Just say, YES!

Just say, YES!

“Should we knock on the door or just leave them here?” I wasn’t sure which would be best.

John and I were just passing through on our way home from a Bible conference at the Cove in Asheville. And now we found ourselves on the front porch of a perfect stranger in a neighborhood of a city not our own.

Having checked into our hotel, we had walked out the door to build up a few thousand steps on our exercise app. After all we had been sitting in the car for hours. And in the course of our walk we found ourselves walking past some houses in an older neighborhood reminiscent of earlier times in our lives.

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The Key to the Christian Life ... Always!

The Key to the Christian Life ... Always!

Christianity is a PERSON, not a procedure; the LORD, not a list! Not church attendance, not Christ-like qualities, not good works, not the Christian "to-do list" (which may vary depending on the group and "camp" you are in)...

Not evangelism, not mission trips, not a quality "quiet time," not Scripture memorization or Bible study...

Not spiritual disciplines, not prayer, not fasting, not obedience, not miracle-working faith...

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Touch Jesus . . . Touch Life

Touch Jesus . . . Touch Life

Years ago I had a mentor-friend named Donna.  She was the one the Lord used to usher me into experiencing Christ in me as the One who does the doing in the Christian life!  Her key phrase was (as I remember it) "God does it."

Then by the Spirit of God came the realization that my indwelling Lord Jesus Christ is my All in All!  He is the Father's Ultimate Gift to me...no-thing else, no-thing more!

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

 

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Flawless...Really?

Flawless...Really?

Are you a child of God (John 1:12)? Have you been born anew by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God (John 3:3ff)? Then there is good news for you ... you are flawless like the best diamond, yes totally forgiven, clothed in the rightness of God Himself (2 Cor 5:21).

You are not a "sinner saved by grace." (I hate that term!) You are a "saint," a holy one, a person set apart by God. And He loves you ... not because of your performance or lack thereof. No, because of HIS performance on the cross and His amazing grace on your behalf (Ephesians 2:8-10).

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Remembering Stone #10: The Indwelling Christ

Remembering Stone #10: The Indwelling Christ

“Go down, Jan.”

My mentor-friend Donna would say this to me, time after time. “Jan, you are in your head. Go down”

My problem was that instead of actually feeling my negative emotions, I would do “commentary” on them and the situations that provoked them. Donna was trying to help me actually feel my emotions. You see, for years in “evangelicalism” I came to believe that anything negative was “sin” — negative feelings, negative thoughts, negative desires, etc. etc.

What a lie from the pit!

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Broken Open Glory

Broken Open Glory

Things aren't always what they seem to be. Take, for example, geodes.

Who knew that a particular rock could be more than a rock in Arizona (the site of our recent travels) ... or anywhere else for that matter? It's just a rock, right? Sure it is, until it is cracked open, that is. Then wow! what "glory" inside! Yes, a geode is not just any rock. It's a rock that contains a shining treasure of crystals. However, the treasure remains hidden until it is cracked open with a hammer or a fall or a landslide or some kind of trauma. The rock will just stay ordinary and unattractive and obscure and unrevealing to those who have not witnessed the breaking or who are not willing to let the rock be broken.

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Singing My Own Love Song to Jesus

Singing My Own Love Song to Jesus

I hate missing opportunities! It has always been a problem for me . . . especially in my younger years. But now in my very “senior” years, I’m learning to make choices in response to my Father’s teaching to pace myself and sharpen my response to HIM, not to the awesome opportunity — to HIM.

So in the learning and in the choices, I still struggle with regret (did I make the right choice?) and grief (I can’t believe I chose to miss this incredible opportunity! What a loss!)

And so I’m amazed at the choice I just made . . .

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(Revised!) Remembering Stone #9: a branch in the VINE

(Revised!) Remembering Stone #9: a branch in the VINE

So Jesus and I started from scratch together . . .

Many years have passed. The Lord has had me on a journey into freedom and joy in him. It has definitely not been all smooth sailing, but in those early days He used a little book, Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray, to transform my Christian walk.

I’m just a branch, that’s all I ever have to be!

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His Qualifying Life and Death

His Qualifying Life and Death

I just spent several hours in an exercise that I never would have dreamed would be so valuable. And so I would love to share the fruit of my “what I thought would be agonizing” afternoon and evening with you, my dear readers. My project? Transcribing just a ten minute sermon into pages of type. But in the process of it all, my mind received greater clarity and understanding and my heart just leaped with joy and thanksgiving for my beautiful Lord Jesus, who is my Savior and indwelling Life.

So please watch the video first. It is truly powerful. And then if you long to understand and relish the message on a deeper level, read the transcript that follows.

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The Bully of Bullies -- in the midst of Anxiety

The Bully of Bullies -- in the midst of Anxiety

In the midst of anxiety and panic, we can be sure that our Enemy is alive and well.

And so in our last post (When Anxiety Assails), I shared 1 Peter 5:8-9

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…

You can be sure that when God is doing something in our lives, the devil is always helping the weakness of our flesh to draw us in the opposite direction. So I’m re-sharing a previous post to encourage us to be on the alert. No matter our circumstances, our Enemy will seek to distract from God and His deliverance every time.

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When Anxiety Assails

When Anxiety Assails

When I get really afraid, I come to you in trust.
I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God.
What can mere mortals do?
Psalm 56:3-4 MSG
I’ve always been prone to anxiety. As far back as I can remember, I have been nervous about all kinds of things — quizzes, tests, performances of any kind, up coming unfamiliar events, putting my face in water, amusement park rides, and other “stupid stuff.”

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Living from a Reservoir

Living from a Reservoir

You cannot impart what you do not possess!

This was a favorite saying of Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary.

John & I had the privilege of sitting under Dr. Hendricks' teaching in the 1980's at DTS. No matter the class, whether it was "Bible Study Methods" or the "Christian Home," this profound little truth would punctuate the "Prof's" lectures.

In my last post, we talked about Teaching from a Reservoir.  If Dr. Hendricks' statement is true, then teaching (or whatever we are doing) from a reservoir presupposes LIVING FROM THE RESERVOIR -- the reservoir of truth in relationship with Him who is the TRUTH.

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Teaching from a Reservoir

Teaching from a Reservoir

…Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

In the early fall of 2000, John & I were blessed by a visit from Dr Marvin Mayer and his wife Shirley. Dr. Mayer had just retired from many years of teaching Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  John & I were students at MBI in the 1970′s.  Dr. Mayer fast became one of my favorite professors and “spiritual father,” with a continuing relationship over the years.

On this particular visit, I got up early so I could walk with Dr M in the morning before he and Shirley left to return home to Illinois.  As we walked and talked, he spoke of his years of teaching and made a statement that grabbed my attention:  “I teach from a reservoir.”

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Remembering Stone #8: No More "He Loves Me ... He Loves Me Not"

Remembering Stone #8: No More "He Loves Me ... He Loves Me Not"

No more God loves me, God loves me not.
No more “spiritual breathing” to be filled with the Spirit.
No more daily, “in detail” confession of sin (and even stuff that wasn’t sin but just negative thoughts and emotions) in order to get daily forgiveness and be “in fellowship.”
No more scrutinizing every jot and tittle of my behavior so that God will hear my prayers.

NO MORE! No more … no more!

I threw it all out — my grade-school catechism memorization at St Matthews; my Religion award …

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"We become like what we focus on!" -- Expectations Transformed!

"We become like what we focus on!" -- Expectations Transformed!

First posted 2011
LBI...Long Beach Island, New Jersey -- sun, surf, and sweet memories.  Home of Surf City and Barnegat Lighthouse!   LBI was a favorite place for us Renners to vacation in our growing up years in the 1950's & 60's -- not every year but as many years as our family of 6 (and later 7) kids and 2 parents, living on one income, could afford.

It was such a beloved place that my brother Conrad and family bought a beach house there in 1998...within a block from the beach, no less!

One year, when our kids were grown but not yet married and out of the nest, we had the most wonderful Renner family reunion at LBI.  Conrad scouted out other houses on his street that were for rent. And so several of us rented for the same week, and we all (along with in-laws, friends, and pets) descended upon that little beach community.

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We Become Like What We Focus On!

We Become Like What We Focus On!

… God has been teaching me this truth over and over again. It reminds me to return again and again to sharpen my focus on the Lover of my Soul, the One Who dwells within me and calls me to Rest in Him.

Let’s return again to join Jesus as He teaches a crowd in Galilee, as recorded in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 11. (See An Invitation to Rest Today)

… Maybe you are exhausted…worn out, burdened by the should’s and ought to’s, never feeling like enough is enough – wounded, frightened, lonely, depressed … a mess: physically, relationally, and most of all …spiritually. 

Or maybe you are burdened by your past choices, and you never feel like you are getting it right. Maybe you are desperate because you’ve given up. Everything in your Christian life has become dead and heavy.

Hear the words of Jesus to you personally:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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Resting While You Work Today

Resting While You Work Today

I’ve always been a worker-bee. Well, perhaps not as a child. As an adult, though, and especially as a Christian, I’ve been a worker-bee. I found great pleasure in life by accomplishing a goal, but there was a driven-ness in this way of living. I’ve discovered that being a worker-bee is especially dangerous, spiritually. I’ve lived for a long time under the yoke of what I call "to-do list" Christianity. What a bondage. Self-effort doesn't work when it comes to doing what only God can do,which is anything of any spiritual value. That's why I love the Lord's invitation to the weary, burdened folk who followed Him:

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An Invitation to Rest Today

An Invitation to Rest Today

Ah! REST...what a glorious word! I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it. And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest... Moms especially need it...as do dads. Single folks need it; workers need it; retirees do, too..Even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially in the midst of the frenetic-ness of no-sleep sleepovers!)

I remember as a mom of an infant how I longed for rest, praying my crying-in-the-middle-of-the-night baby would just fall quietly back to dreamland. Or my napping toddler would stay napping so I could lie prostrate for just a few more moments (Please, God!) And now, even as a senior retired adult, that beautiful rest calls my name more often than not in the midst of my afternoons. So I often take to my overstuffed couch and doze as I watch the old westerns from my childhood.

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