Thursday, July 13, 2017

Follow Me: Being A Christian

Follow Me

What Does It Mean to be a Christian?

photo by Renee Blare

What does Christianity mean in this day and age?

First, let's examine why someone may want to label themselves as a Christian in America.

Appearance: to look good. It's nice to own a cloak of self-righteousness that can be donned on Sunday morning only to be removed afterward and hung again in the closet.

Convenience: The cloak's usually only worn at the convenience of the wearer, or when it's advantageous either for him or those around him.

But do you know or remember how Jesus Christ told the disciples they needed to follow Him? It wasn't for appearances or convenience sake. If they followed Him, it would mean leaving everything they had behind. It meant leaving everything they knew, including themselves.

Luke 9:23  "And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

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What does it mean to deny yourself? To take up your cross?

Well, for me, it meant looking in the mirror and saying I'm not the perfect girl I pretend to be. That wishing for death every day wasn't my only option and I actually had a God who loved me.

It meant coming to an awful conclusion though. I was a sinner and didn't deserve my dreams. But on the flip side of that coin, God was an amazing God. He was perfect in every single way and He did deserve my dreams. He showed me that no matter how imperfect I may be, He died for me anyway.

And that gave me hope. No matter how much I wanted to make my hopes and dreams come true, I couldn't. But He could.

He also told me I had a job to do on this planet. You see, He came to this crazy place to save people. My job? Tell people about it.
photo by Renee Blare

If you're wondering about the "cross" part, that's it. If you think being a Christian in this world is about appearances and convenience, you're sorely mistaken. It's not a cloak to wear whenever I choose. Jesus Christ died on a cross, and now, He commands us to take up our "cross" and follow Him.

Does that mean that we must die like He agony? I sincerely hope not, although there are Christians around the world that are doing exactly that. Yes, you heard me. If you don't believe me, Google it. The time is coming that being a Christian will mean death...everywhere. Don't buy it? Read Revelation.

All I'm saying is, if you are calling yourself a Christian because it's the cool thing to do or it's convenient, you may want to pick up your Bible and read it. God doesn't do things for "appearance-sake" or "convenience," but because He expects people to live according to His will.

In other words, God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So, if you aren't living one-hundred percent for Him and yes, that means denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Him, then you have a problem.

And saying that God is the judge of what you do or don't do? Well, yes, He is. I only have one reply to that. Do you really want to wait until Judgment Day to find out what He's going to say?

Please don't wait until that day! Jesus wants you to come to Him today. He is waiting. He is an awesome Friend, but more than that, He will show you so much more. He will lift your mind, your heart, and soul to a new place. Don't wait for God is good, all the time.

John 8:12  Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life."

photo by Renee Blare

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Faithful Review of Embracing Hope by Janell Wojtowicz

Faithful Reviews on Inspirational Moments


About the Book:

Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring.

He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?


About the Author:

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including journalism, Christian higher education public relations, and local government public information. She is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Janell and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons and three step-granddaughters.


The Faithful Review by Renee:

A remarkable story of discovering hope in the midst of pain, grief, and despair. To forgive and let God renew the heart when every fiber of the human mind and body says "absolutely not."

Embracing Hope explores the aspects of loss with clarity in a gentle and enlightening manner. Janell Wojtowicz pens the tale with a firm hand and takes her readers down the road of heartache, not for pain's but for hope's sake.

The path experienced in the wake of loss is paved along multiple valleys. It's littered with potholes and takes the grieving into many a dark, impenetrable cavern. But does the tortuous journey actually end on a hopeful glistening least someday?

If you don't know anything about grief, take this chance to learn. If you're hurting, discover why you should embrace hope even as you feel there is none.

***** I give Embracing Hope five stars.

Renee's opinions are her own and not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees. She's not required to give a review and all books are provided by the author or purchased personally by Renee.