Could This Be the Day?

To those of you who might have been looking forward to my post today on practical ways each one of us—as Christ’s bride—can give Him our pure and undivided devotion, I apologize. That post will be postponed until next week. That is, if I’m here on planet earth to write it.

If you are a Christian (which I’m sure makes up the majority, if not the entirety, of my readership), then I believe you won’t be here either.

So, it’s all good. And if you’re not here, then you won’t need to read a post about how to give Christ, your Spiritual Husband, your pure and undivided devotion.

Because that’s exactly what you will be doing in its purest form—face to Face with the One who has captured your heart forever.

Literally. You are in Him and He is in you eternally. I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine (Song 6:3).

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand or you’ve just been overwhelmed with your never-ending to-do list (like I am at times), then you’ve likely heard the buzz in prophetic Christian circles about how Christ could return for His bride during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (5778) celebration.

Rosh Hashanah began at sundown (6:40 p.m.), Wednesday, September 20, 2017, Israel time (they are eight hours ahead of Central Standard Time) and will end sundown (6:38 p.m.) Friday, September 22, 2017.) That’s 10:38 a.m. CST.

In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “When will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

After a long discourse (Matthew, chapter 24), He said, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36).

Jesus was saying that no one (not even Him in His unglorified state at that time) could predict the exact day or hour of His coming.

He was referring to the “rapture” or catching away of the saints, where He will meet His bride in the air and take her to heaven with Him.

This is not His second coming, where I believe He will return to the earth with His bride to rule over the earth for a literal 1000 years.

In my book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, I lay out how I think end time events might occur:

As wonderful as it is to know that Christ’s Spirit lives in us and that we have everything we need in Him, our most delightful encounters with Him on this earth are still only a shadow of the intoxicating joys we will experience with Him throughout eternity (Col. 2:17; Heb. 8:5; 10:1; James 1:17). I was reminded of this one day while looking at a grandchild’s sticker book.

When I first opened and flipped through it, it wasn’t much to look at. Every page contained shadowy shapes. When I reached the end of the book, though, I was delighted to find pages of bright, colorful stickers that were meant to be applied to the matching gray images. You can just imagine the difference throughout the book once all the stickers were applied.

While living on planet earth, we don’t see the full picture of our redemption in Christ. Sometimes we have to admit that life looks pretty dismal with all the pain and suffering we see going on in the world—not to mention in our own neck of the woods. Yet as the bride of Christ, we have an incredible hope. When He returns for us, we will get to experience—in living color—the rapturous joy of seeing our Beloved face to face.

Part of the joy we will experience with Him will be at a royal wedding banquet—where He is the Bridegroom and we are the bride. The book of Revelation refers to this banquet as the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:9). If you’re like me, you may wonder, When will the marriage supper of the Lamb take place? While I have done quite a bit of research on the subject of end-time events (eschatology), I certainly do not claim to be an expert. In fact, I know that I’m not. The more I study, the more questions I have. I do have an opinion, though, which I will state here.

I believe that the beginning of end-time events will occur when Christ meets His bride in the air to take her home with Him (John 14:2–3; 1 Cor. 15:50–57; 1 Thess. 4:13–18). A common term used to describe this event is the rapture, or “catching away” of the saints.

Next, the marriage of the Lamb with His bride (not the marriage supper) will take place (Rev. 19:7–8). Christ and His bride will then enjoy a seven-year honeymoon period in heaven, while those left on earth will suffer through tribulation (Dan. 9:25–27; 12:1; Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19; see chapters 6–19 of Revelation). At the end of that seven-year period, Christ will return to the earth with His bride, where He will victoriously defeat the enemies of God in the battle of Armageddon (Ps. 2; Isa. 34:1–16; 63:1–6; Joel 3:1–17; Zech. 12:1–9; 14:1–15; Mal. 4:1–5; Rev. 14:14–20; 16:12–16; 19:19–21).

The marriage supper of the Lamb will occur after this great battle, at the beginning of the one thousand-year reign of Christ and His bride on the earth, also referred to as the millennial reign (Isa. 11:1–10; 35:1–10; Jer. 23:5–8; Joel 3:17–21; Zech. 14:9–21, Rev. 19:9; 20:1–7). At the end of this one-thousand-year period, the great white throne judgment of all humanity throughout the ages will take place (Matt. 25:34, 41; Rom. 14:10–12; 1 Cor. 3:10–15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11–15). Everyone whose name is not found written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire to experience eternal torment along with Satan.

Finally, God will cause the new heaven and new earth to appear—the place where Christ and His bride will dwell together in perfect love, joy, and peace and reign throughout eternity (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1–22:5). How’s that for happily ever after!

That’s my view on end-time events. The fact that several of these events parallel the ancient Jewish marriage customs strengthens my opinion of their order. When a Jewish bridegroom went to his bride’s home to retrieve her (the rapture in the air), he brought her back to his father’s house to the wedding chamber, where they consummated their marriage (marriage of the Lamb in heaven). After spending seven days alone together (honeymoon in heaven during the tribulation on earth), the Jewish bride and groom emerged from the wedding chamber and joined their guests for a joyous marriage feast (marriage supper of the Lamb on earth). The bridegroom and his bride were given crowns to wear and treated as king and queen during the celebration (millennial reign on earth).

Isn’t that fascinating? I encourage you to do your own study of end-time events while trusting your inward Teacher—Christ’s Spirit. I believe it will cause you to look forward to your Happily Ever After with your Prince of Peace in a fresh, new way and encourage you in your remaining days on this earth.

I find great rest in the truth that what my Beloved has planned for me is far better than what my finite mind can know or imagine. Disagreement among believers concerning end-time events should not be cause for division. The way things are going to pan out is a nonessential of the Christian faith. The essence of our faith is whether or not the Spirit of Jesus has made us alive through our belief in (into) Him: “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12 NASB). Eternal union with “the Way and the Truth and the Life” is the only thing that really matters (John 14:6 AMPC).

There you have it. That’s my opinion about how end-time events might play out.

If you would like to watch a fascinating September 14, 2017 interview with Jimmy Evans concerning the signs of the times, click here. Then fast-forward to 19:08.

Dear pure bride of Christ, I purposely chose the picture of the swinging bride because it represents a bride who is enjoying life on this earth, but also gazing on the hill in the distance, looking for something or Someone.

I pray that, whether or not Christ returns by 10:38 a.m. CST today, His return for you will find you savoring (in childlike faith) His unconditional, one-of-a-kind love your beautiful new heart.

Happily Forever After with our Spiritual Husband, Jesus Christ, is our divine destiny. I hope this truth causes joy to well up within you and put a smile on your face that no person or earthly circumstance can wipe off!

I’m wondering, dear bride of Christ, are you resting in childlike faith concerning your eternal destiny? 

photo credit: chiron3636 The Bride 1 via photopin (license)

Until next time (if there is a next time),
Live Christ—Live Happy!

 

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

  

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
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Undivided Devotion to Christ

In a recent blog post titled “How to Tune Into God’s Live Love Stream,” I shared a Scripture that clarifies for Christians how they can hear God’s voice and experience His love in tangible ways. A Scripture that answers the question, What is Father God’s heart’s desire for those who are in His Son?

This Scripture is nestled within a passage found near the end of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the fledgling church at Corinth:

I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. But I don’t consider myself inferior in any way to these “super apostles” who teach such things. (2 Cor. 11:2–5 )

Paul was responsible for leading these baby believers at Corinth to simple faith in Christ through sharing the good news of the gospel—salvation by grace through faith alone, undiluted by “good” works (Eph. 2:8–9).

These baby believers became the pure bride of Christ (were joined in eternal spiritual union with Him) the moment they believed into Him. Nothing whatsoever could change who they eternally were in Him—“perpetually pure.”

But now Paul was clearly upset. And rightly so. A group of supposed Jewish “super apostles” were coming in behind him, trying to corrupt the Corinthian church’s pure and undivided devotion to Christ.

No one knows exactly what this group of false teachers was selling, but it’s obvious by Paul’s stinging rebuke that the Corinthian church was buying “supplemental” insurance to their “basic gospel” policy.

In a nutshell, their pure and undivided devotion to Christ was being corrupted by their new attempts to add “good works” to the salvation mix.

Please notice that Paul compared their attention deficit disorder to the original sin in the garden of Eden, where Eve stopped relying on the Tree of Life (symbolic of drawing from God’s life & wisdom from within) to sustain her and bought into the serpent’s lie that she could find life by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (symbolic of getting life from outward behavior—doing good things and avoiding evil).

At first glance, you might say, What’s wrong with doing good and avoiding evil? Won’t that keep me out of trouble?

In the natural realm, nothing’s wrong with doing good and avoiding evil. It will likely keep you in good standing with your spouse, your boss, your children, your friends—and your local law enforcement.

But, in the spiritual realm, if your motivation for doing good is to remain in “good standing with God,” so that you can feel good about yourself and your ability to be a “good” Christian, you have just placed the proverbial cart before the horse.

You have just placed yourself under the Old Covenant Law of “Thou shalt not, or else …”

In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul describes returning to the law after being married to (joined in spiritual union with) Christ as “spiritual adultery,” yet many Christians continue to live by a checklist in order to feel good about themselves.

Instead of acknowledging the truth that they are His beloved bride—pure, holy, righteous, and blameless before Him—and living out of His unconditional love and power, they are trying to get love from Him by how well they perform.

Allow me to illustrate:

Steven and I meet, fall in love (it wasn’t love at first sight, though) and get married. We genuinely enjoy, appreciate, and love each other. In a very real sense, I am now his life and he is now mine.

After the initial honeymoon season is over, however, I begin to get nagging (unwarranted) thoughts. Thoughts like, “Steven’s not going to keep loving me unless I look my best at all times, keep a spotless house, cook at least one meal a day (I don’t want to go overboard here), make his favorite desserts (he has a sweet tooth), give him control of the remote, never get upset with him, and so forth.

But it feels like no matter how much I do to make myself presentable to him, he still doesn’t love me.

So one evening after he gets home from work, I ask him, “What can I do to get you to love me?”

Completely puzzled and frustrated, he looks at me and says, “What do you mean get me to love you? I already love you, regardless of what you do or don’t do for me. I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t love you.”

But I don’t really believe him. It still feels like he doesn’t love me unless I’m performing perfectly for him. So, I continue (in an obsessive-compulsive) manner trying to get him to love me. So much so that I spend more time trying to look and act perfect than I do genuinely appreciating and enjoying his company.

You can only imagine how sad (and maybe even mad) my unbelief in his love for me would make him feel.

The climate of our marriage quickly changes from warm and loving to cold and lifeless. Not because of lack of love on his part, but because I would not believe—I would not receive and enjoy—his unconditional love for me.

I made our marriage all about my appearance and performance rather than his pure love for me. What a tragedy!

You might think this is a silly illustration, but it is exactly what many (male and female—it’s a spiritual role, not a gender) in the bride of Christ do subconsciously. Rather than believing, receiving, and enjoying His unconditional love and life, we try to earn/deserve what we’ve already been given for free—at absolutely no cost to us.

Bride of Christ, don’t you think it’s time we wake up, smell our unbelief, and replace it with the aroma of loving trust in our Spiritual Husband?

Once we begin to allow ourselves to freely enjoy His no-strings-attached love for us, we will relax and genuinely appreciate Him as the love of our life.

We will finally be free from law-based living (spiritual adultery) to be enamored with Christ alone—to give Him our undivided devotion!

In my next post, I will share practical ways that each one of us—as Christ’s bride—can give Him our pure and undivided devotion by taking a closer look at the Greek meaning of the word devotion: “sitting by constantly, attending to enthusiastically.”

I’m also going to share with you a beautiful vision He gave me the morning of August 10, 2008 at 10:54 and how you too can position yourself to see and experience your Spiritual Husband in your holy mind’s eye.

If you long to experience Christ’s undivided devotion for your heart alone in tangible ways, then you don’t want to miss my next post!

Dear reader, if you have have experienced Christ’s undivided devotion for your heart alone in tangible ways, I would love for you to share as a comment below. Or feel free to e-mail me. 

Until then,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

photo credit: Indy Kethdy The Morning Hunter via photopin (license)

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

  

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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Pure Devotion to Christ

Purity

In my last three posts, “The Secret to Loving,” “How to Tune into God’s Live Love Stream,” and “Simple Devotion to Christ,” I’ve been laying the foundation for the believer in Christ’s “love life” (some of the following information has been expanded on:

The Secret to Loving

  • The authentic cycle of the expression of love in a Christian’s life begins with the believer consistently receiving and enjoying (not earning) Christ’s one-of-a-kind, personal love for his or her heart alone.
  • So much of Christian discipleship today tells us that we need to be more loving (they’ll know us by our love, right?), but it leaves out the most important ingredient—the Source of that authentic expression—the tangible (real) experience of His exclusive, private love for our heart alone.
  • In my opinion, that’s like forgetting to add the hamburger meat to our hamburger. It’s like leaving the fudge off of my hot fudge sundae (Day 26 of Whole30 – Lord, help me!) Instead of saying, “Where’s the beef (or hot fudge)?” many are saying “Where’s the authentic love of Christ?” when referring to the Christian church worldwide.
  • Bottom line: the secret to loving is living loved in Christ.

How to Tune into God’s Live Love Stream

  • The Word of God, the Spirit of Christ, perpetually (without interruption) indwells the new, pure heart of every Christian and is continually live streaming His one-of-a-kind love privately to the one who belongs to Him (John 7:38; 10:27; 1 John 4:8).
  • He’s also live streaming His “hound-of-Heaven” love to those who do not yet belong to Him, but from the outside. 
  • The apostle Paul communicates, in a nutshell, what Father God’s longing is for each heart who belongs to Him:  Simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3). In a complex world, this is wonderfully refreshing news.

Simple Devotion to Christ” (drawing from the Greek meaning for simplicity, “singleness of mind, infused by God through the Spirit”)

  • No matter where Christians are or what they are doing, they can tune into God’s Loving Channel at any moment in time.
  • He is right there inside our new hearts, 24/7/365, just waiting for us to get into “receiving” mode and turn our attention to (toward our actual, physical heart instead of our often noise-laden heads) what He wants to communicate to us.
  • We can rest assured that everything He will speak to us will sound like perfect love—a lavishing love that inspires (not depresses), builds up (not tears down), encourages (not discourages), strengthens (not weakens), comforts (not torments), and consoles (not distresses) us (1 Cor. 14:3).
  • We can learn to hear His voice and experience His tangible love through journaling. Having soft, instrumental music (my preference is Christian) playing in the background facilitates our love reception by stimulating the right, intuitive side of our brains.

*One very important aspect of hearing His voice (I failed to mention in my last post) is that most often it will sound like unhindered conversational thoughts, not an actual audible voice (I’m not limiting Him, though. Our limitless God can speak to us in any way or form that He chooses.)

Today’s post will enrich what you’ve already learned about hearing God’s voice and experiencing His tangible love by focusing on the Greek meaning of the word purity, which is “exciting reverence, sacred, immaculate.”

Before I understood the truth of my brand-new identity in Christ (given to me as a nine-year-old when I believed into Christ), words like purity, reverence, sacred, and immaculate evoked feelings of fear and unworthiness, due to my far-from-perfect track record.

I must admit that the only excitement I felt was that of a negative, anxious nature.

But now I experience a different kind of excitement—a joy-filled delight that comes from the “already” of my new life in Christ.

Yes, I know that my behavior does not always express Christ’s pure life and love, but it’s in me permanently. He’s in me permanently. And someday, when my earthly body is exchanged for a Christ-saturated body, our (Christ’s and my) holy union will be expressed perfectly throughout eternity (1 Cor. 15:53)

I can experience great rest (and excitement) in knowing that right now I am not defined by my behavior, but by my pure, holy, blameless, and righteous identity in my Beloved.

He has already made me pure, holy, blameless, and righteous forever (Ezek. 36:25–27; John 14:20; 15:3; Rom. 5:1, 8–10; 6:3–4, 6,17–18; 11:16; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; 6:17; 2 Cor. 5:16–17, 21; 11:2; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 1:4; 5:8; Col. 2:9-10; Heb. 1:3; 2:11; 3:1; 9:14; 10:10, 14, 22; 1 Pet. 2:9–10; 2 Pet. 1:3–4; 1 John 2:12; 4:17; 5:4; Rev. 19:7–9; 21:2–3).

(Side note: If you subscribe to my blog, you will receive the entire PDF, “Who I Am In Christ IS Who I Am!” It contains over 200 illuminating passages concerning the believer’s identity in Christ.)

The following official music video for MercyMe’s 2014 hit single “Flawless” from their album Welcome to the New says more in four minutes about the believer’s flawless identity in Christ than I could type in a million words:

I hope this video and the truths I’ve shared with you about your flawless identity in Christ (the only identity you possess) has inspired you to see yourself as you truly and eternally are right now—at this moment in time.

Father God is asking you to believe what He says is true over and above what you feel and renew your minds with eternal truth. He sees reality at all times. And the eternal, spiritual realm is much more real than the temporal, natural realm (2 Cor. 4:18).

Journaling Exercise:

  1. Schedule some focused time with Jesus.
  2. Pick three (or more) Scriptures out of the above “already” list concerning who you are now and forever in Christ and hand-write (not type) them in your journal.
  3. Relax (take some deep belly breaths) and picture yourself resting with Jesus in your favorite quiet place.
  4. Start dialoguing with Him by writing how you feel about what He says about you.
  5. If you believe what He says, thank and praise Him for the truth of your eternal identity in Him. Celebrate His finished work! (Dancing and singing is allowed.)
  6. If you are struggling to believe the truth, be honest with Him (He already knows). Ask Him to give you revelation that will help to solidify these truths in your mind and then listen (and watch—He often speaks through moving pictures).
  7. Don’t worry about the validity of what you are writing. That will interrupt the intuitive flow in your mind. Just write what you hear and see. You can test what’s written later against Scriptural truth and share it with your spiritual mentor(s) if you would like confirmation.

I pray that Father God gives you revelation concerning your perpetual purity in His Son and that your realization of this truth will cause you to worship Him with excited reverence, knowing that you are His holy bride, flawlessly fused to Him forever.

Dear holy bride of Christ, I would love to hear how your Spiritual Bridegroom is revealing Himself to you through your focused journaling exercises. You can e-mail me or comment below. Also, if you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail me

photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 25 Million views) Color of Rockland Lake via photopin (license)

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

 

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

  

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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Simple Devotion to Christ

Simplicity in Christ

I would like to apologize to those who were tuned in at noon (CST) with your paper and pen (or journal) in hand, ready to participate in today’s post. “Life happened” once again—when I made other plans. I hope you will forgive me.

In my last post, “How to Tune Into God’s Live Love Stream,” I shared that the Spirit of Christ—the Word of God—is continually live streaming His native language of love to those who belong to Him (John 10:27; 1 John 4:8).

I also qualified that statement by saying that God’s live love stream is unceasingly welling up from within the new heart of the believer in Christ, whereas for the unbeliever (who does not have the Word of God living in him or her), He is broadcasting His love signal from the outside in (John 7:38). Big distinction here.

The point is, no matter where Christians are or what they are doing, they can tune into God’s Loving Channel every second of every day.

Not the “God-So-Loved-the-World” Channel where we have an outward (head) focus, but the private “God-Loves-the-One-and-Only-[insert your name]-Who-Lives-Eternally-in-His-Son” Channel where we have an inward (heart) focus.

Our new, pure heart is where the Spirit of Christ actually lives and moves and has His being (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Acts 17:28).

Tuning into this exclusive, private channel is simply a matter of intentionally shifting our focus from the outside world (including head noise) and tuning into the heart’s transmission of His up-close-and-personal love stream meant for our ears (and mind’s eye) only.

In my last post, I shared that all God really wants from those who belong to Him is simple and pure devotion to Christ. This is based on 2 Corinthians 11:3, where the apostle Paul writes,

I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

In this verse, God is basically saying,

I want you to fix your attention on Me with excited anticipation of what I will communicate to you, resting assured that everything you hear will sound like My perfect love.

I believe one of the ways Christians can learn to hear the voice of God and experience His tangible love is by focusing on the meanings of the words simplicity, purity, and devotion.

In today’s post, we will focus on the Greek meaning of the word simplicity: “singleness of mind, infused by God through the Spirit.” The next two posts will be devoted to the meanings of the words purity and devotion and ways to practically apply them in our Monday-through-Sunday living.

I mentioned in a previous post that when it comes down to it, people usually end up doing what they want to do.

So, if we are going to tune into God’s live love stream and experience Him in tangible ways, our desires will need to be strong enough that we are willing set aside precious time to tune into His love and hear His voice. Thus, “singleness of mind” comes into play here.

If your desire to experience His love is not strong enough to change your schedule, lay your hand on your heart right now and ask Him sincerely, “Jesus, stir up a firestorm of hunger in me to experience your love in tangible ways.”

You can be sure that He will be faithful to answer this prayer because He wants to reveal His exclusive, one-of-a-kind love for you to you (1 John 5:14).

In my last post I invited you to schedule a quiet time where you would be able to read and participate in this post by having a pen and paper (or journal), ready to record what you sense God revealing to you through this focused time of devotion to Him.

If  you made that commitment, then more than likely, you already have a strong desire to hear God’s voice and experience His tangible love. And that desire originated in His heart for you to experience His love in meaningful ways. Namely, it was “infused by God through His Spirit,” which indwells your new heart 24/7/365.

I highly recommend that you have instrumental music playing lightly in the background (I realize you might not be prepared to do that today, since I forgot to tell you in the last post) while spending focused time with Him.

There is something about music that makes us more receptive, engaging the right, intuitive (creative) part of our brains versus the left, logical part (analytical reasoning) of our brains.

The following are my favorite Christian instrumental albums that I listen to almost every day while I’m spending focused time with the Lord:

Forever (Instrumenta) (Live) – Hillsong Worship
The Invitation to the Quiet Place – Piano Solos by Klaus
Stillness – (another collection of piano solos by Klaus)
Serenity – (compilation all about rest by Klaus)

Let’s go ahead and get started with today’s practical exercise in learning to hear God’s voice and enjoy His love.

  1. Write at the top of your paper (or journal page) today’s date and time and title it “My Journey of Simple & Pure Devotion to Christ.”
  2. Write a prayer from your heart telling Jesus that you would like to hear His voice and experience His love in tangible ways during this special time where your attention is focused on Him.
  3. Imagine you are sitting across the table from Him in a coffee shop or sitting beside Him on a park bench (or any other place you would enjoy a conversation with a close companion) and hear Him saying to you, “[Your name], I am thrilled to be spending this time with you. How are you? I would love to hear what’s on your heart.”
  4. Write your response. If you are struggling, please don’t be afraid to be completely honest with Him. He loves you perfectly and wants to meet every need in your life. Don’t try to analyze or evaluate what you are writing during this time. Just get it out of your heart and onto paper.

For example:

  • “Jesus, today, I want to thank you for a brand-new day in You on this earth. You have been so incredibly kind and good to me. Thank You for loving me first—and most. I love you so much!” And then listen and write down what you sense Him saying in response. Please focus on your physical heart area (His home) and not your head.
  • “Jesus, I’m struggling with _______________. You already know this and are happy that I am sharing this burden with You. Would you kindly give me Your wisdom and power to process this and give me the courage to take any action that You recommend?” And then listen and write down what you sense Him saying in response. Again, please focus on your heart instead of your head.

Take all the time that you need to do this. You might end up writing one paragraph or one page. It doesn’t matter. There is no pressure here.

The most important thing is that you begin to develop this wonderful habit.

Please don’t be concerned about whether or not you are hearing Him correctly while you are writing. This will interfere with the creative flow. You will have time later to test what you wrote against Scriptural truth.

If you want confirmation, share what you sense Him saying to you with a spiritual mentor/counselor (Prov. 11:14).

I’m so excited for you as you begin your journey into simple and pure devotion to Christ!

In my next post (hopefully Friday’s), we will be focusing on the Greek meaning of the word purity (“exciting reverence, sacred, immaculate”) and look at practical ways we can experience pure devotion to Christ.

If you would like to share today’s journaling experience as a comment or in a private e-mail, I would love to hear from you.

Also, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail me.

photo credit: Nick Kenrick.. Autumn series via photopin (license)

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

 

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

  

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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How to Tune into God’s Live Love Stream

You really can hear His voice and experience His love in tangible ways!

Google “how to hear God’s voice and experience His love” and you will get almost twenty million search results. That’s a lot of zeroes.

So, how in the world do we decide whose advice or what steps to follow when we want to know that we know that we know that the living, loving Word is communicating His heart of love for us to us? (John 1:1,14).

If we’re not careful, we could easily get bogged down and confused. And doesn’t the Bible say that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace”? (1 Cor. 14:33 NKJV).

I believe God is all about simple. It’s our human, analytical brains that have a tendency to complicate issues.

Can I get an Amen?

I should know about analytical brains because one has been my constant companion for over half a century.

While it served me well in college Calculus, the noise (reasonings, assumptions, speculations, judgments) inside my head has, at times, has interfered with my clear reception of His ongoing communication with me.

Yes, I believe the Word of God—the Spirit of Christ—is continually live streaming His native language of love to those who belong to Him (John 10:27; 1 John 4:8).

Side note: He is also continually broadcasting His love to those who do not yet belong to Him, but in a different way. This broadcast is coming from the outside of a nonbeliever. For a Christian, Christ’s love wells up from within his or her new heart—because that’s where His love lives continually (John 7:38).

The question is how do we tune in to His live love stream? That is the topic of today’s post (and probably the next four or five).

I’m so glad the apostle Paul (inspired by God) simplifies for us what the basic focus of every Christian’s life should be: “I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3 NASB).

Simple and pure devotion to Christ. That’s all God really wants from us.

Breathe easy. Go ahead. Take a deep breath, or two, or three … Relax.

Christ is completely devoted to revealing His simple and pure love for you to you.

And if you will take the time to let Him do that, you will find yourself automatically living in the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

I savor Hebrew and Greek word studies. They add a rich layer of meaning to Scriptures that, if we’re not careful, we can miss. Let’s hone in on the meanings of the words simplicity, purity, and devotion.

  • simplicity – “singleness of mind, infused by God through the Spirit”
  • purity – “exciting reverence, sacred, immaculate”
  • devotion – “sitting by constantly, attending to enthusiastically”

Combining all of the above meanings, I believe God is saying:

In a world saturated with weapons of mass distraction, all I really want is for you to fix our attention on Me with excited anticipation of what I will communicate to you next. (That’s what I’m doing right now while typing this post.)

And you can rest assured that whatever I’m saying to you, it will sound like perfect love.

Does this sound inviting to you? I hope so. Because that’s exactly what this is: a divine invitation to experience the romance of God’s astounding, no-strings-attached love for your unique and beautiful new heart. (I’m talking to you guys in the bride of Christ, too.)

I love this alluring quote from one of my favorite devotionals:

You are invited to a secret garden which transcends time. Life outside this place will once again clamor for attention. However, for now, none of those things matter in the presence of the Divine Lover. Time seems to stand still before His timeless beauty. This garden is a place to which you are enticed by the Holy Spirit. It is a secret rendezvous in a sacred place shared by two lovers whose greatest joy is to be alone together, reveling in each other’s love. It is your own holy hideaway where you and Jesus have the opportunity to celebrate your union together where nothing and nobody can disrupt your intimacy.*

If you sense a longing rising up within you to experience God’s love, you can be sure that it is originating within His desire for you to enjoy His personal love for you.

A word of caution: you have an enemy in this world who will oppose this. He knows that when you receive and enjoy the lavish love of God, your life will be remarkably changed and others will be drawn to Christ through your expression of His love and life.

Remember what Paul said in our focal verse: “I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Don’t let him distract you. We empower whatever we focus on. Instead, fix your attention on Jesus and be empowered by His indwelling Spirit (Col. 3:1-4; Heb. 12:2).

In a noisy world, constantly clamoring for our attention, if we really want to hear God’s voice and experience His love, we need to be intentional.

This may mean getting up before the sun comes up or the kids wake up, driving to a quiet park during your lunch hour, or escaping to your bedroom, office, or library after dinner instead of to Facebook or Netflix (Mark 6:31).

(You will also need to put your cell phone on silent and probably out of reach.)

All things are possible with God (Matt. 19:26). (Smile.)

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t hear from God if you don’t remove yourself from the noise. That would limit Him. And He is limitless.

The Spirit of Christ indwells your new heart (if you are a believer in Him) and He can cause His voice to be uploaded from your heart to your mind (your conscious awareness) at any given moment in time.

The point is that we want to learn to how to become a 2 Corinthians 11:3 believer—one whose life is characterized by simple and pure devotion to Christ.

Stay tuned to next Wednesday’s post where I will share with you practical ways to hear God’s voice and experience His love.

In the meantime, I invite you to schedule a quiet time where you will be able to read and participate in next Wednesday’s noon post. You will also need a pen and paper (or journal) where you can record what you sense God revealing to you through that set apart time, focused on Him alone.

Please comment below by telling me the time you are going to commit to reading and participating in next Wednesday’s noon post.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

photo credit: michelangelo_84 Sunlight via photopin (license)

*Taken from: A Divine Invitation: Experiencing the Romance of God’s Amazing Love. Copyright © 2002 by Steve McVey. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, Oregon 97402. Out of print. Used by Author’s Permission. 145–146.

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

  

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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The Secret to Loving

Living Loved in Christ

I am utterly convinced that, in order for a Christian to express the authentic love of God on a regular basis, he or she must consistently receive and enjoy (not earn) His genuine, unique love for his or her individual heart.

In short, the secret to loving is living loved in Christ.

Makes perfect sense, huh? The very real truth is: what we focus on is eventually expressed through our attitudes, words, emotions, and actions.

Since January of this year, I have let the busyness of life—writing two blog posts each week, leading The Confident Woman book study, administrating His Heart’s Desire Ministries, and editing His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love—take up most of my focus.

As a result, I haven’t been routinely soaking in and savoring Jesus’ love for me.

And I can tell it. There is now a marked, inner thirst that needs attention. A thirst that can only be quenched by the rivers of Living Water welling up out of my new heart (where He lives!)  and spilling into my conscious awareness (John 7:38).

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that—in today’s world—it can be extremely easy to let our life run us instead of the other way around.

I believe what it really boils down to is desire (I’m a bottom line kind of girl). If you think about it, most people end up doing what they really want to do. Amen?

If I think about a Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard long enough, more than likely you will find me at our local Dairy Queen, waiting at the drive-through window—mouth watering in anticipation of taking that first scrumptious, sweet and salty bite.

I remember the Lord showing me back in the early 2000s this principle of desire. That’s when I began to pray, “Lord, stir up a firestorm of hunger in my soul to enjoy Your love.”

Back then, I was teaching high school math and also helping with the youth at our church on Wednesday evenings. My plate of responsibility was overflowing.

But God was faithful to answer my prayer. He put an overwhelming desire in my heart to wake up at 4:00 a.m. weekday mornings so that I could spend focused time with Him before I got ready for school.

I remember writing in my journals, “I don’t want this time to end. I want to sit for hours, letting You reveal Your love for me to me in powerful ways. You are the love of my life—my Love and my Life!”

It wasn’t long before I felt the Lord’s leading to set apart Saturday mornings to soak and be refreshed in His love.

Ah…! I was in my element—pajamas on, a steaming cup of Bigelow Vanilla Caramel Tea (I’m a coffee connoisseur now), pillow and journal in my lap, and a black gel pen in hand, ready to write down whatever I sensed my Beloved speaking to me.

I now understand that God’s great longing for me to enjoy His personal love for me is the genesis of my desire to experience and savor His love. Oh, how He loves us!

Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” While I do believe He is primarily referring to our initial salvation experience—when we believe into His eternal life—it also applies to our day-in and day-out relationship with Him.

I am so thankful for the Lord’s drawing love. His pursuing love. His not-of-this-world perfect love.

I believe with all my heart that His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love would not exist, had it not been for my Beloved’s call to “come away” with Him on a regular basis and meditate on His love:

My darling speaks; he is saying to me,
“Get up, my love! My beauty! Come away!
Song 2:10 (CJB)
                      

Dear reader, how I pray that the Lord is creating a desire in your soul to get away with Him so that you can receive and enjoy His personal love for you.

I believe what He wants more than anything is for you to know, receive, and enjoy His unique love for your heart.

When this happens, His divine love will naturally exude from your life, impacting those you come into contact with. The secret to loving really is living loved in Christ!

I am going to close by leaving you with a “moving” picture the Lord gave me one early morning in January 2006, while fixing my eyes on His personal love for me.

My journal entry: “Lord, open my ears to hear and eyes to see You as I spend time with You this morning. I’m expecting to hear from You.” The following is what I saw and heard:

         The Dance of Eternity

I want to dance with You, Jesus,
I want to touch Your face.
I want to stare deeply into Your loving eyes,
I want to feel Your warm embrace.

I want to dance with You, Jesus,
Just like Beauty & the Beast.
I want Your love to flow through me,
To the greatest and the least.

I want to dance with You, Jesus,
Held forever by Your gaze.
I want to hold Your nail-scared hand,
Continually amazed.

And when my eyes are drawn to Your scars,
I hear You gently say,
“That is how much I love you.”
And suddenly I’m swept away.

This dance will last forever,
I know it in my heart.
In the arms of my Forever Bridegroom,
We will never be apart.

“I want to be your Romance,”
I hear my Bridegroom say.
“I’m captivated by your beauty,”
“I will never go away.”

This dance will last forever,
I know it in my heart.
This is only the beginning,
This is just the start.

The One who embraces me,
Will never leave my side.
I hear Him softly whisper, 
“You make my heart beat faster, 
My sister, My bride.”

There is nothing in this world that can compare to the glimpses of eternity we enjoy when we fix our eyes on Him and expectantly wait for Him to share His heart with us!

In Friday’s post, I’m planning to share some specific ways I receive and enjoy His affections for me.

If you struggle in this area and have questions on how to receive and enjoy your Beloved’s unique love for your heart, I invite you to submit your questions below as a comment. Or, feel free to e-mail me.

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

photo credit: Rachel.Melton Follow Every Highway, Every Path You Know via photopin (license)

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

 

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until next time,

Live Christ—Live Happy!

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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This Ghost Is Way Friendlier Than Casper!

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I really like what Bart said:

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

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

It’s more about being Spirit-led.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank God I don’t live there anymore!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s listen the entire song:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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Christian, Which Spiritual Season Are You In?

His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love - Excerpt 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, dear reader, I’m wondering,

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

If you prefer to interact with me through email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

 Until next time,

 

 

 

 

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

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Christian, Heaven Is Here & Now!

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

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

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

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

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

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

What changed my mind?

God’s Word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s listen to “Heaven’s Here.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo credit: Brad_McKay Cloud Art via photopin (license)

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

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

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

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact