Being WITH is Not Enough: What Comes After “God With Us”

Being WITH is Not Enough: What Comes After “God With Us”

Mother and DaughterJesus came to be “God With Us.” He responded to our hopeless situation not by shouting truth at us, but by coming to be With Us. And when we connect with someone who is hurting we too must be with them instead of preaching at them.

Several of you responded to my article about “God With Us” last week.

But being With Us was just the beginning for Jesus. And it should be just the beginning for us.

The people who encountered Jesus could not help but be impacted by Him. His very presence called them to a different kind of life. And when they stopped long enough to hear His words their hearts burned within them. (See Luke 24:32)

Yes, the outcasts, the sick, the poor, those nobody else wanted were drawn to Jesus. He healed them, touched them, loved them, gave them hope. But being with them didn’t mean Jesus became like them and stayed with them in their misery. He called them to something more.

And He had something for those who were not so sick or broken. They too felt the call to something more, something perhaps harder and more dangerous than they ever imagined they could be a part of, something exhilarating and profound and alive.

Once Jesus is with us, He leads us out. He doesn’t simply soothe us in our brokenness, assuring us everything will be OK. Far from it! Instead, He goes before us leading the way to the greater thing He has called us to. (See John 10:4)

First He is With Us. Then He leads us out.

The order is important. We will not, cannot, follow Him until He is With Us.

But once He is With Us, we are called to follow Him. We cannot, dare not, stay the same. He calls us to a life of transformation, character growth, maturity, meaning, purpose, and service.

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How you should Vote as a Christian

How you should Vote as a Christian

VoteYes, I’m going to tell you how to vote as a Christian – without apology!

[guestpost]For today only, I am deviating somewhat from the topics you have come to expect. I will return to topics related to good health, loving relationships, and joyful spirituality next week.[/guestpost]

National elections here in the United States happen less than six weeks from now. This election season has been unusually brutal, and these last few weeks promise to be even more so. Money, politics, personalities, scandals – it’s not pretty.

There are many issues on which people base their votes – the economy and jobs, national security, law and order, social justice and equality, illegal immigration, environmental issues, personal freedom, energy policy, the candidate’s character, and more. And God cares about all these things.

But as a believer, there is only ONE criterion on which you can legitimately base your vote:

Which leader is most likely to be beneficial to the Kingdom of God?

Especially this year when disagreements are so sharp and rhetoric so heated, we need to take the larger view – that of the kingdom of God.

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Heavenly Perfume: How to Smell Good as a Christian

Heavenly Perfume: How to Smell Good as a Christian

Jesus smelled good. Do you?

I don’t mean Jesus showered every day; He didn’t. People used various methods to try to smell nice, but cologne as we know it wasn’t available 2000 years ago. But no one could come near Him without feeling an almost irresistible attraction. The heavenly perfume of Jesus’ goodness and holiness was undeniable.

The attraction to Jesus was not some sappy happiness or momentary feel-good “love”. It had nothing to do with religious stuff. Yes, He healed people and gave them hope for a better life. But everything about Him – not only but including His words – radiated fierce courage, jealous love, and a call to a deeper, fuller, wilder, and more purposeful life than anyone had previously imagined.

You couldn’t meet Jesus and not be changed. Not everyone who sensed the fragrance of Jesus responded positively. But no one could leave His presence or His life without facing a choice – to either follow Him on a journey to goodness and holiness and purpose themselves, or to reject His offer and follow evil instead.

You Have an Aroma Too

Everything about you has an effect on others. You can’t keep that from happening any more than you can keep your body odor or perfume to yourself.

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A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

Can we talk? Just you and me, girlfriend?

A woman’s beauty is one source of her strength. But everything depends on how you use it.

As a woman, you are powerful, beautiful, strong, smart, vulnerable, intuitive, and resilient. When God made you earth and heaven smiled, and you completely took Adam’s breath away. You are the expression of the part of God Himself that longs to connect, communicate, and nurture life, intimacy, and so much more. As John Eldredge describes it, every woman has a beauty to unveil.

In part because of your combined beauty and strength, God’s enemy has unleashed his most destructive weapons against you ever since the beginning. You have survived indescribable pain, loss, and torment. You’ve faced the worst that evil can dream up.

And yet you are still here! The assaults on your body, mind, and soul have not taken you out. You may feel down, but you’re not finished yet!

But the question is, What Will You Do Now?

You have two choices.

You can use your beauty and strength to wreak havoc on everyone around you. You DO have that power.

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How to Find Healthy Motivation to Change

How to Find Healthy Motivation to Change

HikingYou know you should, but you just don’t. Perhaps for you that means you know you should lose weight, reign in your spending, give up the junk food, or change some other aspect of your lifestyle. Why can’t you do what you know you should? How can you find the healthy motivation to make the changes you know would help you be healthier, happier, or more successful?

Acting on what you know you should do doesn’t often work very well. Should usually implies that someone else thinks you should do or not do something. It’s usually an external motivation. It may create some change for a period of time; you may exercise more frequently if your work offers a financial incentive to do so, for example. But as soon as that external motivation ends, you’ll most likely revert to the habits you had previously.

You may agree with what you should do, but you can’t seem to find the internal motivation to stick with any changes. In our most recent reader survey a number of you spoke of the frustration between what you know you should do and what you actually do:

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