~ Today’s Scripture art and mini Bible study are designed to help you see the world of difference between accepting Christ and embracing Christ with your whole heart. ~
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Last weekend I went to Orlando for Living Proof Live with Beth Moore. I’ve been to I-don’t-know-how-many of these events over the last 20 years and I’m here to tell you that God never fails to disappoint! He flat shows up! In a big way.
If you ever get the opportunity to go, jump on it. Go by yourself if you have to.
Let me give you a taste.
I’m not sure if I can relay the feel of a large event through this written post, but I will give it the old college try as I share a few snippets of what I learned.
I took a crazy amount of notes – way more than those sitting around me – but don’t worry, I promise I’ll pare it down for you.
But first, let me give a shout-out to Travis Cottrell, who leads the worship music for Beth’s events. Oh my word. The Lord has blessed this man with quite the set of pipes! And his heart for worship is incredibly evident and contagious. He has also written a wonderful little book called Surprised By Worship which I read a few years back. Maybe I’ll do a book review on that soon (which I did here).
Anyway, back to our previously scheduled program.
Beth started with these verses out of The Message…
Matthew 21:18-21 MSG: In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
Beth asked us: Does this sound like the church today? A lot of leaves, but no fruit?
We were about to be called to come back to our faith – mountain moving faith!
We need whatever’s not bearing fruit in our lives to go ahead and wither – and let the fruit-bearing begin.
It’s time to really embrace this God-life.
Mark 11:22-24 MSG: Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.
Side note: Does The Message make you chuckle sometimes?
Beth said, “Let’s not keep this Jesus thing as a part of our lives – but make Him our whole life.”
From what I can tell, she is a good example of someone who has done that.
She gave us 7 points on “Embracing This God-Life.”
(Of course, seven!)
1. There’s a WORLD of difference between accepting and embracing. (Mark 12:30)
2. A hug requires an arm, an embrace takes the heart. (Colossians 3:9-10)
3. Sometimes we have to wrestle our way to a real embrace. (Genesis 32 & 33)
4. Embrace your place in the Gospel story. (Philippians 3:12-14)
5. Embrace whatever suffering accompanies your Christ-following. (Matthew 16:24-26 MSG)
6. Wholly embrace the One who has embraced you. (Luke 15:11-32)
7. Know there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain. (Ecclesiastes 3:5)
I think you will eat up (like I did) some of my notes on #1 and #4:
There’s a WORLD of difference between accepting and embracing. (And you need to use your loudest southern drawl on the word world.)
You may have accepted Christ, but have you embraced Him?
Think about that before continuing.
It’s a whole different level of fruit-bearing – all the way down in your bones.
To embrace something is deeply spiritual.
Because of that, there are some things in life you won’t want to embrace, so they won’t go into your heart.
Each of us has a story and every one of our stories presents good news! There’s a reason you’re here and have your particular background. Some of us don’t like our own story, but you are a masterpiece and no one has a better story than you. No matter what it is, it is still being written, and you get to decide how it will end.
We get to decide!
Ask Him every morning to be your divine strength.
Pray every day to love Jesus and His Word with all your heart.
What should we fear more than anything?
*My prayer for you is … that this blog will inspire you to open your Bible every single day to seek God’s face and write His Word on your heart – because HE’S the key to lasting heart change!
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