What God Wants Most This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away and many are thinking of ways they can best express their affection for those they love.

Whether your beloved is a spouse, significant other, friend, or family member, there is probably a Hallmark card out there with their name on it, just waiting to be bought, signed, sealed, and delivered to them.

And (if they are really lucky) it might even accompany flowers, chocolate, jewelry, lingerie, an expensive candlelit dinner, or even a weekend getaway for two.

A recent USA Today survey revealed that 55% of Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Frankly, this statistic surprises me. Valentine’s Day in the U.S. will come and go without 45% of the population acknowledging it.

I wonder, Why such a large percentage?

Maybe these people are just indifferent to the celebration of love.

Or maybe they just downright abhor it.

Maybe, somewhere along the way, “the idea of love” left a bad taste in their mouth through dashed expectations. (You know, if you don’t expect anything, then you won’t be disappointed.)

Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday that seems to segregate people into two distinct groups: “those who are loved” and “those who are not.”

Subconsciously, this mindset may go even deeper: “those who are worth loving” and “those who are not worth loving.”

In Father God’s economy, the second group doesn’t even exist. Everyone (no exceptions) is worth loving.

“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 TLB).

No human being on the face of this earth is left out of Father God’s love. Our existence alone qualifies us to be the object of His extravagant affection.

Since the beginning of time, what Father God has wanted more than anything is for you to understand and believe that:

  1. You exist because He wanted you! He knit you together in your mother’s womb to be an eternal receptacle and enjoyer of His no-strings-attached love & life (Ps. 139:13-14).
  2. The only way you can receive and enjoy His no-strings-attached love & life is to believe in (into) His Son, Jesus. This means that you realize that you are born into this world separated from His life and you ask Him to give you new life in His Son (which is completely provided for through His finished work on the cross): “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (Eph. 2:8-9; 1 John 5:11-12).
  3. Once you are in Him, you are in Him for good! He is faithful forever. He will never leave you nor forsake you. No one will ever snatch you away from Him (John 10:28; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 13:5).
  4. You are the love of His life, the object of His supreme affection! This means that He has hand-picked you to shower His love on you 24/7/365. But, if you don’t ever realize this and consciously receive and enjoy it, His love won’t do you (or anyone who knows you) any good.

If you are an unbeliever, what God wants most this Valentine’s Day is for you to believe in (into) His Son.

If you are a believer in His Son, what God wants most this Valentine’s Day (and every day of the rest of your life on this earth) is for you to acknowledge and enjoy His no-strings-attached love for you.

How can we authentically love others without first savoring God’s love for ourselves?

Do you know Christians who are burnt out—those who are so worn out from trying to work for God—all the while containing the eternal, refreshing wellspring of life within them (John 7:38; Matt. 11:28-30)?

Are you one of those Christians?

If you are, then I’ve got some supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (extraordinarily good; wonderful) news for you!

But it will only benefit you if you believe and act on it.

God didn’t create you and join you to the eternal life of His Son so that you could go to work for Him (Acts 17:25-28).

He created you for the sheer purpose of letting Him love you!

He knows better than anyone (He’s all-knowing) that faith works through love, that we can’t give what we haven’t first received, and that His love & life welling up within us will overflow onto everyone we come into contact with (1 John 3:18; 4:7-8, 19).

I think this is where most Christians get it wrong. We “try” to love others (because that is Christ’s royal law) unconditionally without first “letting” Him love us for free (Mark 12:28-31).

Yeah, we still operate under the faulty mindset that we can only receive and enjoy His love if we’ve earned or deserved it.

But if we are going to enjoy His no-strings-attached love for us and let it overflow our lives onto others, we are going to have to declare war on this deceptive way of thinking and living!

What do you think would happen if—starting this Valentine’s Day—most Christians marked off everything on their “Spiritual To-Do List” and added only one item: “I will let God love me every day until Valentine’s Day, 2019.”

Call me a dreamer, but I think an experiment like this has the potential to start a love revival that would spread like wildfire throughout the nations.

It sounds really simple, but it wouldn’t be easy.

It would mean deleting the words earn and deserve from your vocabulary in your love relationship with the King of Kings.

Your brain might even go through some serious cramping.

But it would be so worth it.

What do you say? Would you like to join me in this Great Love Experiment?

If at least twelve people sign up, I will create a secret (private) Facebook group called “Great Love Experiment.”

It’s purpose is to help make you intentional about “LETTING GOD LOVE YOU” unconditionally every day for one year (making you aware of all of the practical ways He reveals His personal love for you) and then posting them in the group.

Don’t worry if you don’t have something to post every day. Let His love inspire you.

When you begin to read all the ways God is showering His unconditional affection on the members in this group, it will build your faith and foster in you a greater receptiveness to His personal love for you.

For example, I drove to Pampa, Texas, this past Monday to have a faulty airbag replaced in our pickup. On my way home, I put in a worship CD and just began to let the words and music minister to me.

It turned out to be a holy highway experience! There were tears, praising, praying, and hand-raising. (I left one hand on the wheel!)

And right in the middle of all of that worshiping, I met an eighteen-wheeler with a big cross at the top of its cab.

That’s when I knew. God ordained that sacred moment in time for a personal love encounter with Him.

So, are you going to join me in this “Great Love Experiment”?

If you do, I believe you will be addicted for life.

SIGN UP HERE for the Facebook Group: Great Love Experiment

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post, I think you might enjoy my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

P.S.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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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How to Make Your Stumble Part of the Dance

Not too long ago, I sent an e-mail to a large group of people. I wrote it rather quickly and then pressed the SEND button. Then, when I got a copy of it delivered to my inbox, I realized I had a typo in the subject: “Please SHARE My Announcement for My BOOTH BOOTH this Weekend.”

Well, it should have read “BOOK BOOTH.”

While it was close to what I had originally intended, close only really counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

It’s so funny how things hit us. As soon as I read it, I had to giggle.

The phrase Gus-Gus popped into my head and I thought of Cinderella’s cute, little rotund rodent friend who helped rescue her from her evil stepmother and sisters.

Fairytale musings aside, the point is: Even though I would have liked to have had the opportunity to fix that mistake, it was unfixable the moment it was launched into cyberspace.

A done deal. No going back.

You might be thinking, Everyone makes mistakes, and misspelling BOOK in a subject line of an e-mail is an extremely minor one.

That is true. Not a big deal. At all. And hey, maybe someone else will get a smile or a chuckle out of it. (That is, if they even notice it.)

The e-mail I sent was about my first event to get the word out about my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, at the Perryton Satellite Center Arts & Crafts Festival.

The day before the festival started, my husband, Steven, and I got my booth set up and then walked around looking at everyone else’s unique displays.

Not far from mine was one that showcased western art and I was drawn to it.

There were large, gorgeous pieces depicting cattle and cowboys hanging, but the one that caught my attention wasn’t even a painting.

It was a small, framed nine-word sentence, resting on a corner bench: When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

What stood out to me was that it read when, not if.

My mind immediately darted back to a super-sized ministry stumble I would give almost anything to go back in time and change.

A glaring misstep in judgment that, when realized, almost caused me to turn in my ministry dance card and join all the other wallflowers. (Allow me to clarify that every Christian’s life is ministry because the ultimate Minister, or need Meeter, lives in him or her.)

I am so happy and thankful that my eternal dance Partner refused to disqualify me and offered me grace instead!

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

The only perfect, never-stumbling Person who lived on planet earth was the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

And the reason He never stumbled? He trusted perfectly in—depended completely on—His Father’s guidance and power living within Him:

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

We can learn so much by seeing how Jesus danced through life in the short time He graced planet earth with His sweet Presence:

  • “Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner’” (John 5:19).
  • “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30).
  • “Jesus answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me’” (John 7:16).
  • “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me” (John 8:28).
  • “I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me” (John 8:42).
  • “I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49).
  • “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23).

Jesus trusted perfectly in His Father’s guidance and power within Him to carry out His will on planet earth.

And He did this by keeping the eyes and ears of His heart fixed on His Father.

He didn’t have to have everything figured out.

All Jesus had to do was trust in and depend on His Father to perform His desire through Him.

Honestly, I have stumbled a lot in this dance called “Christian ministry.”

And almost every time I stumble, it is because I have taken my eyes off my dance Partner and put them on troubling circumstances surrounding me.

Kind of like when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink in the storm-tossed sea (see Matthew 14:22-33).

Another way I stumble is by taking my eyes of my dance Partner and putting them on my feet—on how well I’m doing in this dance.

And every time I do that, I end up stepping on my dance Partner’s toes.

I Googled “step on someone’s toes,” and was surprised to learn what it means: Offend someone by encroaching on their area of responsibility. Ouch!

When we try to do Christian ministry on our own, apart from dependence on and trust in our eternal dance Partner, we are encroaching on Jesus’ responsibility.

His responsibility to do all the leading and living through us as we trust Him.

No matter how much we would love not to stumble in this dance, it’s inevitable. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to have missteps.

I am gradually learning that—while stumbling in this dance is inevitable—it’s what we do in response to our stumbling that is most important.

This quote by Wilson Kanadi is a great reminder of this concept: You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfection.

When we stumble, we have an important choice to make.

We can quit dancing altogether because we can’t score perfect marks and miss out on all the exciting twists and turns in this dance has to offer.

Or we can learn from our stumbling.

We can tell our dance Partner we’re sorry for taking our eyes off of Him and stepping on His toes and start all over again.

In other words, When we stumble, make it part of the dance.

Our only part in this dance is to keep our eyes fixed on the Master choreographer, trusting Him to lead and empower each step.

  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).
  • “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).
  • “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
  • “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (Rom. 15:18).

Questions: Have you joined other wallflowers in this dance called Christian ministry because of one or more missteps? Can you hear your eternal dance Partner calling you back out on the dance floor to start all over, trusting in Him to lead 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.

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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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

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.

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

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