Monday, July 11, 2016

Because He Lives: A Celebration of Relationship

It's hard to believe, but I've hit the two-decade mark of seriously walking in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I'm not one of those people who can pinpoint the exact date, time, and place, and I'm ok with that. I grew up in church three times a week and was baptized when I was six years old - but it didn't become real to me in a way that made a daily difference in my life until I was an adult. In 1996 I began reading through the Bible and dipping my toes into in-depth Bible study. I really didn't know what I was doing, but that's ok. Somehow between all the aha moments of seeing what Scripture said for myself and learning to break down the chapters in Romans, God moved in and took up residence. I look back at 1996-1997 as the formative days of my relationship with God, where I was born into new life. So now, I've decided I get to look at 2016-2017 as a two year celebration!

Once I began that serious walk with God and entered into relationship, He began to show me gifts and talents and began talking to me about using my writing for His purposes instead of the selfish ambition I always had for it. No, a Pulitzer by 30 would never be in His plans for me. He had something else in mind. Even as I struggled to learn that I couldn't just replace worldly ambition with Christian ambition (still selfishly motivated), and learned about giving Him glory in all things, and learned how to develop the gifts He gave me -- I started what would become a lifelong journey of chronicling my relationship with Him through words and communicating those words to encourage others.

On July 5, 1999, I penned the introduction to a devotional that I wrote over those first couple of years. Looking at it now I can see it is so rudimentary; there are many things I would change if I wrote it today. And yet it is precious to me, because it reminds me of those early days of discovering who He is and who I am in Him. It reminds me of studying Romans 12 and having His Spirit speak to me, without me even asking, that I had the gift of encouragement. It reminds me of my husband telling me that God wanted me to teach women - and of me being scared to death at the prospect. Mostly, it reminds me that no matter where He takes me, the truth is, as C.J. Mahaney said, "We never move on from the cross." Or as the old hymnwriter penned, "Tell me the old, old story/Write on my heart every word."

The old, old story was so new to me 20 years ago. Only a couple of years later I tried to process it to help others understand who Jesus was and why I loved Him so much. The result was a devotional, Because He Lives. I've shared it with maybe 30 people in the world. To celebrate what God has done in my life these 20 years, I'm sharing it on this blog, making it public for the first time.

As I post, I'll link all the posts below. I'll only lightly edit (any grammatical errors or typos only). My hope is that you'll see a heart that was learning to love Him. More than that, I hope you see HIM. I hope it helps someone come to know Him, or reminds someone of truths that we can so easily forget in the craziness of life. No matter what is happening we have hope - Because He Lives.

Introduction
Life in Christ

Part 1
Eternal Life

Part 2
Abundant Life
“Thirsty ... or Satisfied?”
“The King’s Daughter”
“Experiencing Abundant Life”
“Do You Pass God’s Vision Test?”
“God Has a Plan”

Conclusion
New Life
“Because He Lives”

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