to the Corinthian Christians (whom he had personally led to Christ):

I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent” (NLT).

Paul was upset because some so-called Jewish “super apostles” were coming in behind him with outward pomp and circumstance, corrupting his “naked gospel” message.

They were influencing this group of immature believers to add requirements (works) to the simple gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).

So now, instead of being enamored with Christ alone, the Corinthian church’s attention was being diverted from Him to a “different” Jesus, Spirit, and gospel.

They were, in a sense, eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, focusing on what they were doing (right and wrong) instead of who they were in Christ and who He was eternally in them (Gen. 2:15-17).

I’m wondering, dear reader, has this ever happened to you?

If so, then you’ve been hoodwinked along with every other believer in Christ (at some time or another) throughout the ages.

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You’ve been subtly deceived into getting life from your perception of how well you are performing as a Christian (Mark Maulding calls this “Try Hard Christianity” in his wonderful book, God’s Best-Kept Secret) instead of drawing life from the River of Living Water that dwells within your new heart (“Trust Him Christianity” – Maulding) (John 7:38).

I don’t appreciate getting duped by the enemy any more than the next Christian, so let’s look at some ways that we can take back what we have (unknowingly) allowed him to steal from us (John 10:10).

Let’s start by looking at 2 Corinthians 11:3 in the New American Standard Bible:

I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

The following is a review from a prior post of the Greek meanings of the words simplicity, purity, and devotion:

  • simplicity – “singleness of mind, infused by God through the Spirit”
  • purity – “exciting reverence, sacred, immaculate”
  • devotion – “sitting by constantly, attending to enthusiastically”

Putting all three of these definitions together as it pertains to the serious business of enjoying God, I believe Christ is saying:

My beloved [insert your name],

You are invited to experience the romance of My astounding, no-strings-attached, one-of-a-kind love for your beautiful new heart.

This won’t make sense to your logic and reason, nor should you expect it to.

However, it will make perfect sense to your heart, My pure, spotless dwelling place.

In a world saturated with the temptation to get life from every outward source but Me—eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of from the Tree of Life indwelling you—all I really want is for you to fix the eyes and ears of your spiritual heart on Me (in you) in excited anticipation of what I will live stream to the movie theater in your mind.

Rest assured, everything you see and hear from Me will sound like Perfect Love, My love.

 

If you are serious about learning how to enjoy God, you seriously don’t want to miss my next post!

I will be sharing with you a delightful vision my Beloved gave me one morning while I was fixing the eyes and ears of my spotless new heart on Him, and how you too can position yourself to enjoy the One who is already filled with delight over you!

“He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy” (Zeph. 3:17 GW).

Dear reader, I’m wondering, “Do you long to learn how to enjoy Christ and allow Him to refresh your life with His love?”

 

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

photo credit: Simon & His Camera Syon House & The Thames From Kew 2 by Simon & His Camera via photopin (license)

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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