Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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The Most Important Thing About You

“Who is Jesus to you?”  The question of who Jesus is, without a doubt, is one of the most important questions ever to be asked. And who Jesus is personally to us, is a question that cuts through everything – sick kids, stressed lives, mental fog, complacency, self-focus, and pain. ‘Who is Jesus to you’ is a question that invites vulnerability and realness as it cuts to the core of what is really important. It cuts straight to reality – what really is.

Who Jesus is to us in the moment we answer that question, says more about us, what we are going through, and our spiritual state than hours of conversation could reveal.

Tozer, in The Pursuit of God states:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Who Jesus is to us – to me and to you – reveals the basis of truth in our lives. It IS the most important thing about us.

Answering the question of who Jesus is to us, forces us to either:

–        Refocus and remember who He is (and that becomes a comfort in our present circumstances).

Or

–        Rejoice and spread the joy of where we are seeing Him move in our lives, and praise Him for who He is.

It’s a question you can’t go wrong with, and it breeds growth and community. As we grow in our understanding, knowledge, and love of God, who Jesus is to us will change with the season we are in. Sharing Jesus in us, cannot fail to encourage anyone hearing or responding to the question.

Tonight, after several weeks of not talking to my close friend Trina (who blogs over at trinaholden.com), I shot off a quick text to her asking her this question.

 Katie: “In one word, who is Jesus to you right now?”                                                                                              Trina: “Jesus is enough . . . Though Seth vomiting at dinner means I won’t get to go to church tomorrow. His grace covers even this”.

Her response not only reminded her of the Lord’s grace amidst vomit, it encouraged me to remember that Jesus was and is enough for things I’m dealing with too.

Who is Jesus to you

So friends. Pause. Today, right now.

Who is Jesus to you?

In this moment, when you hear His name, what is the first thing you think of about Him? Let that truth* penetrate your heart and the knowledge of it anchor your day.

Right now? Jesus is a Protective Warrior to me.

Who is He to you? I’d love to know and be encouraged by it. I would be honored if you shared it with me in the comments.

 *The truth in the answer to the question “who is Jesus to you?” has not always been pretty in my life. It’s ok, if it’s not in yours right now either. There has never been a more wonderful time than now to repentant and thank Him for revealing Himself to you.

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Perspectives on Longings

“A hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Psalm 13:12

In September, I wrote a blog series on Longings (view them here), and then shortly thereafter was asked to be a guest on the She Says podcast, to talk about longings. She Says is a once a month sermon length podcast  that one of my dear friends hosts. It’s a group of women who candidly talk through life and what the Lord is teaching them, topic by topic.  I was thrilled and terrified to be asked to join them. It was my first experience with podcasting (though I am serious sermon/podcast listener). The ladies have since asked me to be apart of the team, and it’s been a wonderful blessing to learn from them. I thought you may enjoy hearing their perspectives on longing as well. The podcast is a great wrap up to the series.

Listen here


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What Longing Is (Longing Part 4)

Before you read what Longing is, make sure you read what it isn’t too. Click here.

Longing is a mirror that we look into and see our true motives. Purified longing takes something that is good and makes it great. I long to be appreciated for what I do; not a bad desire, but the Lord sees the motive.  When I am not appreciated and don’t get what I want, longing holds up the mirror to reveal a selfish heart. Longing teaches me to love and serve with agape love – expecting nothing in return, serving out of love for the Lord, not the desire to be appreciated.

Longing is a chance to feel what Christ feels. The Spirit longs for His bride. We think we might have been waiting long, but what have we done to Christ? His bride dallies in her marriage preparations daily. We hurt him, grieve Him, and ask Him to wait to come back for us until we can do or experience certain things – until our desires are fulfilled. As we long, it’s a reminder that the Lord feels longings too – for us. How great is His love for us!  We are His bride whom He is separated from. (Revelation 21).  Longing is about realizing that our story is really about the cross.  It’s about becoming the bride of Christ. Christ is coming back for a body that is in portion to its head.  Are you ready for Him?

Longing is a reminder we are made for more.

“Heaven is not here. It’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.” – Elisabeth Elliot – Keep A Quiet Heart

We aren’t made for this earth, friends. Longing keep us from getting comfortable and settling for the shadows of reality.

Longing understands. There is such comfort in knowing that the Lord understands our longings too. Isaiah 40:27 tells us that our ways are not hidden from Him, nor is our cause disregarded. He sees you friend! And He understands your pain.

O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38:9

We can also understand each other’s pain – pain and longing are what make us human, and we have the privilege of comforting each other (2 Cor 1).

Longing is perspective and focus. Without darkness we would never know what light was. The same applies to what we long for – with longing comes a unique perspective. In the absence of what our heart desires, there is room to love and appreciate what was passed over before. Within longing we see a side of the Father’s face that is only shown to those in holy anguish. The choice is always ours – to focus on what we do have, or what we don’t have.

Longing is leaving regrets behind. David Crowder’s song “Oh He Loves us” says: don't have timejpg

“I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way you love us”

While Crowder might have been writing about the regrets of sin, when I sing this song it also means the regrets that come from unmet desires. There is a lot of truth in that line. When we are focused on the Lord’s love for us right now, we can’t regret what He has not yet given us. Our hearts can dwell on only one thing at time, we can foster discontent by focusing on our longings, or we can set them aside and focus on His love for us. A love that motivates and drives us to the point that we are so caught up in it, that there is no room for regrets.*

There is a lot of things that longing is, and that it isn’t, but what do we do with it?

Next: Longing – What Now.

*Please note that not focusing on the longing does not mean it goes away – it won’t always, but it becomes manageable and no longer paralyzes us when our focus is on Christ’s love.

Also in this series:

What to do with Longings

What Longing Isn’t

Seeing Our Salvation in our Longings


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What Longing Isn’t (Longings, Part 2)

Longings come from a lot of different desires and dreams (most of them good!), but some things longing isn’t meant to be.

Longing isn’t an excuse for sin. Longing for something isn’t inherently wrong. It’s often actually good and God given, but it’s what we do with longing that makes it right or wrong. In regards to our desires and longings, they only become sin when we are willing to sin to have the longing fulfilled.

 “if you are willing to sin to obtain your goal or if you sin when you don’t get what you want, then your desire as has taken God’s place and you are functioning as an idolater.” –Elyse Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart

The place that longing holds in our hearts determines whether or not it is sin. Another way to think of it is to ask, “Are we controlled by this longing? Do we act out of the longing, or out of the Holy Spirit’s fruit (self control) and leading?Longings can be traced back to motives. While they often start out with a pure desire, longings can quickly get twisted in our hearts when we sin because we don’t get what we want. (Insert complaining, doubt, self focus, anger, pride… You name it; we all have a default reaction when we don’t get our way.) – Let’s get uncomfortable for a minute, what’s your default reaction? Mine, gulp, well mine is usually pride and doubt.

Longing isn’t a place for a pity party where the honored guests, “what if” or “I wish” get center stage:

 “There is a somewhat philosophical realization that actually I have lost nothing. We may imagine what it would be like to share a given event and feel loss at having to experience it alone. But let us not forget – that loss is imagined, not real. I imagine peaks of enjoyment when I think of doing things together, but let not the hoping for it dull the doing of it alone.  What is, is actual – what might be is simply not, and I must not therefore query God as though He robbed me – of things that are not. Further the things that belong to us, they are good, God given, and enriched. Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.” Jim Elliot in a letter to Elisabeth, Passion and Purity.

If we don’t have it, we don’t need it.  It’s a hard truth, but Peter tells us that we have been given ALL we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1) When we think we are “owed” something by the Lord, or by life, we open wide the door for sin (offense, bitterness, distrust, doubt). Accepting what we do have is the greatest risk we are asked to take, because in acceptance, we surrender our pride (I know what’s best for me) and have to trust the Lord that He is good, and that He is faithful.

Longing isn’t meant to rob us of the now. Longing is simply a battlefield between the now and the not yet. It’s where we fight our dragons of fear, insecurity and pride, as we wrestle though facing our Maker and ourselves.

A red light in our longing means the adventure is not yet finished where we are! There is more to be done here – will you be brave enough to accept what you have, and offer it to the Lord as a sacrifice for Him to use?

 “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God” Psalm 50:23

Thanking God for our longings can be one of the hardest things we do – that is why it is called a sacrifice, but in doing so – it opens the way for us to see the salvation of the Lord. (And when we see the salvation of God – is it really such a sacrifice then? It becomes a no-lose situation)

Longing doesn’t rob us of our “now’s” – perspective does. With our minds we can live in the land of “not yet”, or we can ask God to see His salvation where we are, and let Him create tools to fight our dragons, and live fully in the now. That doesn’t mean we don’t still long for things, it means longing takes its proper place in our hearts, and lets God have the throne.

Next: Seeing our Salvation within our longings.


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What to do with Longings

I looked down at the text message from my bestie and burst into tears. No, I silently answered through the tears, the hoped for, longed for, text had not come. It had been three years since I’d been in a relationship, and while there had been a few “almosts”, and “sort of’s”, I was still single and feeling passed over yet again. My heart wrestled with my head, arguing that the Lord knew best, and His timing would be perfect, but it didn’t diminish the pain and longing I felt in that moment.

“Why Lord?” My heart begged. I really liked this guy, like a lot. I was waiting, ready to love, and had been past by yet again. In the midst of my frustration and tears, the Holy Spirit began to whisper, “Katie, how many times have I stood by ready and waiting to love you and you passed Me by?

Ouch. Those selfish, pitiful, tears instantly turned into tears of repentance and thankfulness.

longings

The Lord started a new season in my heart that night, a season of learning what longing is, and what it isn’t. – Won’t you join me for a short series on longings? While the these posts are going to be classified under a larger umbrella of a series on singleness, the next few posts going to focus on longings and desires. At the heart of it, all longings feel the same; they just look differently in each persons life. My longings have ranged from marriage, to friends, healing, ministry, family and a mentor. Others I know long for children, jobs, relationships; you fill in the blank -most of us have longings. What do you long for?

Next: What Longing Isn’t.

Also in this series:

What Longing Isn’t

Seeing Our Salvation in our Longings

What Longing Is

Longings – What now?


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Into Me You See {Intimacy}

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. A.W. Tozer – Knowledge of the Holy

Who God is to us is one of the most important things about us, because it reveals the transformation that the Lord has done in our lives and our understanding of who He is. There is one major important step however that needs to come before we can clearly see who God is and subsequently what we think of Him.

 I read in a periodical the other day that the most fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not!  How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except in so far as it relates to how He thinks of us. C.S. Lewis – Weight of Glory

While Tozer is right and I still agree with him, Lewis presents another very important side. We must first see ourselves as God sees us, before we can truly see God.  Continue reading


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A Cup of Joe to Go?

really Up until this last year, coffee was something I always had on the go. Running to work, running to school, running an event. Mt. Dew and Coffee were never far from my hand- they were like an extension of my hand. I never sat down and enjoyed them; they were simply a way to cope with stress.

I often times treat patience in my life like I do my coffee. Carrying just enough with me to get through a situation.

Have you ever thought about enjoying patience?!

In the Christian world when we think about needing patience we always see it as a negative thing. It’s something we must have in order to get by. If you could look into my heart of hearts, often it would cry a sarcastic “Really?” when faced with a situation that needed patience. Patience meant a circumstance to endure. Not enjoy.

Over the last few years I have been in several situations and circumstances that have run longer then I thought would have been humanly possible to endure.

Slowly, ever so slowly, The Lord has changed my perspective on patience. Ecc 7:8 encapsulates some of what He has done in me. Continue reading