When Christ is In You {Who Am I, Anyway?}

Lenten Journey

Lent wasn’t what I expected. And yet, it was everything I had hoped. For He met me in my darkest state and didn’t look away. Then He proved what He’s capable of…for He took loving me ’till death do us part to a whole new level.

Wow, does He love me. And my goodness, does He ever pursue me.

There was one night in particular. Shortly after Lent began. I went to bed too late, utterly exhausted…still I couldn’t sleep.

Friend, do you ever get that desperate, parched feeling? Just a dire need to read The Word? I hope you say no for the only good reason–you get your fill every day. And that was the thing. I had been in The Word every day. More than normal, in fact. And yet, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling. I have no idea how to describe the urgency I felt…but, friends, I HAD to read James.

I snuck out of bed and I told God (I’m so embarrassed at how many times I say that…) I did, I told God I would read the first chapter only and the rest tomorrow when my mind wasn’t hazy. I promised Him at the first crack of light, I’d read the entire Book. Oh, and I gave Him the obvious reasons–so I could hear Him better and apply it deeper. Yada, yada…

Some day, friends, some day I’ll learn this lesson He repeatedly tries to teach me: I don’t know better…ever.

You have figured this out already, but still I can’t believe how hard the Book of James hit me. How much I needed those words. Right then. I was sobbing by the end of the first chapter. And there was no stopping me. I had to go on. Twice.

For the remainder of Lent, the Book of James showed up and walked me through. Friends, I can’t even make this stuff up. I would find it in a blog post here, in a tweet there. Twice it was the Bible verse chosen for my Sunday School class to memorize. It was also in the very books I was reading. James was everywhere.

Because of God…Because God…He knew better.

A great portion of Lent for me was spent in self-reflection. And this year was different from last. For last year, I couldn’t get beyond my own sin and unworthiness. This year, I was desperate to figure out who I really am for Him. What I can be. do. live. I know I’m His child, but which one? Where’s my place?

Would you believe I found every answer I was looking for in James? It took me weeks of reading it daily. Over and over. It took flat-on-my-face prayer time to soften this heart of mine and hear what He had for me.

I’m still trying to figure out how and what to share. And I’m not even done learning, that I know. But we’ve gone this far together, friends. I have to share a bit of it with you. Do you mind just one example now?

Holey Wholly Holy -- LIFE

It’s been an excuse of mine for decades. And I struggle with this in my own parenting, trying hard not to do the same for my son. For He deserves what God has to offer, not me. And friends, God never puts us in a box. Ever. We’re too valuable for that. So who am I to say what my son is capable of…

Still, I’ve convinced myself what I’m capable of. I’ve labeled my own limitations and have accepted my place low in the ranks of God’s army. What’s worse…I’ve been okay with this for quite a while.

Then I read this:

Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!
James 5:17

To think…Elijah. The one we hear about as a child in Sunday School and stand in awe at the very thought of him. He was just like me: Fully human. Fully His.

Who am I to say what God will or won’t do through me, friends? Who am I to think “Fully His” isn’t enough?

That part alone took me days to sort through. Then, He hit me with this:

Who am I to think my time isn’t best spent in prayer?

Elijah…just a guy…prayed earnestly. He asked God to show up with His power. Not with Elijah-power. No. He fully believed God showing up would be enough to prove who reigns. And God did. In rain. Show up.

Who am I to think God won’t show up and use me or use me up for His glory?

Friends, I can tell you now. This Lent, God showed up. What’s even more mind-boggling is He simply showed up for me. Just me. Not to impress an audience or give me something blog-worthy to share. No. He was focused on me.

Who am I to not love Him back like that? Fully His…

I catch myself now, looking in the mirror, asking myself the same question: Who am I? And I answer it with ease:

I’m fully His. And I know enough to believe that’s more than enough for Him. For He knows better…

This is the last post of my Lenten series using Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy as a guide. You may check out the entire series HERE.

Friend, if you need to talk about refinement more, please email me at simplystriving (at) gmail (dot) com.

NOTE: If you have not read this book, I highly recommend you click HERE.

How about you, friend? How did God show up for you this Lent? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

When Pain’s Worth It {Beyond the Cross}

FOG09- Courtesey of Greg Abel Photography

“A great many times in our Christian life we will endure hard times.
Those times are always a preparation for the next thing. The unseen.”
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

She slides the charm on her necklace just like I do…when I’m tugging for more room to breathe. Her eyes focus on my left shoulder and I want to hug her for making it that far. After one last gulp she releases the confession weighing heavy on her chest and she was right…it’s a big one.

One might think it’s not a big deal and a part of me wonders if she’s hoping I will slather on the salve of complacency. But she deserves more than that. For I know one gust of life will remove it all and leave her skin cracked underneath. What I long for most is to hold her and have a good cry. Simply because I know she’ll need it later.

After asking the obvious “Are you sure you never have?” I lovingly ask her the hard question I know has been keeping her up at night.

“Are you ready for refinement–to go through something hard? Is your heart prepared enough to ask for it? Because you could, friend…you could ask Him for those growing pains…”

That’s the thing. In this upside down Kingdom of Grace, the growing love affair often hurts. Cupid’s arrow does not make your heart flutter–it penetrates leaving you forever changed. And you soon realize this lover’s road is not paved in gold. No.

You have to
cross many
lashes, thorns,
nails and hammers,
vinegar stained lips and downright bloodshed…
You have to stare death down and face the very
murder in your heart
to get wrapped
in His warm,
eternal embrace.

“This journey through Lent is a journey that doesn’t end at the cross. No!
This journey ends at the empty tomb…in the victory of grace for sinners and
redemption for those who believe.”
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

And she mentions the what ifs we all fear. The ones that affect more than ourselves and possibly include an unbearable trial–even a death. As if dealing with one death isn’t enough. Surely she can’t ask for that kind of hard journey. Can’t she just ask for your everyday, basic trial? For even those are hard to come by in her near 3 decades…

“How can we serve and love and reflect Christ
when we begin and end with ourselves?”
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

I search her green eyes and wait for the light within to calm before I whisper what she already knows. For only He does…only He…only. And I remind her what waits on the other side. How glory holds no constriction of time and what we see as important now is confined to the present…these temporal joys–they seem to pull us away from eternal glory.

Holey Wholly Holy -- Glory

We read the words of Jesus’ brother. For surely he knows what he’s talking about. And she makes note right then that it’s the most important thing he wanted his loved ones to know…for it’s the first thing he wrote in his Letter…

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2-4

I then confess how, last Lent, I had to ask for the hard. I had to pray that prayer. And there were brief moments when I regretted it. Because. It. Hurt. This year, I didn’t ask. I was expecting a road worn down smooth from the scars only to realize those had merely scratched the surface…

“The call to refinement for the Christian is not about making us look better,
it’s about us reflecting Christ better.”
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

She starts naming the scars of trial she’s seen on me. And as she’s listing, I see it…what James was trying to share. I grab both of her hands as I proclaim it for me more than her:

It’s true! Joy can be found during faith-building. I’m living proof.

In this upside down Kingdom of Grace, the love affair often hurts. Cupid’s arrow pierces through Christ, then you, leaving you forever changed. And you soon realize this lover’s road is paved in hard-won glory.

And when you
get there,
He wraps you
in His warm,
loving embrace
adorning your garments of salvation with
an eternal robe of holy righteousness…
For beyond shame
and pride,
beyond death,
humbleness
is found
Grace
is accepted
Joy
is obtained
Glory
is revealed.

We let it sink in, praying it takes root as we stand there in the comfort of silence. Our eyes meet and we hug tight, knowing it’s only the beginning. And as I work my way home, walking around the puddles of thawing snow, I can’t help but smile as the street light’s reflection glitters my path…

Father, I’m but a shadow…but thank You…Thank You for letting me dance in Your Light…

This is a part of my Lenten series using Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy as a guide. You may check out the entire series HERE. I’ll be back next Wednesday to finish up the series.

If you do not have this book yet, Kris is giving away FREE PDF COPIES HERE for just a few more days! Or you may purchase a kindle or hard copy (highly recommend) HERE.

How about you, friend? Have you discovered the joy found in refinement? How has your faith grown this Lenten season? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: This story was told with permission. Her name was withheld out of love. But if you think of it, please pray for her…for her painful, refining journey has begun…

Jesus Loves Us Where We’re At {And How I Want to Love Him Back}

Agape

There are some things the English language can not explain thoroughly. John 21 is one of them for no matter which English translation you read, you don’t get the full story.

It’s the only passage I can think of where the word LOVE does not do justice.

You know the one–where Jesus asks Simon Peter if he loves Him. Three times (Read HERE).

But the story changed for me when I read the original Greek (and by that, I mean a commentary which explained it to me*). You see there are a few levels of love. This portion of scripture uses two, and it’s what makes the story applicable to you and I.

When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus used the form of agapao (agape) love. The selfless, sacrificial kind of love. The same kind of love we find here:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Peter responded that yes, he did love Him, in the phileo sense. The friendly, brotherly kind of love. Which, at first glance, I get because let’s face it — I don’t hear too many men confessing love for each other — a radical kind of love at that.

So Jesus asked again. Giving him a second chance…

A part of me thinks Peter was simply being honest with where he was at the time. For he had failed Jesus. He had shown doubt. He had proof he hadn’t given his all — the way agapao love requires.

But Jesus…in grace-like fashion…steps down to the level we’re Peter’s at. And accepts us him where he is as He asks Peter a third time:

“Peter, do you phileo love me?”

Jesus didn’t belittle him like He could have. He didn’t scold him for failing.

Still it hurt Peter. Maybe because it was the truth. I’m expecting he felt guilty. I feel like I get Peter, so I’d even be willing to bet there was a bit of pride blocking the way of him fully surrendering.

This is where love takes hold as Jesus reminds Peter of where he’s been and where he’s going. He showed Peter he had agapao love in him –he displayed it as a child. And He prophesied Peter would achieve it once again, even in his own death. (READ HERE).

Friends, a part of me wonders if Jesus was asking one of His closest friends — would he do the same thing Jesus was planning on doing for him?…and Peter couldn’t, at the time, say he would.

I get Peter. I really do.

Yet that didn’t stop Jesus…from loving him us that way. In agapao form–sacrificial. selfless. relentless love.

I adore how Jesus encouraged Peter by showing he is capable of such love. For, friends, it’s how God’s designed us.

This is the very kind of love we’re made of.

For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world
to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
Ephesians 1:4

God’s been revealing this Lent what’s been standing in my way of giving agapao love. He’s been peeling back layers of pride, self-doubt and guilt I’ve been harboring for years. And I’m guessing soon, in Peter-like fashion, I’ll be ready to do something about it. In fact, I’ve already begun taking steps the way Jesus suggested in this very passage:

“Then feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…follow Me”

Okay, Jesus. You’ve got a deal. You keep working on me and I’ll keep sharing about You. I’ll feed Your sheep with my story. I’ll stretch myself to help those who need it. I’ll search for the lost ones and show them the way as I follow You Home.

Because, Jesus, I love You, too. I really do. I just need Your help of taking away everything in me that doesn’t.

This song is my Lenten prayer.

Father, burn away the ropes that bind until only agapao love remains… (Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in).

Only Love Remains

by JJ Heller

How about you, friend? Do you relate to Peter? Do you agapao love Jesus? How do you show it? How do you feed/take care of His sheep? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

* I wish I remembered which commentary I read this out of years ago so I could give them credit. I can not find it, but do have a book on my bookshelf that talks about this portion of scripture really well: Deeper into the Word New Testament by Keri Wyatt Kent (pg 116-118) found HERE.  (I’m not an affiliate)

All or Nothing {Living With Him in Our Scope}

Holey wholly holy

This portion of Kris’ book won’t leave me. I’ve spent weeks trying to figure out why.

When God kindly asks us to set down our bundle of wants, it’s not likely that we refuse Him outright. Rather, we’re often very good at pretending to submit while grabbing for the goods when we think He’s not looking…we live as if we can operate outside the scope of His vision. The truth is, He doesn’t just want our bag of dreams and longings. His desire is for us to be wholly His that He might make us holy for Him.
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

In typical Nikki fashion, I attempted to determine what was bothering me on my own, trying not to make it worse by “pestering Him” with it. For the record: this NEVER works. Ever. It wasn’t until I prayed about it that things started to unfold.

We’re going through the Book of Mark on Monday nights, all nestled cozy in an apartment living room, the 9 of us. It was already an hour into the discussion and still we were on these verses. You know the ones–the greatest commandments. The instruction to love Him, heart/body, mind, soul and strength. And then do the same to others, including yourself.

This sounds doable until you realize He’s talking agape love –the selfless kind of love, and not phileo–the friendly kind of love. And when I consider the scope of what He is asking for: My heart/body, mind, soul, strength…

Wow, friends. He wants ALL of me…a complete, loving surrender.

She got to the conclusion before the rest of us. On how this might or might never be achieved. And I do plan on sharing more about it in another post. But this is the most important lesson I’ve taken from it:

I’ve said it countless times, but it’s worth repeating:

Friends, God would never ask anything from us
He hasn’t already given to us.

And Jesus gave it all.
His heart/body, soul, mind, strength.
A complete, loving surrender.

Gazing upon the cross we find our own place in this story…We see that we are not mere spectators in His suffering and death, but in fact are the cause of it.
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

He did all that…for me. He had to do it because of me, but friends, He exhibited that kind of love for me. for you. Oh how He loves us.

The nine of us, we decided it might be easier to love Him back like that if we focused on how He loves us like that. Because, when you think about it, the reason I can love is because He first loved me. For He IS…love.

Chasing dreams, following the rules, doing the work–this distracted me from pursuing Him, and then I flat forgot exactly who He is.
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

So maybe if I use my mind to learn, discover His characteristics. His character. His mannerisms, my heart would naturally follow. Maybe if I treat my body like the gift it is, a gift from Him. Maybe if I use all my efforts, my strengths, on seeking Him out, my thoughts will naturally be consumed by the very hint of Him.

Maybe then will I achieve it. Live it. Experience agape love the way He wants us to.

Because let’s face it. He wouldn’t ask us to love Him with all heart, mind, soul, and strength if He hadn’t loved us that way first.

If I focus on how He loves me,
I won’t want to live outside of His scope of vision.
If I focus on living the way I shared earlier
like He’s in the room
with Him in my scope of vision,
I might actually see His desire
for me to be wholly His transform into being holy for Him.

I tell my 4 year-old all the time: “These rules are for your benefit.” And I’m starting to see…our Heavenly Father feels the same way.

NOTE: This is a part of my Lenten series based on my experience through Lent last year and my reading Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy this year. You may check out the entire series HERE. I’ll be back next Wednesday. Please read through the “By His Strength” portion of this book as we will talk about Atonement.

If you do not have this book yet, Kris is giving away FREE PDF COPIES HERE for a limited time! Or you may purchase a kindle or hard copy (highly recommend) HERE.

How about you, friend? Have you figured out how to love Him with all your heart/body, mind, soul, and strength? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Thank God for the Dying {Even to Self}

Holey Wholly Holy Dying to Self

It goes against every instinct within us. And yet, when we submit to His Nature, that’s exactly what’s required. It makes sense, really, because grace goes against our human nature, too. If we want to dwell in His presence and experience holy firsthand, friends, we must bend until we break. We must die to self.

Jesus showed us this path to Holy.

Then He said to them all, “If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake will save it.”
Luke 9:23-25

We must deny ourselves. Forfeit what we want to save. I can do that. In fact, I have… But do you see the word I struggle with? DAILY…

Jesus knew I would. But in Godly form, He didn’t leave us stranded. He used many examples and preached countless sermons in His 3 years of ministry to show us all the ways we could accomplish this daily task — to become less than any standard we place on ourselves.

I came up with 27 examples in the book of John alone, but I’ll just give you the one that spells it out the most for me:

The King of Kings –our very own Messiah– took a servant’s job and washed feet. Including the one who betrayed Him. And told us to do the same. (John 13)

But your life is not just about you–your life is about Christ in you–about the work He can do through you, when you yield to His will.
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

Jesus explained why.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
John 12:24 NLT

Friends, nothing tells His story better than living the most important part of His story in our everyday life. Daily.

And I’m learning how to embed my story, my seed, in everyday soil while planting my feet on His solid, holy ground. It’s really more simple than I imagined and yet hard enough that I need to make the daily, conscious choice.

We fail to give up the one thing that stands between us and Christ. Ourselves. Only when we have given up our own ambitions and desires, from that death to self, can we be used to produce much for His kingdom.
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

Jesus taught us how.

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Luke 22:42

Something within makes us feel we need to be spotless, flawless before we present ourselves to the King of Kings. Friends, in this upside down Kingdom of Grace, that’s the furthest from the truth. We should come to Him bloodied, bruised, broken. Just as He came for us…

Don’t forget how Jesus presented Himself to God here in Gethsemane –the Crushing Place. He was sweating blood and rightfully so. Friends, I’ll never be that stressed. He made sure of that. You see, Jesus will never ask for more than what He has already given.

And while there’s pain in the lessening of ourselves, the deeper blessings more than fill the holes we’ve spent years trying to cover over. God is big enough. His love is rich enough…
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

Paul applied it.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally,
experience His resurrection power, be a partner in His suffering,
and go all the way with Him to death itself.
If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
Philippians 3:10-11 The Message

So how am I living this out today?

Every day is different, or this would be my last post. But I’m finding common ground with the good days —where I do lay my life down and follow — and the bad ones — where I chose myself over Jesus.

I’m discovering I simply need to live like He’s in the room, because that keeps my focus on Him. And some days I do need to come to Him broken and helpless. Other days, I just need to bow at His feet in holy reverence. Every day I need to kneel at Gethsemane and pray the following prayer — some days I need to repeat it often until it sinks in:

Jesus, I choose You today. Because You first chose me. And I realize I’m getting the better deal here, so let’s do this thing called life together. Let me live Your story for Your glory. Show me how to make more room for You here…Jesus, let me die so You may live right here in me…

I like to think, some day, maybe I’ll be able to spend less time at Gethsemane. Maybe not and that’s okay, too. Because I know Who was here first. I know what He did for me. And I know He’s worth dying for…so I’m choosing to pick up my cross and follow. The cost? I’ll be paid back ten fold in the end…

NOTE: This is a part of my Lenten series based on my experience through Lent last year and my reading Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy this year. You may check out the entire series HERE. I’ll be back next Wednesday. Please read through the “Metanoeó” portion of this book as we will talk about All or Nothing.

If you do not have this book yet, Kris is giving away FREE PDF COPIES HERE for a limited time! Or you may purchase a kindle or hard copy (highly recommend) HERE.

How about you, friend? How have you learned to die to self daily? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Faithful Fasting {How to Become Less So He Can Fill More}

Holey Wholly Holy Quote

Fasting isn’t about food. Fasting is about faith. It is about consciously choosing Christ when we want nothing more than to stuff ourselves with that which is temporary.
Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

Although my childhood church believed in fasting, they did not practice the Lenten fast. I understood why. But I had so many friends in school that did, I would generally give something up anyway. Just to encourage them in their spiritual journey…to be a part of something greater…oh who am I kidding. Truthfully, I did it because everyone else was doing it. As I grew older, my choices of Lenten fasts gained momentum in difficulty, but all failed terribly.

We fast from these little things, like dessert or caffeine, and we struggle and crave. Lent teaches us about sacrifice and we think it to be so hard, and while it is, because we are human and frail, our small giving-up is nothing compared to the ultimate sacrifice. Harder than the fast, is the turning the eyes inward, the sifting of filth that settles in the heart, in my heart.
Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

The reasons they all failed? They were all about me. And not in the turning my eyes inward type of way…

But I’ve been blessed to witness fasting in many forms. The intentional fasting while my parents sought God’s guidance; the fasting of others who really understood the significance of the sacrifice. When I realized I needed to seek out my intentions around fasting, I had formulated basic principles to the task:

  • Fasting is a faith practice. Not a food practice.
  • Fasting requires sacrifice — you becoming less. Not more.
  • Fasting should draw you closer eternally. Not temporarily.
  • You have to want the outcome. Not dread it.

“Remember your heart behind the fast is what matters, not the fast itself.”
Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

Last year, during my first true Lent, I asked God what He wanted me to sacrifice. And I struggled with what I felt He was saying, because I wasn’t hearing a thing. A food. An activity. A tangible item I could forego. No. What I was feeling was He wanted me. He wanted me to clear the clutter in my own heart so He could fill it with more of Him. {Read More Here}

He wanted me to fast from myself.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done to date.
And the most rewarding.

We find fasting difficult because we have grown unaccustomed to the hollow feeling in our bellies. We fill our empty with various things, food or otherwise — anything to mute the pangs that rise up and remind us of our unworthiness, our incompleteness apart from the Father.
Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

I didn’t realize how consumed I was with myself — I don’t consider myself selfish. Oh, but I am. The fast taught me as much and so much more.

Friends, I don’t care if you fast during Lent. But I sure hope and pray you opt to become less so He can be more. The most effective way I’ve found? Fasting. Any time, any place, any way, any form.

Because when we neglect a comfort — and let’s face it, we have many comforts — we search and grasp for something, anything to fill that hole. And friends, Jehovah Shammah is always right there. Willing. The challenge lies in accepting His offer over the easier option.

Jesus knew this temptation well. We all know what He faced in the desert — the very reason the Lenten fast began. What many of us don’t know all that well, is what happens when we make the same choice Jesus did. When we choose to put our relationship with God first. Foremost. Over all. Especially that thing we crave immensely when it’s not in front of us. Friend, do you know what it feels like to put Him before that thing?

Let me be very clear here:
God’s not after your coffee, your television, your sugar or your social media.
No. Friend, He’s after you.
He loves you so much He wants all of you. Your heart of hearts. Your very soul.

This is why the Lord says,
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”
Joel 2:12

And whether you offer just that this Lent or another season is up to you. Because it’s you who has to be ready to give up more than the one thing you choose to symbolize the task with.

  • Is it hard? Oh my yes.
  • Does it hurt? In more ways than one.
  • Is it worth it? A thousand times over.

What do you say…Will you join me in the challenge? Will you find what’s standing in the way of Him filling you up and get rid of it? Will you live out Matthew 4:4 with me? We won’t be sorry. I’ll bet my life on it.

NOTE: This is a part of my Lenten series based on my experience through Lent last year and my reading Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy this year. You may check out the entire series HERE. I’ll be back next Wednesday as we talk about dying to self.

If you do not have this book yet, Kris is giving away FREE PDF COPIES HERE for a limited time! Or you may purchase a kindle or hard copy (highly recommend) HERE.

How about you, friend? What has your experience been with fasting? How has it changed you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

The Need of Confession {Telling Our Story}

milkweed-sunset-M-001

“Confession is a conversation where we remember that
He is over all and our place is under Him.”
~Kris Camealy, Holey Wholly, Holy

David sinned *big*. We also know he tried to cover it up. Make it go away on his own. Deal with the people affected privately.

Anyone else might have believed the circumstances surrounding the events were just that–circumstantial. People might have even stopped gossiping about it sooner rather than later.

It’s in Psalm 51 we see David knew better. He knew this sin would haunt him until he faced the One it affected the most — the relationship that held his life in His hands.

I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against You, and You alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in Your sight.
You will be proved right in what You say,
and Your judgment against me is just.
Psalm 51:2-4

That line used to bother me — Against You, and You alone, have I sinned. Because rarely does a sin only affect ourselves and our Creator.

Until I got to thinking…

We all know it’s sin that separates us, it’s sin that stands in the way between us and glory. (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:23)

What I forget is God is jealous for me. He’s after me. Me alone. He’s not after how I stand in society. How neat and orderly my social circle is. No.
He wants my attention. My focus. My eyes fixed on Him.
He wants my time. My resources. My life devoted to Him.
He wants my heart of hearts. The space that dictates my eternity.
My true breath of life.

And when I sin, I create clutter in my very path. The road He’s already paved with loving, amazing grace. And it becomes exhausting. I lose focus easy as I strive to scale around it, over it, through it. But it’s too *big*. No matter the sin, it’s too much for us to handle alone.

It will kill you if you try.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
You have broken me
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence,
and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:7-11

David knew it. Felt it happening. Saw the only way out was with God’s intervention. So he did what any of us should do in his shoes: He bore all. The honest truth.

Truth is, we’re nothing. He’s everything.
Truth is, we’re sinners from birth (Psalm 51:5). Broken from the very beginning.
Truth is, He’s the only solution.

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Psalm 51:16-17

And when we get over ourselves and our incapabilities. When we stop trying to do and simply be. When we admit we’re not God but know who is. When we confess before Jehovah Jireh that He is indeed our Provider, and place Him in His rightful place, before us, He’ll clear the path.

Because it’s us He’s after. Not the sin soaked version of us, no. He wants the pure of hearts, the beauty within a broken soul with a repentant heart.

Friends, this is all so much harder for me than it sounds. I’m a lot like David. I’d rather beat myself up over it and deal with it privately. And I’ve even convinced myself that I serve Him best by looking the part of a perfect Christian. That I meet these expectations society places on us.

How soon I forget.

“There is no shame in brokenness. We are all shattered pieces of the body,
just trying to heal up and close the holes that sin leaves behind.
Replacing the darkness with light.”
~Kris Camealy, Holey, Wholly, Holy

What serves Him best is if I point people to that source of light. If I show them how grace is sufficient. How hope lives. Resurrection awaits.

I’m not here to show that I’m holy. I’m here to reveal His holiness.

Admitting my need of His grace to others is a double blessing. It helps me die to self, and bring His glory to life.

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Starting with me…that You might be glorified through me…

It’s Music Monday. Mind if I share a song related to this?

All the Poor and Powerless

by All Sons and Daughters

To listen to this amazing song, CLICK HERE.

All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
All the hearts who are content
And all who feel unworthy
All the hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy
All will sing out, Hallelujah
Will will cry out, Hallelujah
Shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God

 

How about you, friend? How do you profess He is God? How do you confess your need for Him? I’d love to hear.

NOTE: This is a part of my Lenten series based on my experience through Lent last year and my reading Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy this year. You may check out the entire series HERE. I’ll be back on Wednesday. If you’d like to prepare, please read through “Feasting and Fasting” of THIS BOOK as we will talk about fasting. If you do not have this book yet, Kris is giving away FREE PDF COPIES HERE for a limited time! Or you may purchase a kindle or hard copy (highly recommend) HERE.

 
Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki