Lent Reflection: All of Me for All of Him

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“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” -Mark 12:30

God wants to be with you. It’s all He’s ever wanted, that’s why He made you. Look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They walked with God and there was nothing in between them (not even clothes!). They enjoyed a rich intimacy with God, which was suddenly broken as Adam and Eve doubted Him, disobeyed Him and did things their own way. They lost His presence. But, the rest of Scripture unfolds how God was making a way so that we could know Him personally and He could walk with us once again.

The Father provided everything needed to restore our relationship with Him by giving Jesus to pay the price for our sin, to take the punishment for how we turned our backs on God. Out of His incredible love for us, Jesus was willing to die so that you and I can personally know the Living God.

So how do we enter into the daily moment-by-moment presence with the Living God once again? It is as intimate and beautiful as a wedding. Beth Coppedge, the founder of Titus Women, explained this using a phrase that forever changed my life: “All of me for All of Him.” God invites us to give ALL of ourselves to Jesus. We give Him every part of ourselves including our past, our sin, our selfishness, our fears and dreams, our heart, mind, soul and even our physical strength. And in exchange, He forgives us, cleanses us and gives us ALL of Himself filling our inner most being with His life, love and peace. We exchange our sinful, selfish nature for His nature of holy love. Our relationship with the Living God is restored, and as we live moment by moment giving ourselves to Him, He gives us all of Himself so that our relationship is one of complete and total self-giving love.

This Lenten Season, what are you holding back from Jesus? Do you love Him with ALL of your heart? Soul? Mind? Strength? What keeps you separated from Him or keeps Him at a distance? Ask God for His forgiveness and let Him have all of you and receive all of Him.

Stephanie Hogan is the director of Titus Women, a ministry of the Francis Asbury Society, and has been involved with camp since she was a camper. Image credit: Camp alumnus Kenny Kinter.

Lent Reflection: Life is intense

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Life is intense. I’ve been desperate to know how to find my way in the midst of it all, and I’ve found myself camped in Psalm 18 with this incredible truth:

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless… It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; My arm can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, And your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.” (vv. 30, 32-36)

I often make the mistake of thinking of the Christian life as if somehow it’s all up to me. Reread the passage with these questions in mind: Who is the primary character? Who is the active initiator?

God Himself! David fled to the rugged, jagged, mountainous desert to escape his enemies. In that time, it was God who armed, made, enabled, trained, gave, sustained, and broadened the path beneath David. God’s perfect way was to teach David how to be totally dependent upon Him, and when David was, God not only kept him alive, but He caused him to grow, develop, and thrive.

God longs to do the same for you and me if we will let Him. In the midst of the mountainous, desert terrain of our lives, let us yield ourselves to God 100 percent. Let’s let God lead us in His perfect way, teaching us to be totally dependent upon Him. He is faithful! Let us rejoice! He will not only keep us alive; He will cause us to thrive.

Reread the verses above (and all of Psalm 18), and hear His promise to you.

Stephanie Hogan is the Director of Titus Women, a ministry of the Francis Asbury Society, and lives in Sicklerville with her husband, Bryce. Image credit: Esther Bauer, via CreationSwap

Trust in the Lord

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I don’t need to tell you that life is hard. You know it. You live in this world that is mean and cruel, and its wounds for some of you are fresh. But the fact that life is hard is not new. We see in our reading for today that David was in agony, to the point that he even wondered where God was (Psalm 74:1). Ever been there?

In our readings today, God’s Word gives us the antidote to fear, pain, and agony. Trust. But trust in what? Trust in whom? I think it’s so interesting that the nature of the word “trust” leads us to the object of our trust.

Now just reading the word “trust” automatically throws up walls, fear, and hesitation for some of us. But may I gently remind, we’re not talking about trust in just any one. We’re not talking about the trust fall out at the ropes course at Delanco Camp. If we take an honest look at our lives, I’m afraid sometimes God gets the blame for not being trustworthy because of other’s poor choices or our own poor choices that God never intended.

Read again Psalm 55:16-18
But I call to God,
And the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
And he hears my voice.
He ransoms me unharmed
From the battle waged against me,
Even though many oppose me.

But do we trust God to really save us, to have our best interest in mind? Can I really cast my concerns and worries on Him? (Psalm 55:22) Does He care?

The lies of the devil, the enemy of our souls, are the same today as they were in the Garden of Eden. The enemy said to Eve then the same lies he says to you and me today. “God doesn’t mean what He said.” “God doesn’t have your best interest in mind.” “He’s holding something back from you.” “You can’t trust Him.” And so when Adam and Even believed those lies, sin entered the world and you and me were born with hearts that don’t trust God.

But that’s not the end of the story. We see in John 12:27-36 of God’s love for you and for me. God hated that we were separated from Him. He is widely and passionately in love with you. He took your suffering, your hurts from those who violated your trust, your heart that doesn’t trust Him (which is sin), and in His death and resurrection, Jesus made a way to give each of us a new heart, (if we ask Him), a heart that trusts God. Here is what Jesus says: “Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become children of light.” (John 12:36)

We can’t know the freedom Paul talks about in Philippians 4:1-13 unless we’re willing to trust Jesus 100% – nothing held back. Anything less than 100% is not trust. Anything less than 100% and we can’t experience the life that Christ died for us to have.

Where are the areas in your life where you are not trusting Jesus? Bring them to Jesus. He may or may not change the circumstance, but He can change you!