What My Debut Book Has in Common with Fifty Shades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll tell you how in closing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

 

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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My Morning Heart-to-Heart with Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing in this world will ever satisfy me.

Only You hold the key to my heart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Happy journaling!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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What God Taught Me through Mrs. Stuart’s Cookies

Today's sweet and slightly spiritual lesson

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

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

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

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

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

Can you relate?

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

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

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

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

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

So, what follows is my tweaking:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, for the spiritual parallel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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The Secret to Savoring Christ’s Love

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

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

Let me tell you how I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like a child, I jump into His loving embrace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, how refreshing and invigorating it is!

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

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

He winks at me, reading my thoughts once again.

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

“Your heart is brand-new in Me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

He replies, “My pleasure!”

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

He strokes my hair as I hug Him goodbye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

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

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact