Living as Imago Dei, Video Devotion

Lord Jesus, Come … but Wait

Patient Evangelism by Wholly Loved's Christa Cottam. from Wholly Loved Ministry on Vimeo.

Crimes against children, human trafficking, senseless violence, debilitating disease and fractured relationships leave my heart pleading: “God, please rescue us from this broken world!”

But I also beg God to wait, because there are so many who don’t know Him yet—the stranger at the grocery store, my neighbor…my brother, and I’m left wondering, what can I do?

Paul states in Romans 9: “My grief is so intense that I wish that I would be accursed, cut off from the Messiah, if it would mean that you, my people, would come to faith in him!”

Let that sink in. He would hand over his salvation if it meant others could have theirs?!

Do I live with that same sort of passionate urgency to reach those who don’t know Jesus?

If we knew Jesus was coming today, we’d desperately proclaim the Gospel to as many people as possible so that no one would spend eternity without Him. But, since we don’t know when He’s returning, and others could die at any time, shouldn’t we live with that same desperation every day?

If you’re like me, the answer is “Yes, but…. I don’t know how”, “I don’t know what to say”, “I don’t know the Bible well enough”. And even if we can get past those insecurities, we don’t want to be that weird Christian who rides their bike around the neighborhood with a megaphone, shouting “Jesus is coming!”, ultimately pushing people further away, right?

The good news is that every Christian is equipped to share the Gospel … we just need to remember two words: Imago Dei.

Our greatest purpose is to represent Jesus as His image bearers. Embodying Him in all that we do—through our words, actions, attitude, work ethic, and demeanor no matter our job title, economic status, health, or age. When we live for Jesus, others will notice. And when they ask what it is about us that’s so special—when we’ve got their attention, then we get to share the Gospel. No megaphones or shouting, no script, not even a list of Bible verses to rattle off…. we just tell the story of how we met Jesus and how He rescued us. Simple, and beautiful.

Are you eager to reach others who don’t know Jesus? Ask God to ignite your passion, and then wear His love daily for all to see as you learn to live wholly loved.

spiritual passion, Video Devotion

In A Spiritual Funk–Video Devotion

In a Spiritual Funk from Wholly Loved Ministry on Vimeo.

 

I was in a funk. And I was baffled by it. There was nothing blatantly “wrong”. In fact, my life was overflowing with blessings. I was healthy, had a wonderful husband, beautiful kids … the list goes on and on. So why did I feel so “off”?

Have you ever felt like that? You have every reason to count your blessings, but you can’t shake the feeling that something just isn’t right?

I love to listen to worship music in my car, but during my “funk”, even that proved frustrating. One day in particular, I impatiently flipped through radio stations. Once again, I found nothing worthwhile, so I shut off my radio in a huff. In the silence I heard God say to my heart … you can’t hear Me above the noise.

The realization reverberated in my chest. I’d let the noise of life–the busyness and comfort of routine, drown out God. Without a strong connection to my power source, God, I’d begun to lose my fire. I’d been reading my Bible, praying, and serving at church … but without the fire of the Holy Spirit fueling me, it was like I was just going through the motions.

God showed me that I need to stay on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what He will do next. Otherwise, I can become distracted by the noise of life. If I’m distracted, I stop looking for the ways He’s working around me, and I can no longer hear Him clearly. In fact, if I’m distracted enough, I can forget that I’m even supposed to be listening for His voice!

I believe we’ll all experience seasons of distraction. It’s our human nature! But recognizing when we’ve become distracted, and getting out of that place, is what’s really important.

Scripture says, “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you” (Proverbs 4:25, NLT).

I got down on my knees and prayed for the Holy Spirit to fall fresh on me … to fill me up … to light me “on-fire” again. And I asked others to pray those same prayers for me. God loves when we seek Him with such earnestness. He was faithful to answer me, and I know He’ll do the same for you.

So, the next time you find yourself buried in the distractions of life, turn down the noise and pray for God to help you refocus on Him, as you learn to live wholly loved.

 

living in grace, Video Devotion

Living in Grace and Forgiving Yourself–Video Devotion


There was no way I was going to forgive her. She didn’t deserve forgiveness-she deserved to pay for what she’d done.

The thing is, “she” is me, and that’s exactly how I felt for years. I had no problem forgiving others, just myself. Psalms 103:12 says “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” But, I chose to believe that didn’t apply to me-that I needed to serve a sentence of shame before I could be exonerated from my guilt. Further, I was certain that my sins not only rendered me unworthy to receive God’s forgiveness but also His love.

Have you found that often the most difficult person to forgive is yourself? That was definitely the case for me, until God literally spoke into my situation.

I attended a worship service where I heard the story of a man’s miraculous physical healing. What struck me, though, wasn’t his physical healing, but the freedom he experienced from feelings of unworthiness. Following the man’s testimony, a pastor invited anyone who felt burdened by unworthiness to stand and receive prayer. Despite the pride that begged me to remain seated, I rose to my feet. And in the silent moments that followed the prayer, God spoke to me for the first time.

He said: Christa, I love you. I forgave you a long time ago, and you need to forgive yourself.

I was literally undone. Instantly freed from the tremendous weight of shame that would have eventually crushed me. I was overcome-with love.

Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I’d allowed unforgiveness to affect my life and my relationships. I’d invited Christ into my heart but held God’s grace at arm’s length, refusing to accept it—unintentionally saying that Christ’s death was enough to vindicate others, but not me. Released from that burden, I was able to move forward, truly love myself, others, and God, and finally experience the freedom for which Christ died.

It’s not as though forgiveness erased the memory of my shameful sins, but it eradicated the oppressive power those memories had over me. Before, they were scars I desperately tried to cover. Now they’re scars I proudly point to and say, “Look what God has done in my life.”

Don’t allow unforgiveness to control you any longer. As you learn to live wholly loved, remember that God wants to do the same transformative work in you, turning your scars into a beautiful story of His love.

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woman staring out a window
Heart Issues, Video Devotion

Pride Lurking Undetected–Video Devotion


“Move it people! What’s wrong with you?!” my daughter’s voice shrieked from the back of our mini-van as we sat in the school drop off line. Though I instantly corrected her impatience, I cringed knowing she’d heard those same words from me.

Troubled, I replayed the scene until I finally realized what lay at the root of my words—the attitude that I knew the “right” way, and others didn’t, and that my time was more precious than everyone else’s.

Have you experienced a humbling realization like mine—where seemingly harmless words actually pointed to a much greater heart issue?

My impatience stemmed from pride—my inflated sense of importance or superiority, that is usually first harbored in my mind and ultimately displayed in my conduct.

The deeper I examined, the more I saw how much pride infected my life.

I struggled to admit when I was wrong and tried to hide my shortcomings. While I outwardly hid the sinful chaos in my heart, the truth was, I continually compared myself—my appearance, possessions, kids, talents, and intelligence—to others, indulging my selfish desire to pass judgment and assign worth to myself and everyone else. In essence, I was playing God.

In Galatians five, Paul says those who belong to Christ have nailed their sinful desires to the cross and should follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

My daughter’s statement helped me see where I wasn’t allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me; where I wasn’t fully embracing my worth in Christ. I was still grappling to find it in earthly things.

As a result, I had a tendency to become idolatrous, jealous, selfish and divisive.

Wanting joy and patience to replace all the ugliness I’d allowed to grow within, I repented of my sin and surrendered to the Holy Spirit, and as I did, He filled me with His peace and love.

What fruit is being produced in your life? Ask God to make you aware of pride within your heart, and for strength to abandon your sin at His feet.