Grace and Truth Week 24

Hello, friends!  It’s Friday – that time of the week when we come together and share all of the encouraging, faith-boosting words with one another.

Join us for the Grace and Truth Christian living linkup!

Jen :)

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Arabah Joy
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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The Truth About Freedom in Christ

You may have heard of the “license to sin” as some call it – that tendency to swing the pendulum so far to the side of grace that sin holds little weight. I think a more apt description of this problem is this: the desire to be your own boss.

In mankind the desire to be the boss revealed itself at the very beginning of time. I can just hear Adam and Eve’s thoughts now…It’s my choice. It’s not going to hurt anything to take just one bite. Besides, it looks really good, and why would God want to keep us from something that is soooo gooooood if He really loves us?

Here’s the problem as we see it in our culture today.

We have elevated grace to the false position of self-rule and thus minimized sin.

We believe we can make our own choices because Jesus already paid the price, right? We’re already forgiven.  Besides, there’s that verse in Galatians 5 that says “it is for freedom that Christ came to set us free…” (Gal. 5:1)

We use the word “freedom” to justify our own sin.

How sad that we allow the Enemy to use a beautiful thing like freedom to turn us away from Christ and toward our own fleshly desires!  Such a move is reminiscent of the Screwtape Letters.

The problem with such thinking lies in the meaning we assign to the word freedom. We like to think that freedom means self-autonomy – nobody can tell me what to do!  That’s what the world teaches us to believe.

Yes, it certainly is for freedom that Christ came, but not just any freedom and certainly not the type of self-serving freedom that the world teaches.

Often Christians use freedom in Christ as permission to be their own boss, make their own choices. But the truth about freedom in Christ is the great paradox of grace.

 

Christ came not for the freedom to do whatever we want but for freedom from the slavery of sin itself. That’s the part that we so often get wrong, friends, and I’m just as guilty.

We make believe we have no master but ourselves when we choose our way over God’s way. Ironically, when we do so we open the door to the master of sin, Satan himself. We return to slavery of our own free will.

Romans 6:15-16

 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (emphasis mine)

If we persist in sin by denying its power over us or downplaying its effects, then we deceive ourselves.

We willingly choose to let the enemy have his way with us.

And that, my friends, is a dangerous choice.  Sure, we know our eternal destination is secure if we’ve truly accepted Christ as our Savior, but that does not make us exempt from the present reality of worldly consequences.

In the same chapter of Galatians where we read about freedom in Christ, we find this admonition:

Galatians 5:13

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

And in the next chapter of Galatians we find this verse about reaping what we sow:

Galatians 6:7-8

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

A quick examination of sin in the early church demonstrates deadly consequences of sin here on Earth:

  • When the Corinthian church misused the Lord’s Supper, Paul claimed that sin was the reason for illness and even death among them. (I Cor. 11:30)
  • When Ananias and Sapphira acted hypocritically by lying about a field they sold and holding back a portion of the money that they claimed to give to the church, they were struck dead on the spot, one right after the other. (Acts 5:1-11)
  • In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul cautions that Old Testament stories of God’s wrath against sin serve as warnings to us now.
  • Even certain New Testament men were mentioned by name and “given over to Satan” so that they might learn their wrong and be restored. (1 Cor. 5:5, 1 Tim. 1:20)

Can you imagine any worse consequence than being given over to Satan for a lesson?

We may believe that our sin isn’t hurting anyone else but ourselves, but we would be wrong on that count, too. We can bet that the enemy will seize any chance to lead us back into bondage… and drag a few others along with us.

Consider the generations upon generations upon generations of mankind separated from Life itself by a  single choice? What an accomplishment that was for the snake.

And won’t the enemy be giddy with delight when sin does come to light?  Relentless guilt. Reputations ruined. The lost turned away from truth, stumbling over our hypocrisy. People disillusioned, maybe even wounded.

Sometimes whole churches and ministries, yes even nations and civilizations, fall simply because of our desire to rule ourselves, be our own bosses.

Thus, we fall prey to Satan’s great deception.

The truth is that the often misquoted and misused “freedom in Christ” found in Galatians is about so much more than freedom from rules and freedom from sin; it is freedom to relationship with the God of the universe.

The veil has been torn!

We no longer require a priest to help us with our sin-debt, to mediate between us and God. We are no longer separated by sin! Because of Christ, we come to the Lord directly, and in return, He gives us life.  We are part of His family.

Even more, our Father gives us every good thing we need to avoid sin and do right! (I Cor. 10:13, Heb.13:20-21)

According to the Word, real freedom is found by letting Christ be our master and making ourselves slaves to righteousness.

It’s the great paradox of grace. 

Only by choosing the Living God as our boss can we be released from the bonds of self and sin which ultimately lead to death.

True freedom in Christ, then, is a direct result of the grace that rescues us from death and plunges us into new life.

Romans 6:1-2

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

How?

How can we live in it any longer?

This is grace, friends, that the Creator of the Universe would choose a lowly sinner and mold him into the image of His most precious and perfect Son.

Anything less and we limit the power of grace – we miss out on the best aspect of the gift of Salvation!

Do you long for true freedom, friend?

Quit deceiving yourself.

Heed the Word

and make Christ the boss of you.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Missional Women, The Weekend Brew

The Whole World ~ Grace and Truth Week 23

That big wide world out there has been on my mind a lot this week. Maybe it’s because last week’s post about my missionary kid (MK) years brought back a lot of memories for me.

Or it might be on my mind because I’ve seen firsthand that parts of the world remain woefully unreached by the Good News.

Whatever the reason, I’m seeing missions wherever I look, it seems. :)  So, this week’s feature is right along those same lines. Joanne from Days and Thoughts shares her take on the World and its “global community.” I just love what she has to say about the origins of the global community ministry!

Be sure to stop by and visit her post by clicking the photo below!

How can you contribute to reaching the unreached this week?

Jen :)

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Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

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A Little About Fambaca ~ Grace and Truth Week 22

Hello, reader and blogger friends! :)  It’s that time of week again when we come together as a community and encourage one another at the Grace and Truth Christian living link-up.

We have family in from out of state this week, so we are busy building memories and enjoying lots of quality time together.

We call it FAMBACA – it’s a long story really, but the short version is that once upon a time, someone who shall remain nameless tried to abbreviate Family (FAM) and Vacation (VACA) and misspelled it on facebook. We all had a good laugh and the “name” of our family vacation just kinda stuck. Even the littlest ones call it Fambaca now.

That’s one of the things that makes family enjoyable, though, isn’t it? Knowing the words and phrases that will make your sister snort pop out of her nose or annoy your sister-in-law (“ro-aaaaddd”). Sorry, Christa! ;)

When we make memories together, we weave connections that last a lifetime; thus the phrase “Remember when?”

I’m hoping to have more on that aspect of healthy families later this summer, but for now, we’re busy weaving.

Take time to enjoy your family this week!

Jen :)
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Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Kaylene Yoder
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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The Most Important Part of the Missionary Kid Experience

The question of where I am from has to be the most difficult question to answer when I meet new people.

I’m an MK, missionary kid. I’ve lived in Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and even overseas in Papua New Guinea. I’ve left a little piece of my heart in each of these places, so deciding which to call my “home” is impossible!

And usually when I bring up the fact that I’m an MK, a host of other questions follow, questions that are complicated to answer in a brief get-to-know-you conversation.

The truth is that being an MK is sometimes difficult. We left the States for Papua New Guinea (PNG) when I was fourteen years old. Prior to that, we  moved every 1-2 years, so saying goodbye was a part of life, a part that certainly never got any easier.

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Growing up as an MK certainly isn't easy.  Missionary Kids face many unique trials that make life both interesting and hard at times.  However, the blessings of the MK experience far outweighed any trials that I experienced in my time as a missionary kid!

When we arrived in PNG, my siblings and I faced other trials, such as beginning at a new school, adjusting to life without modern conveniences, and handling less freedom (mainly for girls, as it wasn’t safe to walk about alone). But the hardest part? The hardest part was living apart from our parents in a family-style dorm.

Moving to a third-world country was hard enough, but add in teenage hormones and it might just be a recipe for disaster. :)

Making new friends at that age is always hard, but it was complicated by the fact that I was once again, the “new girl” in a school full of students who had mostly known each other all of their lives. I felt out of place and alone at first, with my parents only accessibly by short-wave radio.

But by far one of the blessings of being an MK and moving to PNG was that I attended a small, Christian school run by other missionaries. Making friends was a little easier due to the fact that most of us lived together (on the school base), played together (sports like soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball) and went to class together.

In fact, in my case the blessings of life as an MK far outweighed the trials.

I watched my parents live out their faith in a very practical way. I also lived alongside other godly examples: teachers, dorm parents, coaches, youth leaders, and other missionaries who had devoted themselves to the spread of the gospel.  Seeing their faith in action had a profound impact on me.

Additionally, I made friends who came from all over the world – Canada, Ireland, Australia, PNG, India, England and more – and learned what living in a third world country is really like. I learned a new culture and some of a new language, two in fact!

More importantly, I saw people go hungry, both spiritually and physically, a lesson I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

As an MK, I also experienced quite a bit of adventure. I swam in the ocean and played on an “untouched” beach when our class traveled to a port city. I climbed Mt. Elimbari with my family and made it halfway up Mt. Wilhelm with my class, the highest in the country at an elevation of over 14,000 feet.

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea.  Any MK will tell you that missionary kid problems differ from those of other kids.  Being an MK certainly isn't easy, but even though it's difficult the experience of being an MK is full of blessings, as well.

Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea.  Any MK will tell you that missionary kid problems differ from those of other kids.  Being an MK certainly isn't easy, but even though it's difficult the experience of being an MK is full of blessings, as well.

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea.  Any MK will tell you that missionary kid problems differ from those of other kids.  Being an MK certainly isn't easy, but even though it's difficult the experience of being an MK is full of blessings, as well.

I jumped from a two-story cliff into a pool of water at Keia Falls, multiple times. I hiked in the “bush,” ate fresh tropical fruit, and attended many “mumus,” feasts cooked in a large pit in the ground filled with pork or chicken, sweet potatoes of all varieties, greens, and sometimes corn, my favorite.

During school breaks, I spent time in the tribe with my parents in our bush house – a small house of woven bamboo and pit-pit (a smaller reed) with a tin roof, up on stilts, on the side of a red-clay mountain range. The view was to die for! :)

Sometimes I really miss living in PNG. Life there was quieter and slower-paced. We spent little time watching our tiny tv on batter power. We spent much time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful landscape. We played a lot of board games, even by kerosene lantern, and ate a lot of stove-popped popcorn.

Certainly the most important thing I could tell you about being an MK is that I wouldn’t choose any differently, in spite of the tough times.

Because the best blessing I received during those years was better than every good opportunity I listed above.

The best blessing was an opportunity to grow near to the Lord.

During those years in PNG, my faith became real and personal to me. The Lord removed all of my comforts, everything I leaned on (including my parents), to bring me into a deeper walk with Himself. At times, He even removed my very health. But it wasn’t for naught. There was purpose in even the most painful trials.

He pursued me, all the way to Papua New Guinea and back.

He pursues me still.

So maybe the best answer to “Where are you from?” is to simply say:
I’m an MK, so I’m from all over the place!
I don’t have just one home; I have many.
But I know Who I belong to.
And He’s been faithful all along the way!

“Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”  Psalm 36:5

Jen :)

This post has been published in The Missional Handbook by Rosilind Jukic.  If you have any interest in missions, this book contains a wealth of information from a variety of perspectives (affiliate link).

Sharing with: The Loft, Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Praying Parents ~ Grace and Truth Week 21

Yesterday our oldest son, fifteen now, showed some remarkable maturity for his age. We asked him to follow our lead in a sticky situation, one that would make him stand out and likely feel socially awkward.  We did so without giving him any specific details or reasons why, and then we gave him the choice whether to follow our lead or take a different option.

His response was, “I trust you.”  So simple.

He didn’t ask for details. He didn’t badger us for a “why.” He simply said, “I trust you.”

Of course, my mama heart nearly exploded with love in that moment and thankfulness for such faith at such a young age.  But I can’t take credit, friends, and neither can my husband. We are just two imperfect people trying our best to parent and trusting the Lord for the rest. 

I know it’s because he gave his heart to Christ so long ago and has steadily grown in his faith over the years. And at the tender age of 15, when I would have likely been demanding explanations or grumbling about not being able to do what my peers were doing, he chose trust and obedience.

I tell you, there are times as a parent when your children teach you more than you teach them!  Am I so quick to obey my Heavenly Father?  Am I so quick to trust?

The one thing I can say for certain that we have done “right” as parents is to pray for our children. And even that we certainly don’t do perfectly. :)  But the power of prayer is immense in the lives of our little (and not so little) ones!

So, I really appreciate the perspective of Frances from the GREENhouse on how to pray for our children who are away from home on some sort of summer adventure (whether it be near or far, short or long).  Obviously, our first instinct as mamas is to pray for safetly, but Frances highlights some deeper issues to pray about. Please stop by her blog and say hello! :)

As we end this week and begin a new one, let’s not forget the power of prayer to effect change.

What prayer does your child (or children) need this week?

Jen :)

 

 

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Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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