How God Interrupted My “Quiet” Time with a Noisy Cricket

Monday morning I woke up with a plan. I was going to spend time journaling (that’s how I process best), talking to the Lord, and listening for His response. More than anything else, I needed to hear His voice.

I was feeling vulnerable and anxious about a past failure (regret) because I spent most of Sunday allowing the “accuser of the brethren” rip me to shreds (Rev. 12:9-10; Job 1:9; 2:4-5; Zech. 3:1-2).

Instead of letting Christ’s Spirit remind me of the truth about that gut-wrenching circumstance and lead me by His “unforced rhythms of grace,” I allowed my feelings (influenced by my passive acceptance of the enemy’s accusations) to drive me around most of the day (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG).

And needless to say, I didn’t end up in a good place—mentally or emotionally.

So, Monday morning, I was determined to hear from God.

Journal out, pen in hand, I start writing. And writing led me to open one of my study Bibles to research passages on hearing from God.

I was just getting immersed into the second chapter of Habakkuk when a noisy cricket started interfering with my plan. How was I suppose to hear the still, small voice of God with that irritating distraction? (1 Kings 19:11-13 KJV)

It was so loud, I was convinced that it was inside my library. So, I got up out of my chair, moved books & papers around, opened shutters, and leaned in, listening intently to see if I could pinpoint jabbering Jiminy’s location.

After a fruitless (cricket-less) search, I was determined to put an end to that quiet-robbing insect’s already short lifespan (they only live about three months). I grabbed a flashlight, went outside in the dark (it was around 5:30 a.m.) and searched.

I couldn’t find him (only male crickets chirp).

Steven asked what I was doing and—after expressing my frustration to him—said with a grin, “Maybe God’s trying to tell you something.” (I had kind of suspected the same thing at that point.)

So, what do you do when you don’t know what else to do?

You pick up your phone and check your e-mail, right? (Well, that’s what I sometimes do.)

The subject line that grabbed my attention was “ANNOUNCEMENT: Michele’s Story on LifeToday TV!” (I subscribe to Michele Cushatt’s blog, “Making Peace with an Imperfect Life.”) She has an incredible testimony as a 3-time cancer survivor.)

There was a link to head on over to her blog, so I clicked it. (You can, too. The post is really short.)

Right in the middle of this post promoting her guest spot on Life Today with James and Betty Robison was this title and description:

Monday, August 28: Michele Cushatt: The Nearness of God

A woman who has faced unimaginable physical pain talks about the presence of God during those difficult times.

While the emotional pain I was experiencing couldn’t hold a candle to the severity of Michele’s physical and emotional pain, I sensed God’s desire to speak to me through her interview.

So, I went into the living room to find out when the program was airing and to set my DVR to record it.

Guess what? It just so happened to be airing at that moment, and what she said brought tears to my eyes.

Here’s a two-minute snippet from her interview:

The difficulty is we often equate the presence of pain with the absence of God. How many of us think the moment that we feel pain, that must mean that God left? And for many of us, that’s where our faith is either built stronger or is completely destroyed—in those kind of places.

I had to wrestle with that quite often. Where was He? Thousands of people were praying for my healing. And cancer just didn’t come back once; I had it three times.

Michele makes many profound, thought-provoking statements throughout this interview. If you are going through a difficult time (or even if you’re not), I highly recommend you watching the entire interview: “God In the Pain”

I’m not going to share a lot about the interview (because I want you to watch it), but here are the main takeaways I got from Michele:

  • I found great comfort in Good Friday and Saturday. Picturing Jesus’ suffering in the garden helped me.
  • I needed to hear God’s words of affection and love for me in that place.
  • We were never meant to build an identity; we were meant to receive it (my favorite).
  • There is no surgeon’s scalpel that can cut our value away from us; we simply need to receive the value He has already spoken over us.
  • I have to make a choice to be captive to fear or to trust the One who has numbered my days.
  • God has given me a glimpse of eternity that I couldn’t have manufactured or found any other way.
  • I’m so thankful.

If you watch the show before Friday, you can get in on Michele’s promotion and be eligible to win two free copies of her book I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is, two I Am Scripture cards & easels, and a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Not only did Michele’s interview speak volumes to me, but several key statements from her book site also ministered to me. The one that spoke the loudest (given my recent experience) was:

Stop agonizing over past regrets and failures and make peace with God’s sovereign plan for your life.

Don’t you agree that God can use anything He wants to in order to get our attention? Even a noisy cricket?

I’ve already ordered I Am and looking forward to hearing God speak to me through its pages.

And I’m sure you will hear about it right here on my blog.

(If you don’t want to miss any of my posts, go here, scroll to the bottom of the page, and SUBSCRIBE.)

Question: How is God speaking to you through today’s post?

 

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 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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Today’s Guest Post by Award-Winning Author Latayne C. Scott – Priska’s Betrothal

My initial contact with the award-winning author of my first guest post, Latayne C. Scott, was in January 2014 when I e-mailed her to ask her permission to use a quote from The Shout of the Bridegroom: Understanding Christ’s Intimate Love for the Church, a book she co-wrote with the late Dr. Glenn Greenwood.

Even though she didn’t know me personally, she asked me to let her know when my book was released and offered to help me with some publicity. That blessed my heart!

Over three years later, I e-mailed her again, this time asking her if she would read and consider writing an endorsement for my soon-to-be-released book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

She blessed my heart again by saying yes and giving my book a glowing endorsement.

She also asked if I would consider reading and endorsing her book, A Conspiracy of Breath, due to release September 1—one week from today.

I was honored that she asked me and gladly said yes. Below is my endorsement of her captivating work:

“Until I savored Latayne C. Scott’s A Conspiracy of Breath, I believed the apostle Paul to be the most likely candidate for authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews. Not anymore. Scott provides a convincing argument through her use of vivid, page-turning imagery that Priscilla, wife of Aquila, could have very well been this enigmatic New Testament book’s inspired recipient. In the future, I will be reading Hebrews through exquisite new lenses!”—Kim K. Francis

And now, without further ado, let’s enjoy award-winning author Latayne C. Scott’s guest post, “Priska’s Betrothal”:

One of the wonderful things about social media is how we can discover deep connections with people we discover there. This was definitely the case when I met Kim! Her book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, struck so many chords with me, since I also wrote a book on that theme.

The symbolism and implications of the way the Bible shows Christ’s passionate love for His bride, the Church, are ideas that people today crave. They feed their souls.

In my newest book, A Conspiracy of Breath, I tried to flesh out, in a fictional way, some of those ancient customs. In one scene, my heroine Priscilla, who is a Roman by birth, enters into her betrothal with Aquila and waits, as all biblical brides did, for him to come by night and abduct her. (How romantic is that?)

Here is the scene where she is waiting along with some Jewish and Roman friends and singing love songs:

The three of them began to sing in the pendulous rhythm of Jewish song, one girl stopping to giggle or the other putting her hand over her mouth as she sang.

Not knowing Hebrew, we Roman women had absolutely no idea what they were singing. We sat politely for a long time, until Tirzah began to pantomime as she sang.

A table for eating …

Something hanging above …

Raisin cakes (which Shiprah produced from yet another basket and ate with gusto) …

Apples …

“I know!” I shouted. “It’s the Song of Solomon.”

The women nodded, smiling now, but did not stop singing. I began to recite in Greek to Akantha and Cordelia:

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,

so is my dearest compared to other men.

I love to sit in its shadow,

and its fruit is sweet to my taste.

He brought me to his banquet hall

and raised the banner of love over me.

Restore my strength with raisins

and refresh me with apples!

I am weak from passion.

His left hand is under my head,

and his right hand caresses me.

Promise me, women of Jerusalem;

swear by the swift deer and the gazelles

that you will not interrupt our love.

They came every night but the Sabbath, and sang the same songs, until our necks jerked us awake again and again and the Jewish women, yawning and stretching, gathered up their baskets and went home in the darkness, carrying their tiny oil lamps out in front of them, in their outstretched palms.

I dreamt each night of gazelles on mountaintops, of turtledoves seeking their mates, of lilies and honey and milk; of furious north winds and spice breezes;

Of ornaments of silver set with studs of gold, of cedar and fir rafters high above my head;

Of eyes at a window, looking through a lattice;

Of green grapes and their perfumes;

Do not stir up nor awaken love, the women sang to me in my dreams, until it pleases…. They murmured of secret places of the cliff, of sealed fountains and enclosed gardens scented with calamus and cinnamon, of little foxes running.

I dreamed melodious dreams of hair black and iridescent as raven wings, of eyes like doves by rivers of water and cheek-banks of scented herbs; of hands like rods of gold set with beryl and legs as marble pillars;

Of the excellence of cedars;

Of the handles of a lock on a door, dripping with myrrh,

His mouth most sweet,

Altogether lovely

My beloved

My friend

(from A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott, TSU Press, 2017.)

Of course, this isn’t just a first-century love story, because we are all waiting for the Lover of our souls to come and get us. May this help us understand to be spotless as we wait!

Bio:
Dr.  Latayne C. Scott (Distinguished Christian Service Award, Pepperdine University) writes controversial books. Her newest one, the critically acclaimed A Conspiracy of Breath, is based on the scholarly theory that a woman wrote part of the Bible. Her first book, The Mormon Mirage—also controversial—has stayed in print almost continuously for almost 40 years. She has nearly two dozen other published books. One notable recent book is about the discovery of the ancient Biblical city of Sodom (Discovering the City of Sodom). Her first novel is a murder mystery revolving around a code developed by the early Mormon church. Both are … controversial.

She’s also won a national award for humor. Her kids say she’s not so funny, but she just holds up the prize check.

Latayne blogs at Latayne.com.

Why Lifer Is MercyMe’s Best Album Ever

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the messages in MercyMe's album Lifer

I am over-the-top excited about this post series on the messages in every song on MercyMe’s Lifer album!

You might be wondering why I would devote an entire series to this album.

After all, there are many popular ones out there.

I’ll tell you why.

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.

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.

I’ve been listening to contemporary Christian music (almost exclusively) for over twenty years now.

And I will let you in on a secret: just because a song is produced “in Jesus’ name,” that doesn’t mean it fully conveys the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.

Christian song lyrics are only as good and accurate as the theology of those who write them.

You know exactly what I mean if you’ve 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.”

“Christian, 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 (does God really want you to get rid of the new-and-only-you in His Son?) in order to be filled with God.”

Sadly, the list goes on and on.

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 MercyMe’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.

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 in 2017.

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.

(Check out the I Can Only Imagine Movie that tells the story behind the song!)

But the songs written and recorded since Millard’s grace epiphany, in my opinion, shine a brighter light on the pure gospel than the ones before.

And I think Bart might tell you the same thing.

In my next post in this series of messages in Lifer‘s songs, I review the album’s title track, “Lifer,” which also happens to be its first.

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

In every post, I include links where you can listen to the spotlighted song and the heart behind it.

I also elaborate on the message in each song by telling you how the song speaks to me and its New Covenant foundation.

I hope you glean much grace from the album and this series.

If you do, you just might end up doing the Happy Dance with me!

Dearly beloved, I’m wondering,

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S. S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

Christian, Which Spiritual Season Are You In?

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love - Excerpt 17

I am so grateful to live in a part of the world that experiences the four distinct seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Autumn is my favorite because of the cooler temperatures and the gorgeous foliage.

Just as we experience the changing natural seasons, we are also subject to changing experiential seasons in our life with Christ.

It makes perfect sense to talk about the different seasons in a believer’s life because, throughout Scripture, God’s people are metaphorically described as His garden (Song 4:12, 15, 16; 5:1; 6:2; Isa. 58:11; Jer. 31:12), vineyard (Song 1:6; 8:11–12; Isa. 5:1–10; Matt. 20:1–8; 21:28–41)), or field (1 Cor. 3:6–9).

We can find great encouragement in identifying which season we are currently experiencing. There is just something about knowing that we are not the only ones who are going (or have gone) through especially difficult times.

We also experience seasons of great joy and celebration. One thing we can know for sure—no matter which season we are in, it will change. Life is not static.

Whether we are struggling through a cold and lifeless winter season or a hot and hectic summer season, we can find great hope in knowing that a warm, flourishing spring or a cool, abundant autumn harvest is just around the corner.

The changing seasons of our lives are not haphazard but ordained by our Beloved to accomplish His purposes in our lives: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:10 NKJV).

Regardless of what season we are in, our Beloved wants us to embrace Him, trusting that He will manifest the greatest possible harvest of His fruit in our lives in His perfect timing.

Before we look at the identifying characteristics of each season, I believe it is important to clarify what I mean by “growth.” Growth is not a change in our spiritual state. Our new heart is our new spirit united with Christ’s Spirit and is complete and unchangeable (Col. 2:10).

True growth in believers is measured by the degree to which their minds are renewed with what is already true of their new hearts and then manifested through their outward lives (Rom. 12:2). The apostle Peter exhorts believers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

Knowing which season we are in will not only encourage us to persevere through the difficulties of winter and summer but will enable us to not take for granted the joys of spring and fall.

Although we generally prefer one season to another, there are pros and cons within each that bring a nice overall balance to our lives:

  • Winter: The winter season is cold, has fewer daylight hours, and is a time when many plants and trees are dormant. Although they may appear lifeless, their dormancy is actually a part of their growth cycle. On the downside, the experiential season of winter is characterized by very little sense of our Beloved’s love, presence, and activity in our lives (His left hand). Sometimes during this season, it seems as if He has taken a permanent vacation. The upside to this bleak and barren season is that it creates a hunger to experience our Beloved’s presence and will cause us to seek Him to meet our needs.

  • Spring: The spring season is warmer, has more daylight hours, and is the time for planting new seeds because the ground temperature gets warm enough for germination. Everywhere we turn, we see the emergence of new life in the blooming flowers and the different shades of green in the tree branches, growing grass, leaves, and bushes. The experiential season of spring is characterized by a greater sense of our Beloved’s activity in our lives (His right hand). New seeds of truth are planted in our minds and watered and cultivated through intimacy with Him. This season holds within it great hope—hope that the planted seeds will eventually manifest an abundant harvest.

  • Summer: The temperatures of summer can range from very warm to unbearably hot. Much attention is given to the growing plants through watering, pulling weeds, and keeping bugs and animals from destroying them. On the upside, the experiential season of summer symbolizes rapid growth, where we are so energized by what our Beloved has planted in our hearts and minds that we want to share it with everyone. On the downside, we can become overzealous and get too many irons in the fire. It is important to realize that just because we see a need, that doesn’t mean our Beloved is calling us to meet it. Awareness does not necessarily constitute action on our part. Take time to seek Him. He is an expert at weeding out unnecessary distractions that might keep us from expressing the fullness of His fruit in our lives.

  • Autumn: In the part of the world where I live, the cooler temperatures of autumn bring refreshing relief from the dog days of summer. Up until the sixteenth century, harvest was the term used to refer to this season. Now, it is commonly referred to as fall because of the falling leaves of the deciduous trees. (I find it fascinating that their gorgeous hues signify their maturity.) The experiential season of autumn represents the abundant manifestation of the fruit of our Beloved’s Spirit being expressed through our lives. This is a joyous season because this fruit is not the result of our works—our trying hard to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. It is the delectable, authentic fruit of shared intimacy with our Beloved.

I hope you enjoyed today’s excerpt from my soon-to-be-released debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, about the four different spiritual seasons a believer in Christ will likely experience throughout his or her life.

Now, dear reader, I’m wondering,

Which experiential season are you in right now?
What do you believe your Beloved is doing in your life through this strategic season?

If you prefer to interact with me through 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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

Are You a Lifer in Christ?

MercyMe Lifer Message - Track 1 - "Lifer"

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, grandkids, and friends to, worship God to, cry to, sing for joy to, and experience new covenant truth through.

That’s why I decided to do a post series on MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer.

I would have never chosen to devote eleven blog posts to share the message in every song on this album unless I was passionate about what this twenty-four-year-old Christian band is belting out.

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 adjective up.

But I think it fits.

In my premiere post for this series, I shared the backstory of MercyMe’s transition into writing and performing songs that exemplify 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.

And my life has never been the same.

This Jesus + Nothing = Everything message is the eternal lifeblood that courses through my veins.

I am a lifer in Christ.

The title track, “Lifer,” is the first song on this album.

Let’s listen to the short and sweet 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 His love, grace, mercy, and truth, it spills over into everything we do.

Now let’s enjoy 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 its 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 in bleak reference to someone who was serving a life sentence in prison.

The song’s actual meaning is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

It is filled with freedom, hope, joy, and the anticipation of life eternal which, by the way, has already started (see Track 9) for those of us who are in Christ Jesus.

To sum up what Millard said in the Story Behind the Song:

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 this good news of the gospel of grace.

Our eternal security in Christ is based in our eternal spiritual union with the One who, Himself, is called “eternal life”:

We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20).

The following Scriptures are a few of my favorites which speak of our fail-proof salvation:

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 that one of Christ’s greatest longings is for every believer in Him to realize that he or she is eternally and flawlessly united with His Spirit the moment he or she believes in (literally into) Him.

Signed (Rev. 22:4). Sealed (Eph. 1:13). Delivered (Col. 1:13). We’re His (Song 6:3). Forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).

MercyMe’s Lifer album is filled with life-giving, grace-based lyrics.

And this hit band 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!

I hope you enjoyed the second post in this series.

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Dearly beloved,

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S.S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

Our Mountain Celebration

Twenty Years and Counting!

Last month, my man and I celebrated twenty years of marriage. I posted a tribute to him on that day, sharing our match-made-in-Heaven love story. And that post, hands down, got almost three times more traffic than my most popular post to date!

Those stats reminded me of something important. Most readers enjoy it when writers draw back the curtain of their personal lives and let them in.

I believe it’s just human nature to lean in and listen to other people’s stories. There is something built inside each heart that continually seeks out connections with others. Kind of like our wireless devices. They are always searching for Wi-Fi networks.

In today’s post, I’m going to take off my teaching hat and pretend you are sitting across the table from me, enjoying a cup of coffee (or an ice-cold glass of tea) and tell you about our anniversary celebration in the mountains.

Steven’s sister, Angie, and her husband, John, have shared their gorgeous mountain home in Angel Fire with us pretty much every time we’ve asked to come for a visit. We usually cook a few meals ahead of time to take with us. This time, Steven smoked baby back ribs and sweet corn (he is a grilling and smoking king!) and I made a vinegar-based coleslaw and breakfast casserole.

After Steven got off work on Friday, July 21, we loaded everything up in our silver Dodge Dakota, and waved a happy goodbye to the scorching Texas Panhandle heat and looked forward to the refreshing, cool mountain air.

The trip through Texas and the first part of New Mexico wasn’t anything to write home about. Unless you like to look at wide open spaces.

We stopped in Clayton, New Mexico and had a really healthy supper at the Dairy Queen. I enjoyed a Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard (my all-time favorite!) and Steven had a Salted Blondie Blizzard.

After  going through Cimarron, New Mexico, the landscape became more scenic. I didn’t want to miss drinking in the beautiful mountain and river views, so I put my cell phone away during this more enjoyable part of the trip. We also rolled down the windows to feel the change in the air temperature.

Then, we tuned in to KRTN Enchanted Air Radio and began listening to songs from the ’70s an ’80s. While our pickup climbed the Sangre de Cristo (Spanish for “Blood of Christ”) Mountains, we took a trip down memory lane, played Name That Tune, and reminisced.

After we got to John and Angie’s that evening, we enjoyed fresh, buttered banana bread and hot chocolate.

Saturday, we hung around Angel Fire, bought some T-shirts at local shops, and watched the Andy Griffith Show on Netflix that evening.

Sunday, all four of us—John, Angie, Steven, and I—went whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande River in Taos, New Mexico. We had a sweet guide, Crosbie, who did her job well.

Monday, Steven and I left early to go to Antonito, Colorado to ride the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad to Chama, New Mexico. I highly recommend this coal-fired steam engine train ride. (If you go, wear jeans or dark clothes. It’s impossible to keep from getting lightly peppered with tiny black pieces of coal.)

We stopped at Osier Station for a 1-hour lunch. We had a choice of an All You Can Eat turkey and dressing dinner or a meatloaf dinner with salad and dessert. I’m not sure if it was the mountain air or what, but that lunch was scrumptious! I especially remember the mouth-watering, buttery mashed potatoes and the deliciously moist chocolate cake.

Tuesday morning, all four of us hiked the (almost) three-mile Lady Slipper trail in Angel Fire.

Later that afternoon, Steven and I drove to Red River and enjoyed a Green Chile Cheeseburger and Tator Tots at the Dairy Bar on Main Street. Completely stuffed, we walked down Main Street and ended up at Kenneth Wyatt’s Red River Gallery.

We both relish Wyatt’s artwork. One painting that especially caught my attention this visit was “God’s Candles,” a stunning depiction of golden aspens in the fall. Wyatt’s name fits perfectly. Staring at it made me long for my favorite season of the year to hurry up and get here.

The next morning, we got up and drove back home to the suffocating heat of the Texas Panhandle.

Thank God for mountain vacations and thank you for letting me share ours with you!

I’m wondering, did you take a vacation this summer? If so, I would love to hear about yours!

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  If you 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!

MercyMe Lifer Message - Track 2 - "You Found Me"

If you’ve been following my post series on MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer, then you already know its backstory and the message in the song, “Lifer,” which is the first track on the album.

In today’s post, I will be sharing the exhilarating message in track 2, “You Found Me,” and how it speaks to me.

With the exception of Lifer‘s two ballads—its debut, smash hit 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 my last post, “Are You a Lifer in Christ?” I shared the short story behind the song, “Lifer,” and then the entire song.

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 a bright smile.

Now, let’s enjoy 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 the prodigal son account 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 “You Found Me” 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 Father 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 freedom Christ died for them to enjoy.

The opening line of the song comes from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the immature church in Corinth:

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 24/7/365 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).

MercyMe’s song, “You Found Me,” is certain to be a crowd pleaser.

It is the one song on the album Millard said (in the story behind the song) he was most looking forward to playing in front of a live audience.

While I really enjoy this inspiring and upbeat track, I must admit that my favorite upbeat song on the album is “Grace Got You,” the song I review in my next post in this series.

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Dearly beloved,

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S.S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

Are You the Ideal Candidate for My Launch Team?

If you love Jesus, you might be!

No man (or woman) is an island. My efforts alone will not get my book into the hands of every believer in Christ who longs to enjoy a richer love relationship with Him.

Are you one of those believers? If so, you might be the ideal candidate for my debut book launch team.

I’ve got an extensive marketing and promotion plan to launch His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, my six-week intimate and interactive study of the first two chapters of the Song of Solomon, dynamically designed to help Christians enjoy profound intimacy with Christ through a crystal clear understanding of their pure, righteous, and holy identity in Him.

This plan has included inviting Jesus-loving people I know to help me launch my book. I am so thankful and super excited that, as of today, almost 70 have said yes!

My goal is to have at least 100 people on my team who are committed to helping out during launch week (approximately four weeks from now) and at regular intervals throughout the year following its release.

So, I decided to open up a brief window of opportunity (until midnight, Wednesday, August 9, 2017) for those who follow my blog, Facebook author page, and for Facebook friends and Twitter followers  to apply for my launch team.

What Is the Role of a Launch Team Member?

  • Praying that God will cause my book to get the attention of Christian men and women who long to enjoy a richer love relationship with Him.
  • Reading a digital copy of my book before its release and posting a review at Amazon and Barnes & Noble the day of its release. You could also copy and paste the same review on other e-tailer sites where my book will be available, including the WestBow Press Bookstore and Christian Book Distributors.
  • Promoting my book through word of mouth, social media, e-mail, and your blog (if you have one). With the help of my social media publicist, I will be creating shareable Facebook posts, tweets, and e-mails, so all you would need to do is share on your existing accounts. (I won’t ask you to create a Twitter account.)
  • Joining my private Facebook group, “Pursuing Love Launch Team.” This will be an online hub where I will interact with my team (and they with each other) by posting prayer requests and shareable promotional posts. I will also do Facebook Live updates on my book’s progress. This group will be in existence for one year.

Are You Interested in Joining My Team? If so, fill out this FORM to apply. (Please let me know if you have trouble submitting the form here.)

Please give me until midnight, Wednesday, August 9, 2017 to collect applications and pick the team.

If you get picked, you will receive an e-mail with a digital copy of my book so you can begin reading it right away and more information about the private Facebook group I will be adding you to.

I’m looking forward to receiving your application!

photo credit: Flying Jenny Liftoff via photopin (license)

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  If you 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

Has Grace Got You?

MercyMe Lifer Message - Track 3 - "Grace Got You"

If grace is a party, there’s no doubt in my mind that MercyMe’s 2017 album, Lifer, will be chosen as the official background music for it.

It’s not at all hard for me to imagine Jesus, the saints who 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 subject of this post.

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).

Put simply, 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 lining the shelves and counter tops inside.

Until 2012.

That’s when something astounding happened while he was reading a book called The Naked Gospel by best-selling author and Lubbock, Texas pastor, Andrew Farley.

That’s when Millard saw his heavenly Dad appear behind the counter and motion him to come inside the candy store and enjoy the entire smorgasbord of sweets that he was already the rightful heir of!

Now, let’s listen to Millard tell the short and “sweet” 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 (April 2017) on Facebook:

Let’s enjoy this fabulous song together.

I don’t think “Grace Got You” 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, you can hear more of Millard’s 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.

That’s when I realized that Jesus—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.

Oh, it’s not a dream, and I don’t need ruby red slippers.

Because I’m never going back to Kansas.

I’m staying right here in this wonder-filled land called grace!

I invite you to listen to “Grace Got You” (and the entire album) again and again!

(Here is a table of contents for every post in this series.)

  1. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever” – Intro
  2. Are You a Lifer in Christ?” – a review of track 1, “Lifer
  3. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!” – a review of track 2, “You Found Me
  4. Has Grace Got You?” – a review of track 3, “Grace Got You
  5. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?” – a review of track 4, “Best News Ever
  6. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty” – a review of track 5, “Even If
  7. Bye-Bye Lies!” – a review of track 6, “Hello Beautiful
  8. Don’t Throw in the Towel” – a review of track 7, “We Win
  9. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance” – a review of track 8, “Happy Dance
  10. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!” – a review of track 9, “Heaven’s Here
  11. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!” – a review of track 10, “Ghost

Let this grace-infused album become a part of your joy-filled journey in Christ.

And remember, if you are a believer in Christ, then grace has “got” you for good!

Dearly beloved, why don’t you decide today that you are going to spend the rest of your time on planet earth celebrating the incredible Gift of Grace, Himself, who lives in you 24/7/365 and promises never to leave you?

Do you like the song, “Grace Got You”?

If so, how does it speak to you?

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you love the pure gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

This is an intimate, interactive study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, dynamically designed to help believers in Christ, both men and women, enjoy wondrous delight in intimacy with Him through understanding their one-and-only, flawless identity in Him.

Learn more by checking out my book page.

P.S. S. If you want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit My Core Beliefs page and my About page.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE PDF Download of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!”

CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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