Christianity From a Fresh Perspective

 

NEW SERIES, WEEK ONE OF FIVE

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I’m one of those Christians who used to focus all my efforts on, “To be a ‘good Christian’ there are certain things I must regularly check off my list to please God”.

I know I was saved by the blood of Christ because of God’s amazing grace, and so didn’t earn my salvation. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Jesus, so I serve him daily, motivated by love and gratitude. Yet for too long, I thought my service was that which either garnered God’s greatest love, or in those moments I failed, his disaporoval. I never considered He’d throw me out of heaven, mind you. Jesus paid for my salvation. But because I didn’t realize the depth of love that drew me, nor the power Christ holds to keep me, I believed the lie that I had to perform to please.

My “necessary” list wasn’t long, and not “legalistic” in my mind. After all, my list included only those things Jesus said I needed to do. “I must have a quiet time; I must pray; I should share my faith regularly. I need to go to church; I need to love my neighbor.” I generally enjoy these activities very much, but when I failed to do them – GUILT attacked because I lived under a false perception of God.

There is truth to my basic assumptions, as God does state clearly many times in his Word “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) He also states that we are to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2) Yet, as I grow in my relationship with Jesus, I’m learning the key to my richest life in Christ comes when my focus shifts from what I devote to him to who he is and what he’s done.

I’m discovering the greatest joy in my walk with Christ comes as I grow in intimacy with him. My obedience then flows out of doing those things that allow me the greatest opportunity to know him fully, rather than coming from my fear of displeasing him.

This seems like a small shift in perspective, only mincing words, but I’m finding the reality, played out, leads to quite a dramatic change in the outcome.

As I look at the moral crisis in America, along with the decline in many aspects of the church in America, I’m confident if that seemingly small shift in perception were corrected and acted upon, the church would meet that crisis head on and make a dramatic difference.

Over the next 5 weeks, I’d like to take the opportunity to look at various aspects of the Christian walk from a fresh perspective in the hopes that, as believers who love and follow Jesus, we will come away with renewed hope that the church can and will change the world. Will you join me?

September 6: “A Fresh Look at Jesus”

September 13: “A Fresh Look at My Relationship With Jesus”

September 20: “A Fresh Look at Daily Devotion”

September 27: “A Fresh Look at Worship”

I’d like to end by introducing a song I recently heard for the first time, entitled “The Gospel” by Ryan Stevenson. The cry of my heart in this series is for God’s people to be reintroduced to the Lover of Their Souls, and the Power that raises the dead and makes blind eyes see. Please join me, for I believe the gospel of Jesus proclaimed through His church is still the only answer. It’s the only remedy to the crisis we find ourselves in.

With greatest hope because of the Gospel,

Robin <3

 

 

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Music For The Soul

 

This post has already already been significantly altered once this week.  I began with a montage of many things I’ve enjoyed the past 6 months – from books to music to movies. But the Holy Spirit seemed to say – “That’s not what I wanted, so begin again.:

I seemed to sense him say, “Just feature this song.”

“What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship doesn’t minister to just a piece of me, or a particular situation.  It reminds me of whom I serve, and how absolutely amazing he is!  It lifts me into Christ’s presence and seats me at his feet, giving me the ability to bask in his presence.  An amazing place to be!  I pray as you listen it transports you as well to the only place where everything is put in its proper place.

“What A Beautiful Name”, by Hillsong Worship, from the album “Let There Be Light”

“What A Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship

You were the Word at the beginning
One With God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You
You silenced the boast, of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring, the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, God You reign
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, God You reign
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

I’d love to hear what song takes you to that place.

Have a blessed weekend!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

True Beauty Of A Changed Life

Jesus’ sacrifice of purest love offers me the true beauty of a changed life.

I love this song by Mercy Me entitled “Beautiful” (from the album “The Generous Mr. Lovewell“, released 2010).  It beautifully portraits the heart of God toward us.  I chose this rendition on You Tube because even the comments after are a gift, showing how God has used this song in the lives of listeners.

Beautiful

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
When all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart, they’d see too much

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred
You are His
You’re beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
‘Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you’ve held inside so long
They are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred
You are His
You’re beautiful

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
In His eyes
You’re beautiful
You were meant for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You are treasured you are sacred you are his
You’re beautiful
You are meant for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You are treasured you are sacred you are his

Songwriters: CAROLE KING
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind
Jesus, may you give me the faith to believe you, and follow you.  Fill me with your Spirit, and change my life as you’ve promised.  In Jesus’ name, amen.
“To all who mourn in Israel,  he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
With love,
Robin <3

 

Tools for Nourishing the Soul Under Stress

Soul – “the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.”

Excessive, prolonged stress can cause anxiety as a reaction to the body wearing down from overexposure to stress.  This will stress the soul.  So, what can we do to nourish our souls while under prolonged stress?  Below are some things I’ve learned over the years.  I’d love your suggestions as well!

  1.  The biggest thing that nourishes my soul is maintaining my relationship with Jesus.  He made me and knows how to lavish my soul with good gifts, even while under stress.  His word feeds me; worship fills me, and thanksgiving reorients my soul to notice his good gifts.
  2. Ask the Lord if there is something I am doing that is increasing the stress.  My soul can hide so many things even from me, that sometimes, when stress seems more than it should, I ask if there is something hidden within that is contributing (a lie I’m believing; a hurt I’m harboring; or an action that enhances).  God has always answered this prayer – although not always right away.  Sometimes I’ve had to spend extended time with him; and sometimes I’ve needed to fast to get the answer.  God wants my attention.
  3. Is there sin I’m harboring?  My soul can’t be nourished to the full if I’m harboring unforgiveness, or holding onto a thought or behavior that is contrary to God’s peace.
  4. Do I need to let go of control and trust God?  Grasping for control in areas beyond me is a big cause of stress in my life.  Control Freak doesn’t work, but letting God work does.
  5. Am I too busy?  Am I taking time regularly for the purpose of nourishing my soul?  Am I taking time to rest and restore?
  6. Take time to notice beauty.  I have even asked the Lord to help me see his beauty and those things he has given to bless me.  Last week I took the dog for a walk and while outside stopped, closed my eyes, felt the sunshine on my face, and listened intently for a few moments to the birds chirping their songs.  I could actually feel my insides responding to God’s gifts to me in the moment, and I was refreshed.
  7. Take time to eat properly and get regular exercise.  Certain foods and exercise although needed for bodily health, will also nourish the soul by helping alleviate stress.  I’ve found that enjoying the company of a friend while doing both, coupled with laughter, nourishes the soul even more!  (I am just learning about the foods that alleviate stress.  The vitamin D found in sunshine is also extremely beneficial to elevating mood.)
  8. Take time regularly to do something fun. I love to garden – getting my hands dirty is so relaxing for me.  Landscape photography helps me de-stress, as well as putting on headphones and lying on the floor with my legs propped on the sofa.  What is your “fun”?
  9. Incorporate the help of a friend if needed to hold you accountable to nourish your soul regularly.
  10. If your stress is because of danger to you or your children, you may need to seek safety.

Finally, I will close with the following song:  “O My Soul” by Casting Crowns

With much love,

Robin <3

Take Fear Captive!

Today’s Plan to Up End Fear:

Don’t Argue With Fear – Take It Captive.

Rationalizing with fear doesn’t work.  Fear is a foe able to bend kings and mighty warriors to it’s sway.  So, how can I succeed against something so powerful?

The battle with fear begins in my mind, so it must be waged there:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV – emphasis mine)

These verses speak of weapons.  What weapons?

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”  Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)

It says I’m to make every thought obedient to Christ.  What does Jesus say I am to think about?  What am I to do?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

As I fight with God’s strength to dwell on what is true, noble, right…. I can more easily remember God’s loving, powerful faithfulness to me in the past.

Remembering and dwelling on his past faithfulness strengthens me to come to him fully trusting he can do the same today, in this situation!

 

Let me close this week with “You Are Faithful”, by Carrollton:

This afternoon we head to the specialist.  Thank you for your love, encouragement, and prayers.  They, along with the reminders of the truth, have strengthened me more than I can say! Fear has been kept at bay – and I am so thankful to God, and to you!

With much love and gratitude,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read:  Caution, Emotions At Play!

 

Resting In God’s Peace

Good afternoon friends!  No further news at this time, as our appointment with the specialist isn’t until Thursday.

My plan to up-end fear today:

Rest in the peace of God. He has this under his command.

How is this possible?  This song by Jonny Diaz, “Breathe” explains it well.

Care to take a deep breath with me?

 

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Thanks for being here today.  I appreciate it more than you realize.

With love,

Robin <3

p.s. I’m making a copy of the Matthew 11:28 available in a pdf format, to use on your phone, for anyone who emails me a request at “email.rlseaton.com”.  I will then add you to my email subscription list for you to receive an invitation to receive emails in your inbox.  I won’t use your email for anything other than for things pertaining to this blog without first getting your permission.

The Power of Our Ally

There have been many times in my world when anxiety, fear, or turmoil prevailed in the midst of my circumstances, and yet when I began to worship God with all my heart, His peace took over and circumstances began to change, as I placed my trust in him alone. God is amazing, and our most powerful ally!

James 4:6-7

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

I would love to hear your stories of victory, because God has been your ally!  Later in this series, we will go more in depth as to how praise and worship will effect the outcome of our battles, but for now let me encourage you that God is bigger, and his praise is effective.

Should you be in a battle today, fill your home and mind with worship music, and then begin to worship God with your heart and soul. Let the words fill you, and strengthen you. Don’t remain a listener only- by your worship proclaim who God is!

Lord, I pray any who read this post, who are in battle, that your word through praise and worship would route the enemy – for you are the most powerful ally.  You are God alone!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Please also remember that I would love to stand with you in your battle.  We were never meant to battle alone. My private email for the blog is “email.rseaton@gmail.com”.

God is our most powerful Ally – and his praise is effective to route the enemy!

With love,

Robin <3