Losing My Life for Christ

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Something stirred inside me just now telling me to revive my blog, so here I am.

Over the past few years, I’ve done nothing but agonize. Over everything. Decisions, people, opinions, my hair, my weight, just everything! I’ve turned situations over and over in my head trying to figure out what happened, what I should have done, what I could have done, especially what everyone else in the world should have done. The one thing I have failed to do each and every time is give my situation over to God. The Bible tells us so many times in so many different ways that if we just leave our problems in God’s hands, He will help us and give us everything we need. I make the same excuse every time. “I don’t know how.” But that’s silly, isn’t it? Really the only thing I have to do is pray about my situation, ask God to handle it, and stop thinking about it. Leave it ALONE. 

But I find that very difficult. And that’s why I almost started this post saying “Being a Christian is hard.”

Don’t get me wrong. Being a Christian is hard.  The Bible says the world is going to hate us and persecute us just because we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. But I have created my own personal hell because I’ve been disobedient and refused to give my problems to God.

I regularly set down my cross and blame those around me, my depression, my childhood, really anything that’s not myself. I regularly minimize God’s power in my head and disregard all His promises because I prefer to wallow in self-pity, seek it from others, and just generally avoid changing because that will be hard and I’ll have to accept responsibility for my own actions.

I’ve literally spent my entire life running full speed away from anything that’s hard.

Let me tell you something. Running all your life is exhausting. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of making bad decisions. I’m tired of not using the self-control that God gave me. I’m tired of being a bad example. I don’t think I have led one single soul to Christ in my 21 years on this Earth and I’m ashamed of that. What am I doing with my life if not following God’s Great Commission? I’m tired of trying to rely on myself and my fellow man when that has failed EVERY SINGLE TIME!

God says that in Him we will find rest. That in Him we will find a peace that surpasses all understanding. I want to say I’m ready for that, but I know it’s going to take some work to change the way I’ve been doing things.

However, I have to do it. Because though it’s never been just about me, that holds even more true now. I have to be a good example.

The time for acting like a child as I so often have done is past.

It is now time to walk by faith, let trust be my first response instead of worry, pray fervently, study my Word without abandon, praise in every situation, allow God’s love to change my heart, encourage my fellow man, practice self-control, stand on the promises of God, place my problems in His hands, leave them there, let go of things I cannot control, live out the life that God has given me in the fullest way possible, and in the process, lead many people to God.

I’m thankful for second (and thousandth) chances and a God who has promised to never give up on me, despite my issues.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”” Matthew 16:24-25

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Verses of the Day — 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

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Hey guys!

Today’s verses read, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

On June 28th, 1991, in Las Vegas, Colorado viewers witnessed the greatest show of strength and endurance many of them have probably still ever seen. On this day, “Iron” Mike Tyson and Donovan “Razor” Ruddock faced each other in a well-anticipated rematch. In the previous match, Mike Tyson pummeled Donovan so hard that the referee finally had to call the match. However, in this new match, Ruddock was not going to take that. Even though he lost, he endured until the end and the match didn’t have to be called. They fought out all 12 rounds and Mike Tyson only won based on the judges’ decision. So, what’s so interesting about this match? Well, in the third round, Ruddock was actually grounded with a broken jaw. Now, I know some of y’all might be thinking, “But I thought they fought all 12 rounds?” Well, that’s exactly right! And THAT’S what’s so interesting about this match. Donovan “Razor” Ruddock suffered a broken jaw in the third round of the match, but he still endured to the end and actually finished stronger than he started. This is an awesome show of staying power, but in the church these days, this kind of endurance is rarely seen. One of the problems with the church today is that we quit on God. And we quit on God because we’re not using the right weapons. We have to stop using physical weapons and start using spiritual weapons because the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”

In our text, we can see that there is a clear difference between us and unbelievers. The unbelievers are vying for a crown that’s going to wither away and die. Theirs won’t last. But we as Christians are striving for a crown that will last forever. Isn’t that a blessing? We don’t have to waste our time trying to get something that won’t last. We get to spend our time and energy on something that will last. And that’s not a waste. But it only works out this way if we actually make our goal the heavenly crown. A lot of Christians today have the wrong goals. They’re trying to please man and do things for man’s glory and leaving God by the wayside. But God tells us in His word that this is not right. The Bible says that our focus should be on things above and not on worldly things (Colossians 3:2). Listen to that again. Our focus should be on things above and not on worldly things. Focus. The definition of focus is a main purpose or interest. Striving towards God has to be our purpose! We have to be interested in God and not interested in the world. Once we get to that point, we can begin growing in Christ.

~Xena Callaham

Do better. Think better. Be better.

Verse of the Day — Romans 14:13

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Hey guys!

Today’s verse reads, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

In this chapter, Paul starts out by talking about faith. He says that we must learn to accept each other and our differences in faith because God has accepted all of us. He states that everything a person does or thinks, they do it unto the Lord because none of us walks alone in life. Paul says that whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord and this is why Jesus came back, to be the Lord of both the living and the dead. Paul questions what kind of sense it makes for us to judge one another when we all have to  stand before God’s judgement. He then asserts that nothing is in and of itself unclean, but it is made unclean by a person’s thinking. Paul asks that we not do anything but what leads to peace and mutual edification. He uses the metaphor of food to say that eating or drinking anything that causes a brother or sister to fall is wrong, though no food itself is unclean. Paul ends by basically telling us to keep our mouth shut in general as he says to keep our thoughts on these things to ourselves.

Now. To our verse. The first thing we get is a very clear commandment. Stop judging each other! Paul makes a good point when he implicates what sense is there in judging one another when God’s going to judge us all? And there is no judgment greater than God’s so anything we try to do by judging one another is basically saying that God’s judgement is inadequate or that we can do it better. And boy is that untrue. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. Judging others is something we’ve been doing our whole lives. It’s something we don’t even realize we are doing sometimes. Even when we compare ourselves to someone else we are judging them. But, I believe the next part of the verse is inspiring enough to give incentive to try our very best to stop judging others.

Paul says “Make up your mind”! No one else can do it for us! This is something we have to do on our own. This makes it even better. God will bless us all the more if we decide this on our own. We must make up our minds not to do anything to cause our brothers and sisters to fall. How inspiring is that? To have that goal? To aspire to be blameless. To aspire to be that great of a person. I think that’s a wonderful goal to have and I want each of you to take on this goal. I will do it too and post my progress.

~Xena Callaham

Do better. Think better. Be better.

Verse of the Day — 1 Corinthians 2:9

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Hey guys! 

Today’s verse reads, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Today’s verse is simple for encouragement. The only thing to take away from this verse is purely what it says, so make this a verse that you memorize.

In this chapter, Paul begins by telling the Corinthians that he did not come to them acting all high and mighty and preaching using fancy words. He says that he came very humble and weak and the only thing he knew was about God and his power. For this, Paul was grateful so the Corinthians’ faith might rest on God’s power rather than man’s wisdom. Paul then clarifies that they do, however, speak a message of elderly wisdom. Then he starts talking about the Spirit. Paul says that the Spirit knows all things, even things of God. He says that we have the Spirit so that we may have some understanding of the things of God. Paul talks about how people without the Spirit consider the words that we speak that come from the Spirit to be foolishness because they do not have the discernment that only the Spirit gives. Paul ends by telling us that we have the mind of Christ 🙂

So, God has a mystery prize for us! How exciting is that? And the only thing we have to do to get the prize is to love Him. That makes me happy, because it is easy to love God. I say this because He does so many good things for us and He loves us unconditionally. To know that you have someone who wants you to be the best you that you can be and that continually puts things in your path so that you may achieve that…how could you not love them?

Something that I would like to point out is that God has already prepared these things for us. Past tense. There is nothing that we have to worry about because God has already provided for us everything that we need. The blessings that we receive from God are unknown to us because they are so great! It’s so amazing that God knows us so well that He gives us something to look forward to. He knows that life here on Earth can be hard at times and sometimes we may just feel like quitting. But He gave us something to look forward to and that is amazing.

~Xena Callaham

Do better. Think better. Be better.

Verse of the Day — Psalms 32:5

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Hey guys!

Today’s verse reads, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

In this chapter, David says that blessed is he whose sins are forgiven and in whose spirit there is no deceit. He tells of how when he didn’t tell his sins, the Lord’s hand was heavy upon him. David calls the Lord his hiding place and he is certain that the Lord will protect him. He ends by telling the righteous to rejoice in the Lord and sing.

This verse is very connected to what I was talking about yesterday when I talked about forgiveness, so for more on this subject, check out yesterday’s post.

The main thing I want to point out from this verse is that David did not try and cover up his sins. A lot of the time, we are so ashamed of the things that we have done that we try and pretend like they never happened. We “move on” though in reality, we are still stuck in the same place because we refuse to deal with what we have done. We forget that God’s forgiveness is perfect and we think that if we just don’t acknowledge the sin, that it will go away. However, in this chapter David lets us know that this is not so. He lets us know that the Lord was harder on him when he did not confess his sins than when he did. And it was only when David confessed that the Lord forgave him.

So, we must keep this verse in mind. As long as we confess our sins, we will be healed and forgiven. And only then will we truly be able to move on and become better in the Lord.

~Xena Callaham

Do better. Think better. Be better.

Verses of the Day — Colossians 1:13-14

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Hey guys!

Today’s verses read, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians is a great place to start if you are seeking to learn more about who God is and what that means in terms of who we are. In this chapter, Paul is thanking God for the people in the church of Colossae because of their love and hope. He tells them that he has never stopped praying for them. He then takes the time to describe the Son and talks about how the people are now reconciled for God’s purpose. Paul ends by talking about his own labor’s in the church.

I love these two verses because they show how powerful God is. Let’s talk about the words “dominion of darkness”. That’s powerful. In this instance, dominion is used to mean “an often oppressive force”. This means that God saving us from this is not something to be taken lightly. The Bible says that we were slaves to sin, which is the darkness that the verse speaks of (Romans 6:20). The fact that God can save us from that shows His great power and gives us reassurance that His dominion is good and greater than any other. This part of the verse also speaks to the light that God is and that we must shine out from within ourselves. Because God’s light is so powerful, it was able to defeat the darkness. We also have that light because we are adopted children of God. This means that we should not be afraid of any darkness or sin because God has already given us the ability to conquer it.

The verse says that God rescued us and brought us to a new place in the kingdom of His son. This shows His care for us. The word “rescue” has connotations of grace, love, and care all of which God has for us. He loved us enough to rescue us and bring us under the wing of His son in whom we have redemption. Rescuing someone from death…if that’s not love, I don’t know what is! 

Redemption is another important word in this text. It indicates a release from not only the doom of sin, but also the guilt of sin. With God’s forgiveness, we have no need to feel guilty from the bad things we have done. His forgiveness is complete, so we can simply move on and be better people. In our world today, complete redemption is rare if not impossible to find. This speaks to the perfection of God. He is not like humans.

So, how can we use these two verses in our daily lives? We just have to remember that God rescued us and that in His son we have complete liberation from the guilt and doom of sin. If we keep those two things in mind, we will have the peace that God is always willing to give us, if we just tap into it. Not only will we have peace, but we will become better people, because when you don’t have guilt weighing you down, you are free to start doing the right thing. I hope this helps all of us become better Christians.

~Xena Callaham

Do better. Think better. Be better.

Verse of the Day — Philippians 1:20

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Hey guys!

Today’s verse reads, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,whether by life or by death.”

In this chapter, Paul begins by telling the church at Phillipi how much he loves and thanks God for them. He then lets them know that his being chained has brought more glory to Christ because it gave other Christians courage and more people began preaching the Gospel. Paul lets them know of the dilemma he has of whether to die and be with Christ or to stay on earth. But he assures them that he will stay to continue to help them. Paul ends by instructing them to continue conducting themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

This verse, along with the next verse are two of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. This is because it shows how God can change someone so completely. Paul’s story is truly a blessing to read. I pray that God can change me in such a way that I will be that on fire for Him like that.

But, on to the verse! The first thing I want to point out is that Paul has expectations for himself. He first expects and then hopes that he will not be ashamed. This is the order that we must use in our daily lives. We have to put expectations on ourselves in God and we must be eager to put those expectations on ourselves. God wants us to be on fire for Him. He wants us to be eager to become more like Him.

The second thing I want to point out is how Paul says “in no way”. He wants to make sure he covers all the bases. It is easy to see that he is serious about the hope that he has. Paul is not in denial either. He recognizes that in the world that we live in, it is easy to get ashamed of being a Christian. The way we are prosecuted could make anyone want to go into their shell. So, this we must do too. Recognize and be realistic about the dangers and hard spots of being a Christian. This way, we can be prepared for anything Satan tries to throw our way. Once we become aware and stop being in denial, those weak spots become spots that we can turn around to the glory of God.

In the last part of this verse, we can see that Paul is unafraid, but only because God has provided him “sufficient courage”. When Paul says “now as always”, he is recognizing that the Christian journey only gets harder as we go along. This is because the more Christ-like we get, the more Satan wants to tear us down. But we must be unafraid as Paul was and be forever ready to exalt Christ in everything we do. “Whether by life or by death” shows that Paul knows that either way, he can be used to lift God up and glorify God. By life he could be used by helping people get closer to God and preaching the Gospel. By death, he could be used as a martyr. Again, we must be as unafraid as Paul.

~Xena Callaham

Do better. Think better. Be better.