Why This Hit Song Turned Movie Means So Much to So Many

Lately I’ve been contemplating the phenomenon behind “I Can Only Imagine,” the best-selling Contemporary Christian song of all time.

Bart Millard, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, wrote this song in 1998, seven years after he lost his dad to pancreatic cancer.

The song’s title and lyrics reflect Millard’s imagining what his dad was experiencing in Heaven in the presence of Jesus.

“I Can Only Imagine” was first included in MercyMe’s 1999, independently-recorded album, The Worship Project.

But in 2001, it was released as the lead single on their major-label, debut album, Almost There, which, to date, has enjoyed triple-platinum success.

Two years later, the song crossed over onto pop radio charts after stations were flooded with requests for the song.

People everywhere wanted this faith-based song played in the secular arena because of the hope that it infused.

Hope not only for those who had lost loved ones, but also for anyone who was going through really tough times—for whatever reason.

Since 2003, when “I Can Only Imagine” launched MercyMe into the Contemporary Christian limelight, the band has enjoyed much success, producing several albums with number one hits.

(Last summer, I had a ball reviewing every grace-saturated song on their most recent album, Lifer.)

And now, seventeen years after the release of ‘Imagine,’ the movie (by the same name) based on its backstory surprised Hollywood, making around $17 million its opening weekend.

This film depicts the heart-breaking physical, verbal, and emotional abuse that Bart suffered for years at the hands of his dad, Arthur Millard.

It also portrays the incredible transformation Arthur underwent after he found out he had cancer and asked God to save him.

You can only imagine what kind of impact this had on Bart’s faith, seeing God change his dad from a “monster” into the father he had always wanted.

This movie is a wonderful redemption story. I cried more the second time I saw it than I did the first.

If you want to learn more about it, just Google it and you will find numerous articles and videos to enjoy.

My purpose for the rest of this post is to zero in on what I believe is the real reason behind the impact of this remarkable song.

What sets this song apart from other Christian-based songs?

I don’t think we have to look any further than one word in the song’s title.

Imagine.

Imagine means “to form a mental image of (something not actually present to the senses).”

Every believer in Christ is banking their eternity on Someone they have never actually laid physical eyes on—Someone they have put their faith in.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is …

  • “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV).
  • “being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it” (EXB).
  • “the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen, the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (TLB).

Faith is knowing that what we hope for—that which we cannot see with our physical eyes—will someday manifest in physical reality.

Last week on Twitter, I was challenged by someone whose handle included the word atheist.

That person asked me to justify my faith in God, to give proof of His existence without quoting Scripture or divulging personal experience.

After going down a few religious rabbit trails, my final reply to that person was: I don’t have to justify my faith. Christ’s Spirit lives in my heart. It’s a love relationship I’ve experienced with Him for years that will last forever. I’m sorry you don’t have the Hope that I do.

The common thread in my Twitter conversation and the above Biblical descriptions of faith is that believers in Christ have the incredible hope that this world is not all there is because of their faith in Christ.

The hope that someday soon, we will be experiencing Jesus face to Face forever.

Even though it’s difficult to wrap my mind around how wonderfully glorious that will be, I still try to.

And the thing is, believers aren’t limited to only imagining what it will be like when we stand face to Face with Jesus.

Right here, right now, we can ask the Spirit of Christ within us to inspire our imaginations and cause us to see, experience, and enjoy Him.

In a sense, we can experience Heaven right now, because we are one spirit with Him, already seated with Him in Heaven (1 Cor. 6:17; Eph. 2:4-7).

When I began to “see” Christ in me, with me, smiling at me, embracing me, dancing with me, loving me perfectly, and hearing Him speak life-giving words to me, it was like that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy walks out of her black-and-white surroundings into the vibrant world of Technicolor.

Relating to Christ in my mind’s eye has added a whole new dimension to my life. I guess you could say that I now I see my life in Christ in high definition.

And I’m convinced that this is the key to believers enjoying Heaven on earth in the here and now.

I’m also convinced that experiencing Christ’s cherishing love in our mind’s eye is what catapults us into the expression of His love in this world.

The success of “I Can Only Imagine” is proof positive that pictures of us relating to Christ in our mind’s eye touch our emotions and affect our lives in ways that rows of black print on white paper simply cannot.

God longs for us to experience the positive emotions that result from believing spiritual truth.

And the quickest way to believe that something is true (real) is to see it.

You’ve likely heard the old adage: Seeing is believing.

I’m not talking about seeing with our physical eyes, but picturing spiritual truth in our mind’s eye through the power of Christ’s Spirit.

In the song, “I Can Only Imagine,” Millard pictures himself seeing Jesus for the first time—what his reaction will be when he actually lays physical eyes on the Resurrected Christ.

And every time we listen to this song, we too picture ourselves standing before Him.

Jesus wants us to see His continual smile toward us—a smile that can never be erased by something we do or don’t do.

Our initial yes when we first believed in (into) Him sealed His forever smile toward us.

Dearly beloved, you can bask in the warmth of His forever smile toward you right here, right now!

The best news you will ever hear and believe is that He rigged this so you can’t mess it up!

And when you see Him smiling at you, taking great pleasure in you, you will begin to feel the truth of His unending, cherishing love for you.

And when you see and feel His no-strings-attached love for you, you are motivated to love yourself, love Him back, and love others.

That’s when life on planet earth becomes sweet and you begin living in the fullness of what you will get to enjoy throughout Eternity.

Dearly beloved, are you enjoying Jesus’ cherishing love for you through seeing Him loving you right here, right now, in this present moment?

It’s there for your receiving and enjoyment 24/7/365.

And this time on planet earth is only the beginning of pleasures forevermore!

If you enjoyed this post, then I believe you would savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

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

If you want to learn more, check out my book page.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you 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
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

Why Many Christians Aren’t Enjoying Intimacy with Christ

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve enjoyed leading several Bible studies focused on how to enjoy greater intimacy with Christ. At the beginning of the opening session, I ask the participants complete a questionnaire so that I can find out what they hope to gain from the study.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The last question is: “In your life, what do you believe is the greatest obstacle to enjoying intimacy with Christ?”

While most of their answers have to do with busyness, tiredness, and just not taking the time, every once in a while someone will answer that they are the greatest obstacle to enjoying intimacy with Christ.

Sadly, they see themselves as the major hindrance.

I remember when a wrong view of myself kept me from enjoying intimacy with Christ.

Oh, I spent focused time with Him, reading His Word, journaling, and talking to Him.

But almost always, my conversations with Jesus revolved around my shortcomings—my sins, failures, and mistakes—and asking Him to forgive me and help me do better in my walk with Him.

There was no fixing my eyes on Jesus, setting my mind on things above, or dwelling on eternal spiritual truth (Heb. 12:2, Col. 3:2, Phil. 4:8).

Until one day.

That incredible, liberating, marvelous day when I finally realized that His finished work on the cross had already wiped out my sin debt in full and made me a brand new person altogether!

In many of my posts, I share about the believer’s identity in Christ and our new life in Him.

But I don’t believe I have fully expressed what it means that Christians are already completely forgiven—forever.

Oh, how I pray that God will give you eyes to see that the sins of your lifetime are gone and you no longer have to fixate on them!

Instead, you can focus on the Wonderful Christ and His finished work on your behalf.

This way, you won’t waste one more minute missing out on the wondrous delight He longs for you to experience in intimacy with Him!

Right here. Right now.

Beloved, I don’t expect you to take my word for it when I tell you that you are already completely forgiven for the sins of your lifetime.

The following list of Scriptures provides more than enough evidence:

If you are thinking, This sounds too good to be true, I encourage you to look up and write out the above Scriptures for yourself, meditate on them, and trust Christ’s indwelling Spirit to confirm the truth of your complete forgiveness in Him.

My favorite passage concerning our complete forgiveness is Colossians 2:13–14:

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Some interpret this passage as “He forgave all of my sins up until the moment I got saved, but then after that, I have to make sure I ask forgiveness for every sin I commit.”

If that is true, then let me ask you an important question: What happens if you forget one?

Imagine that my wealthy earthly husband never wants me to do without anything I need or want, so he deposits a massive sum of money into a savings account to cover every debt I will incur throughout my lifetime.

But there’s a catch. My checking account has a zero balance.

Every time I write a check, I have to tell him what I bought and how much it cost. Then I have to ask him to transfer the exact amount from the savings account to cover my transaction so that I won’t overdraw my checking account.

While I am extremely thankful my generous husband will always agree to pay each debt, the consequences (overdraft fees, embarrassment) will be costly if I forget even one.

This may sound like a silly example to you, but I lived in fear for years over the possibility that some of my sins would go unforgiven because I couldn’t remember them all.

You can imagine how thankful I was when I found out my heavenly Husband deposited His unlimited riches into my checking account instead!

Now I never have to worry about incurring hefty insufficient funds fees for unconfessed debts.

Does this make me any less appreciative for His overwhelming generosity? Of course not!

It makes me even more thankful that I can lay my head on my pillow every night and sleep in sweet peace, knowing that I will never have to work to pay off my own sin debt.

My heavenly Husband paid it all with the first and only forgiveness deposit the very moment we were joined in sacred union.

To make my ongoing forgiveness contingent on my memory and my asking for it shifts my focus away from what Jesus has already accomplished on to what I must do to remain in “good standing” with Him.

His shed blood and my belief in Him were all that was necessary for me to enjoy my complete once-for-all forgiveness (Heb. 9:22).

Beloved, if you believe that all of your sins—up until the moment you receive salvation—are forgiven, but the ones you have committed since then aren’t forgiven until you confess them, you will not be able to enjoy the assurance and peace Christ died to give to you (Rom. 5:1; 1 John 5:13).

This is hardly the kind of life the royal bride of Christ should be living!

It may help you to understand your complete forgiveness by considering the answer to the following questions:

  1. How many of your sins did Jesus shed His blood for?
  2. How many of them were in the future when He died for them?

All of them!

We appropriated His complete forgiveness for the sins of our lifetime—past, present, and future—the very yoctosecond (smaller than a nanosecond) we believed in Him.

Opponents of the complete forgiveness doctrine often cite 1 John 1:9 as evidence that we have to keep asking God to forgive our sins to remain cleansed: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This verse has been referred to as the Christians’ “bar of soap.” Thirteen verses later, however, the apostle John writes, “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12 NASB).

At first glance, this appears to present a conundrum. The two verses cannot both be true at the same time—unless they are addressed to two different audiences.

In the first chapter, John was appealing to the Gnostics (those who had infiltrated the early church and believed that they had no sin) to be saved.

In contrast, 2:12 is unmistakably addressing believers—little children whose sins have been forgiven them.

People who teach that believers have been forgiven for the sins of their lifetime often get accused of giving people a green light to sin. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall ever needing anyone to give me a green light!

I did a pretty good job of sinning without one. But now that I understand what I’ve been given through Christ’s finished work on the cross, I realize that I really don’t want to sin.

My heart’s desire is to express the cherishing love and exuberant life of Christ (Heb. 10:16).

Before I conclude this post on our once-for-all forgiveness, I would like to clarify a couple of things.

First of all, I believe that confession (agreeing with God that we are sinning) and repentance (changing our minds and turning from sin) are healthy and beneficial habits in the life of every believer.

When we realize we are sinning, it is important to tell our Beloved we are sorry for not living in complete dependence on Him and to thank Him for the forgiveness that is already ours in Him.

Nevertheless, our confession and repentance are not a means of obtaining more forgiveness.

Our initial acceptance of His forgiveness through His shed blood at salvation secured a clean slate for us forever.

Christ wants us to believe it and live like we believe it!

Second, our complete forgiveness before God does not shield us from the earthly consequences of our sin and doesn’t mean that we don’t need to ask for forgiveness from other people when we sin against them.

In order to maintain healthy relationships, we must be willing to admit our wrongdoing and seek forgiveness from the person we have injured.

We also need to be quick to forgive others when they sin against us. (That’s a topic for another post … or book … or series.)

Jesus wants us to wake up every morning, believing that we stand completely forgiven in Him.

This may not be something we fully understand with our minds or feel with our emotions, but we can choose with to believe it, regardless of opposing thoughts or feelings.

It is much easier to believe our way into a new way of feeling than to try to feel our way into a new way of believing.

After all, don’t we possess the very faith of Christ (Gal. 2:20)?

Believing that we are completely forgiven for the sins of our lifetime will enable us to receive and enjoy His lavishing affection.

That’s where the cycle of authentic love in our life begins—by letting Him love us unconditionally.

Dearly Beloved, do you believe that the sins of your entire lifetime—past, present, and future—were forgiven through Jesus’ shed blood the moment you believed in Him?

If your answer is yes, what difference has it made (or will it make) in your life?

If your answer is no or not sure, what is hindering you from believing it?

If you have trouble allowing yourself to enjoy His unconditional love without thinking you’ve earned it, ask Him to give you revelation about your total forgiveness.

Remember, just because you might have heard (and believed) throughout your life that you have to continually ask God to forgive each and every sin, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Simply put, repetitive exposure to a false concept does not make it any truer.

Instead, why don’t you see what happens when you begin to thank Him for what you already have and see yourself as a completely forgiven, brand-new person altogether!

What you focus on will be expressed through your life.

If you enjoyed this post, then I believe you will savor my debut Bible study, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

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

If you want to learn more, check out my book page.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you 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
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

What the Resurrection Has to Do with You

Today, on Good Friday 2018, Christians around the globe are commemorating the passion of Jesus Christ—the suffering He went through to pay our sin debt in full with His blood and to give us new life in Him.

Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

Good Friday isn’t a national holiday in the U.S., but it is a state holiday in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas.

I’m so glad I live in Texas, one of eleven states in the U.S. that recognizes the importance of the Resurrection!

Every Christian knows (or ought to know) that Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday wasn’t the end of His story:

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and … He was buried, and … He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4 NASB).

If Christ was not raised from the dead on the third day, then our faith is in vain (worthless) and we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).

The Good News is, if you are a believer in Christ, you are no longer in your sins.

Every person on this earth at this moment is either “in Christ” or “in their sins.” There is no middle ground.

And the change of location from “in our sins” to “in Christ” happens once in a lifetime. There’s no such thing as jumping in and out of Christ.

Dear reader, I am leaning entirely upon His Spirit within me to cause me to communicate the extraordinary significance of not only what happened to Him over two thousand years ago, but also what happened to me and you (if you are in Christ) at the same time!

You may be scratching your head, wondering, How in the world could something that happened to Christ have happened to me at the same time? 

I will tell you. It’s a spirit-thing.

It happened in the unseen, eternal spiritual realm.

Father God exists in the Eternal Now (eternity past, eternity present, eternity future). He exists outside of this time realm.

After all, He is the One who created time. He didn’t have a beginning. He has always been, is, and will always be.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around this, ask Christ’s Spirit within you to give you eyes to see into the eternal spiritual realm and realize this amazing truth.

In Ephesians 1:3-4, the apostle Paul writes:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him, in love (NASB).

Father God chose you and me to be in His Son, Jesus, before the foundation of the world.

Why did He want us “in” His Son? So that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love.

I believe Father God does the Happy Dance every time one who belongs to Him realizes (becomes fully aware of; understands clearly) that not only are they in Christ right now and forever, but they were “in Christ” when He was crucified, buried, risen, and ascended into Heaven at His right hand.

In other words, those who belong to Him were co-participants (in union) with Christ in His crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension (all Scriptures below are taken from the NASB):

Scriptures that speak of our crucifixion with Christ:

  • “Our old self was crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6).
  • “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
  • “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)

Scriptures that speak of our burial with Christ
(burial implies the finality of death):

  • “We have been buried with Him through baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4).
  • “Having been buried with Him in baptism” (Col. 2:12).

Scriptures that speak of our resurrection with Christ:

  • “God … even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ … and raised us up with Him” (Eph. 2:5).
  • “You were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead … He made you alive together with Him” (Col. 2:12–13).
  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).

Scriptures that speak of our ascension with Christ:

  • “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4–6).
  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

Dear reader, please notice that all of the above Scriptures are past tense.

If you are a believer “in Christ,” the old, sinful you was crucified and buried with Him and the new, holy you was born again in Him when Father God raised Him from the dead!

And that is exactly what the Resurrection of Christ Jesus has to do with you!

On Resurrection Sunday (and every day), you should be doing the Happy Dance, celebrating your resurrection—your spiritual birthday—in Christ!

If your brain is going tilt-tilt and you are struggling to wrap your mind around this supernatural, eternal truth, this tangible example might help:

Imagine that Father God is holding a Holy Bible in His right hand.

This Bible represents His Son, Jesus Christ, who is also called the Word of God (John 1:1, 14).

Since Christ is also referred to as “eternal life,” we can think of this Bible as the spiritual realm of eternal life and everything outside of it as the spiritual realm of eternal death (1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13, 20).

The Bible refers to these two distinct spiritual realms as “in Christ” and “in Adam.” “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive”(1 Cor. 15:22 NASB).

Now, I want you to see Father God taking a blank sheet of paper and writing your name on it. This is when He knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16).

When you were born into this world, you were born into the spiritual realm of Adam, separated from Christ’s eternal life (John 8:21, 24; 1 Cor. 15:17; Col. 1:13, 2:13).

Please notice that this paper (you) is outside of the Bible (Christ).

Father God longs to put you (the paper) inside of Christ (the Bible), but because He gave you a free will, this is not His choice to make.

He can woo you, presenting all the evidence to you, but you get to choose whether or not to be joined to Christ.

If there is such a thing as Father God “waiting,” I believe He waits with bated breath for us to hear the Gospel and believe in (literally “into”) His Son (John 3:16).

Think back to the moment you accepted Christ and see Father God take you (the paper) out of Adam and put you into Christ (the Bible) (Col. 1:13).

Take a moment to let this truth sink in.

Once you are placed into Christ, your God-less spiritual past becomes nonexistent and you automatically share in Christ’s Spiritual past, present, and future.

Talk about a quantum leap!

And His past includes His crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension!

In other words, it is just as if we had never been separated from God by sin!

Now that is shouting (and dancing) ground!

Our sins are gone—not merely covered. They are no longer attached to us because we are now and forever in Christ!

We don’t live in the realm of our sins—in the uncircumcision of our flesh—any longer!

Outside of Christ, we were in the flesh; inside of Christ, we have been separated, or cut off, from the flesh.

And the news just keeps getting better: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Rom. 8:1-2 NASB). (Notice the verb tense is once again past.)

Jesus promises us that no one can take us out of His eternal life: “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 NASB).

No one means no one, not even ourselves. Once we are in Him, we cannot get ourselves out of Him. Only Father God could do that and He promises not to!

He also promises never to leave us or forsake us: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you'” (Heb. 13:5 NKJV).

Christ promises to never separate Himself from us, no matter what we do or don’t do!

And finally, He says that even our own faithlessness (not living in dependence on Christ) can’t disqualify us once we are in Him: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13 NASB).

Goodness gracious!

This says we are so joined to Him—so mingled with Him—that we are “one spirit with Him,” and He cannot ever be separated from Himself! (1 Cor. 6:17).

The super-fantastic news of the Gospel is: Every believer in Christ is in Him forever! It’s a done deal!

No chance of ever going back to Adam. Even if you were deceived into believing you wanted to.

Don’t you think it’s high time we Christians put on our dancin’ shoes and celebrate what Christ has ALREADY accomplished for and in us (made us holy and blameless) through our co-participation (union) with Him in His crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension!

Until next time,

Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you 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
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

That Time Those Dogs Ganged up on My Beagle

So, this past Monday, March 12, 2018, National Napping Day was celebrated in the United States. This was the day after most of us reluctantly moved our clocks forward one hour.

I hadn’t heard of this national day, but since I was feeling particularly sleep-deprived that morning, I decided to join the celebration.

And I did that by doing what any serious tweeter would do: I tweeted about it.

I honored the best napper I know, our beagle, Little Joe Jack Carson. But we just call him “Joe.”

 

 

Funny thing about this particular tweet.

It hands-down got more activity than any of my other tweets.

 

 

To date, I have 500 tweets, most of which pertain to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can enjoy greater intimacy with Him through understanding our one-and-only flawless identity in Him.

Now, I’m sure that Jesus isn’t offended, so I shouldn’t be offended for Him, right?

Because without Jesus creating this world, Joe wouldn’t have even been a glimmer in his parents’ eye.

And besides that, you have to admit that Joe is the most handsome beagle of all time and eternity! (Thank you, big brother Bobby, for giving him to us!)

As you can tell, I love our dog. And it’s amazing how much I’ve learned just watching him.

For instance, if there is only one tiny spot in our big backyard with the sun shining on it, that’s where you will find Joe, basking in all his beagle glory. (Smile.)

Whether he is just sitting there being his regal self, catching rays or sprawled out in a full-fledged nap without a care in the world, Joe knows how to savor life.

Even though Jesus has been showing me how to consistently enjoy Him and life in general, I sometimes envy a dog’s world.

You know—how easy it is for a dog to relax, take several naps a day, and dream whatever it is dogs dream about.

No, I wouldn’t rather be a dog. But, at times, I have a tendency to be super-serious about life, so I have to be intentional about relaxing and taking a nap when I need one.

Since Joe spends most days just mindin’ his own beagle business—without a care in the world—you can imagine how my ears perked up this past Saturday morning when I heard him going ballistic right outside my library window.

I was just sitting there quietly, reading Day 3 from Week 6 of my debut study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Lovewhen all the commotion started.

The subject of that day’s study is taking enemy thoughts captive that pop up in our minds.

Jarred from my peaceful contemplation, I bolted out of my chair, looked out the window, and saw the three little culprits that were rocking Joe’s world.

One was mostly white, another mostly black, and the third, a black-and-white mix.

You would have thought they were planning to eat Joe alive by the way they sounded.

So, I started banging on the window. Their combined canine courage quickly dissolved and they took off like a bat out of … well, you know.

One of them—the black one—mustered up enough gumption to stop and look back.

So, I banged on the window again and told him to vamoose! It didn’t take him long to catch up with his partners in crime.

And they haven’t been back to our house since.

I did, however, catch a glimpse of this trouble-making trio roaming around the neighborhood the other day as I was driving home from the grocery store.

No doubt trying to rock another canine, feline, or squirrel’s peaceful world with their all-bark-and-no-bite dogsanas.

Right after that brief interruption in our otherwise uneventful morning, Joe got settled into his backyard utopia and I dug back into my study.

That’s when God started talking to me about what just happened.

It was no coincidence that I was just reading about how the enemy works in our thought lives, stealing our peace, joy, and contentment.

One of the main reasons I wrote this book was to expose Satan’s clandestine schemes. The fifth bullet point on my back cover reads:

 

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

There is a daily battle going on in the mind of every believer in Christ. And it’s called a  battle because there are opposing forces in there.

Some of you may be shouting a loud Amen right now to this statement.

The apostle Paul wrote about these skirmishes in his second letter to the church at Corinth:

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity (2 Cor. 10:3-5 MSG).

I laughed out loud when I read the second sentence of this passage in The Message paraphrase of the Bible—given the subject matter of this post!

God has a wonderful sense of humor, don’t you agree?

Now, let’s zero in on the phrase fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.

Please notice that our mind trouble comes from loose thoughts, emotions, and impulses.

Thoughts drive emotions, emotions drive impulses, and impulses drive actions.

In the negative sense, the genesis of all of our mental trouble are thoughts that don’t line up with truth—loose thoughts.

And we all know what those loose thoughts are called—LIES! And where do lies originate?

We need look no further than the John’s Gospel to find out. Here, Jesus is addressing the Jewish people:

“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side” (John 8:42-47).

Jesus makes it clear: all lies originate with the Devil (Liar, killer).

Whether you realize it or not, the lies you hear in your mind are not coming from you.

They are coming from an outside enemy. And you are not it!

I purposely left out one very important detail of Joe’s story.

The entire time, those hairy little harassers were on the other side of the fence!

They weren’t in the backyard with Joe but they were raising enough ruckus, they might as well have been.

It’s the same with ungodly thoughts that seemed to pop into our minds out of nowhere, stealing our peace and joy.

And before you know it, we’re acting contrary to who we really are!

Satan, “the one who deceives the whole world,” would love nothing more than for you to believe that those ungodly thoughts are coming from you (Rev. 12:9).

And if he can get you to believe this, you won’t believe that you are the new creation in Christ that God’s Word unquestionably declares you to be!

And then there you are, duped, acting like the devil! Because people act like who they think they are.

This one truth—if the body of Christ could get a revelation of it—would turn their world right-side up! It did mine.

And no, I don’t always catch the lying thoughts the enemy sometimes serves up to my mind.

But I experience a lot more peace and joy now that I know that junk isn’t coming from me!

Through dependence on Christ’s power within me, I am on a mission to fit every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.

What do you say, dear reader? Want to join me in this God-honoring mandate, now that you know where those enemy thoughts are coming from?

I hope you will!

If you enjoyed this post, I believe you will relish my book! In it, I devote two full days of study exposing how the enemy works in our thought lives, and I share powerful offensive strategies in this daily war going on in our minds.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you 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
INSTAGRAM: @KimKFrancis

You Are Invited to My 1-Year Blogiversary Celebration!

Have you ever been so excited about something, you thought you would burst if you didn’t share your news with someone else? You know, like lickety-split?

That’s how I felt last year at this time when I was getting ready to launch A Happy Christian’s Secret Life.

I smiled as I revisited my launch day (March 1, 2017) Facebook posts and got blessed all over again by the excited reactions, encouraging well-wishes, and shares.

To be honest, I didn’t have a clue what would happen when I clicked the “PUBLISH” button and launched my first post into cyberspace.

But it didn’t matter to me.

I had a holy determination (and still do) to have an online platform where I could share the best news ever.

And that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Not only do I want to herald the Good News of Jesus Christ for those who have never heard it, but I also long to help Christians enjoy greater intimacy with Him through understanding their flawless identity in Him.

That’s right. Flawless. If you are in Christ, then you have a flawless new heart!

Sure, no one but Jesus has lived a sinless life. But what we do is not who we are.

Birth determines identity, not behavior.

I lived way too many years (and my life was a mess!) not having a clue that I became a brand-new, pure, righteous, and holy creation in Christ Jesus the moment I believed in (literally into) Him!

And that is what sparked a holy fire in me to let other Christians know who they are in Him! (You can read more about my journey on my About page).

This past year I have had the joy of writing seventy posts (three are guest posts). They are listed below and ranked in popularity:

  1. Faith in the Midst of a Cloud of Unknowing
  2. That Time I Put My Yoga Pants on Backwards
  3. Could This Be the Day?
  4. This Man of Mine
  5. What God Taught Me through Mrs. Stuart’s Cookies
  6. How to Make Your Stumble Part of the Dance
  7. How to Master the Art of Enjoying Jesus
  8. What My Debut Book Has in Common with Fifty Shades
  9. It’s Gonna Be So Good!
  10. God Built this House for Us in 1923!
  11. Jesus – Best Gift Ever! Have You Received Him?
  12. The Serious Business of Enjoying God
  13. Why Every Christian Should Be Doing the Happy Dance
  14. Today’s Guest Post by Award-Winning Author Latayne C. Scott – Priska’s Betrothal
  15. Unwrap Your Best Gift Ever in 2018
  16. Why I Wrote This Book
  17. My Personal Testimony
  18. Are You the Ideal Candidate for My Launch Team?
  19. Not Especially Fond of The Shack? – The Shack Cons
  20. What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
  21. My Morning Heart-to-Heart with Jesus
  22. Assurance in the Christmas Season – Today’s Guest Post by Alex Lomangino
  23. Christian, Which Spiritual Season Are You In?
  24. How to Tune into God’s Live Love Stream
  25. You’re Already a Godly Person – Today’s Guest Post by Mark Maulding
  26. Groundhog Day & Grace
  27. Pure Devotion to Christ
  28. Because Life Ain’t Always Pretty
  29. What God Wants Most This Valentine’s Day
  30. Are You a Lifer in Christ?
  31. Undivided Devotion to Christ
  32. The Secret to Loving
  33. Welcome To “A Happy Christian’s Secret Life!”
  34. Simple Devotion to Christ
  35. Just Who Is the Bride of Christ Anyway?
  36. Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!
  37. Not Especially Fond of The Shack? – The Shack Pros
  38. Not Especially Fond of The Shack? – The Shack Facts
  39. A Book Review on Peter Lord’s “Turkeys & Eagles”
  40. Has Grace Got You?
  41. New Seasons & Next Steps
  42. My Debut Book Launch Party
  43. Bye-Bye Lies!
  44. How I Got Raving Endorsements for My Book
  45. Don’t Throw in the Towel!
  46. Our Mountain Celebration
  47. The Most Important Verse in the Bible
  48. Are You Drinking This Poison?
  49. How God Interrupted My Quiet Time with a Noisy Cricket
  50. It’s Almost Time!
  51. Way Better Than Botox!
  52. Have You Heard the Best News Ever?
  53. “God Won’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle.” True or False?
  54. What a Difference a Year Makes!
  55. Have You Ever Been Kissed Awake?
  56. Kids Say the Darndest Things
  57. Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!
  58. The Secret to Savoring Christ’s Love
  59. Catch the Foxes
  60. Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album “Lifer” Is Their Best Ever
  61. This Is Way Better Than a Fairy Tale!
  62. The Greatest Love Song of All Time
  63. This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!
  64. What You May Not Know About This Romantic Love Song
  65. My Sweet Spot
  66. The Triple-Crown Kiss from Our Savior
  67. Ready or Not, Here I Come! (Part 1)
  68. I Was Totally Unprepared for This Kiss
  69. How God Spoke to Me through Chicken Little
  70. The Importance of Seizing and Savoring Every Moment
  71. How Many Were Crucified with Christ? If Your Answer Is 2, This Post Will Surprise You
  72. Christian, Who Do You Think You Are?
  73. Ready or Not, Here I Come! (Part 2)

Not only was 2017 a pivotal year in launching A Happy Christian’s Secret Life, but it was also the year that I published my debut Bible study over the first two chapters of the Song of Songs: His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

I started writing it in July 2008 and it went live September 2017.

It was quite a long journey, but so worth it!

And I wrote it for the very same reason that I started this blog:

To help Christians enjoy greater intimacy with Christ through understanding their flawless identity in Him.

Next Thursday, March 1, 2018, you are invited to celebrate my 1-year blogiversary on my Facebook author page, Kim K Francis, from 10 a.m. till 8 p.m.

I will be giving away 5 FREE digital downloads and 1 FREE hard copy of His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

You can get your name in the drawing between now and Thursday, March 1, 2018 by answering one or both of the following questions (both questions will be pinned at the top of my author page, Kim K Francis):

  1. Answer the question “How has A Happy Christian’s Secret Life blessed you this past year?”
  2. Answer the question “How can I improve A Happy Christian’s Secret Life in the coming year?”

The winners will be announced at the following times on my Facebook author page, Kim K Francis, on Thursday, March 1, 2018:

  • 10 a.m. – free digital copy
  • Noon – free digital copy
  • 2 p.m. – free digital copy
  • 4 p.m. – free digital copy
  • 6 p.m. – free digital copy
  • 8 p.m. – free hard copy

I hope you will celebrate with me!

Until next time,

Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S. If you 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 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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact

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

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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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Pursuing Love     Speaking     Contact