|The view outside my window drew my mind right to Isaiah 1:18. Though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.Wow.No wonder it’s called the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ. No wonder it’s called the peace which transcends all understanding.Do you guys realize how gnarly that is? Every mistake you’ve ever made… gone. Every stupid decision… gone. As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far He removes our transgressions from us. That’s what happens when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.If you’re looking back on your past with guilt or shame, you’re not living for all that Jesus died for you to have! He took our sin, He took our guilt, He took our shame. He took it all on that cross and he said IT IS FINISHED. You don’t need to take my word for it. Instead, get into God’s word. If you’ve got hang-ups or hurts in your past, I want to encourage you today to read 1 Peter 2:24. If you don’t have a physical Bible handy, download the YouVersion app and you can read it there. No excuses! I’d love to hear what you think of that verse.|
Verse of the Week
|Our verse this week reminds me how God can even use broken promises for His glory. Settle in and stick with me on this one. |
The photo above is Tiff and my first house. I can’t help but smile when I see it because of all of the memories we have there. Memories from seasons in our lives when life was much different than today. Times as newlyweds and brand new parents. Times when I naively thought we had really busy lives BEFORE kids…
We bought the house in 2009 and, with baby #2 on the way, moved to our current home in 2014. It wasn’t a great market to be selling a house in at that time, and we had a deadline named Mia Rose Finke to work around. When it became clear we were going to lose money if we sold, we decided to rent the property. We became landlords by default.
Of the many walk-throughs we offered to potential tenants, one shocked me. A classmate of ours from Salve Regina University was moving to Connecticut. We hadn’t seen her in 7 years until she came walking up our walkway to check out the house.
She and her boyfriend promptly put a deposit down and we breathed a big sigh of relief that we’d found a tenant. Unfortunately, the relief was premature. The boyfriend involved starting acting erratic during our discussions. Apparently, he’d had a bad experience with a prior landlord, and was taking it out on us.
The deal fell through, and they wanted their deposit back.
I have to admit that I let my emotions take me for a ride through the process. I was bothered and super anxious throughout. I felt betrayed. I, I, I, I, feelings, feelings, feelings, emotions, emotions, emotions, me, me, me, me.
I was so focused on ME that I forgot it’s not ME who is in control.
After parting ways with our former classmate, the tenant we ended up with turned out to be the best possible situation for us. She was a recently divorced mother of two getting back on her feet. We’ve had a wonderful and stable business relationship, and she’s lived in the house for the past 7 years!
Now she is getting remarried and moving into a larger home with her new combined family. We are selling the house, and guess what happened? Our first buyer, after putting a deposit down and having us turn away other suitors, has backed out of the deal.
You know what’s not in control? My emotions! Nope. I haven’t lost a wink of sleep because I know that God is in control. Tiff and I know that the first deal didn’t happen for a reason.
So I’m challenging you today. When something happens that seems to be bad in your life, change the question. Don’t ask, “why me?” and have a pity party. Instead, talk to God and ask, “what do you want me to learn from this?” God will take you out of your comfort zone in order to develop you into the person He created you to be. Remember: suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
|Verse of the Week|
“For the word of God is active and alive, sharper than any double-edged sword.” -Hebrews 4:12
How incredible is this? Some may read this scripture and think it means that verses from the Bible are still applicable to our lives today. That’s true, but that is not all this is saying. This verse is telling us that the Bible, God’s word, is ALIVE. Indeed, it’s active and alive, sharper than any double edged sword. One way I’ve heard it described is that it’s not like a pool or a pond that you can get to the bottom of, it’s like a continual river with no end.
A question I often get is: which Bible do you read? People may open their Bible, see lots of “thee’s” and “thou’s,” and run for the hills. There is a beauty to these translations, but I know when I first started reading the Bible, I simply didn’t understand what was being said. If that’s you, I’ve got you covered.
The button below will allow you to download the Bible app, aka YouVersion. It has every translation you could want, so you can choose a style/language that you’re comfortable with. If you’re not sure, try NIV (New International Version) or NKJV (New King James Version). You could even do ERV (Easy to Read Version) or the ICB (International Children’s Bible). We read the ICB with the kids.
Not sure where to start? The app has free plans you can sign up for where you choose a topic (love, anxiety, money, etc.) and they select what you read each day. It’s awesome.
You will hear more from me in future posts about why we need to make Bible reading a part of our every-day routine, but for our purposes today, I encourage you to download YouVersion if you don’t already have it. You won’t regret it.
|If you’re still walking around feeling guilt or shame about your past, it’s time to let it go. No, really. The word of God tells us that “as far as the East is from the West, that’s how far God has removed our sins from us. Isn’t that amazing? It’s gone!|
You hear the term “repent” thrown around the church often. What does it mean to repent? It simply means to turn away from your sin. Looking back with shame or guilt about something in your past does nothing. Only God can take it away. So give it to God. Confess your sins to Him and tell Him you’re turning away from them, you’re done with them. And be free! When you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you’re no longer a slave to fear.
The truth is this: Jesus took your sin, your shame, and your guilt on that cross. He took it all. If you’re still living with regret, then you’re not living for all that Jesus died for. And he did it for you. Honor Him and get off the guilt train. It’s time.
Verse of the Week
Verse of the Week
|1 Timothy 4:12: Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.|
I’ve heard it said that when it comes to our kids, “more is caught than is taught.” In other words, we teach them by what we command, but they’re learning exponentially more by observing how we live. For better or worse, they’re like little mirrors. Sometimes it can be a negative. Like when they’re driving me nuts because they’re yelling and my response is to….. also yell. But it can also be a beautiful thing. I don’t think I could have been more proud than when Anthony told me he was also writing a book. He’s been working hard on his Baseball History Book. We even ran it through my Kindle Create program so he could see what it would look like as an e-book! Granted, the book breaks about 18 copyright/plagiarism laws, but I digress. I’m really proud of him, and it was a reminder that he’s paying attention to a lot more than just what I say.
In our verse this week we’re reminded that, as Christians, we are walking ambassador’s for Christ. Just as our kids learn by observing how we live, we are much more likely to attract someone to Jesus by how we live than we are to convince them they need Him by what we say. As crazy as our world is, I’m encouraging you to set the example. Let others around you be wondering… “Something’s different about her. She’s got something. She’s living different.” Go about your life as if you’re wearing a uniform that says “I represent Jesus,” because more is caught than is taught!
Verse of the Week
|My New Years Day run is a tradition I love. It sets the tone for the year and gets the ball rolling in the right direction. I track my miles each year, so making the first entry into a fresh run log satisfies the spreadsheet nerd within me. Benefits on top of benefits!|
I’ve run it on mild days and frigid days. I’ve run it feeling 100% and run it with flu-like symptoms. But I can’t say I’ve ever run it with a broken foot before! In true 2020 fashion, I suffered a Jones fracture in my right foot while playing tennis on the night before Thanksgiving. I had resigned myself to pedaling on my stationary bike on NewYears, but that wasn’t going to cut it.
We’re moving forward in 2021. It’s a fresh year, and today is the day the Lord has made! I crutched/hobbled/hopped my way to mark that first mile in my run log. As I struggled along, Hebrews 12:1 was on my mind. No one ever said that the Christian life would be easy. It’s not like our problems just go away when we give our lives to Christ. Some might even get worse. But we’re instructed to run the race set before us with endurance! We’ve got the joy of the Lord within us whether things are going our way or not.
As we head into the new year, I want to encourage you to run your race with endurance. Talk to Jesus about your problems and allow the Holy Spirit to come into your life and help you out!
I had a nice little New Year’s Day message written for this inaugural newsletter, but it no longer feels appropriate. As we all know, yesterday, the US Capitol was stormed by an angry mob protesting the presidential election results.
It was hard to believe the near- anarchy I was seeing. This is the kind of thing that happens in other countries, not here in the US. I held my breath as I watched a news
reporter being followed around, intimidated, and mocked by a group of protesters.
If anyone was feeling anxious about our country’s political climate, yesterday surely cranked up the intensity. We pummel ourselves with hypotheticals:
What if this candidate gets elected? What if that policy gets changed? What if, what if, what if?
This stuff runs through my mind, too, but I try to remind myself, and I want to remind you here:
God is still on the throne.
The president may be changing, but the King of kings reigns forever. Our country may be divided, but “as surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bend and every tongue will confess the name of Jesus.” (Romans 14:11)
The bottom line is that God is still in control. As my friend Joe Labieniec says, nothing gets by God’s desk without Him noticing. So, if He allows it, there’s a purpose.
Human nature causes us to be ruled by our emotions and get bent out of shape because we want to control everything. I encourage you to take comfort in the fact that if God allows it, there’s a purpose. Like our verse of the week says, the purpose of the Lord WILL stand.
Take courage, friends! We’re not alone.