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“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16
Back in September, of last year, my husband and I joined a church plant team because of some encouragement from friends.  At first we were skeptical and a little stand-offish since we weren’t real sure what to expect.
Our family has gone through some tough things with churches.  I fully understand that even Christians make mistakes because we are all sinners, by nature, but boy did we see our fair share of mistakes.  We were ignored during our grieving of miscarriages, misused, emotionally abused, gossiped about, accused of wrong-doings, and avoided; not all from the same church.
We were becoming discouraged and needless to say we felt defeated and trampled on.  What is wrong with people?  We are all one church, called by God to worship Him and love others while bringing the message of salvation to all the world.  How hard is that?
Ever since I can remember I have been in a church of one denomination or another and I am deeply saddened by saying this but not one of those churches felt as though the majority of their people were “spirit-led.”
What does spirit-led mean?  It means that you let God lead your life.  If you have a problem, a fork in the road, or just wondering about something, you ask God and here is the kicker, you wait on His answer.
This should be a no brainer, not one person or their problems should fall through the cracks.  Churches, find people within your congregation who are dedicated to a ministry and empower them to give it everything they’ve got.  If someone is new have a member follow-up with them so they know they and their problems matter.
When you are spirit-led the Lord speaks to you and through you.
For the first time I am finally in a church family that is spirit-led.  I see it in the way we treat each other and new people.  I see it in how we worship and how we pray.  I see it in how we serve and how we completely desire to be in a relationship with the Lord.
I have heard many people complain about wanting to just relax on Sundays or state that they don’t need to be in church which should be looked at differently.  Those who listen to the word of the Lord know that church worship helps relax them from the stress of the week.  The deeper we go with Him, the easier it is to hear the whisper of His still small voice that will lead us.
I am thankful to God for allowing me to be a part of a community that is spirit-led.
Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)
“Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” Luke 17:3
Confession time, I judge others.  There I said it and I am not really sure there is anything wrong with that but let me explain why.
The Lord tells us not to judge, lest we be judged and of course I agree with that, however, I do not agree with the world’s view of judgement.  Another version of this verse is: “Watch yourselves! If your brother or sister sins, warn them to stop. If they change their hearts and lives, forgive them.”  The words brother/sister are not meant to be biological sibling but instead sibling in Christ.  The word judgement or to judge is interpreted differently within today’s society, even some Christians, as it was described by Christ. 
As a fellow Christ follower I should be holding my siblings accountable for their actions and they should be doing the same for me.  The outside world and even some who call themselves Christians call this judgement but it is not the judgement Christ was referring to.  Because I love my sisters and brothers in Christ I want them to be reconciled with the Lord and sometimes that means, because they may not see it themselves, I need to address an issue or behavior they are having.  It is my desire that their relationship with Christ grows and nothing, no amount of sin, stands in their way of that relationship.  I would hope my sisters or brothers do the same for me.
When Christ said not to judge, lest we be judged, He was referring to non-believers.  He will handle their sin, we (Christians) do not need to point it out to them.  That does not mean that we cannot preach about sin, giving examples from a Biblical standpoint but to point it out directly to a non-believer will not reconcile them to Christ because they haven’t yet experienced a relationship with Him that needs to be reconciled.  So our job isn’t to judge them but to love them like Jesus and sharing the “Good News” of eternal life through salvation.  He will judge their sin as well as ours but we can alert fellow believers of the actions we see them taking, moving them away from God, so that it draws them closer to Him.  I don’t want to get to Heaven only to wait to experience it while Christ asks me why I did not ask for forgiveness of this sin or that, so I am grateful for those who help reconcile me to Him when I have strayed.
Since I did start this post with “confession time” I will admit that I, too, have “judged” others in a non-loving way without the desire to reconcile anyone to Christ.  This is my sin to which I have occasionally had to ask for forgiveness from the person and from God.  Because I am human, with a sinful nature, there have been times when I have thought to myself things like: that lady should not be wearing clothes that make things hang out, they must be abusive parents, all she does is shop all day even though she complains about not having any money, etc.  These are such hateful things to be thinking and although it doesn’t happen often, it can still happen when my heart and head are not aligned with Christ.  I have actually apologized to people about things they had no idea occurred, talk about humiliating, but my heart is convicted every time because I desire the Lord and He desires me.
This specific post came about because recently there has been a lot of talk over the media regarding a famous person who made a choice that was not aligned with God.  My niece, Kristi, chose to stand up for what she believed in and got some backlash because of it.  I am so proud of her for voicing her opinion in a loving way.  I do not believe she was being judgemental just sharing her heart in regards to what the Bible says about this particular behavior.  She was attempting to reconcile her “Christian” friends, who thought this media issue was okay but was not aligned with the Bible, to see a little clearer so that they may be on the same page as God.  Some told her she needed to respect the person’s decision and not treat them any different as those who they wanted to be like.  That is not Biblical.  I am so proud of her for loving God enough to take a stand; she is getting closer to being a proverbs 31 woman.
Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

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“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Isaiah 62:3

Hello my beautiful readers.  I am back.  It feels like an eternity since I last posted, even though it has only been a few months.  I have been extremely busy with a surprise for you all.  Over the last year I have been writing a semi-biographical book about sexual abuse.

It started out as a novel because I was trying to make it look like it was just a work of fiction, even though it truly wasn’t.  I would get stuck in moments of writing because I wanted to go one way and the Lord wanted me to go another.  When I finally got towards the end of the story and was ready to share it with some Beta Readers I was confronted by a few people about what my goal with it would be.

I was still clinging to the idea of making it a novel but they pointed out that I needed to make it less personal, so I took it to the feet of Jesus.  “Lord, what do you want me to do with this?  I am not sure I am ready to admit all of this about myself to the world.  I will do as you say, whatever direction that takes me.”

Then my mentor, after reading the rough copy of my manuscript, told me to turn it into a study guide in an effort to help others recover from sexual abuse.  I received a resounding YES from the Lord and completed the final touches in record-breaking time.  When everything else seemed to lag on and I wasn’t sure why it was taking so long it was as if God just needed me to remember to follow His lead.

It has been a labor of love and heartache for me to relive my emotional past but I pray it helps ladies who have, will, or know someone suffering from sexual abuse, in need of restoration, to find peace and healing.  You can order it directly from Amazon by clicking this affiliate link “Not Just Somebody’s Daughter.”

You are beautiful in His eyes and I pray, in your reading the book, that you discover the royal diadem He believes you to be.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

 

“A fool vents all of his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”  Proverbs 29:11

Forward or direct would be a kind way of explaining who I am.  I have had a handful of people tell me over the years that they take offense to my way of addressing issues.  This is clearly an area of struggle for me because I know what my heart feels but what comes out of my mouth creates tension in others; completely not my intent but intent doesn’t always matter.

I have come to discover that people want things sugar-coated, even if I don’t.  Just as some people take offense when things are said too directly, I take offense when people dance around a subject with me.  For me, when I sugar coat things I feel as though I am not being honest and I love honesty.  So if I have a problem with someone and I sugar coat the telling of said problem it feels as though I am lying.  The same could be said when someone sugar coats things they need to address with me; I feel as though they are lying not telling the whole truth.

For many years I have felt that this was the way God made me and if someone doesn’t like it then oh well for them but I understand that is the wrong attitude to have.  Yes it is the way God made me, with the purpose of having places in my life to grow from.  If I was made perfect I would never need His guidance in my life.  Some people struggle with problems of being giving or loving, I happen to struggle, at this moment, with gentleness.  This isn’t the first Fruit of the Spirit He has addressed in my life and I am sure it won’t be the last.

I have to start looking at the situations as though I am trying to protect God’s other children from harm.  He wants me to hold back my feelings so they do not get hurt as I have.  That is totally understandable.  Since I view my sugar-coating as lying but Proverbs 29:11 states otherwise, I guess that means I am reading more into it that He is.

Here is to another fruit I must learn to swallow and enjoy.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 14:27

Today was our second Sunday of church plant service.  It started off rough when the trailer jack broke.  With no way to lift the nine thousand pound trailer onto our truck things looked bleak.  But God is good, all the time.

I went about my business getting my kids ready, packing our breakfast and lunch, and loading the truck with our personal equipment.  Within about fifteen minutes, the pastor and my husband solved the problem and off we went.  We only started setting up for church fifteen minutes late!

Service was wonderful.  I met several new teenagers that are looking forward to joining our group.  We managed to load everything back into the trailer with only about half of our crew and still made it out on time.

Years ago I prayed for the peace of God to fill my heart when my husband and I were going through a tough pregnancy.  I am happy to report that His peace has never left me.  At no time during today’s craziness did I feel anything but peace.

He gave it to me and I do not believe He is someone Who goes back on what He says.  I have peace.  He is the “Peace I’ve Come to Know” as Chris Tomlin sings in I Will Rise.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

Humility

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” I Peter 3:8

Last night I had a great time with my home fellowship group.  It is no secret that I love talking about the topic of God.  I truly enjoy listening to all of their input and ideas.  I have never felt more relaxed than being around fellow Christians but is it supposed to be that way?

In our discussion, we talked about being in our “Christian” bubbles.  Once a person gets saved they get comfortable; not always but most of the time that is where they stay.  I am really guilty of that.  I used to have a lot of non-Christian friends but those same friends were the ones who gave me the excuse to do non-Christian things.  I used to smoke, drink, curse, belittle people, carry around hatred and bitterness, and some things that I really do not care to mention but lets just say I broke every commandment.

When I recommitted my life to Christ I took it seriously.  Sure I have made mistakes along the way but have also made, nearly, a one-hundred eighty degree change.  Unfortunately, that meant disconnecting myself from all of my non-Christian friends.  I placed myself in the bubble.  But does God really want that?  I don’t believe so.

The verse does not say be sympathetic, love or be compassionate and humble to only Christians.  I completely understand that it is easier but since when did He tell us life and doing His work would be easy?

The Great Commission tells us to learn about Christ and then go tell others but all to often we skip over the second part.  We get really used to going to church on Sundays, having Bible study groups with our friends and praying for each other but forget or ignore the fact that Christ came to heal the sick (save the lost).  As “little Christs” we are to do the same so how did He do it?  He humbled Himself, putting others first.

You don’t need to agree with how a person is acting in order to show them compassion, love, and sympathy, just humble yourselves.

I am grateful for the work He is doing in me to create a more humble version of myself.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

A Difficult Task

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Today I accomplished something I wasn’t sure would have ever been possible.  I have spent about a year writing a book.  My “Work in Progress” has been just that, a work in progress.  I have had days when I thought of giving it up and days when I couldn’t stop writing.

My idea of what I wanted it to look like was not God’s idea so there were many times when I felt the old writers block.  I knew what the story needed to say but I couldn’t get the words onto paper.  It wasn’t until I surrendered my writing to God’s desire and words that things would flow again.

The story is about returning to God but I wanted it to be greater than what God wanted it to be.  I had amazing ideals for the number of chapters and the number of words but what I didn’t take into consideration was His ideals.

God is able to make His point with fewer words than we can and that is just what He did.

I am pleasantly surprised at what has been birthed out of my surrendering and obedience to God.  I cannot wait to share it with others.  If you would like updates on how it is going, you can visit my website at www.sarahjaneho.com or my Facebook page.

In the meantime, remember His plans are greater than ours and He has our path planned just follow His lead.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

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