Rule Out Rejection

rule out rejectionRejected people act in unlovable ways. Even the fear of rejection can cause people to be rude and aloof in an effort to protect their hearts from those who may reject them.

The desire to be accepted compels many of us to compromise what’s right to do whatever it takes to be loved.

For me, I find myself hiding from confrontation, avoiding conflict by not expressing the truth. Instead of addressing the problem, I live a sneaky life of deception as I pretend everything is alright.

Some over spend to be accepted by their neighbors. Others, consume alcohol to attempt to fit in or to bury the pain of abandonment.

Criticism,, control, and complacency push spouses into the arms of lovers. Confused unwed girls and women seek refuge in abortion clinics to be tormented with the fear of rejection if their secret is found out. Over a million teens runaway each year in an attempt to protect themselves from abuse to seek acceptance on the streets.

What are you doing to be accepted?

The truth is that we are accepted and loved by God who will never leave us or reject us. He is with us and for us and has plans to prosper us when we seek Him with all of our heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

How does knowing that God fully loves you through the sacrifice of His Son cause you to not fear man, but to trust Him completely and follow Him?

What Motivates You?

Motivation signAre you motivated by a desire to glorify God or to glorify self; to protect or to punish; to encourage or tear down; to accept imperfect people like Jesus accepts you or to reject them; to serve others, including the unlovable, or to serve yourself; to express your feelings in gentleness or to attack in defensiveness?

Recently, God has convicted me of my impure motives. Yes, I love Jesus and I want people to know Him, but at the same time I’m too concerned about me…about my reputation, about me offending someone if I preach boldly for Christ, or about how many people like or comment on my posts.

God has convicted me. I’ve been a wimpy Christian, living in fear of rejection, fear of rocking the boat or making someone uncomfortable, fear of man instead of the fear and wrath of God. God has shown me that we can put our faith in people, possessions, power, blog posts and what is said and done to us instead of what God says and has done for us on the cross.

Quite honestly, I’m tired of being a wimp! I want more of Jesus and what God has for me through Him. There is nothing more important than Jesus and my relationship with Him. I’m tired of pretending to read God’s Word and teach God’s Word without letting it be my life’s desire to ingest and digest and regurgitate God’s Word until it becomes alive in me and feeds my very soul and spews out of me because I cannot contain it. I want to memorize God’s Word until the very words that come out of my mouth and heart reflect Jesus in the flesh.

Check your motives.

  • Do you live in fear of what people might think, say, or do?
  • Do you love Jesus more than life itself?
  • Do you feel sorry for yourself and play victim by blaming and judging others?
  • Do you have a spirit of unbelief that God can handle your problem?
  • Do you lust after possessions, pleasure, or position?
  • Do you live with a spirit of pride trying to prove you’re powerful, perfect, and better than others?

Self-righteousness, self-pity, defensiveness, disrespect, greed, lust, unbelief, and fear of man are all forms of pride. The enemy is out to destroy relationships, but the fact is we destroy relationships through pride. We cause quarrels by thinking we’re right or smarter or justified or better than others.

The Bible says in Proverbs 13:10, “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

I’m not here to argue with you, but sometimes God uses people tell us what we need to hear, but we become defensive or at least I do. I’m learning to STOP to listen to God and ask myself, what is God trying to tell me through this person? What advice do I need to take?

I am repulsed by my heart and humbled before the Living God who already knows my heart and intentions. May I suggest that you ask God to show you your heart? Are you motivated by pride, fear, envy, greed, or lust? When He convicts you, repent. Turn from what motivated you before to be motivated to proclaim salvation in Christ Jesus. Die to yourself and live for Christ alone to bring hope to those who are hurting. Jesus is the answer to every problem people are facing today.

So, I confess to you that I am no longer a wimpy Christian. I will proclaim the gospel boldly for people to be saved. I might step on toes and be persecuted and even put to death someday, but I would rather have God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant” than to be spit out and have Him say, “I never knew you.”

Faithfully Following Jesus,

Kirsten Strawn

Are You Protected by Angels?

ru protected by angelsMost people believe in angels. We’ve heard stories of people who have seen angels or have sensed their presence or even been rescued from perilous times.

The Bible clearly says that Satan was an angel who wanted the power of God and took many angels with him from heaven. These fallen angels are called demons that roam the earth seeking to destroy the lives of ignorant people through deception, disaster, and distractions to keep them from God.

With that being said, God in His great mercy commands His angels concerning you to guard and protect you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11-13). His angels do not take the form of cherubs and weak women, but they are strong and powerful to lift you up so that no harm will come against you. Yet God’s protection over you comes with a condition.

5 Ways to be Protected by Angels:

  1. Dwell in His presence by spending intimate time with Him (Psalm 91:1, 9).
  2. Proclaim that He is your refuge and your fortress  (Psalm 91:1-2).
  3. Trust God completely with your life to be blessed (Psalm 91:2, Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 17:7).
  4. Love Jesus with all your heart and you will live (Psalm 91:14, Luke 10:27-28).
  5. Call upon the name of Jesus to be safe (Psalm 91:14, Proverbs 18:10, Luke 10:17, Acts 3:16)

Promise from God

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16).

Dear Mighty God, Thank you for your divine protection and for saving me. Thank you for commanding your angels concerning me as I dwell in your presence, proclaim your power and protection, trust you completely, love Jesus with all of my heart, and call on the name of the Lord. You alone are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Protect me from the deception of the evil one who seeks to deceive me by whispering lies. I pray against the enemy who wants to distract me by the ways of this world and wants to destroy me by keeping me from you. Nothing will separate me from your love as I fully devote my life to being in fellowship with you, following after Jesus and serving your people to bring you glory. Thank you for your angels that protect me in Jesus name. Amen.

What about you, have you been protected by God or His angels or know someone who has? Our community would love to hear from you.

 

 

A Homeless Man Called Me

His Entire World...Homeless man and his best f...

His Entire World…Homeless man and his best friend, Brandy the dog (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)

In most neighborhoods homeless people come and go, but in my community we lack the public transportation that would bring them into our area. Yet on this one particular day, Steve plopped down on a leather chair in the local coffee shop and we became acquainted. It turned out that he knew my neighborhood since he was raised there 24 years earlier. At that time his parents moved to Ohio and Steve decided in his early 20’s to pack his backpack and take to the streets.

After my first conversation with Steve, I prayed for him to get the help that he needed and hoped he would go downtown to the San Diego Rescue Mission to enroll in a rehab program. Instead, a year later I recognized Steve sitting on a bench in front of the same coffee shop. He looked discouraged until I remembered his name. I sat next to him and took an interest in what had happened in his life over the past year, hoping he got the help he needed.

At first, I was disappointed to find out that Steve did not take my advice to go to the Rescue Mission. After a few minutes of catching up, I prayed for him again and gave him my Faith Coach bookmark with 7 promises from God.

Since then I have not had the opportunity to see Steve, but he called me recently on my cell phone. Enthusiastically, he began to share how God was using him to encourage other homeless men to have a relationship with Jesus.

Although Steve struggled to give up his beer, he was across the country sharing the love of Jesus with the people he met on the streets. He thanked me for taking the time to encourage him in his faith, to pray for him, and give him the bookmark with God’s promises to cling to. Concerned about his testimony to others, I reminded Steve that he was an ambassador for Christ and to be a godly example to those he ministered to. He assured me that he was and I prayed for him.

After I hung up the phone, God convicted me that Steve’s walk with Jesus looked different from mine.  Initially I judged him, frustrated that he never got the help that he needed to get off alcohol. But then I came to understand that although he enjoyed his beer, God could still use Steve. I was only responsible for speaking truth in love, encouraging him in his walk, and praying for him to know and be the love of Jesus. The rest was up to God.

I rejoice that Steve would call me to encourage me to keep on doing what I’m doing.

I’m not to judge or condemn. With a different set of circumstances, I could easily have gone down that same path or worse. It is by the grace of God that we are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless, adopted as His children, and forgiven by His blood poured out for me on Calvary.

I have discovered that with a heart of condemnation, God may test your heart by allowing a situation to bring you to a place of humility. In Luke 6:37 Jesus warns,

“Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Judgment is looking down on someone and thinking you could never be that way, thinking that you’re better. We are all capable of bad behavior. All sin is wrong in the sight of God and separates us from Him and the people placed in our lives. We must examine our motives, attitudes, and thoughts to get to the root of our critical judgments. When we approach a situation with empathy not criticism, we are less likely to judge.

What are your thoughts? Are you judging someone by thinking you’re better? How is God working in your life?

Have you purchased my book yet? Buy your copy of LOVING THE UNLOVABLE right here on Amazon.

How To Have Authentic Relationships

authentic relationshipsGod created us to be in relationship with Him and the people placed in our lives. We know this to be true, as He illustrated the importance of relationship through the trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He created us to be in relationship with Him by making us in His image. He demonstrated His intense love for you and me and His desire for intimacy through His Son leaving heaven to come to earth to die for us. With our acceptance of His free gift of salvation, we are adopted into His family and given the Holy Spirit to be in intimate relationship with Him.

God created the marriage relationship as husband and wife. With the union between a man and a woman in marriage we form a family. Often come children to reflect the love of God through providing, protecting, and nurturing our children to be all that God created them to be.

Not only did God intend for us to have healthy family relationships, God formed a spiritual family. As sisters and brothers in Christ we connect with the spirit of God within those who are born again. God designed the church to function as one body using our spiritual gifts to bring the glory of heaven to earth.

Anyone who has been in a relationship knows that it’s not always easy to get along with people. Each of us come from different backgrounds with past pain, perspectives, and personalities. With diversity comes difficulty when we are coming from a place of brokenness. Yet when we are healed and whole, in a right relationship with God, then we can experience authentic relationships as God intended.

The question is how do we become in a right relationship with God in order to have authentic loving relationships?

Our promise from God

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7).

Sin separates us from a holy God and the people placed in our homes and community. When we live with pride, pretenses, and fear of rejection then we cannot have authentic relationships. As we confess our sin to God and others we come out of the darkness of our shame to have true fellowship.

To confess our sins takes humility and courage. Pride destroys relationships when we judge and blame others, thinking that we’re better, instead of humbling ourselves to take responsibility and be truthful about our sin. The darkness of our past and present sin will keep us hiding in shame which will hinder authenticity.

Instead of hiding behind pretenses that everything is alright, we can become open and honest to experience true relationships that are meaningful and loving. We can embrace one another to find healing when we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16). That’s how God created us to be in relationship with Him and the people in our lives.

Is it scary to be vulnerable? Yes, but once you understand that all people have experienced pain and struggle with sin then it makes it easier to take a risk.

Be courageous. Pray to God and ask Him to help you be humble to say, “This is what I’m struggling with, I’m tired of pretending to be perfect. I need your prayers and encouragement.”

God designed the church to come together as a community to be authentic and have true fellowship with one another through the blood of Jesus that purifies us from all unrighteousness. Confess your pride of thinking you’re better and less sinful than others. Confess your sin of fear that keeps you hidden from experiencing authentic relationships. Embrace one another. Support those who are struggling in an area of sin, knowing that you have struggled in another area and it is only by the grace of God that you have not experienced or fallen into that same sin or situation.

Let’s come together as sisters and bothers in Christ to be the love of Jesus and effective ministers of the gospel message. We are one body here to support, encourage, and pray for one another to bring the glory of heaven here on earth. Be authentic by coming out of the darkness of your sin. Take a risk. And become a safe place for others to be real.

Have  you bought my book yet? Please order your copy of LOVING THE UNLOVABLE through Amazon by clicking here.

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