Groundhog Day & Grace

Happy Groundhog Day! I’m not sure which will be more on the minds of most Americans today: the hilarious 1993 movie starring Bill Murray or whether or not Punxsutawney Phil, that famous 132-year-old furry forecaster, saw his shadow this morning.

Just in case you don’t know, Groundhog Day is not a national holiday. It became an official observance in 1887 at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow after he emerges from his underground home, it will scare him and he will retreat back into his burrow to hibernate through six more weeks of winter.

But if he doesn’t see his shadow, then we can expect an early spring.

Frankly, this has never made sense to me. If February 2 is a sunshiny day in Gobbler’s Knob, then it is bad news for people who don’t like wintry weather.

And if it is a cloudy day, then it’s good news. Weird.

You might be surprised to learn (as I was) about the origins of Groundhog Day:

Groundhog Day can be traced to early Christians in Europe and the custom of Candlemas Day, which marked the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

On Candlemas Day, the belief was that clear and sunny conditions signified a long, harsh winter and that cloudy conditions indicated that warm weather was approaching.

The Germans eventually adopted this custom, incorporating a hedgehog and the belief that if the animal cast a shadow during sunny skies on Candlemas Day, it indicated six more weeks of bitter cold.

When German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1700s, they brought the tradition with them. However, because hedgehogs were scarce in the region, they were replaced with the more abundant groundhog, which was also considered sacred among the local Native Americans.*

Now, for those of you who have not yet heard the news today (February 2, 2018) and would like to rely on this renowned rodent’s revelation, then … drumroll please … Brace yourself for six more weeks of winter!

This, of course, means that Phil saw his shadow this morning at Gobbler’s Knob.

So, how much stock should we actually put into Phil’s weather-forecasting prowess?

To date, Phil has made 132 predictions—a long winter 104 times and an early spring 18 times. There is nothing recorded on 10 occasions.

And guess what? He’s only been right about 40 percent of the time.

There seems to be an awful lot of hoopla surrounding this tradition that doesn’t have that great of a track record.

That’s my opinion. For what it’s worth.

All this talk about predicting the weather reminds me of something incredible that Christ speaks to His bride, the church (those who have believed into Him), in the Song of Songs:

“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone” (2:11).

This verse has nothing to do with natural seasons and everything to do with the eternal spiritual realm believers in Christ now live in under the new covenant of grace.

I wrote about it in my recently published debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love:

In Song 2:8, the maiden’s Beloved revealed Himself to her in a new light—as a resurrected, conquering King in all His glory. Then she exclaims:

“Listen! My Beloved! Behold, He is coming, climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills.”

Immediately after that, He invited her to join Him in expressing His love and life to the world, saying,

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along” (Song 2:10).

Then He gave her the reason that the time was now to join Him:

“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone” (2:11).

The Beloved Shepherd is stating the reason that it is now time for the maiden to join Him—the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. He is saying that the winter rains of the law—the system of works-based righteousness—is over.

Now that the maiden has begun to experience the glorious freedom of the new covenant of grace, He wants her to join Him in sharing with others how they can experience the same freedom.

The good news of the gospel of grace is that no one has to earn the righteousness that God freely gives. Jesus paid it all. All they have to do is believe into Him (John 3:16; 19:30; 1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Cor. 5:21).

You may be wondering if I’m suggesting here that everyone go door to door with evangelistic tracts.

No. But I’m not discouraging it either. Those who have the gift of evangelism may do this and do this well (Eph. 4:11).

What I am suggesting is that every Christian’s life can be a witness of the new covenant of grace to others.

When our lives are an expression of our Beloved’s cherishing love and exuberant life, people will be knocking on our doors, asking where they can get some of what we’ve got.

And we will be able to tell them that what we’ve got is the resurrection life of Christ—also theirs for the receiving.

Dear reader, Jesus really did pay it all. All it costs us is our belief in and acceptance of His life as a free gift.

If you are a believer in Christ, then He has already made you the righteousness of God in His Son (2 Cor. 5:21).

Spiritually speaking, this means you are already living in the eternal spring season where new life abounds under the new covenant of grace!

Christian, if you are still living as if you are under the harsh winter rains of the law, then decide today that you are going to stop it!

Stop living as if Jesus’ work on the cross was unfinished (John 19:30).

And start living in the righteousness, peace, and joy He died to give you (Rom. 14:17).

Hey, you might even want to take a Sharpie and write “GRACE DAY” underneath “GROUNDHOG DAY” on your calendar to commemorate this decision you’ve made to live in the perpetual spring of grace.

No more winters for you in Christ!

If you liked today’s post, I believe you might enjoy my debut devotional study (released September 2017), His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

I wrote this book to help Christians enjoy greater intimacy with Christ through understanding their flawless identity in Him revealed through the first two chapters of the Song of Songs.

I invite you to check out its reviews on Amazon and consider getting a copy for yourself.

If you would rather order one directly from me, please email me.

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.

*Spencer Kent, “Groundhog Day 2018: Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? What does the result mean?”, last modified February 2, 2018, NJ.com, accessed February 2, 2018, http://bit.ly/2FBRaSs.

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.”
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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

That Time I Put My Yoga Pants on Backwards

Not long ago, I was shopping at Walmart when I passed by a rack of women’s T-shirts that said, “Yoga Pants Are Not Pants.” I got a little chuckle out of it, said a quick Amen, and went on my merry way.

Earlier that day at a different store, I had bought two new pairs of yoga pants in an effort to psych myself up about being more consistent in working out this year.

You know, New Year, New You, right?

(If I was a betting person, I would wager that more yoga pants are purchased in the month of January than any other month of the year.)

Not long after that shopping trip—right at the beginning of my workout at home—I noticed that my yoga pants kept inching down in the back.

After tugging on them several times, I thought, Maybe I should have tried these on before I bought them.

Especially since I bought two pairs of them.

It wasn’t a horrible feeling. But it was a nuisance.

I couldn’t fully focus on my workout. There’s no telling how many times I had to pull up my pants during that forty-five minutes.

Not the best way to start off the New Year.

It wasn’t until a little later, when I was getting ready to clean up, that I figured out what the problem was.

My new yoga pants weren’t the wrong size or style.

I had them on backwards!

Now it made perfect sense why they kept falling down.

At this point you might be wondering, Why in the world are you writing a post about wearing yoga pants backwards?

I’ll be happy to tell you why.

For many years in my walk with Christ, something seemed off. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I was doing everything I thought a “good” Christian should do for God.

I’m naturally a morning person, so I got up extra early to spend time in His Word and pray. I even kept a prayer journal.

I read through the Bible in a year several times and had Scriptures posted all over my refrigerator, my house, and even in my car.

I helped keep local Christian bookstores in business through devouring shelves full of Bible-based books that promised to “help me grow” as a Christian.

I even took a class at my church on how to share my faith and lead others to Jesus.

And even though I always had butterflies on visitation night, I asked people if they knew where they would go if they died that day and shared the gospel with them.

Pretty good, huh?

There was just one problem. I didn’t feel any closer to God after doing all those things for Him. There was still something missing.

Until that moment when my eyes were opened to the truth.

Until that moment when God shed His beautiful light on my backward perspective.

He showed me that I couldn’t get any closer to Him than I already was. His Word describes my eternal union with His Spirit as “one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17).

He showed me that His 24/7 indwelling Spirit was my life, and apart from dependence upon Him, I could do nothing of eternal value (John 15:5).

All that time I spent doing things for Him, He wanted me to acknowledge my spiritual union with Him and live from His life!

At first glance it may seem that the words for and from aren’t that much different.

But they are worlds apart in God’s economy.

For implies that I am separate from Him (outside of Him), while from acknowledges my 24/7/365 union with Him and my dependence upon His indwelling life to power my living.

I have to be honest with you. Sometimes I live as though (in the words of that famous mouse Fievel) He is “somewhere out there” instead of “right here inside me.”

Even though I have been walking in these truths for several years now, I still forget.

Just like I forgot this morning and put my yoga pants on backwards. Again.

But the God who lives inside my new heart continually reminds me when my perspective is off.

And when my yoga pants are on backwards.

And for both, I am so grateful. (Smile.)

Dear reader, is there something off in your walk with Christ? Have you found yourself working for God instead of living from and enjoying Him? 

If you liked today’s post, I believe you might enjoy my debut devotional study (released September 2017), His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

I wrote this book to help Christians enjoy greater intimacy with Christ through understanding their flawless identity in Him revealed through the first two chapters of the Song of Songs.

I invite you to check out its reviews on Amazon and consider getting a copy for yourself.

If you would rather order one directly from me, please email me.

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.

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.”

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

How to Master the Art of Enjoying Jesus

With head bowed and eyes closed, the prayer group member’s heart sank as they listened to their leader communicate the idea that “experiencing Jesus” and “enjoyment” are two mutually exclusive events.

They thought, Ugh! It’s prayers like these that take the wind out of the sails of believers who are passionate about their relationship with Christ.

Believers who just might find something more enjoyable to do on a Friday night. (Did someone say Netflix?)

Believers who might never experience a taste of the ultimate enjoyment that is already theirs for the receiving in Christ.

Even though the prayer group leader was sincere and well-meaning, it did not change the fact that they were sincerely wrong.

Sadly, their entire prayer reeked of legalism.

The epidemic of legalism among Christians has been spreading like wildfire throughout the ages.

Living in this world, it’s so easy to make our relationship with Christ about what we are doing for Him, rather than enjoying what He has already done for us and in us through the cross and resurrection.

I know. I was a card-carrying legalist for years.

Then I began to understand the incredible riches of His grace. The gift of His Holy Spirit eternally fused with my new spirit (Ezek. 36:26; 1 Cor. 3:17; 6:17).

The gift I’m sure I will continue to unwrap in awe and wonder until the moment I see Him face to face. (Tears.)

One of the reasons I wrote my debut devotional study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, is to help combat the lie that if you become a Christian, it’s the end of all earthly pleasure as you know it.

In a sense, it’s true. Because there is nothing on earth that compares with the joy a believer in Christ can experience in Him: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 NASB).

Joy is an automatic result for the Christian who realizes that—through faith in Christ alone—they are the righteousness of God in Him and have peace with Father God (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:1).

If a Christian understands that Christ already

  • wiped out their lifetime sin debt forever,
  • killed off their old, sin-filled self,
  • gave them a brand-spankin’-new, flawless identity in Him, and
  • joined His life with theirs,

then life on planet earth in union with His Spirit couldn’t be more enjoyable.

I wrote about mastering the art of enjoying Jesus in His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love:

Jesus wants us to enjoy life. His Word tells us that He “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17 NASB).

What’s more, He wants us to realize that He is our life and the source of our greatest enjoyment.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that man’s chief purpose in life is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”*

We enjoy and glorify our Beloved when we experience and express His cherishing love and exuberant life.

As the bride of Christ, we need to learn how to master the art of taking great delight in Him.

Just as Julia Child mastered the art of French cooking, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could master the art of enjoying Jesus?

I want to experience and enjoy Him as much as possible this side of eternity. I want joy to be the marrow that courses through my veins.

I want to come to the end of my life on this earth (if Jesus tarries) and be able to say that I truly lived—because I intimately knew life Himself.

I want my first gaze into my Beloved’s eyes to be familiar, not foreign.

In my attempt to communicate to the bride of Christ how knowing her identity will enable her to experience and express His cherishing love and exuberant life, I’m reminded of a quote by theologian Dr. Howard Hendricks: “A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pews.**

If we don’t understand and practice what we preach, how can we effectively teach others? No one wants to read a book on how to bake the perfect cherry pie unless we know the author makes delicious cherry pies!

Likewise, no one wants to read a book or listen to a message about how to enjoy Jesus unless the author or speaker consistently shows forth the fruit of delighting in Him.

For over ten years now, I have been on a journey of learning to rest in the shade of my Beloved’s grace and delighting in Him as I allow myself to experience His unconditional love.

While I cannot claim that I have mastered the art of enjoying Him, I will say that I am in hot pursuit.

The most important thing I’ve learned is something I’ve said before (in different ways) and will keep saying: the key to delighting in Jesus is to personally experience His delight in you.

He delights in and celebrates you at all times—simply because you are His.

Our Beloved is a Master at separating our who from our do. He is filled with compassion for us in our struggles. He’s not holding a hammer, ready to nail us if we don’t get our act together.

We can rest entirely in Him—in His love, power, goodness, and wisdom.

*“The Westminster Shorter Catechism,” The Westminster Presbyterian, accessed April 7, 2017, http://www.westminsterconfession.org/confessional-standards/the-westminster-shorter-catechism.php.

**Chris Adsit, “The Measure of a Ministry,” posted January 1, 2011, Discipleship Revolution, January–February 2011 issue, Mission Frontiers, accessed April 7, 2017, http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/the-measure-of-a-ministry.

I hope you enjoyed my excerpt. Even as I write this post, I sense Him reminding me once again that He adored me before I ever did one thing for Him and continually rejoices over me with singing, dancing, and shouts of joy (1 John 4:19; Zeph. 3:17).

And when I see (in my mind’s eye) Him doing this, I can’t help but enjoy Him!

Dear reader, do you believe that your Beloved wants you to enjoy your life in Him to the fullest? If you aren’t currently experiencing enjoyment in your relationship with Him, what do you think is hindering you?

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.

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.”

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

Unwrap Your Best Gift Ever in 2018

Christmas 2017 has come and gone, new holiday memories have been made, gifts have been unwrapped and (hopefully) enjoyed, homemade goodies savored (Grandpa Pipkin’s Sugar Cookies and German Chocolate Cake … have mercy!), and a brand-new calendar year is upon us.

Where in the world did 2017 go? 

Today you may be looking back on the past year and experiencing a sense of accomplishment over kept resolutions (goals achieved).

Or you might be looking back with a mixture of angst and regret concerning flopped intentions (unmet goals).

I suspect most visionaries (goal setters) are likely experiencing a combination of all of the above. After all, no one can plan their year and achieve their goals perfectly.

We live in a fallen world where we don’t have the full picture of what lies ahead. A world where life beyond our control happens to us while we are busy making other plans.

As I look back on 2017, a lot of what I believed God wanted to accomplish through my life happened (launching this blog and publishing my first book). And that felt great!

But some of it didn’t. And that’s okay. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9 NASB).

Even the apostle Paul, who was taught by Christ Himself, didn’t have all the details of his life and ministry laid out perfectly for him (Gal. 1:12). Some of his plans worked out and some of them didn’t (Acts 16:6-7; Rom. 1:13).

For the most part my goals for 2017 revolved around three simple things: unwrapping, enjoying, and sharing the best Gift I have ever received. The gift of Jesus Himself. (Check out my last post, “Jesus – Best Gift Ever!”)

And now, as I look forward to His plans for my life in the New Year, they too will revolve around unwrapping, enjoying, and sharing the Best Gift Ever.

In today’s post, I’m going to share with you how you can begin to unwrap your Best Gift Ever (if you have received Him) in the New Year.

The sole purpose of unwrapping a gift is to find out what is hidden underneath all of the ribbons, bows, and paper. Until you unwrap it, you don’t know what you have.

I received the Best Gift Ever after hearing the best news ever right before my tenth birthday in 1974.

But I didn’t even begin to unwrap, enjoy, and share Him with others until 1997.

Can you imagine what it would be like to receive the one Gift that held the key to your true fulfillment—your ultimate happiness—and never even know what you have?

Tragic.

For twenty-three years, all I understood about asking Jesus into my heart was that He was my get-out-of-Hell-free card.

But even then, I didn’t have full assurance that I would end up in Heaven. Because I tied my salvation to my behavior (which, by the way, was far less than stellar).

Because my Best Gift Ever remained hidden for over two decades, I looked to everything else in this world—marriage, children, personal and career accomplishments, the latest diets, makeup, and fashions, accolades from others, and so on to experience true fulfillment and happiness.

And guess what? None of the above delivered.

All those wasted years of not unwrapping, enjoying, and sharing my Best Gift Ever is a large part of what fuels my passion for teaching others about the intimacy they can enjoy with Christ through understanding their one-and-only flawless identity in Him.

I’m so thankful that God doesn’t waste anything! Even the lost years.

Are you ready to unwrap your Best Gift Ever? Are you ready to see what’s inside?

Better yet, do you realize your Best Gift Ever—the Spirit of Christ Jesus—lives inside you 24/7/365, without interruption?

What’s more, you now live inside Him 24/7/365, without interruption.

At the same time that Jesus filled your heart with new life, you were sealed inside His heart—His Holy Spirit—forever (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:14; 4:30).

And He promises never to leave you nor forsake you (John 10:28; Heb. 13:5). For Him to leave you, He would have to disown Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). Not.Going.To.Happen.

Your spirit and His Spirit became one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Him in you and you in Him (John 14:20). It’s a done deal.

The revelation of “me in Christ” changed everything for me. Let me explain.

I (kind of) understood that Jesus (His Spirit) lived in my heart. And I viewed Him as being the only “good thing” in me. The rest needed a lot of work! (Exhausting.)

But then I began to understand that who I am eternally is a spirit who lives inside my body and soul—where I do my Monday-through-Sunday living (1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12).

And when I believed into Jesus, my spirit (who I am eternally) was totally immersed into His Spirit.

When that happened, a flawless fusion took place. And who I am in Christ right now is who I will forever be in Him.

In other words, I cannot mess this up!

That’s when I really began to experience rest. Real rest in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever received a multi-purpose gift? A gift that has so many features to it, you could spend the rest of your life finding out all that it can do and then still only accessing and enjoying a fraction of its benefits?

The gift of Christ’s life in you and you in Him is the most multi-faceted Gift you will ever receive!

One of my favorite, power-packed Scriptures about what Christians have as a result of being in Christ is First Corinthians 1:30. In fact, it is so important to understand, it is my blog’s signature verse:

By His [Father God’s] doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

Let’s unwrap what we have in Christ Jesus through this single verse.

Christ Jesus is my wisdom: As I look to His Spirit within me and His written Word, I depend on Him to make His wisdom and guidance—His direction for my life—known to me (Ps. 147:5; Rom. 11:33; 16:27). He does this by uploading His wisdom and direction into my mind and confirming them by His Spirit.

Christ Jesus is my righteousness: I can never be more righteous than I am right now. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 1:17; 2 Cor. 5:21). I don’t have to work at being right with God because I am already as righteous as I’ll ever be through faith in His Son. When I believe and realize that Jesus is my righteousness, righteousness is expressed through my daily living.

Christ Jesus is my sanctification: Sanctification means “made holy.” I (my eternal spirit) have already been made holy through being immersed into Christ’s Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17). And that holiness is expressed through my daily living as I acknowledge and meditate on the truth that I am already sanctified (made holy) in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11; Heb. 10:10, 14).

Christ Jesus is my redemption: Imagine that you could access Jesus’ redemption online (we do almost everything else online!). So you head on over to JesusMyRedemption.com. There is only one item in the online store—ETERNAL LIFE. And its price: “You can’t afford this, no matter how much money you have or how good you are.” There is also a message on the same screen that says: “If you want to receive ETERNAL LIFE, you will have to use the redemption code: BLOODOFJESUS.” So you put your ETERNAL LIFE in the cart, type in the code, and press APPLY CODE. You get an instant confirmation that says, “Congratulations! ETERNAL LIFE has been downloaded into your hard drive (your spirit) with a LIFETIME GUARANTEE. You will never have shop for ETERNAL LIFE again. The blood of Jesus paid it all. Oh, and that’s not all! With your redemption, you get these added bonuses: Forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), righteousness (Romans 5:17), freedom from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13), adoption into God’s family (Galatians 4:5), deliverance from sin’s bondage (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Dear reader, if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, then He is your wisdom, your righteousness, your sanctification, and redemption. He is everything you need for life and godliness! (2 Pet. 1:3 NASB).

That is the Best News Ever about the Best Gift Ever!

In today’s post, I shared with you how you can begin to unwrap your Best Gift Ever in the New Year.

There’s no way you can even begin to enjoy a gift without first unwrapping it.

In a sense, you could spend the rest of your days on planet earth unwrapping your Best Gift Ever (finding out who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus).

But the Best Gift Ever is also meant to be enjoyed and shared with others.

In six weeks, I will continue this “Best Gift Ever” series of posts where I will share with you ways that you can savor—take great pleasure in—your Best Gift Ever and ways that you can share your Best Gift Ever in the New Year.

Over the next five weeks, however, my posts will be devoted to the launch of my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

I will be sharing:

  1. The inspiration behind my book,
  2. The insight my book’s approach takes on the Song of Solomon,
  3. An excerpt from my book, explaining it in detail,
  4. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received and how I’ve implemented it in my life, and
  5. How I conducted this premier study over the first two chapters of the Song and what I might do differently for the next two: His Banner Over Me Is Sustaining Love (chapters 3-5) and His Banner Over Me Is Transforming Love (chapters 6-8).

I hope you’ll be able to join me as I celebrate this exciting milestone in my life!

Question: How could unwrapping your Best Gift Ever in the New Year change your life?

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.

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

Jesus – Best Gift Ever! Have You Received Him?

A couple of weeks ago, after my workout at Perryton CrossFit, I was walking to my car when the words on a shirt on a mannequin in the window of one of our downtown shops caught my attention. Jesus … Best Gift Ever! 

I smiled and thought, That is so true! He IS the best gift ever! (What a blessing to live in a town where business owners can display their faith in store windows without repercussions.)

And ever since then, He keeps reminding me of those four Gospel-exuding, truth-telling words.

Jesus.Best.Gift.Ever!

In today’s post, I want to zoom in on each word to highlight the eternal preciousness of this power-packed statement of truth.

JESUS – Father God’s answer to reunite mankind to Himself. When Adam and Eve chose independence from God in the garden of Eden, it was a tragic divorce. A spiritual separation from the life of God. A spiritual death. But God had a contingency plan. He loved the world so much, He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, into this world to pay the penalty for our separation from Him. And now, everyone who believes in (into) Jesus—whose spirit is united with His Spirit—is reunited to Father God through His life. Everyone who believes into Jesus has eternal life. Jesus is Eternal Life. (Gen. 3; John 3:16; Eph. 2:1-101 Cor. 6:171 John 5:11-13).

BEST – Let’s not pass over this super adjective so quickly that we fail to savor its meaning: perfect, most excellent, finest, matchless, second to none, beyond compare, unsurpassed, supreme, unequaled, greatest, unparalleled, highest, ultimate. All of these descriptive words magnify the truth that there is no gift greater than the gift of Jesus’ life—Eternal Life Himself—dwelling within the human heart 24/7/365.

GIFT – We Christians often have a knack for forgetting the meaning of the word gift through erroneously thinking we can somehow try to pay God back for the life of His Son within us. Dictionary.com defines gift:  “Something given voluntarily without the expectation of payment in return; something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned.” God, in His omniscience, knew that mankind could never be good or righteous enough to merit being joined to Himself. The life of His Son is the Perfect Gift—the most pure and exorbitant Gift—given to everyone who believes into Him.

Let’s look at some Scriptures which speak of this indescribable gift.

  • “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water'” (John 4:10 NASB).
  • “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38 NASB).
  • “Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!'” (Acts 8:20 NASB).
  • “Therefore if God gave to them same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:17 NASB).
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23 NASB).
  • “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15 NASB).
  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8 NASB).

If you are a Christian (Christ lives in you), I pray you are convinced that His life within you is a Gift—something that you could never earn or pay for—the life-giving Gift that keeps on giving—the Gift that is unreturnable. You are sealed in Him and He is sealed in you forever!  (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).

EVER – In order to highlight this adverb, let’s use the synonyms for ever in our focal sentence:

  • Jesus – the best gift at all times.
  • Jesus – the best gift always.
  • Jesus – the best gift at any time.
  • Jesus – the best gift on every occasion.
  • Jesus – the best gift without exception.
  • Jesus – the best gift every time.
  • Jesus – the best gift forever!

Dear reader, I hope you have enjoyed today’s post highlighting the best gift ever—the eternal life of Christ dwelling within the human heart.

If you have never personally received this Gift and would like to, there’s no time like the present! (Pun intended.) Pray this simple prayer:

God, I realize that I am a walking dead person, separated from the eternal life of Your Son. This won’t do! I see You offering me the Gift of His Life right now and I reach out receive Him into my heart forever. Thank You, Father God, for this indescribable Gift! In Christ’s Name, I pray, Amen! 

 

If you received the Gift of Christ’s eternal life through praying this prayer, I would love to celebrate with you! Please let me know by commenting below or e-mailing me.

Now, I can’t help but wonder: Do you have loved ones who have never received the best Gift ever? Do you have Facebook friends and family who are walking dead people?

If you answered yes to either or both questions, what’s keeping you from sharing the best Gift ever with them during the greatest, gift-giving season of the year?

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.

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

What God Taught Me through Mrs. Stuart’s Cookies

Today's sweet and slightly spiritual lesson

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

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

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

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

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

Can you relate?

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

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

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

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

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

So, what follows is my tweaking:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, for the spiritual parallel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

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

You’re Already a Godly Person

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

Do you remember when there were only three TV networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) and Saturday mornings were reserved for watching cartoons while eating a bowl of your favorite breakfast cereal?

One of my favorite shows was ABC’s Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Casper wasn’t like the other members of his family and his friends. He didn’t like scaring people at all.

In fact, his favorite book was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. (Smile.)

Today’s post is about a ghost. A ghost who is way friendlier than Casper.

And this Ghost, also known as the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ, lives perpetually inside every believer in Christ.

In today’s post, I will be bringing this MercyMe Summer Song Series on their newest album, Lifer, to a close by sharing the message in its last track—“Ghost.”

Let’s begin by listening to Bart Millard, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, share the backstory behind this calming and comforting song:

I really like what Bart said:

A lot of people are wrapped up in being Spirit-filled and getting Spirit-filled.

My take is that if you’re a believer, you are filled with the Holy Ghost the day you call His name and there is no separation.

It’s more about being Spirit-led.

When you think about it, we (Christians) have a Ghost inside of us. If you’re not a believer, that’s a creepy thing to say.

The weird irony is that the only thing that keeps me from being afraid—the only thing that calms my fears—is the Ghost that lives inside of me.

The anthem for the album—the way to end the album—is “Holy Ghost, lead me through everything. Whatever You do, just lead me.”

I might step on some toes here, but I completely agree with Bart: If you are a believer, you are filled with the Holy Ghost the day you call His name and there is no separation.

I remember a season in my walk with the Lord where it was all about me trying to get more of Jesus, getting filled (and re-filled) with the Spirit, and constant introspection (Am I sinning? Am I not sinning?).

Frankly, I’m getting worn out just remembering it.

Thank God I don’t live there anymore!

If that’s where you’re living and you are completely exhausted and overwhelmed, then keep scrolling.

If you are a believer in Christ, then all of you (you are a spirit) is already united with all of the Spirit of Christ (the Ghost)! That just might be the best news you’ll ever hear as a burned-out Christian!

If you don’t believe me, let Scripture prove it to you:

“The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17).

The believer in Christ is eternally fused together with Christ’s Spirit, never again to be separated from Him (John 10:28; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 13:5).

“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Believers in Christ have already been given everything they need because of their eternal spiritual union with Him.

“You are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

In means “in”! It doesn’t mean a part of us is in Christ. Our entire spirit (who we are) is completely immersed into His Spirit. No separation. Ever.

Now, let’s listen the entire song:

Christian, the Ghost that lives inside of us 24/7/365 is our comforting Counselor, our forever Friend, our sustaining Strength, our relaxing Rest, our heavenly Hope, and our perfect Peace (John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7). He is everything we need, our All-Sufficiency.

What I love most about “Ghost” and every other song on Lifer is that they all accentuate the truth of our eternal spiritual union with the Spirit of Christ. And it all started the moment we called on the Name of Jesus, believing into Eternal Life Himself.

In honor of this God-glorifying, grace-saturated, new covenant-focused album, I would like to close with this little saying that I put together that includes the name of every song on the album:

If you are one of many redeemed saints who can thankfully and enthusiastically shout to Jesus, “You Found Me!” then “Grace Got You,” and you are now a “Lifer” in Him. And it all started when you first heard and responded to the “Best News Ever”—the gospel of grace in Christ Jesus. That’s when you waved goodbye to your old life and shouted, “Hello Beautiful!” to your new life in Him. “Even If” you go through hard times on this earth, you can still do the “Happy Dance” because “Heaven’s (already) Here.” Yes, that’s right. The Holy “Ghost” lives inside you 24/7/365 and there ain’t no storm that can change how this ends: “We Win!”

If you click on the the link in each name, it will take you to the post on that particular song.

Dear reader, if you’re like me, you may already be looking forward to see what new covenant, grace-saturated songs MercyMe will write and produce next.

I thank God for MercyMe and their commitment to sharing the liberating truths of the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ!

I’m wondering, now that this series has come to an end, which song from Lifer do you like the best and why? 

 

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

 

 

 

Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

Christian, what if I were to tell you that you are already in Heaven—that you don’t have to wait until you pass from this life to go there.

I understand if your brain is going tilt-tilt right now.

Mine did too when I first heard this sounds-too-good-to-be-true news.

But then again, the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ is hands down the best news any of us could ever hear, acknowledge, and say yes to.

Until the early 2000s, my beyond-this-life perspective was: Heaven is a place I go to when I pass from this life through physical death or when Jesus meets me in air at the rapture and takes me there.

What changed my mind?

God’s Word.

In his letter to the church (the saints) at Ephesus, the apostle Paul wrote:

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.

You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.

We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us.

Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ.

He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. (Eph. 2:1-6 MSG)

When we believed in (into) Jesus, Father God took us (our spirit) out of the realm of darkness and placed us into the eternal life of His Son (John 3:16; Col. 1:13). And once we’re in Christ, we are in Him forever (John 10:28; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 13:5).

Bart Millard, the lead singer of the contemporary Christian band MercyMe, has written a hope-exuding, celebratory song that speaks of the believer in Christ’s permanent change in spiritual location.

Let’s listen to him tell the story behind “Heaven’s Here,” the ninth track on MercyMe’s newest, grace-saturated album, Lifer:

I love Millard’s transparency and excitement about the gospel of grace!

The idea behind the song was, ‘If our promise of Heaven is no more separation from Christ, if Christ is in us, then, in a way, Heaven has already begun for us as believers … We don’t have to wait till this life is through … No separation, He has raised us up … We don’t have to wait, Heaven’s here with us … So, in some weird, stranger-things-kind-of-way, we’re already there, yet still on our way … Eternity’s begun for us … There’s no more separation in Christ.’

Now, let’s listen to “Heaven’s Here.”

I’ve said it before in this series and I’ll say it again. I don’t believe there is any other Christian band out there that is unashamedly declaring the truth about who we are in Christ and who He is in us like MercyMe! 

Let’s look at more Scriptures that amplify the truth that—in a way—Heaven’s already here for the believer in Christ:

  • “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4 NASB).
  • “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20 NASB).
  • We are “aliens and strangers” in this world (1 Pet. 2:11 NASB).
  • “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 NKJV).
  • “God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves” (Col. 1:13 GW).

If you love “Heaven’s Here” and want the truth of your forever fusion with Christ to go deeper, I would like to recommend a wonderful devotional, Heaven Is Now, written by Lubbock, Texas pastor and best-selling author Andrew Farley.

Millard and Farley connected through social media while Millard was reading Farley’s debut best-seller, The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church. (I wrote about their connection in the first post in this summer song series.)

The two ended up writing a grace-filled book together by the same name as the MercyMe album The Hurt and the Healer. (You can read the brief interview here to learn more about Millard’s grace-awakening.)

I will never forget the day I first heard about Farley and Millard’s connection. I had been reading Farley’s books and knew that he was passionate about sharing the Jesus-plus-nothing gospel. Just thinking about how their connection might impact Christendom made my heart leap for joy!

And now I’m looking forward to seeing more fruit from this divine connection in the future. (Smile.)

Next Wednesday, I will be closing out this summer song series by sharing the message in “Ghost,” the tenth track on MercyMe’s newest album, Lifer. It’s hard to believe this series and summer is quickly coming to an end.

I’m not sad about it, though. Fall is my favorite season of the year! For whatever reason, I get strangely giddy about its arrival. Maybe it’s the smell of pumpkin spice, the gorgeous foliage, and the refreshing, cooler temperatures.

And speaking of changing seasons, in my next post I will be sharing how the characteristics of the four different natural seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall—correlate to the ever-changing spiritual seasons in the life of a believer in Christ.

Dear reader, if this summer song series has blessed you in any way, I would love to hear about it!

photo credit: Brad_McKay Cloud Art 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.”
 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