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Archive for April, 2014

Dear Friends,

I have talked to several people in the past few weeks about finding their calling in life. It seems to me that a lot of people are realizing earlier in their lives that they need to leave a legacy other than just success but of significance. I feel privileged to lead a program called The Master’s Program for Women here in the Twin Cities that addresses the issues of finding and pursuing one’s calling, success and significance. The program was created by Bob Shank about 20 years ago for men business leaders. Then the program was adopted for women about 13 years ago. I love this program because it is a three-year journey that takes into account your whole being and every aspect of your life. You can learn more about it at www.themastersprogramforwomen.org.

God created every person with a unique calling that only that person can do. That calling is separate from our “generic” callings of being a parent, a spouse, a brother or sister. It’s beyond that. It’s unique to each person based on their gifts, talents, and abilities. God uses all of it as a package and has a plan for each person to fulfill their calling.

If you don’t know what your unique calling is, I encourage you to pursue God and find out then do it! The pursuit takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of soul searching in addition to prayer. It’s never too late to start!

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Dear Friends,

A friend of mine asked me the question: What does it mean to be ALL IN? In other words, how do we know that we are 100% into God, that we are following Jesus daily, and that we are living 100% all in for God? As I pondered for weeks, I was finally able to describe in words what I believe to be “all in” means and then what it means to me.

Being ALL IN is a matter of the heart. It is complete surrender to God in every area of your life. When you are all in, from the heart, God’s love will overflow and be poured out into your life. When you are all in, words are not necessary, people will know. The first sign is the love of God being manifested to others through you. It is you loving on people just because they are children of God. It’s first pursuing the discovery of your calling and then pursuing the calling itself throughout your life.

So, what does it mean to ME to be ALL IN? Because I believe it’s a matter of the heart, I believe I am all in and God knows it because He knows my heart. I have made a commitment to live for God the rest of my life. I have chosen to give my life to Jesus every day. I may not feel like I’m all in some days because my flesh takes over and I don’t behave like a person who’s all in. However, just because that day I don’t feel like I’m all in or I may even feel I’m “out,” God knows my heart and sees my struggle to live for Him despite my flesh that leads me to sin. It’s a daily walk. I am committed to pursue my calling and to use all my gifts for God during my life here on earth. I live with the awareness that today may be my last day and that’s why I have the sense of urgency to fulfill my calling.

Today is Saturday, April 19th, 2014. Yesterday was Good Friday. The day Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Today is a dark day because it represents when Jesus went to hell for us so we didn’t have to. But tomorrow is a new day. We celebrate His resurrection and that He defeated death. It’s the promise that we all hope to receive when we die and go to heaven to be with Him for eternity. Jesus was ALL IN! He came to earth with one mission only—to save us. In order to fulfill His mission, He knew that we would have to endure the death of the cross. But He also knew that after three days He would rise again and His mission would have been fulfilled. We are His reward.

Years ago I read the book The Case for Christ, A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence of Jesus, by Lee Strobel. If you haven’t read that book, read it! If you are still skeptical about the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection or have any doubts or medical questions, read this book! On pages 196-204, Strobel interviewed a doctor who explains step by step the process of the crucifixion and how Jesus died on the cross—all explained in medical terms. For example, did you know that the pain Jesus experienced when they pierced his wrists and feet with the nails had no word so they had to create a new one—excruciating? It literally means “out of the cross.” Did you know that Jesus, in fact, sweat blood the night before of the crucifixion? The medical term is called hematidrosis, which happens when a person is in “extreme psychological stress.” Did you know that Jesus actually died of cardiac arrest? I didn’t. At the end of the interview, Strobel asked the doctor one final question: Why did Jesus go through this? The doctor replied with one word, “love.”

Everything that the Bible says to describe Jesus’ death is true and has a medical term as well as a scientific explanation. I read these pages almost every year to remind myself of what Jesus had to go through for me. Each time I read it I weep in gratitude knowing that Jesus did it for me. And He did it for you too!

So, to end on a happy note, let’s celebrate together that Jesus is indeed alive and He loves us with a love that goes beyond our comprehension. A love that endured the cross.

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Understanding Faith

Dear Friends,

I would like to continue sharing about faith from my post last week. I decided to read the whole book of Hebrews again because it has a lot to say on the subject of faith. There are three things I would like to share with you today.

First, let’s remember what faith is. Hebrews 11 1 says, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.” There are a lot of things that we hope for in this life. I often pray and ask God to help me not to focus on (and thus hope for) the things of this world. I want to hope for the things of His world, the Kingdom of God. Then I can be assured that I will get those things. I hope that all my family is saved and that someday when we are all gone from this earth we will continue our lives together in eternity. I also hope my friends that I love so much choose to have Jesus in their hearts so I can spend eternity with them as well. Having this hope is the only thing that gives me peace when one of my loved ones goes home to be with God before me.

The challenge I see is that every person must choose on their own if they want to follow Christ or not. However, I want to encourage you to never lose hope and to continue to have faith that your loved ones will be saved. I truly believe that God hears our prayers about our loved ones coming closer to Him. Sometimes He arranges situations and allows circumstances to happen so people stop what they’re doing and give their lives to Christ. The time it takes and the timing for every person is different so we need to simply continue to pray.

The second thing I wanted to share is about waiting for those promises and what we hope for. Hebrews 11 lists several men of faith that came before us such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Further down on Hebrews 11:13 it says that, “All these faithful ones died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God. They agreed that they were no more than foreigners and nomads here on earth.” When these men of God realized that they were not of this world, then having faith that God was going to come through became easier. Furthermore, they had the revelation that some things they were not going to see during their lifetime here on earth. They knew, however, that they would see them later in eternity when they met God in heaven.

The third thing I want to share with you today is found in Hebrews 11:39, where it says that, “All of these people we have mentioned have received God’s approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.” My interpretation of this passage (and I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar) is that what all the people before us started through their faith we have to finish. “We” here means all of us that came after them and those who will come after us until Jesus comes again and the prize for which Jesus died (all of us) will finally be realized.

I hope reading today’s blog will inspire you to continue praying for all your loved ones. Never give up! God is always in control.

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Dear Friends,

I was recently asked this question: “How is it that you have so much faith in your God?” At first, I wasn’t sure what or how to respond so I prayed before answering since this conversation was happening via text. The only response I received was to love on my friend, to show her the love of God through me loving her. I told her I was going to attempt to answer via text but that the reason was actually simple. I have so much faith in God because I LOVE God. I love God because I know that He loves me and I told her I also know that He loves her too. Because I love God then I trust Him and I trust Him because I know Him.

I basically responded the same way as if the question would have been in regards to a person because it would be the same progression of events. When we get to know a person, we learn to trust them (or not for that matter). Once we trust them we learn to love them and then we have faith in them as a person. We have faith that they will do what they said they would do. We have faith (or believe) that that person also loves us back. We believe that person wants the best for us and we have complete confidence in that person. Of course, we are human beings and thus break that confidence or trust many times in our relationships. God doesn’t. He never breaks His promises to us.

The concepts of faith in God and the love of God for us are difficult to understand for an unbeliever but I thought this was the best way I could respond to my friend. These concepts are a revelation to our hearts that we accept by faith and the best place to start is to learn that God is love and that He loves us. How do we show others that God loves them too? By us loving them – just like Jesus did.

God has been working in my heart lately and showing me how to love others. I feel the love of God in my heart ready to be poured out into the people I come in contact with. It is a feeling I have not had in the past. It is easy to love our family and dear friends but to start loving strangers and people I have not seen or met before, just because, is new to me. I think it’s because when I see people as children of God and not as people I don’t know, the perspective changes and now I can see people through the eyes of God and mercy and compassion flows along with His love.

This experience confirms to me that the main way God loves people is through each one of us. We are the conduits to God’s love to the world. I want to conclude with a Scripture from Hebrews that I read this morning. Hebrews 6: 10-11 (NLT) “For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.”

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