BUY ONE, GIVE ONE

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 4:18 NIV).

Ah yes. The classic chicken and egg dispute. Which came first? Was faith and works the political biblical debate?

In James 4, there’s a discussion between Mosaic Law believers and Christian believers. Both groups believed in something but not the same thing. They argued between faith or works. Which is greater? Which is more important? Which side does God reside?

James’s text offers insight. Mosaic Law required people to follow external rules. Christ’s Liberty Law guides Christians through His spirit. Jesus speaks trust into action, His ultimate buy one, give one offer. He bought our souls on the Cross. God gave His only Son.

As His children, we can’t attain more love, votes, or trust from Him based on what we do. He offers the gift of faith so we can act upon that trust. It’s the Lord’s platform speech. Both parties win when we vote and live by how God promises to lead.

Active trust in God empowers me to quell selfish desires so I can (and hopefully will) become mature. I then get to capitalize on His buy one, get One win. God’s campaign sign points me to faith and action.

Eternally reelected,

Christina

RIP

RIP. I visualize a figurative tombstone. Rest In Peace.

I’m in situational circumstances where my weakness nearly buries me. My typical self-control has been replaced with unfamiliar abrasiveness.

“When you can’t change your situation, you can change your character.” I agree. My disposition has become shady, and I’ve fallen behind a spiritual eclipse. I feverishly want to purge this blackness.

 I talked to my Creator about this character defect and midway through my morning plea, I paused. I heard my spirit gently whisper, “Rest in Peace Christina.”

“Rest? Peace? Now? I’ve got places to go, timelines to meet, and I need to reconcile this ugliness before I face my day.”

Yet, in that hush, I sensed, “Rest. Be gentle. You’re trying too hard. Rest in Me and leave the rest to Me.”

I was (and am) too weary to argue, especially with God. Rest in Peace. It was if I saw life behind a tombstone’s inscription. It became an invitation to sentence doubt, fear, agitation, and restlessness to death. I’m overdue to replace my grave clothes with a dancing gown, to accept and celebrate life as it is now.  

Currently, I have little proof what may reflect newfound life. I don’t see an end to recurring darkness right now, but somehow this visual of a tombstone grounds me. It reminds me to exhume this imposter from my character. I’ll experience resurrected spirit when I step into a brighter light.

The rest is history. The rest is present. My rest is in the future.

Casting different lures into fresh waters and new rivers,

Christina

Reader! Thoughts?

…make every effort to add…goodness, knowledge…self-control…perseverance…godliness…mutual affection…love. 2Peter 1:5-7

JESUS PAID TAXES TOO

“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake, and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours” (Mt. 17:25).

April 15. Tax day.

Today also marks Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified 2022 years ago. He was heavily taxed for sins He didn’t earn. He paid unfathomable penalty on the Cross.

In the book of Matthew, Capernaum tax collectors question Peter if Jesus paid temple taxes (Mt. 17:24). Temple taxes defrayed worship costs and since Jesus taught at the temple, collectors wanted their dues. They were awed by His works, but directed their taxing question to Peter.

Peter assured them that His Teacher paid. He led by faith and works followed, which included world laws. Jesus relied on alms and miracles for provision and since He wasn’t paid to teach, He needed a miracle to cover His temple tax.

In Matthew 17:26, Jesus told Peter to go to the lake, catch the first fish, and draw a coin from its mouth. Jesus responded to God’s lead and in turn, Peter obeyed Jesus’s unusual request. I appreciate how He promised Peter he’d find money from the first fish. Peter didn’t have to check every mouth on his fishing line.

Peter was called to be a fisher of men, so it seems logical that Peter witnessed a miracle casted from a bank of obedience. God could have remitted tax credit via an angel, but to honor Jesus’s humbleness, He sent Jesus and Peter to remote waters to withdraw a fish.

Teacher and student unified a trust-based lesson when provision required immediate compliance. God taught that Jesus had dominion over all creation above and below sea level.

On a side note, in a school of fins, was the fish that carried the coin considered the Teacher’s pet? Like Jesus, the fish put money where his mouth was and carried a timeless message.

Taxed with trust and action for eternity,

Christina

TRUTH BY THE DOZEN

Twelve times. “I write to you.” In the book of 1 John, he states why and for who he writes twelve different times. I appreciate people with a focused mission.

John wrote Truth to caution people against sin. He wrote because sins were forgiven. He wrote because his audience knew Jesus, therefore they knew the Father. John scribed, “Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have heard since the beginning….yet I am writing a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you…(1 John 2:7-8 NIV).

John’s tone indicates urgency. He reassured believers that Jesus forgave their past and Truth lit their future. John taught his listeners about Jesus’ powerful life and purposeful death. This wasn’t up-to-the-minute news for his audience, but John reiterates Jesus’ quest twelve times in five chapters.

In my Journal the Word bible, 1 John 2 headlines a bold-faced title: “Reasons for Writing.” Initially, I snickered at this subheading because as an author, I thought, “Of course. State the obvious, John.” I write to live. For me, writing isn’t a pastime or luxury. It’s a critical practice for my spirit and soul care. Home is wherever my pen and paper reside.

John speaks Truth, written in a black and white contract without the fine print. Jesus’ word is His covenant with believers. He’s sealed it with His blood. Through his writing, John packaged and hand stamped Jesus’ message to all generations.

Grateful for John who forwarded Jesus’ love letter,

Christina

“Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:7-8 NIV).

YODA COMMITS

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, from Star Wars stated this in The Empire Strikes Back movie.

Yoda taught Luke Skywalker to focus on the present, to commit himself to win or lose. Luke needed to choose between the light or dark side. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The light and dark side of Luke’s mind battled between maturity and immaturity.

Matthew 17:8 reflected a similar scenario between Jesus and three disciples. In His metaphoric documentary, The Transfiguration, they’re on a mountain when Jesus revealed Himself in an out-of-this-world appearance. “When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

Matthew 17:2 explained how God got the disciples’ attention. “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” (Clearly, Jesus’ mom Mary used powerful laundry detergent on His robes).

The disciples were at a crucial peak in their walk with Jesus. He allowed them to see the Light. They returned to the mountain’s foothills and it they needed to decide what they’d do.  Follow Jesus or follow self?

It’s physically impossible to stand behind ourselves and be able to follow in our own footsteps. We need wise guides when we are caught between belief and unbelief. Freewill allows us to accept or deny. Practice light or practice dark, but success won’t emerge from attempting both.

A mom taught her children about prayer when they worried about monsters under their bed. She said, “If you’re going to pray, don’t worry. But if you’re going to worry, don’t pray.”

Yoda. Matthew. Wise moms (and dads). A confirmation triangle. I commit to practice God’s angle.

Leaping boldly from mountain streams,

Christina

“But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only” (Matthew 17:7-8).

MARCH MADNESS

Word Count: 298

I applied my heart to now, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness (Eccl. 7:25 NKJV).

March. Men’s basketball fans associate this month with March Madness, NCAA’s Division tournament of 68 teams in seven rounds shooting for a national championship.

From a bleacher view, I see how our world represents a proverbial game of madness. Opposing teams. Two head coaches. High-priced junk food. Noisy crowds, whistles, beat-the clock paces. It’s difficult to feature one or two key players when fans, a band, mascots, cheerleaders, and vendors holler for attention.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 calls a time-out. This scriptural playbook says, “I concentrated with all my might, studying and exploring and seeking wisdom–the meaning of life. I also wanted to identify evil and stupidity, foolishness and craziness.”

I support teams. I embrace partnerships in my writing, speaking and life coaching businesses, but I question how much sweat equity is worth an extended madness season. Is the media hype worth the acclaimed build toward some untouchable platform? Do I desperately throw half-court shots to beat an invisible clock? Nobody’s birth certificate has an end-of-game time.

Blow the whistle. Time to pivot. Will I accept torn muscles to compete in overtime? What else gets starved when I’ve come to think that I need to frequently share, fuel my newsfeed, and create fresh content? I recognize this madness approach is not how I’m designed to run life’s race.

I’ve slowly discovered that publicity fast-breaks aren’t a healthy daily practice. I can stay at the top of my game and allow others to carry the ball. It’s ok to sit on the bench sometimes. Well-executed layups can make shots. I gain victory when I position my Head Coach at center court.

What about you? What part of your life represents March Madness? What game changes will you make to become your MVP?

Running a race to end in Eternal overtime,

Christina

I concentrated with all my might, studying and exploring and seeking wisdom-the meaning of life. I also wanted to identify evil and stupidity, foolishness and craziness (Eccl. 7:75 MSG).

THE LAST “COURAGE PROJECT” POST

Happy Views Day!

I chose to practice courage and since August, I’ve shared weekly posts on the FROG Blog. These insights are more personal to me than telling you what I had for dinner.

Today is my final “Courage Project” post. I have enormous acts of bravery facing me over the next few weeks. I’ll leave those unpublished.

I’ll continue writing my FROG Blogs in 500-words or less. Your support, insights and feedback are gold. Thank you!

Here goes….

Favorite gift cards: Dollar Tree, Bath & Body Works, Wal-Mart, Amazon, U.S. Postal Service. (I can never have enough postage stamps.)

READERS! What about you? If you had unlimited gift cards to a business, which one(s) would make your top 3 list?

Bravely leaping into new waters, Christina

YOU CAN RAISE THE DEAD

I don’t have money. I have a house to maintain. I don’t have a car or education. I don’t have time.

I can’t because…I’ve used these rationales (read: excuses). When I accept current weakness to inhibit movement, I hinder strength. Sometimes I don’t have the instant resources, but I disqualify myself when I allow circumstances to direct my future course.

“Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). That passage shrinks my obstructions. “Lord, what can I do?” What do I have to offer?

Heal the sick. We’re all ill or injured. In a world of 7.9 billion people, I have abundant prospects. I can offer my ears, freely given by God, to listen to the wounded or disheartened.

Raise the dead. I need encouragement. So do others. I can smile often or acknowledge someone’s positive action. I can wish someone an upbeat greeting. I may raise a spirit through my freewill actions.

Cleanse those with leprosy. Connect with the under-served. Make intentional eye contact with the ostracized. Support someone who the world considers an underdog.

Drive out demons. Begin with myself. Think truth, speak truth, act truth. Shuttle out unbelief. Ask God to be my Driver.

Statistics prove how word of mouth impacts someone. I can use my words, freely given, to build good witness.

Jesus, thank You for Your resources. Let my actions freely refresh and diminish life’s hurdles.

Seeking a strong finish,

Christina

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Mt. 10:8).

FLYING COURAGE

Happy Views Day and Happy St. Patrick’s Week!

Here’s my weekly fact you may or may not know about me:

First destination I flew: Sterling, Colorado. I met a childhood pen pal for the first time after exchanging letters for 11 years.

Readers! What about you? What is your most memorable trip and what makes that stand out?

Soaring above the lily pad on the FROG Blog,

Christina

ANOTHER COURAGEOUS POST

Happy Views Day!

I’ve shared 30 facts you may, or may not know, about me during this Year of Courage.

I began posting these weekly Acts of Courage August 1, 2021. I’ve been surprised at how many new people and stories I’ve met online. Thank you for this unexpected treasure!

#31

Favorite beverage (in addition to hot lemon water): Diet Dr. Pepper or hazelnut coffee

Readers, what is your favorite beverage?

What do you associate with that beverage and how did you develop the taste?

Anticipating your responses,

Christina