If you look up the word faithful you will see Marissa Dingler face. A couple of weeks ago Marissa sent me an instagram message telling me a little bit about her and her husband's story and the journey the Lord currently has them on. I was so inspired by Marissa that I asked her to share her shop and story with you. When I received the blog post she sent over I was SO encouraged, inspired and excited to proudly wear my UNLESS necklace and share it with all of you. Sit down with a warm cup of coffee (or really COLD smoothie for my southern friends) and dive in tonight ladies. This post will leave you encouraged, motivated and ready to tackle whatever God has brought your way!
For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” Rom. 14:23b
I simply love this verse. In fact it’s one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
A little context for it: Paul is talking about what is “clean” or “unclean” for the first century Christians in regards to food. If you are confused about why that matters, don’t fret, it’s an odd topic. For the most part these men and women had been from 1 of 2 previous religious lines.
1) Jews, who had very strict rules about what they could or couldn’t do to stay “clean” or “pure” in the sight of God. And staying “clean” was the primary goal for a religious Jew.
2) Gentiles, these are people from either no religious group, or from a pagan religion. They couldn’t care less about being “clean” or “unclean”. That concept had no impact in their lives.
So, why do I love this verse? Because Paul was breaking ground by telling the church in Rome that food is NOT something that makes a person clean or unclean. If a person from a Jewish background felt uncomfortable eating a food that they grew up staying away from, that’s fine; if a gentile ate food that had previously been off-limits to the Jews, that was ok also. What matters is the faith that we have in God while we are living out our life. WHY were people eating the food they were, or staying away for a group of foods? If it was because they thought it would affect their relationship with God in a positive way, then they weren’t putting their faith in the work of Jesus, but in their actions.
This verse simply gives us the freedom to DO different things in life, as long as we are submitting our lives to God, obeying His ways, and living a life of faith.
Each of us are gifted in different ways (Rom. 12:6-8), passionate about different issues (Col.3:23) and skilled with different abilities (1 Chron. 22:15-16). So, it makes complete sense that God, through the pen of Paul, gave us a filter to live out our differences. God no longer has a list of things that we are to do or not do, we are simply to follow HIM on our life walks. We are to do EVERYTHING out of our faith in Him.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m a graced-based relationship type gal when it comes to me and Jesus. But I don’t want you to miss this important fact: because of the grace that I’ve experienced from God I have a love-relationship with Him, and that love cause action in my life. My actions are a by-product of my love from and toward God.
So, how do we connect these dots, with one simple word UNLESS.
Unless you act out your love for God, in the way the He designed you, toward the issue that your currently focused on the world will not see your love for God, and His plan for this world and the people He loves so greatly.
While I was reading Dr Seuss’ “The Lorax” to my kids, a quote near the end of the book hit me with a completely fresh meaning. He said “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” I think that the good doctor truly said it best, don’t you? But those words ring so very true, even if they are out of a book about all the trees being cut down.
And out of that fresh awakening, I was inspired. It struck me that each of us has an UNLESS. Right now my husband and I are living in Virginia Beach and we are planting a church, however, that’s not mine. For me it’s adoption. We have been called to the long, hard, and beautiful path of adopting a sibling group from Bulgaria. So, my current UNLESS is funding an adoption, and getting my family to a place that we are ready for grow our family.
Your UNLESS may be staring a business, volunteering at a homeless ministry, being a committed spouse, hosting a Bible study or small group, adopting, or taking care of your health and fitness. I believe that we all have several UNLESSes (yeah…not sure that’s a real word, but you’re trackin with me right?) in our life.
I know that my family and the lives of the kids in Bulgaria that will be a part of our family one day, will never be what God has in mind for us until we are together. And UNLESS we raise the money, we will not see that beautiful plan of God fleshed out.
So, here’s your next step: figure out what your UNLESS is. You may have several equal sized ones, or you may be in a season where one UNLESS is getting more of your time, but you do have at least one…name it!
Thanks so much for giving me the gift of your attention for the past few minutes, you were a blast to talk to! And Caroline, you ROCK, keep doing what you’re doing! As a gift back to you all I’d like to give you 10% off your UNLESS necklace, just use the coupon code: FIT2016 at checkout!
You can place a order here: http://tinyurl.com/h3yxsq8
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