Why I Wrote This Book

And Who I Wrote It For

I never in a million years would have thought God would call me to write. As I’ve mentioned in my About Page and other posts, I didn’t even like to read, much less write—until my world fell apart and I desperately started seeking God’s direction and healing.

I asked Jesus to come live in my heart at a Baptist revival in the fall of 1974 (I was almost ten). But I remained a baby Christian until I was thirty-three. By then, I was so hungry to know Jesus better, I began devouring the Bible and other Christian books.

Even though my mind was getting renewed with marvelous Scriptural truths, my addiction to performance-based acceptance soon bled over into my relationship with Christ. I found myself thinking, There has to be more to the Christian life than following a bunch of rules and principles and being good.

That’s when God began revealing my flawless identity in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His no-strings-attached affection for me. That’s when I began to fall in love with the One who loved me first and loves me most.

When I began experiencing wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding my pure, righteous, and holy identity in Him, my heart naturally began to ache for other believers who are going through religious motions in their relationship with Christ.

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love is specifically written for Christians (both men and women) who, deep down, know there’s got to be more to the Christian life than what they are currently experiencing.

The following is a more detailed description of my book that will should be in bookstores by the end of this summer:

Christian, do you know that you are the pure, righteous, and holy bride of Christ, and your Spiritual Bridegroom only has eyes for you?

Your brain may be going tilt-tilt after reading that statement, but it’s completely true! Jesus Christ longs for you to personally experience His cherishing love and exuberant life in your Monday-through-Sunday living. He knows that as you enjoy His lavishing, unconditional love, you won’t be able to help but express it in this world. The secret to loving is living loved in Christ, your Spiritual Bridegroom.

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love is the first of three intimate and interactive six-week studies of the Song of Solomon, an allegory describing the divine romance between Christ and His bride, the church. Spanning chapters 1 and 2, this premiere installment will help you renew your mind with the following refreshing and liberating truths:

• As the bride of Christ, you are completely forgiven for the sins of your lifetime.

• Through Christ’s finished work on the cross and your identification with Him in His crucifixion and resurrection, you have been made brand-new, and Christ is now your very life.

• The new covenant made in Christ’s blood has forever sealed you in Him. Your Spiritual Bridegroom will never leave you nor forsake you, regardless of what you do or don’t do.

• Because of His grace, you are free from law-based living to be completely enamored with Christ alone.

• You have a real, invisible enemy who is trying everything within his limited power to hoodwink you into accepting his lies about who you are. Once you learn his most effective strategy, you will be armed and dangerous to the kingdom of darkness.

If you long to know Jesus as the love of your life, this study is for you!

Read what others are saying about His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love:

I see this as a tender, thought-provoking book in which statements are continually backed up by Scripture. Because of this book, I feel compelled as the bride of Christ to deepen my spiritual union with Him in bearing the fruit of His Spirit. I am challenged to love Him, others, and myself more, the latter being the hardest to do. I am moved by the book’s poignant reminders, like how Christ uses my pain as persuasion that I might turn to Him for soothing, or that He jumps for joy over me because I am His! I started to say, “Imagine! Someone like me belongs to someone like Him,” but the book candidly stresses that if I keep seeing myself as who I once was, it prevents me from living like who I am now in Him. Finally, my understanding of difficult spiritual concepts is facilitated by the book’s vivid analogies. My heart is stronger because of this read!”—Sandy Haney, Christian non-fiction author of And the Award Goes to … She Who Shed Hypocrisy and Sand Crab Sentiments: A Tide Pool of Poetry

In today’s post, I shared why I wrote His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love—so other Christians might begin experiencing wondrous delight in their relationship with Christ through understanding their pure, righteous, and holy identity in Him.

I’m wondering, do you believe there has to be more to the Christian life than what you are currently experiencing? If so, my book may be just what you need to launch you into delightful intimacy with the One who loved you first and most.

Until next time,

 

 

 

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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Has Grace Got You?

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

If grace is a party (and it is!), there’s no doubt in my mind that MercyMe’s newest album, Lifer, would be chosen as the official background music for it. It’s not at all hard for me to imagine Jesus, the saints that have gone before me, and a heavenly choir of angels celebrating up a storm to this album’s fun and funky tempo in eight of its grace-oozing songs. And my favorite of the eight is the third track titled “Grace Got You,” the focus of today’s message.

In my premiere post of this series, I shared the backstory of how the band’s lead singer, Bart Millard, experienced a revelation of the good news (the best news ever) of the gospel of grace—after almost two decades of being in the Christian music business. Even though he was singing about God’s grace, he wasn’t embracing and savoring it in his own life. He was—like so many Christians—stuck in a miserable, legalistic mindset, trying to pay for what he had already been given as a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9).

Up until 2012, when he read books like The Naked Gospel and The Cure, Millard just didn’t “get” grace. He was like an impoverished, mouth-watering child, peering through the window of a candy store (the Werther’s commercial comes to mind), longing to unwrap and enjoy the delectable wonders decorating the shelves and counter tops inside. Until … he saw something astounding. His Dad appeared behind the counter and motioned for him to come inside and enjoy the entire smorgasbord of sweets—at absolutely no cost to him (and no stomachache). After all, his Dad owned the candy store and he was a rightful heir!

Now, let’s listen to Millard tell the story behind the song:

“It’s the song that makes you smile, the song that makes you want to be silly,” says Millard.

It certainly made me smile—and want to be silly, not really caring who saw or heard me. The first time I listened to it, I was walking around our neighborhood with earbuds. I couldn’t help but smile and sing and dance. And, as you might imagine, I was “moved” to post my first impression on Facebook:

Let’s listen to this fabulous song.

I don’t think this song will ever get old to me. And I love the rap portion by John Reuben. Kudos to MercyMe for including it!

“Grace Got You” embodies the change Millard experienced the second he realized that God’s love and acceptance of him have absolutely nothing to do with how well or how poorly he behaves. God is just as madly in love with him on his worst day as He is on his best. All because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. In an April 2014 radio interview, “Bart Millard of MercyMe shares his personal journey to grasping grace,” you can hear more of his passion concerning the grace party he and his band are now attending, celebrating, and inviting others to.

As I mentioned in a previous post in this series, I was a performance-based acceptance junkie until I too “got” grace (or realized Mr. Grace, Himself, “had” me from hello). I will never forget that initial honeymoon season in my life when the wonders of His amazing grace overwhelmed me. I felt like Dorothy being swept away from the dull, black-and-white landscape of Kansas to the bright, panoramic spectrum of Oz. And I’m still in Oz over a decade later. It’s not a dream, and I don’t need ruby red slippers—because I’m never going back to Kansas. I’m an extremely grateful lifer in this wonder-filled land called grace!

I invite you to listen to “Grace Got You” (and the entire album) again and again! Let its grace-infused lyrics become a part of your joy-filled journey in Christ. I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer (and the rest of my time on this earth)—celebrating the incredible gift of Grace, Himself, who chooses to indwell me twenty-four/seven and promises never to leave nor let go of me.

If you are a believer in Christ, grace has “got” you for good! So why not come to this eternal grace party and celebrate with me, MercyMe, and countless others who will never be the same since grace “got” us?

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed today’s new post in my summer song series, “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever.”

I’m wondering, Do you like the song, “Grace Got You”? If so, how does it speak to you?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

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,

 

 

 

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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How I Got Raving Endorsements for My Book

Another Update on My Publishing Journey

Every time someone likes or shares your posts on social media, they have effectively endorsed it. You might not have thought about it that way. I didn’t. There are a lot of things I never thought about—until I began the process of self-publishing my book.

Part of the process of publishing a book is to secure raving endorsements for it. I shared two in last Friday’s post. Someone recently asked me what this process involves. So, just in case you are wondering, I will tell you what I did:

  1. I compiled a list of Christian authors whom I knew and other like-minded believers with ministries focused on helping believers in Christ experience wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their flawless identity in Him.
  2. The first week in May, I sent twenty-one e-mails that included the contents of my book’s back cover (what it is about) and asked if they would like to read my manuscript and consider offering an endorsement for it.
  3. Then, I waited and prayed.
  4. Within the week, I received thirteen ardent yeses. Thank You, Jesus!
  5. I replied (gratefully) to the yeses with copies of my manuscript.
  6. And then, I waited and prayed.
  7. By June 12 (my deadline), I had nine endorsements and a foreword. Thank You, Jesus!
  8. On June 12, I submitted my manuscript to the WestBow Press design team for final review and proofing.
  9. On June 16, I signed off on my book’s completed cover.
  10. And now, I’m wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ of the impact my book might have on Christians who desperately need to know who they are in Christ so that they can experience wondrous delight in intimacy with Him.

To close out today’s post, I would like to share two more raving endorsements for my book:

Learning how to receive and experience God’s relentless pursuing love is the greatest life-transforming truth we can embrace. His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love is the most thorough teaching I have ever read on the Song of Solomon from a New Covenant perspective. Kim Francis has written a masterpiece that invites us all to receive, believe, and be transformed by God’s pursuing love.”—Donald Campbell, Operation 220 Executive Director

His Banner Over Me is Pursuing Love by Kim Francis is a very different approach to the Song of Solomon. The author digs deeper than most scholars in that the words are not only between the lovers named in the book, but between the King of Kings and those who love Him and seek after Him. I appreciate the research of Jewish tradition and other sources that bring the Scriptures to our modern-day minds. When you read/study this book, prepare to dig deep and perhaps learn some things about yourself as well as Jesus.”—Elaine Littau, author, speaker, humorist (Christian fiction, devotionals, and situational humor)

 

 Dear reader, thank you for your interest in my publishing journey. I’m wondering, have you dreamed of someday publishing a book? If publishing a book is not your dream, what is?
Until next time,

 

 

 

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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Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

If you’ve been following this summer series of Wednesday posts about MercyMe’s newest album, Lifer, you already know its backstory and the message in its first song by the same name as the album. In today’s post, I will be sharing the life-giving message in track 2, “You Found Me,” and how it speaks to me.

With the exception of Lifer’s two ballads—its smash hit debut single, “Even If,”(track 5) and “Ghost” (track 10)—the remaining eight songs are invigorating up-tempo songs that make you want to get up out of your chair and celebrate the finished work of Christ. Rejuvenating songs that make you want to fully embrace your brand-new identity in Him. Songs that you can’t help but move to. There’s no way you’re sitting still if you’re within earshot of “You Found Me,” “Grace Got You,” “Best News Ever,” “Hello Beautiful,” “We Win,” “Happy Dance,” or “Heaven’s Here.” Just try it. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

In last Wednesday’s post, “Are You a Lifer in Christ?” I shared the short story behind the song, “Lifer” and then the entire song (I can hardly wait to see the videos that will be produced!) So, I will follow suit with track 2, “You Found Me”:

“This song is about the day that He found me, the day that everything changed,” the band’s lead singer, Bart Millard, said with his bright white smile. Now, let’s listen to the full track:

Both the fun beat and the lyrics are sure to get your heart rate up. The message in this song is something to get excited about! The song’s title is reminiscent of the account of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, in particular, verses 24 and 32, where the father of the prodigal son is speaking.

This son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found (verse 24).

This brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found (verse 32).

At first listen, one might think this song is about the believer in Christ’s initial salvation experience, when he or she first believed in (literally into) Jesus. But I don’t think that is the central message in this song.

I think it is about God’s intense longing for every believer to understand the fullness of the gospel of grace in His Son, Jesus Christ. About His unyielding desire to see those who belong to Him live the life of liberty Christ died for them to enjoy.

The opening line of the song comes from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the fledgling church in Corinth. He writes,

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things (1 Cor. 13:11).

In this verse, Paul is speaking of how our incomplete understanding of spiritual truth this side of heaven sometimes motivates us act in childish ways that are inconsistent with who we really and eternally are (Rom. 12:1-21 Cor. 13:9-10).

The lyrics in “You Found Me” use the imagery of the childhood game hide-and-seek to illustrate what believers typically do when they sin—they go into hiding because of shame. But our loving and relentlessly pursuing God (who has been called the Hound of Heaven) will have none of that childishness.

He goes to great lengths to remind us that we have been freed indeed (John 8:36; Rom. 6:18, 22; 8:2). We are pure, holy, and righteous in His Son (Song 6:9; 1 Cor. 3:17; 2 Cor. 5:21). We are completely forgiven for the sins of our lifetime (Eph. 1:7; 4:32; Col. 1:13–14; 2:13–14; Heb. 10:18). And His twenty-four/seven indwelling Spirit will never ever leave us or forsake us (John 10:28; Heb. 13:5).

In a sense, He finds us—gets our attention and reminds us—of the good news of the gospel of grace in His Son. And then He sings a love song to us (my favorite part of this song), reminding us that He is ours and we are His (Song 2:16; 6:3; 7:10 NASB).

MercyMe’s song, “You Found Me,” is certain to be a crowd pleaser. It is the one song on the album that Millard said (in the heart behind the song) he was looking forward most to playing for a live audience.

While I really enjoy this inspiring and upbeat track, I have to admit that I’m already looking forward to writing next Wednesday’s post on the message in track 3, “Grace Got You.” This song is hands down my favorite song on the album!

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed today’s post in my summer song series, “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever.”

I’m wondering, Do you like the song, “You Found Me”? How does it speak to you?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

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,

 

 

 

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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It’s Almost Time!

An Update on My Publishing Journey

Writing and publishing a book is a lot like having a baby.  Much preparation, anticipation, and jubilation (and some worry) fill each moment—from the positive pregnancy test—to our ever-expanding waistline—until our unseen miracle finally decides to come out of hiding.

I had an extremely easy pregnancy with my son. I wish I could say the same about the actual birthing process. My due date, December 6, 1984, came and went without so much as a cramp. Wesley just wasn’t ready to make his appearance, even though he was plenty big. (Well, his  five-foot, two-inch mother was anyway.)

My doctor was in Pampa, Texas, thirty-two miles from Mobeetie. So, there was a little bit of apprehension, given that I had never give birth before. My mom told me that she was in labor with my oldest brother, Mark, for more than twenty-four hours. I was sure hoping mine didn’t last that long. But then again, I didn’t have any idea what to expect.

There was another glitch. The Texas Panhandle was expecting a major ice storm, so my doctor decided to induce my labor the morning of December 10 (and he was leaving on a snow-skiing vacation that evening!). After twenty-six hours of labor, my doctor’s partner in practice broke my water, I went into hard labor, and the delivery room nurses began making bets about the sex of my baby (we didn’t have routine sonograms back then).

On December 11, at 4:30 in the afternoon, Wesley Ryan Hathaway, a bright-eyed and healthy eight-pound, five-ounce baby boy, entered this world. I was overjoyed and thankful that he was finally here! And today, I couldn’t be more proud of the Jesus-loving man he has become.

I didn’t know then that Wesley would be my only child. I had a hysterectomy when I was thirty years old, so when Steven and I got married in July 1997, we both knew that there wouldn’t be any children in our future—unless we adopted. We prayed about it, but never felt like that was something God wanted for us.

Now, after almost twenty years of marriage, we know that God had something entirely different in mind for us. And, in a sense, Steven and I are having a baby—my first book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love. While Steven didn’t cowrite this book with me, he has read and reread it at different stages, offering valuable insights.

Steven has believed in this God-given dream since the moment it was conceived in my heart and spoken out of my mouth. And he has done nothing but support and encourage me throughout this entire almost nine-year process. Steven believed in me even when I didn’t. Even when I thought I was going to have a miscarriage (at several different stages), he pushed and cheered me on. Nine years is a long time to see the birth—the realization—of a dream. But now, I’m so happy to say, “It’s almost time!

I have learned a lot (probably just as much about what not to do as to do) through this huge undertaking. In 2012, at the advice of a published author whom I respect, I purchased a publishing package through WestBow Press, the Christian self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. That’s when the commitment became real. It wasn’t cheap.

And now, over five years later, the only part of the process that’s left is for me to do the final review of the proofs of the manuscript I submitted this past Monday. If everything goes according to plan, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love should be in print by next month, July 2017—exactly nine years from when the dream of writing this book was first implanted in my heart and I began punching away at the keys on my laptop.

In 2003, I remember hearing a Bible teacher talk about coauthoring a book, saying, “We decided to write a book together … and ten years later, it’s finally in print.” I remember thinking, Why did it take so long? Now, I know how it’s possible. There are some things you just don’t understand, until you experience them.

Part of the process of publishing a book is asking people you know and respect to read your book and offer an endorsement for it—if they like it. So, I would like to close today’s post by sharing a couple of the endorsements I’ve received:

This book called me to deeper, more passionate love for our Bridegroom. With intensive research, thoughtful insights and personal experience, Kim Francis makes the Song of Songs come alive. Using contemporary examples ranging from ‘do not disturb’ signs and overdrawn checking accounts, she makes application to this timeless, and often overlooked, portion of Scripture. The book also provides diagrams, study questions, and book and song resources.”—Latayne C. Scott, award-winning author

A beautifully crafted, in-depth study of the Song of Solomon. A gifted mentor and writer, Kim Francis weaves relatable examples with biblical truths to bring deeper insights into this ultimate love story. I highly recommend this study for those who long for and are ready to seek deeper intimacy with Christ.”—Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Stardust


Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I’m wondering …

  1. Has God given you a dream?
  2. If yes, what is it and are you currently taking steps to see it come to pass?
  3. If no, ask Him if there is something that He would like to birth through the gift of your life on planet earth. 
 photo credit: rosenblume75 Babybauch 1 via photopin (license)

 

 Until next time,

 

 

 

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

Are You a “Lifer” in Christ?

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

I love wholesome Christian music that you can’t help but marry. Music you can dance to, walk to, work out to, clean house to, listen with your kids and grandkids to, worship God to, cry to, sing for joy to, and experience new covenant truth through. That’s why I decided to do a summer song series on MercyMe’s newest album, Lifer, released in March of this year.

I would have never chosen to devote ten Wednesday blog posts to share the message in every song on this album unless I was passionate about what this twenty-three-year-old Christian band is belting out in their newest albums. It started with The Hurt and the Healer (2012), progressed to Welcome to the New (2014), and now, ladies and gentlemen, Lifer. Their albums just keep getting gracier and gracier. Yeah, I made that word up. But I think it fits.

Last Wednesday, in my premiere post for this series, I shared the backstory of MercyMe’s transition into writing and performing songs that stress the grace message. The finished-work-of-Christ message. The believer’s brand-new-flawless-righteous-and-holy-identity-in-Christ message. The message that changed my life over ten years ago. It was just what the Great Physician ordered for this performance-based-acceptance junkie. My life will never be the same. This Jesus + Nothing = Everything message is the eternal lifeblood that courses through my veins. I’m a lifer in Christ.

The first song (track 1) is titled “Lifer“—the same name as the album. Here’s the brief story behind the song:

Did you catch what Bart Millard, the band’s leader, said? “Christ consumes our heart and shows up in our music.” I love that. When Christ overwhelms our hearts with Himself—His love, grace, mercy, and truth—it’s going to spill over into everything we do.

Now, let’s listen to the entire song.

Aside from the fact that this song makes you want to put on your boogie shoes, forget your worries, and just plain have fun, the message surging through the lyrics is, “No matter what happens to me in this life, whether good or bad, we’re lifers in this together, God.”

The first time I heard the word lifer, it was a dreary reference to someone who was serving a life sentence in prison. The song’s meaning is at the complete opposite end of that bleak spectrum. It is filled with freedom, hope, joy, and the anticipation of life eternal (which has already started – see Track 9) in Christ Jesus. To sum up what Millard said in the Heart Behind the Song video above, “No matter how hard we try, we can’t mess this thing (our walk with Christ) up. Because He’s in it for life, so are we—even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.”

You might ask, “How can he make such an incredible claim?” I think Millard would be the first to tell you that MercyMe is merely one of many messengers sharing the good news of the gospel of grace. Eternal security in Christ is based in God’s infallible Word—because of the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. The following are just a few of my favorite Scriptures which speak of the believer in Christ’s eternal security:

  • “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
  • “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
  • “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13 NIV).

These aren’t promises that are going to happen some day in the distant future. They are true right now—because of our eternal spiritual union with Christ’s Spirit. I believe Christ’s greatest longing for every believer in Him is to get the revelation that we are eternally and flawlessly fused to Him the moment we actually (literally) believed into Him (His Spirit). Signed (Rev. 22:4). Sealed (Eph. 1:13). Delivered (Col. 1:13). We’re His (Song 6:3). Forever.

MercyMe’s “Lifer,” the first track on their newest album by the same name, is filled with life-giving grace-based lyrics. The group intends to keep sharing what they consider to be the best news ever (see Track 4) as long as they have breath. Not only are they lifers in Christ, but they are twenty-plus years and counting in the Christian music business. Kudos to MercyMe for sharing the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ through their music!

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed the second post in my summer song series, “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever.” I’m wondering,

What do you think about the song, “Lifer,” and how does it speak to you?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

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,

 

 

 

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

Whose Path Are You Following?

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love - Excerpt 15

Today’s excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, is a discussion of the great Shepherd’s (Christ’s) response to the Shulammite maiden’s (His bride’s) request for direction in finding true nourishment and rest (see Song 1:7).

“If you yourself do not know,
Most beautiful among women,
Go forth on the trail of the flock
And pasture your young goats
By the tents of the shepherds.”
                                     —Song 1:8

Go forth on the trail of the flock
After reminding the maiden who she is (most beautiful among women), the great Shepherd is now giving her direction, telling her to go forth on the trail of the flock. He is basically telling her to follow the path trod by the faithful men and women of God who have gone before her. These are members of the Lord’s flock who consistently walked in truth and joy, following a path illuminated by His Word (Ps. 119:105). Notice that Solomon’s father, King David, described this path as the path of life in Psalm 16:11:

“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

In addition to King David—one who experienced great joy on the path of life that led him into the presence of the Lord—we can find many great men and women of the Bible who blazed a trail of faith for us.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often referred to as the Faith Hall of Fame because it lists several Old Testament saints who had one thing in common—they trusted and believed God. We find the definition of faith in the opening verse of the chapter: “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it” (Heb. 11:1 NCV).

Let’s zoom in on the last part of that definition—knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. Even though we have never laid eyes on the resurrected Jesus, we know that He is real, that His Spirit lives in us, and that He can be completely relied on. I love the definition for faith found in 2 Timothy 1:5 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:

the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness.

By directing the maiden to go forth on the trail of the flock, the great Shepherd is saying, “Take the same path of faith as those who have gone before you. Lean entirely upon Me in absolute trust and confidence in My power, My wisdom, and My goodness.” What a great path to follow.

Joseph is one of my personal favorites of God’s flock from the Old Testament because he persevered under trial and had a forgiving heart. He was unjustly treated by his brothers, sold into Egyptian slavery, and imprisoned for thirteen years before Pharaoh made him second-in-command over all of Egypt (Genesis, chapters 37–50).

Joseph’s understanding of God’s sovereignty gave him peace in the midst of harsh circumstances. When famine drove his brothers to Egypt, uniting them once again, Joseph told them that God worked his imprisonment out for the good of many people (Gen. 50:20). Rather than nursing his wounds and becoming bitter, Joseph forgave his brothers and focused on the good that God brought out of his adversity. What a great path to follow.

My favorites of God’s flock from the New Testament are the apostles John and Paul. John knew in the core of his being that Jesus loved him. He even refers to himself four times in his gospel as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He truly believed he was Jesus’ favorite disciple. Sound arrogant? I don’t think so. John experienced a deep sense of security in knowing how much he was loved by Jesus through his personal relationship with Him. What a great path to follow.

Because of the revelation given to the apostle Paul concerning our identity in Christ, I clearly see that I am not who I was when I was born into this world. I became a brand-new creation when I believed in (into) Jesus. Paul wasn’t taught by men; the resurrected Christ personally downloaded him with the precious truths concerning the believer’s identity (Gal. 1:11–12). In most of Paul’s letters to the churches, he begins by reminding them who they are in order to evoke positive behavioral changes. What a great path to follow.

There are many great men and women of faith (trailblazers) who are not mentioned in the Bible. I recently attended the funeral of a friend’s mother-in-law. Rather than giving a traditional message, the pastor spent the service reading tributes from several members of her family. In almost every one of the testimonials, the family members describe themselves as her favorite son, grandchild, daughter-in-law, and so on. This woman of faith left a wonderful legacy of making each one of her loved ones believe that he or she was her favorite. No, she wasn’t misleading them or pretending. When she spent one-on-one time with them, they each were her favorite. What a great path to follow.

At just the right time in my life, my home church hosted a Freedom in Christ conference where Jamie Lash, Bible teacher and director of student development at Dallas Baptist University, passionately and powerfully communicated the truths of the believer’s new identity in Christ. Through his message, titled “The New Creature,” I began to understand that, at salvation, Christ didn’t just come into my life, but He literally became my life.

I felt like Dorothy being swept away from the dull, black-and-white landscape of Kansas to the bright, panoramic spectrum of Oz. And I’m still in Oz over fifteen years later. Through Jamie’s faithfulness in blazing a trail to Perryton, Texas, my course of religious rule-keeping was changed forever, and I was set on a joy-filled, grace-illuminated path. What a great path to follow.

During his conference, Jamie shared quotes from trailblazers who had inspired him. Hungry for these truths to go deep, I began devouring every book I could find by these authors, which eventually led me to Bill and Anabel Gillham’s books. Bill and Anabel have left an incredible legacy of communicating the truths of our new life in Christ in simple and practical ways. Although both are now present with the Lord, the ministry they founded—Lifetime Ministries—continues to reach others with the liberating truths of our new life in Christ. What a great path to follow.

Finally, the most recent trailblazer who has impacted my life is best-selling author and west Texas pastor, Andrew Farley. His simple, straightforward teaching style is helping people better understand the grace of God and enjoy the freedom that Christ died to give them. Farley wears many other grace-directed hats—all of which point people to the simplicity of the gospel. What a great path to follow.

In today’s excerpt (there will only be a few more before my book comes out this summer), I share my personal journey of finding true rest and nourishment by following the path trod by faithful men and women of God who have gone before me.

Now, I’m wondering, dear reader,

Which Bible characters, pastors, teachers, authors, mentors, family members, and friends have blazed a trail of faith for you, influencing your life in positive ways?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

photo credit: gusdiaz If we were via photopin (license)

 Until next time,

 

 

 

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
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Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album “Lifer” Is Their Best Ever

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

You may be wondering why I have chosen to do a Wednesday summer song series on MercyMe’s newest album, Lifer, released this past March. It’s certainly not because I’m a contemporary Christian music expert. Far from it. It’s not because I know the group personally and they are paying me to promote their music. (That would be really cool, though!) It’s because MercyMe’s grace-saturated hearts are spilling over into their lyrics like no other Christian music artist I know of.

Let me explain. Contemporary Christian music has been my music genre of choice since the fall of 1997. That’s when personal loss drove me to seek God like never before in my life. I locked in my non-digital garage sale radio to a Christian station and ripped the knob off of it. Well, it actually accidentally broke off! No problem. I wasn’t planning on changing the station.

So, I’ve been listening to contemporary Christian music (almost exclusively) for close to twenty years now. And I will let you in on a secret: just because a song or an album is produced “in Jesus’ name,” doesn’t necessarily mean it conveys the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian song lyrics, in my opinion, are only as good and accurate as the theology of those who write them.

You know exactly what I mean if you have ever listened to a Christian song that left you feeling like the gospel (the best news ever) got worse the moment you got saved. Lyrics that transmit messages like, “Christian, you have a wicked heart. You need to read your Bible more, pray more, witness more, and give more to get and stay right with God. You need to empty yourself of you (implies that who you are is worthy of riddance) in order to be filled with God. And the list goes on and on.” I hope you get the point.

In a September 2013 interview with ReligionNews.com, MercyMe’s lead vocalist, Bart Millard, was asked about his new-found passion for God’s grace that was being reflected in the lyrics of the songs in his band’s newest album (at the time), The Hurt and the Healer. The following is his transparent response:

I preached for years that you can’t earn God’s favor. But for whatever reason, it was all so robotic for me, and all I was really trying to do was earn it. I was doing everything that religion told me to do. I was trying to get a high score. But no matter how many records were sold or people were impacted, I didn’t seem to feel like I was inching closer to God. And, meanwhile, my family life was hanging by a thread. Sure, I would have told you that I was trusting Jesus for salvation and heaven, but the reality was that I was still working overtime to gain God’s approval on a daily basis! Essentially, my identity was completely MercyMe. Then, I began to realize that the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me.

Millard’s realization that “the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me,” came through reading The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church, a book by best-selling author and Lubbock, Texas pastor, Andrew Farley. The two connected through Twitter and ended up writing a grace-filled book together by the same name as the album–The Hurt and the Healer. (You can read the brief interview here to learn more about Bart’s grace-awakening.)

Since the 2012 release of their album, The Hurt and The Healer, MercyMe has produced two more grace-exuding albums: Welcome to the New in 2014 and Lifer, as previously mentioned, released in March of this year. And all I can say is, “Their albums just keep getting better and better!”

Don’t get me wrong. I fell in love with MercyMe’s music the first time I heard “I Can Only Imagine,” the most played Christian radio single in history. But the songs written and recorded since Millard’s grace epiphany are just sweeter, in my opinion, than the ones before. I think Bart might tell you the same thing.

Next Wednesday, I will review the first song, “Lifer,” listed on MercyMe’s 2017 album by the same name. I will be reviewing all ten songs, one every Wednesday, in the order that they are listed on the album. In each post, I will include links where you can listen to the spotlighted song and the heart behind it. I will elaborate on the message in the song by telling you how the song speaks to me and its new covenant Scriptural foundation.

I’m looking forward to sharing this Summer Song Series, “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever,” with you. I hope you will tune in the next ten Wednesdays and glean much grace from the entire album. If you do, you just might end up doing the Happy Dance with me!

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed today’s post about the popular contemporary Christian music group, MercyMe, and their shift to a grace-based new covenant focus on their three most recent albums. I would love to interact with you by asking you,

What is your all-time favorite MercyMe song and why?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

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,

 

 

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
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TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
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Christian, Who Do You Think You Are?

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love - Excerpt 14

Beloved bride of Christ, understanding your identity in Christ will help you experience the divine romance of His cherishing love for you. If you are having a difficult time believing you are Christ’s pure, holy, and righteous bride, take heart. After years of viewing yourself through a natural earthly perspective, seeing yourself through an eternal spiritual perspective takes time.

Your feelings and behavior will begin to line up with the truth of your new identity as you continually renew your mind. In the following verse of the Song of Solomon, it appears that the Shulammite maiden is also having a difficult time seeing the fullness of who she truly is.

I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.
                                       —Song 1:5


I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem
An unknown amount of time has passed between the Shulammite and the other maidens’ rejoicing in and extolling the love of their King in verses 2–4 and this verse. In verse 5, her focus has turned onto herself, and she is now addressing a new group that has emerged onto the scene—the daughters of Jerusalem.

We want to be careful not to confuse this group of believers with the maidens—those who are faithfully pursuing their King in response to their longing for greater experiential intimacy with Him. Let’s revisit the character profile for the daughters of Jerusalem from the overview found at the beginning of this study to get better acquainted with them.

Daughters of Jerusalem represent the group of believers who are “infants in Christ who cannot digest the solid food of the Word of God” (1 Cor. 3:1–2; Heb. 5:12–13). Their perception is limited to understanding that their eternal destiny is in heaven with Jesus. They have little or no knowledge of the truths of their new identity in Christ. These believers’ lives bear little or no fruit because their minds have not been renewed (Rom. 12:1–2). These “baby” believers in Christ are often mistaken for unbelievers because their outward lives closely resemble theirs.

Paul addresses believers like these in his letter to the Corinthians:

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. (1 Cor. 3:2–3)

The author of Hebrews also describes this type of believer:

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. (Heb. 5:13)

Believers who are “unaccustomed to the word of righteousness” are ignorant (lacking knowledge) of their pure, holy, and righteous identity in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Although they have believed in (into) Jesus and understood that their eternal destination is heaven, the renewal of their minds concerning who they are either hit a stalemate or never really began, for whatever reason.

The maiden too was a daughter of Jerusalem when she first believed. But something happened within her that has not yet happened in them. That something was desire. A longing rose up within her to know Him more deeply. In her pursuit of greater intimacy with Him and knowledge of the truth, she has come to understand that His Spirit actually lives in her. She now has a “Christ-in-me” consciousness. Before going to the cross, Jesus promised His disciples that one day His Spirit would live in them:

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16–17)

Jesus wanted to assure His disciples that even though His physical presence would no longer abide (live) with them, His coming Spirit would forever indwell them. He promised them that they would not be unaware of this, but they would know He indwelt them. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). Did you notice in this verse that He also told them they would know that they were also in Him? Not just He in them but they in Him. You in Christ, and Christ in you.

We can infer from the maiden’s first statement in Song 1:5—I am black but lovely—that she has an imperfect understanding of who she is. She does not primarily see herself as a lovely spiritual being indwelling an imperfect physical body. Instead, she sees herself as a sinful (black) physical being who happens to have a lovely spirit (because Christ lives there). She does not understand that her new spiritual heart is who she is and that Christ’s Spirit has completely permeated her.

The Shulammite’s description of herself as “black but lovely” is the first statement of how she sees herself—her self-image. At this point in the Song, she has likely fallen into some type of habitual sin because of her primary focus on her blackness. Her feelings and behavior have taken center stage in her vision, rather than God’s truth. She has yet to realize that though her feelings can be great followers of realized truths, they are lousy leaders.

In general, believers will see themselves in one of three ways after salvation:

  •        Self-image 1: “I am a sinner saved by grace. I have been forgiven and am going to heaven when I die, but I am still the same person I was before salvation (John 3:16). At the core of my being is a sin-nature. God’s desires and my desires are polar opposites most of the time.”
  •        Self-image 2: Second Peter 1:4 says I received a new nature in salvation, but my feelings and behavior indicate that my old nature is still very much alive. Therefore, it is apparent that I now have two natures—the good, new me and the bad, old me.”
  •        Self-image 3: “I am a saint who sometimes acts like a sinner. Not only did I receive forgiveness and a new nature at salvation, but the bad, old me—my sin nature—was crucified with Christ on the cross (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20). I am a new creation because I am in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The desire of my new heart is not to sin, even though sometimes I still do.”

Please notice that each self-image is directly proportional to the extent the believer’s mind has been renewed with the truths of his or her new identity in Christ. The maiden is most likely holding self-image 2 at this point in her journey. She believes she has two natures, basing her evaluation on her feelings and behavior. She feels like a “house divided.”

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a famous acceptance speech upon his nomination for the Illinois Republican Party’s US Senate seat. He called it “The House Divided Speech.” It became one of the best-known speeches of his career because it created a lasting image of the dangers of the disunion of his country due to human slavery issues. Perhaps the most remembered part of this speech was, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.” Lincoln actually borrowed the words of Jesus to make his point that a country divided over the issue of slavery could not survive:

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. (Mark 3:25)

This was Jesus’ response to those who were accusing Him of being possessed by Satan. In saying that a house divided against itself wouldn’t be able to stand, He meant that a man could not be of Satan’s kingdom and cast out demons at the same time because of the obvious conflict of interest.

After reading Jesus’ statement, do you think that He would purposely set you up to fail by creating you half good and half bad—a house divided? I hope your answer resounds in loud agreement with mine: No way! How could anyone who “lives and moves and exists” in Christ be anything other than good? (Acts 17:28).

The maiden’s problem is the same problem that multitudes of believers have experienced throughout the ages and still experience today: her lack of knowledge of her new identity in Christ.

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed today’s excerpt from my soon-to-be-published Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love. I would love to interact with you concerning its content by asking you,

“Which self-image is closest to the one you currently hold of yourself?” 

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

Until next time,

 

 

 

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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